By Jesse Bauer
2013 Ignition Fitness Athlete Team member
First win of the year, I’m back in the game!! On a day where I went in with absolutely no expectations after being so dead from working all day (literally) on Thursday, I really do not know where this came from. I felt awful the whole time leading up to the race, but when the horn went off, it was like drinking a magical elixir and I was ready to rock!
Got there nice and early, before registration had even opened. Slept a lot better than previous races, but woke up with a lot more difficulty and took the whole drive to Welland to come to completely. No mechanical issues with my bike today while setting up transition, which is always good news, and everything stayed together on my warm-up ride. New disc cover feels (and looks) great! 10 minute jog to warm-up, a few strides on the course to recon, and then chatted with Larry until the horn went off to start. Hoping the legs hold out for the race!
RUN #1 (~17:10, don’t believe Sportstats, their mat was in the wrong place to take the split. I was ~17:10 to the mat at transition):
Well…the legs came back to me with a vengeance. Felt like I was floating. Went out on Larry’s shoulder for the first km, attacked a two stride rise to the first turnaround and found myself in the front? I just settled right in to my threshold pace and concentrated on expending as little energy as possible, and just running on what I knew threshold felt like. I had no idea where I was at the whole run, because I was using my regular old Timex for the run portions and the km markers were useless because of the odd start position at Welland. So I just ran on feel and tried to get progressively faster every km, and everyone behind me just dropped off my back. It was a total surprise when I came across the mat coming into transition and I saw 17:10 on my watch. It felt like about a 19flat, and I came into transition feeling a little bored again. Bring on the bike, Welland!!
Had a little trouble with my helmet today. Still the fastest in the race I believe, so no complaints.
BIKE (47:24; AP 205, NP 209, VI 1.02):
Wow. Boom. This race may have been won on the run, but it was decided on the bike. Best ride of my life today, absolutely no question. Got out of transition and went into the headwind section where I just tried to focus on keeping my power in check so I could work the last ¾. Larry passed me about 3km into the bike, which gave me something up the road to focus on. I just tried to put out consistent watts at ~210W, and keep Larry in sight for as long as possible so I would have a visual target on the run. These guys are strong riders (Larry and Erik), so I know that if I can keep them in sight I have a chance to win. Usually my indicator of how strong my bike is when Erik is in the race is when he passes me. If he passes me before 5k, then I know it must be a bad one. I’m doing okay if he gets my between 5 and 10k, and I’m doing great if I stay ahead for more than 10k. Well…I survived to 12k. I was still battling the wind, but for once I was winning the battle and averaging ~36kph for the first head/crosswind half of the ride. When we hit the turnaround, I was only 20 seconds behind Erik and 15 behind Larry going into the tailwind section!
Coming home I just tried to push as big of numbers as I could with the wind at my back and minimize the damage. I was moving, going about 40kph the whole way home and keeping the watts right around 205. I felt like I was super consistent the whole ride, and the numbers seem to confirm it. I was starting to get super excited to run, because I knew those guys couldn’t be too far ahead! That disc and my new position felt great, and all the hard bike work we’ve been doing seems to be starting to pay off! And just in time too!
Great dismount, quick transition. Managed to turn the wrong way just after I left transition, but the volunteers set me straight.
RUN #2 (18:53):
My bike set me up perfectly for this, because I came out of transition and immediately had a visual on Larry. It was time to just chip away, just like I do every race. The humidity was getting up there, and I was dumping water on my head every aid station, but I pulled up alongside Larry at the first turnaround and went through. When I looked up around the turnaround, I saw Erik and just went to work on him. Taking care of business. Moving into the lead 2.5km into the second run gave me such a feeling of relief that I couldn’t help but smile. I kept the pressure on until the second turnaround to scope out my lead, but then I shut it down and enjoyed it. What a feeling.
Absolutely ecstatic with this effort today. I was deep in the pain cave, but there’s definitely still room to grow. To feel as comfortable as I did on the first run and still go as quick as I did is a huge confidence boost. I felt like I was just taking care of business, going to work. Biked out of my mind. I have zero issues with my ride. Power was where I wanted it, no huge spikes of power, and I thought I managed myself incredibly well. My legs were tired getting onto the second run, but I still felt in control and strong enough to post that wicked second run. My second run was just like another day at the office. I was on fire for the first half and put my stamp on the race. And I think if I needed to go faster on the second half to close down a gap, I could have. Everything just…clicked today.
It was a tough day out there, and those guys (Larry and Erik) really made it one hell of a competitive race today. It’s shaping up to be a great year of Duathlon in Ontario this year, and every single race so far has been an absolute battle. All it makes me what to do is work harder and get better, because I know these guys are out there putting in the hours just like I am. To flip-flop around like we have been just goes to show you that there isn’t just one dominant force in the sport this year, and that you really have to have you’re A+ game and a little bit of luck to win this year. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, and especially to our next showdown at Belwood. But right now I’m looking forward to getting back on my grind and putting some good work in the next 4-6 weeks. Onward!