For the past three years, since the very first Camarillo Duathlon was publicized, I have had the goal of completing the course. Due to cancellations, scheduling conflicts, and even injury, I couldn’t quite get my butt down to Camarillo at the right time to get it done! This race turned into one of those long-term achievements that happen later for a reason.
Back in early 2009 when I set the goal, the race was just an Olympic event (5k run, 20mi bike, 5k run), but today it offers a sprint (1.5mi run, 10mi bike, 1.5mi run). So, when I arrived at Freedom Park in the wee hours of August 14, 2011, I was feeling a little like I had taken the easy road with the sprint. Little did I know that in a matter hours, I would be on cloud 9.
Before I go too much further, I would like to commend Bill Escobar for creating this awesome event for us. Hearing his announcements that morning, watching him interact with the public and volunteers, he demonstrated a passion for multi-sport and a level of hospitality that I haven’t seen before. Clearly he loves what he does and I am honored to be a participant in his events.
Without further ado, here are my highlights from the event. I will spare you the novel that I wrote earlier (you know that blow by blow narrative that is a tad long to post here, but if you want a copy of it, please email me armh31″at”gmail.com).
Of course the start was pretty melodramatic. We lined up and the horn blew. The pack ran off ahead and instead of following the speedy types, I settled into my groove. By the first turn, I was at the back of the pack, but I didn’t care. There were plenty of aircraft to admire along the route. As long as I wasn’t last, I was doing well…. observing, strategizing, and plane spotting!
T1 & Bike
Heading into transition I felt winded and one glance at my heart rate said I had pushed the run a tad hard. Mounting the bike, I sailed out onto the streets amongst the fields of Camarillo. With authorities keeping those pesky cars at bay, I settled into a decent pace for the 10 mile loop.
That is until the dude in the yellow jersey passed me. I don’t know why, but having HIM pass me turned a switch and the game was on! As hard as I tried to keep up with him, I couldn’t quite catch him… until nearly the end of the course. Things got really interesting as I saw him up ahead and slowing down. I easily passed him and we exchanged glances.
I thought I had him when, all of the sudden, a half mile later he goes whizzing passed me. I turn up the speed and start chasing him down, but the zigzags back to dismount kept me from catching him.
Then he made a mistake. He stopped a good 15 feet from the actual dismount line and I went sailing passed him again only to brake hard and stop right on the dismount line itself (a little trick I learned from an experienced triathlete). I had 15 feet on him and I ran hard with the bike to the transition. I still had him!
Run #2 & Finish
With a quick switch of gear, I headed out on the run, not even looking back to see where the mister yellow jersey was. I didn’t care, I had a lead to maintain, so I kept a fast (for me) but steady pace that I was certain I could handle all the way back to the finish. Since I had just run the same course, I knew what to expect and knew that once I was half way down the dirt road, turn on the sprint to finish.
But at the turn around, I saw that my competition had ditched the yellow jersey and wasn’t that far behind me. I was nervous so I picked up the pace just a bit more. Passing him, I could see in his eye that he already gave it his all. I had won… unless I screwed up.
Hitting the dirt road was when the legs seriously started to protest. Just as I considered my options, I was passed by an older guy whom I knew was a sprint participant. He was moving fast for his build and age, so I wasn’t about to give up my spot to him. A little earlier than I wanted, I went into sprint mode and ran him down.
Luckily, there was a curb to run around to the finish chute, which he negotiated rather slowly compared to my more flexible maneuver. Then it was a sprint to the finish and I beat him by two seconds.
And that was the end of a race I will never forget.
With my overall time of 1:09:31, I was happy to see myself just ahead of the Sprint race average of 1:10:33. That was good for 32nd place of 69 competitors. Camarillo Duathlon Sprint Race results were plotted by TrainingMetrix (graph above is reproduced with their permission) and you can see I am just ahead of average (the red dot).
So, have I achieved that goal I set years ago? As much as I want to say yes, I still have to finish the Olympic course and we might save that for 2012. But with the third race of 2011 coming up on Sept. 4th, I might just give the sprint one more try in 2011!
Note: I am working compiling some video of the race (the Olympic start) and will post a video post here when it is complete.