Friday, June 21, 2013

3D Rotorua Duathlon - Breaking Rule #42

For some time now, I have being a big advocate of The Rules by the Velominati (incidentally, now available in actual book format for your coffee table so your guests can delight at your complete commitment to upholding the important values of our sport).... And for some time, we have discussed the importance of Rule #5 on many occasions. I think by now we know I am a hard-ass chick who holds Rule #5 in the shining beacon of light that it deserves. But a few weekends ago, I must confess that I broke one of the Velominati's rules. To be fair, this rule is some way down the list, but that doesn't make it any less important than the others...

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to Rule #42... "A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run". Now, to be fair, I only broke half the rule... I entered the 3D Rotorua Duathlon... And followed my ride with a run... It is true that one should never run unless you are being chased, but I don't get chased after riding my bike too often, and I really just wanted to see what it felt like (try telling me not to push the red button, then wait and see how my curiosity gets the better of me).
After indulging in a glorious dose of Rule #5 the day before the race, and vomiting at the top of a hill on test day, I lined up for the 3D Duathlon feeling a little below par, but not far enough below par that I felt I needed to pull the plug on my days activities (that would have then counter-acted my exceptional use of Rule #5 the day before and deemed me a complete and utter pussy). We set off on the bike first in a flurry of hoons and whoops of delight as we sped down Long Mile Road, then onto the grassy strip that climbed towards the water tank along the edge of Tarawera Road. I must admit I felt pretty ordinary (and for some reason, at the time, I was surprised by this), and I cringed at the thought of the next 34km on the bike followed by an 11km run as I watched my buddy Mops disappear up the hill in front of me. I felt no better climbing Hill Road, but I do remember been quite relieved when I realised we were entering Corners track from Hill Road and not from the top of Frontal Lobotomy (PHEW!). My descent down Corners felt messy and cumbersome... I just didn't seem able to get my flow on, despite the sweetness of the berms and the perfect day we had been blessed with for riding.

Once I popped out the bottom of Corners, though, my legs seemed to come good and I was on fire! I passed several riders, including a couple of female competitors as I stormed my way through Chinese Menu, Dragon's Tail and Lion Trail before a smooth descent down Exit Trail and into the transition area. I actually felt pretty bloody good by this time, and I was pretty sure I was sitting in 3rd place (in my first ever duathlon!).
Now I'm the first to admit I had been a bit slack on the running side of things prior to the race... In fact, despite my good intentions to squeeze some running training into my schedule, I had done none (unless my weekly game of squash counts), so that 11km stint ahead of me was looking to be my biggest challenge of the day. My transition was surprisingly quick... Riding shoes off, running shoes on, helmet off, vest off, and on my way... I remember running out of the transition area thinking "that was waaay to quick... What have I forgotten???", but I was on my way! The run consisted of two 5.5km loops around the Redwoods, and I must admit it was absolutely spectacular. It was lovely to be in a part of the forest I hadn't been before... The first half of the first lap I struggled with. We headed up a lovely big staircase, then down the other side, and my quads were burning so bad that each step down that I took, I thought my legs were going to collapse under me. As my legs chewed through the distance, metre by metre, I fell into a rhythm and actually started to (wait for it...) enjoy the run (I know, I was scared, too!).

About 2km from the end on my second loop, I began experiencing a terrible pain in the lateral side of my left knee, which was bizarre because I had been having issues with my right knee the week prior, but I forced myself to run through it, even picking up the pace in the last kilometer to come home in 4th place! I must say I was pretty stoked with that result, and on further analysis of the results, it was evident that my mountain biking leg had been my saving grace... My run had only been about the 10th fastest! My mini-achievement paled in comparison to that of my house guest's for the weekend, though... Simone Maier taking out the Australasian Multisport Champs! You go girl!

I actually really enjoyed the duathlon. It was something a bit different and the 3D event is always really well-run with a totally awesome vibe. I do my best Velominati, but at this stage, I can't promise you that I won't break rule #42 again...