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Salmon Duathlon: Bad News/Good News

Veronica2010-05-01 15:37:10 +0000 #1
3.1 mile run - 18 mile bike ride - 1.5 mile run

First the bad news: I had a terrible race.

The weather forecast for race day was not good, a tropical storm was moving in with lots of rain. I decided I would race no matter what and look on the experience as an adventure. When we arrived at Knights Ferry the clouds were dark, heavy and ominous. The roads were still damp in places from the overnight rain, but it was only sprinkling as the pre-race talk began. There didn’t seem to be too much wind in the park itself, as the park was in the lee of a HUGE hill. Thankfully the rain held off for most of the race. It sprinkled on and off, but we never had the deluge that I had feared. The heavy rain waited until the late afternoon, by which time we were home and snug.

The race is held at Knights Ferry State Preservation Area, off Highway 120 on the way to Yosemite, on the eastern side of the Central Valley. Only a few miles before we reached the course area we were in the heart of the Central Valley. The Valley is pool table flat for hundreds of miles north-south, but less than 70 miles across at this point. The transition from the valley floor to the mountains is gradual and Knights Ferry is in the foothills. Although the course starts near a historic covered bridge, the bike route did not follow the river and loped over rolling hills out and back. The run course stays near the river, but as with many rivers, it sits in a valley, so the 3 laps of the run course included a much cursed HUGE hill. The covered bridge is the prime reason for the state park. Built in 1864, it is over 300 feet long and was rather dark inside.


The bike route is an out and back on Sonora Road with lots of rolling hills. I rode mostly in the drops and didn’t look much at the scenery, but there was little traffic. This was a pretty low key race with only about 200 participants divided out between a 5K run and the duathlon. It will be on my calendar again for next year.

I set off too fast on the run and that upset my stomach. Yes, I’m still trying to figure out what and when to eat before a race. PB&J worked pretty well before my last tri- not so well for this duathlon. Of course taking off too fast probably didn’t help either. I’ve never competed in a running race and this was my first duathlon, but I should have known better than to get sucked in to a too fast pace. I definitely prefer swimming first. It’s a lot easier for me to settle into my own pace in the water as I have a lot more experience with competitive swimming and you can’t see too many other people. Also I like that in a tri when you get to the run, there is no pack. Running with a pack makes it too easy to get drawn into pacing people who are much faster than I am.

The course winding through the park.

I had hoped that my stomach would settle some on the bike; but it didn’t. We had a fantastic blustery tailwind out to the turnaround point and I averaged 18.4 mph. But the wind just sucked the life out of me on the way back. It took me more than twice as long to return. It briefly crossed my mind to just get off the bike and be done. But the second run was only a mile and a half and I really wanted to at least finish the race; so I slogged it out. My time was pretty pathetic and I’m disappointed because I know I am capable of more. However, having a bad race makes me appreciate the good ones a bit more.

It’s funny, even though I am not happy with my performance, I still overall enjoyed the day.

The good news: My friend Joyce and her friend Betsy did this race with me. Joyce had an awesome time and finished second in our age group. She’s hooked on racing now and I get a training buddy. :-)

There are more pictures on our website.


Red Rock2010-05-01 15:41:32 +0000 #2
Congrats V! You all did a great job. You are so awsome to be doing all of these races and other cycling events. Your pictures were great. Your husband should get the award for best race photographer.

Red Rock
snapdragen2010-05-01 16:00:46 +0000 #3
V - bad race or not, you are still one of my heros!
yellow2010-05-01 16:47:05 +0000 #4
You all look great! Looks and sounds like you spent the day in a very pretty place, even with the threatening weather. I think I was running with you in spirit...up on a very windy ridge at probably about the same time you were tacking that hill. Every day you get out there is a day you're living, no need to be disappointed with anything. It doesn't come again.

BTW, you're a runner too, missy!
melissam2010-05-01 17:23:27 +0000 #5
Good job, V! I'm glad the weather cooperated for the most part.

I'm not sure I'd call it a terrible race. I'd call it a character building experience.
Urlea2010-05-01 16:07:19 +0000 #6
Sorry to hear this was a bad race for you.

Don't let it discourage you to much, just gives you something to go back and reclaim next year.

Out of curiosity did you take any pain meds or anti-inflammatories before the race started?

I noticed this season that I cannot take ibuprofen before I run otherwise I end up with stomach cramping pretty badly. At first I thought it was a fueling issue, but it turned out to be that. Might be something to consider. *shrug*

I too applaud you for all the races you do. Keep it up! You are an inspiration.
melissam2010-05-01 18:18:52 +0000 #7
Hey Veronica -

Which shoes did you end up wearing? Enquiring minds want to know!

- Mel



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