Triathlon/Duathlon at Fort Custer Recreation Area has always been one of my favorites. It's a good race to start the Xterra season off with---it is intense from start to finish! The race consists of a 0.5 mile swim 13 mile mtb and 4 mile trail run. My fellow D2 Racing teammate Chris Patterson decided early on that he wanted to attempt his first ever duathlon at the Fort. Coming from an extensive and impressive cycling background Chris already had his mountain biking skills in check. Running would be the hardest splits for him. Well, he won the Duathlon overall out right! Enough said. Check out D2 racing's homepage to read Chris's blog.
The fact that Chris was racing the duathlon and the possibility of racing against him during the bike and final run after my swim was motivating. This was the first time more than one D2 racer would be competing in an Xterra event.
We both set up in transition not far from each other. The weather was perfect as we headed out for a warm up bike and run. We said a quick prayer thanking God for giving us the abilities to race and made our way down to the starting line. Usually I line up on the far left in the water so as not to get swam over and kicked. But my swimming has improved, so I decided to position myself right up front. The siren went off and I stayed with the leaders with a fast pace until the pack spread out. I had an okay swim around 11:30 with a slow 54 sec transition and I was off on the MTB eager to blast through some of the area's most outstanding singletrack. I knew it would be an all out anaerobic pace so passing as many racers before hitting the technical single track was crucial in catching up to the leader. My hope was to finish in the top three overall. I worked my way up to the number 3 position less than a minute back from the leader. Around mile 10, before a rooted climb, the number 4 rider pushed me off the trail and off the bike while attempting a ludicrous pass. Bad move on his part but that's racing. So I had to hike the bike up the hill killing my momentum. I fell back to 7th overall and decided to cruise into transition saving some energy for the run. I hit transition with a time of 55:46 and was out in 37 seconds. As I ran down to the beach I noticed a line of runners traversing the waters edge and knew I could run down most of them. My legs felt good and I quickly moved into 5th. I wanted to hold a pace of 7min/mi flat but had to settle with 7:20. My lungs could’ve gone more but my legs just didn't have it in them. At the first water station I spied a familiar jersey that looked like ours. Upon emerging from the tree's I noticed it was Chris! I exchanged some words of encouragement as I passed him and another runner. From there on out I didn't see anyone else. I just focused on an even pace cruising to the finish line. I finished with a time of 1hr 39min, 5th overall and 1st in my age group. Another great race with my Xterra family and friends!