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2011 Duathlon World Championship
10/2/2011 2:29 PM
The following is an account of my participation in the 2011 held in Gijon, Spain on 25 September.
This was my second Worlds on the USA National team battling against top international competition. We arrived in Spain on 21 September after a 10 day training block in Switzerland. I was feeling strong and in the shape of my life as I had dropped 7 lbs from training in the mountains. I immediatly built up my bike to get it ready to test the bike course the next day. After finishing the bike I met Brad who was in the room next store and helped him with some problems he was having with his bike. Most of the US team was stying in one of two hotels next to one another accross the street from the beach. It great to be on the same team with these guys who we are normally trying to beat in US races. I met several folks on US team and made some great friends before the race.
The next day Brad, his friend Evon, an I went out for a 15 minute run on the boardwalk followed by 2 laps on the bike course. The bike course ran right in front of the Hotel and was well marked so we had no problem checking it out. Each lap was 20K with the first 4 miles being flat followed by a 5K long climb that started at 3%-5% and got a bit steeper towards the top. A long down hill followed with several hair pin turns, and then a flat finish. Overall it was a nice course with a little bit of everything in it. After the ride I picked up my race number at registration. Normally for most races you get a junky T-shirt, if your lucky it will be a technical one. For worlds the gave every athlete a very nice medium weight jacket, very cool.
On 23 September I checked out the run course, a 2.5 K loop totally flat with a 1/3 mile cobbled section in the middle, what did you expect it's Europe. Later in the day we attended opening ceremonies where all the countries paraded behind their flags and hear boring welcoming speeches from all the dignataries. We were lucky enough to hear the speeches twice once in Spanish and then the English translation. After the cermony we went to lunch/dinner. The one thing that took a little getting used to is the Spanish eating schedule. Breakfast is normal in the morning (The hotel had an awsome buffet included in the room price), but lunch/dinner is server at 2-4 PM, all the shops shut down and people eat their big meal in the late afternoon. The restraunts don't open up again until around 9 PM for a small late night meal.
The next day we watched the elite men and women race. The mens race was particularly exciting as Russell from the US bridged up on the bike to the lead group of 5 and eventually finished 6th to earn some of the prize purse. Note in the Pro race biking is draft legal but not for us age groupers. Later that day I racked my bike in the transition/start/finish area which was located in a velodrome. This was great for spectators and I had my wife, mom, and grandmother here to cheer me on.
On race day I walked to the start at around 7 am, note the sun does not rise until 7:45 so it was dark. The race started at 8:35 I did the sprint a 5K run (2 laps), 20 bike, and 2.5K run (1 lap). There were 3 waves and I was in the second. The first wave was the 40 and under men, wave 2 was 40+ men and wave 3 was the woman. I positioned myself 3 rows back at the start so as not to go out too fast. After settling in I was feeling good on the run and started to move up. On the second lap I was in a line of strong runners and feeling somewhat comfortable. Then disaster struck as we were going around a round about I kicked the curb and fell down. 5 or 6 runners passed me and I jumped back up. I may have lost 10 seconds but I was moving again but lost some of my momentum. I finish the run in 19:37 in 10th place. On the bike I immediatly passed several people most of whom were probally not in my age group and hit the climb with good rythm. The race organization did a great job controlling the roads. They were 100% closed to traffic and you had the full road to use going downhill making negotiating the hair pin curves very easy.
On the last run I held my position for the most part and battled with a Brit for the whole race. I got him in the end in fact I beat the whole British team finising in 11th overall in my AG. The US team did a great job in my age group taking both the Gold and Bronze medals. I felt I put in a solid effort but perhaps I could have done better without the fall. I'll have to wait until next year to try to do better.
After the race we were able to watch the standard distance race which was twice as long. The 50+ US team also captured the Gold in this race.
Later that evening all of the athletes attended closing cermonies at a Sideria. Gijon is famous for their hard Cider and there was no lack of it at the closing cermony. All 1200 athlete crowed into the distillery where hundreds of large barrels of cider are stored and I mean large, these barrels were over 10 feet high. We were treated to a gourmet meal of cheese, suasage, bread, eggs, ribs, potato things... All very good and different. I was able to trade my US parade shirt for a British shirt as a nice souvenier from the trip.
Well after a 25 hour return trip back to the US I'm ready to test my new form out. Today I raced a duathlon in Smithfield, RI and finished 3rd overall and 1st in my age group, not bad for an Old Guy. I have two more dualthlons on the schedule Scituate and Wrentham.
Thanks for Reading,
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