Monday, April 18, 2011

Hibernia Off-Road Duathlon

I have always wanted to do a mountain biking event, and this seemed like the perfect one, because I could get my son involved. We formed Team 2K to compete: Kyler would run, and I would mountain bike. The distances were 2.6 mile run, 12 mile bike, 2.6 mile run. Also competing with us would be Team Runkle consisting of my friend Chris and his son Zac. Both Zac and Kyler are on the same soccer team.

The day before the race, we received 3" of rain throughout the area, so we were expecting muddy conditions. The weather Sunday morning was clear and windy with temps in the 50s.

We arrived about an hour early, and Chris and I warmed up on our bikes then went for a run with Kyler and Zac. During the warm-up we realized just how muddy the course was going to be. Start time was 9:00, and we were ready to go.

Kyler and Zac went out strong and were hanging mid-pack before they dropped out of sight. Chris and I figured we wouldn't see them for at least 25 minutes. Around the 23:00 minute mark, Zac came out of the woods heading for the transition, but Kyler wasn't in sight. Zac tagged Chris, and Chris was off like a shot. About a minute later Kyler came in. I asked if he was okay and he informed me that he had to stop, because his shoe got sucked off in the mud. We tagged and I was off.

I have done many bike legs in triathlons, but never off-road and never in the conditions like yesterday. It was by far the hardest race, or leg of a race that I ever competed in. I don't do that much mountain biking, and fortunately the course was a good beginner course, and wasn't too technical, nonetheless, it presented many challenges.

I was able to stay on my bike for almost the entire loop, but there was a section that I had to dismount to negotiate. There were also two section where I spun out and had to dismount, because I lost forward momentum. I was able to negotiate the loop more efficiently the second time after learning how to get in the right gears and spin up the steep sections. Mud, however, was the word of the day, and I'm surprised that I didn't go down in a few sections that I could feel the front wheel wash out on me.

I came in at least 20 minutes down to Chris, but I knew that would be the case. He is a former mountain bike racer and could fly on this course. I tagged Kyler, and he was off. about 21:00 - 22:00 minutes later he came out of the woods. There was a runner on his heels and we told him to kick it in, which he did. I was proud of his guts and determination, and was happy that he had a grin on his face.

I highly recommend this race. It was well organized and laid-out. If time permits, we hope to do some more off-road events with Mid-Atlantic Events

Monday, April 11, 2011


Great race yesterday. No wind, flat course, cool temps. It was held in downtown Reading; the start was near the RACC campus. The student center was open for registration, which meant access to bathrooms and water fountains.

I arrived about an hour early, and began my normal warm-up procedure including a 1.5-mile run. My goal was to go under 19:00, but I felt a little sluggish. The race went off at 10:00, and I went out at a fast pace, and found myself in the top ten. I hit the first mile at 5:40, and actually felt good. After mile 1, another runner passed me, and that was the last person to pass me. I had another runner about 5 yards in front of me that I kept my sights on, but I never was able to close the gap. My paced dropped off a little by mile 2, but I was able to hang on the last mile and finished in 18:48, which was: 12 below my goal. The finish was a little tough. I like a long straight, which gives me a clear view to the line. This finish passed the original start then made 3 hard lefts to the line.

18:48 ties my PR from two years ago, which made this race special. I still have room for improvement, and I’m still improving despite closing in on a half century. I was 7th overall in the race, and second in my age group (40-49). The runner in front of me beat me by :02 for the age group win.

After the race, I ran my cool-down with Curt M., who finished ahead of me, and Tim H., the guy who finished behind me, and who knocked me off in the last mile of the Kris Kringle race back in December. We also ran with the woman’s runner up, Katherine D. It’s always nice meeting new runners and sharing the camaraderie.

The timing and direction of this race was superb, and the course was nice except, like I stated earlier, the finish was funky. Nonetheless, I highly recommend it.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Frozen Foot Race #3

Here it is, the first week in April, and I'm just now getting to the final report on the Frozen Foot Series. There is a reason for this.

The weather for race #3 was perfect, cool, but not cold and windy. My plan was to try and go under 19:00, but my primary goal was to win my age group. Going into the race, I knew I only needed a solid race at about 19:30 to secure it. I also knew that if one of the masters ahead of me didn't show up, I'd be the masters winner. There was another individual in the masters hunt, but he was a full 2:00 behind me in the standings, so I wasn't too concerned.

When we stepped to the line, I realized that both of the masters ahead of me were not in the race, and they weren't there when the gun went off. I planned my race to start a little slower to compensate for the hills, so I didn't go out as hard as the previous races. At the turn around, I discovered no one was pushing me, and the individuals out in front, while in striking distance, didn't pose a threat to my standings, so, instead of putting down a kick, I cruised the rest of the race, knowing that I had a lock on the masters win.

After waiting over an hour for the awards to be called, it was announced that there was a timing/computer error and that we could stick around if we wanted, but it might take awhile. I decided to leave, but in hindsight, I should have stuck around.

For a chip timed series, the results were always slow in being posted. They went up on Facebook first, and usually not until a week after the race. I knew it would take awhile to get race #3 up, but I used the time to carefully check my standings. In an email from the race director, I was told that in order to win the series you had to run all three races, and that it was based on cumulative time. I raced all three races, and my cumulative time was :40 seconds faster than my next closest competitor despite being beaten by him in race number #3. But, it's a series, and not one race, so I didn't even think about it.

On Friday, April 1st, April Fool's Day. The results were posted, and I was not the master's winner. Why, because the race director decided to use only races #1 and #3. Now, I knew there was a problem with race #3, but at no time prior to the start of race #3 was I, or anyone else that I know of, informed that there was a problem with race #2. Dropping race #2, to me, was equivalent to dropping the first quarter of the Super Bowl, which would have given the win to the Steelers.

I emailed the director stating my case: 1) I raced all three races; 2) my cumulative time was faster than any master that ran all three races; 3) by XC scoring I would have won 4-5.

After three days, he finally responded:

"You are correct to be considered for series awards participants must compete in all three races or all the races we have. That is independent of the scoring of the series. We do not designate the number of races we use to score the series. Because it is a winter series we have had races canceled due to weather. Early in the history of the series we had a race that the timer we hired did not show up so we had no times. At that time we used time to calculate the series results. So we are never certain we are going to have three sets of race results to calculate the series awards.

We do try to score cross country style. This year we did not score cross country style because both in race 2 and 3 we had people who jumped out of line before we got their tag. We had reports of people cutting in front of others in the chute and one person who crossed the finish line multiple times. Race 2 we did not have chip times, so we would need to use gun times. Gun times are inherently less accurate than chip times especially if there are runners leaving the chute.

Race 1 and race 3 we have chip times and finishing order. I am confident the results and positions for race 1 and 3 are accurate. That is why I chose to score the series with these races only. I will not change the scoring for the series. However, I will send you $75 for the masters series

My response to him was essentially, "please don't send me the money. It's not about the money."

So, I won my age group which was my goal, and almost won the masters, but for a decision by the race director that I don't agree with, because, as stated earlier, at no time prior to race #3 was it ever announced that race #2 was tainted. Even if the times were not accurate, the standings were never in question, or at least not that anyone was aware of.

With that said, The RACC 5K is this weekend and Kyler and I are competing in the Hibernia Off-Road Duathlon the following weekend. It's time to move on, but next year, if I run a winter series it will either be in York Co., or the Shiver by the River series in Reading.