On Sunday my brother, sister in law and myself made the hour drive up to Wilkes Barre for the 10th annual Wilkes Barre Duathlon. This is one of my favorite races of the year, very well run, low key, good competition, tough course and an awesome breakfast buffet at the end! I've done this race about five times and they do a great job....and raise a lot of money for the local YMCA and JCC. Between my brother, myself and two other friends, our cycling team was well represented, with the exception of Jeff who went down on a metal grated bridge and was unable to race. It was great to have him out there cheering though.
The course features a rolling 3 mile first run starting at town square, crossing the Susquehanna River and running through Kirby Park alongside the river, then back to transition. The same loop is done for the second run. The bike course has some elevation changes lots of turns, railroad crossings and a turn around, so it's really tough to carry any form of momentum.
I wasn't able to race it last year, but I had won the race in 2009 and 2011 and I had finished in the top 3 overall each year I raced. Due to some illnesses last year, I didn't race any duathlons, and looking back the last duathlon I raced was nearly 2 years ago. I think duathlons are more painful than triathlons and one of the best ways to get in shape for them is to race them!
I got a nice warm up in, made sure transition was all set up and headed for the start line. I've been putting a lot of volume in for the past 6 weeks or so and I was feeling it, I had no idea what my legs had so I just planned to go by feel.
The gun went off and things were a little tight. I spent most of the first run in lead pack, hanging back in 3rd. The pace felt a little fast to me, but I didn't want to let them go. I did end up passing the 2nd place runner about 2.5 miles in, came in to transition a few seconds behind Sean.
RUN 1 - 3 miles - 16:12 - 5:24 pace - 2nd place
I had a great transition and Sean and I mounted the bike side by side. It was awesome, the spectators were really into it. Now Sean and I have battled each other EVERY year and typically he's stronger on the bike and I'm stronger on the run. I thought my race was over, but to my surprise I was riding well and keeping him just in reach, until we hit the first hill, then all that REV3 Quassy training / racing paid off as I passed him. We traded the lead numerous times, encouraging each other each time we passed. This was one of the more fun races I've ever had. We entered the second transition SIDE BY SIDE much to the delight of the spectators!
BIKE - 15.5 mi - 39:14 - 23.7mph - 2nd place (bike course PR by a couple of seconds).
We both had smoking transitions at 17 seconds each and hit the run course. The run starts out with an incline up and over the bridge and I was feeling my lack of multisport racing over the past year. Sean was inching away. I tried to mount a charge and managed to run negative splits each mile, but it wasn't enough on this day. We had a large lead so I cruised in the last half mile.
RUN 2 - 3 miles - 17:39 - 5:53 pace
Final time: 1:14:11 for 2nd overall
Sean raced a great race, managed to beat my by 31 seconds, he deserved the win. Looking back through my log I had only gone faster overall one time before in 2011. The rest of our team made out well, Jen won the female overall and my brother finished 7th overall, taking 2nd in the 35-39 age group!