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2012 Double Oak DU Race Report
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On 3 April I traveled to Birmingham, AL for the Double Oak Duathlon a qualifier for the 2012 World Championships. I arrived three days before the race and was able to run/ride the course twice before race day. It was clear the course was going to be a lot harder than in the Map My Ride course profile. You were going up or down constantly on both the bike and run. I was doing the sprint race 5K run 20K Bike 2.5K run. The hills weren't long or steep they just kept coming there was no flat on the run and very little on the bike. The run also included a section the race director called “Mr. Toads Wild Ride” a twisting narrow path through the woods.

My goal for the race was to qualifier for the 2012 Duathlon World Championship in Ottawa, CA and only the top six qualified for Team USA. The field looked tough with several All American athletes in my age group including JD Pepper, and Doug Riemer . The 50-54 age group was the largest in the field with 25 competitors from 15 different states. Looking at the entry list I thought I had and outside shot at making team USA but I knew it would take a good effort.

Race day temperature was 50 degrees perfect for racing, but the pollen was heavy and I get bad hay fever. Racers faces were covered in pollen at the finish. Fortunately this did not seem to affect me.
The run stared on a chip seal road going uphill for the first ¼ mile. The road was steeply banked from the crest for drainage which made it uncomfortable to run on. I was cramping the on each leg of the race, just in different muscle groups. I guess that means I was really pushing it. On Mr. Toads Wild Ride there was not enough room pass without bumping the person in front of you and there were 3 waives that started in 3 minute intervals in front of me, so lots of blockers were in the woods part of the run course. To give you an idea of the difficulty of the run course peoples 5K splits were 4-5 minutes slower than their PRs. I was glad to get out of the woods and onto the bike. I started the bike with hamstring cramps so I backed off the pace, but I was still passing people like crazy. I cracked the top 10 overall with my bike split for the day. Getting off the bike I was in 3rd place in my age group but there was no way to know that during the race. The 2nd run started with Mr. Toads Wild Ride again luckily there were fewer racers blocking as I was now towards the front of the field. As soon as I started running calf cramps hit me and I just ran as best as I could to keep moving at a good tempo. I could hear runners behind me and I was passed on the last uphill part of the 2nd run with less than a half mile to go. I had a great race and almost made the podium, missed it by 12 seconds. The objective was to qualify for worlds and I succeeded by finishing 4th in my age group. No one older than me beat me, no woman beat me and no one with 2012 ranking score lower than me beat me. On the other hand I beat several competitors with a 2012 ranking score higher than mine. I'm sore as hell today, but very happy with the results, this was one of my best races at this level.
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