Jels Duathlon 2013

Today I officially started my 2013 multisport campaign by racing Jels Duathlon 2013 in 2:15:28.6. Files:

The format was 5-44-5 in probably the coldest and most miserable weather I’ve ever raced in. The only other duathlon I have raced, back in 1992, was warmer, but so windy lots of people had trouble staying upright on the bike. What is it with duathlon and the weather? Does it really have to be nasty one way or another?

I drove down with 2 good club mates, Mads and Rasmus, to a vacation house in Juelsminde the night before, so we didn’t have to get up too early the next morning. That was a good plan.

Driving the last hour to Jels in the morning we saw both rain and sleet, and generally horrible weather. At the 10:00 race start it was clearing up, and it was just a real light rain, which stopped soon after the start. But just before the start — very dark thoughts about the weather, as I sat in the car keeping warm. I didn’t begin setting up before 20 minutes before the start, so I ended up only having a pathetic excuse for a warm-up. Didn’t hurt though, because in my race gear it was not about warming up as much as avoiding getting cold.

The first run was predictably crowded, but the trail was wide enough that it wasn’t a problem overtaking. I quickly got into a good rhythm and just cruised through at what felt like a good clip, which ended up being a 4’43”/km pace. Very good for me.

It took a while getting into the shoes with the overshoes on, but I had to do it that way to stay warm. Mounting the bike I felt great. I was racing again, after a way too long winter, and I loved it.

First 30 minutes on the bike was crowded, a bit more stop-and-go than I’d have liked, but such is competition. I rode to the limit, and a club mate who were doing draft busting duty told me he had almost busted me, but then I accelerated and made a clean pass. I just tried to ride as smooth and efficient as I could, but having to ride like that, instead of a pure time-trial, is one of my least favourite things. But it’s inevitable.

The last 45 minutes of the ride were uneventful in a good way, and my inner DJ started playing the first 2 lines of Lana Del Rey — Cola over and over. Don’t worry, it’s completely normal for me.

Only problem was that the contents of my bottles was uncomfortably cold, and I couldn’t feel my fingers. I worried a bit about the transition with cold fingers like that.

I botched the lap timing for the bike a bit, so I don’t know what the exact split is, but I’d say around 31.4 km/h average. Not fast, and I’m not entirely happy with it, but I haven’t been much on the road this year, so I guess it’s OK. I’ll get better.

The transition to the second run went OK. Slow with the extra clothes and frozen fingers, but OK. And then as I tried to hit my stride out of the transition zone my fingers started thawing and hurt like hell. “Fuck, fuck, fuck” I just thought to myself, but luckily it only took 2 minutes or so and then I was fine.

I heard another runner behind my as I ran past the 1 km sign, and I saw another 50 m in front. I half expected to be overtaken by the runner behind me, because that’s what usually happens, but the sound of his footsteps faded, and the one in front came closer. So my thought went from “don’t get caught” to “kill, kill, kill”, and I did. Around 2 km into the run I overtook the guy in front, easily, and started to look for the next one. I saw him on a long straight and started the hunt. I only missed by 5 seconds at the finish line.

I ran 36 seconds faster on the second run compared to the first, 4’35”/km average, after 2 hours of racing. That is pretty great for me, and I’m very happy about that.

I knew my running was good, but this was still a pleasant surprise.

Sleep came easy in the car going home.