Race Report: 2015 Iron Hawk Sprint Duathlon, 5th OA, 2nd AG, 1:01:00

The Iron Hawk 4th annual duathlon was the season opener for southwestern ontario this past Saturday. The weather started off a little dreary and damp but quickly the sun burned off the clouds leaving lots of humidity in the air but otherwise excellent racing conditions.

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The race was stacked with a lot of heavy hitters known in the world of triathlon & duathlon: Lionel Sanders Pro Triathlete and local legend was there to defend his title as he does every year. Thierry Guertin was also on the roster he has competed at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii and is known to be a well rounded athlete. If there was anyone that could have take on Lionel it was him, but Thierry had a little mishap pre race on the wet roads that left him with a torn race suit, bandaged arm and leg and some minor damage to his bike. The top ten spots were going to be anyone guess with names like Prakash Pandya, Ryan Allison, Daryl Flacks, Brad Reiter, Shayne Dumouchelle and myself all fighting it out on the course.  Jesse Bauer made a great race preview (read here) with some predictions and it was quite the hype for a lot of us as we talked about it in transition before the race.

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The final results speak for themselves and from everyones times it looks like we are all in good shape early in the season already.

Like every race from year to year I went in with the goal of being faster than last year and I managed to shave off 6:00 and 16 spots from last year a great improvement.

2014 Result:

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Race Lead Up

The week leading up to the race I followed my new taper method which seems to help me quite a bit when it comes to getting full range of my heart capacity. I taper my workouts at weeks start like normal but take two days off completely before race day, no workouts of any kind. What this seems to do is allow my body and medication to work harmoniously and on race day I can command my full heart range and exceed 170bpm when I need to. The whole week I had been feeling a little off and had a dry cough and lots of chest congestion, this is unusual for me as I hardly get sick. With the chest stuff came some mild body aches and joint pain as my immune system was fighting to keep me going. Despite having some pre race coughing the first run and bike went off without a hitch it wasn’t until the second run that everything went down hill. Everything in my chest loosened up while I was out pushing hard on the bike and coming back into T2 I could feel my lungs tightening up as I dismounted and quickly headed out on the final run. For the first time ever (and last) I had to stop and walk during run 2, I was able to expel some fluorescent green goo from my lungs at those point and continue on afterwards.

 

Run 1 – 5K

The race started off right on time and the start line had moved from the previous year allowing a much wider start before we funnelled down and all lined up watching Lionel start to pull away from everyone. The pace as usual was set fast and furiously with Lionel up front followed by Robert Demarco hot on his heals. Behind those two was Prakash, Ryan, Brad and myself and Chris Marentette.  The first 1k was very quick and there was a lot of talking and gabbing as we all fought the urge to chase down the lead runners. That order didn’t change until around the 2k mark where Chris fell off the pace (He hadn’t been feeling great since his training accident the same week – bike crash) and Tom Fancsy and Daryl Flacks quickly took up his spot. Thierry Guertin and Shayne Dumouchelle rounded out the top 10 for the first run. As I approached T1 I could just see Ryan heading out around the first corner and I knew that Brad was ahead of me and I had some work to do on the bike if I wanted to make up some time.

 

Bike – 20K

Getting into T1 I quickly put on my helmet and un racked my bike and ran it 17313158248_1882ca33eb_oout of transition threw some gravel and sharp stones so in the moment I guess I carried my bike one handed as I ran for the mount line. Thanks to Chyla’s Race Photos for these great pics, check out her site on Facebook.

Flying mount was fine no hiccups there as I fiddled with my velcro on my shoes I settled in knowing that if I wanted to catch Brad or anyone else I was going have to push hard but not too early. I was quickly passed by Thierry who was gracious enough to call out “on your left” at least thats what I translated it to as he rocketed past me at mach 1….. The wind was out but not blowing too hard and I road a solid 240 watt avg as I pushed to catch brad who turned the first corner maybe 300 meters before I did. There was a light tail wind so I turned it up to 250 watts and tucked in to try and close the gap before the next turn which was only 1.5km away. I finally caught up to Brad at the 7k mark who was chugging along, we were both racing on our new 3SIXTY5 Cycling Wheels with aerojacket covers and at this point I had knew that next up was Ryan and Prakash but they were still a ways ahead with over half the bike to go.  By the time I hit the 10k turn around Ryan had seen that I was hot on his heals and he was going to have to push hard to hold me off. I pushed 230w average back to the corner and watched as I was slowly closing the gap on Ryan and had passed Robert also by now. The lovely tail wind I had had was now a head wind but only 1.5k of it which lowered my speed to about 33km/hr while I pushed 255 watts to hold it off. The corner came and the head wind was gone and by this time I was 100 meters from Ryan who had faded in the headwind giving me lots of motivation to catch him. Shortly after we turned I passed Ryan who was rubbing his calf and seemed to be working out a cramp of some kind so I pushed a solid 240 watts for the last 5k. Prakash and I entered transition at the same time and I knew that there was a chance that I was going to be able to hold Ryan off in the last run.

The bike course was flat and fast and the addition of my new Fat88’s from #3SIXTY5Cycling made it what much faster at a lower wattage than expected. This was a pleasant surprise and I am very happy with them. Check out their site here.

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Run2 – 2.5K

As soon as I dismounted the bike and headed into T2 I could feel my lungs tighten up and that familiar lingering cough  I had had came back. Exiting T2 and about 400 meters onto the last run I watched Prakash running away from me and I stopped briefly to clear my lungs out. This has not happened to me before and it was a new feeling because I am used to fighting off mental fatigue and pushing through the pain but this wasn’t pain it was my lungs. Running on I was passed by Ryan who had made up a lot of time on me by the the 1K mark. At the 2.5k turn around I could see that Brad was behind me and Daryl on his heals both with that familiar look of determination on their faces I knew if i wanted to hold them off I was going have to suck it up as best I could. Again my lungs closed up and I had to stop and cough out some goo to clear them, but with 600 meters to go I knew that it was going to be over soon and pressed on to the finish. While that run was well off my target pace and I wasn’t able to hold off Ryan it was still enough to hold off Brad and Daryl for 5th place.

 

Conclusion

The race was a great improvement from last year and I much preferred the course to last years. I went into the race not feeling the best and knowing that I may not be able to race at 100%. Mentally I ready to race and I found myself very determined after reading Jesse’s race preview to prove that I was going to be a serious contender. Happy with my performance despite the worst second run ever I take away a feeling of accomplishment knowing that I was still able to compete at the top level while not feeling well.

All in all I know what it feels like to race while sick and luckily for me that doesn’t happen very often so I am pleased with my result.

I had read yet another great post from Cody Beals that I found inspiring he describes how you don’t have to feel great to perform great. Check out his recent race report from IRONMAN 70.3 Texas if you haven’t already.

 

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Thanks Dianne Flacks for the Photo

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