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

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