2007 ITU Long Course Duathlon World Championship Race Report

Long Course Duathlon World Championship, when I started this season, this was my A race. Not just an A race, but “THE” A race, the one race I was going to gear my whole season towards. I even thought I might challenge for a medal in my age group with the proper training… But sometimes the best laid plans don’t materialize and other things in life brought me to the point where “THE” A race, was now for me not even a race, but rather an experience. An experience to soak up and make the most of, but with no performance expectations whatsoever…

The task ahead: Complete 15 kilometers of running followed by 80 kilometers of biking and end with 7.5 more kilometers of running. Since this wasn’t exactly a race for me, I decided not to line up towards the front of the start, but rather choose a place well towards the back. At 7:35 when the gun was fired, those of us in the back slowly made our way over the start. The nice thing about starting towards the back, there are plenty of people to pass and it actually makes you feel like you’re doing better as you pass people. I settled into what felt like a nice rhythm and began to slowly move my way up through the field. Part of the run ran along a canal and since I was actually enjoying some of the scenery it is highly likely I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough. The first run was a two loop affair and when I finished the first loop in 30 minutes I made it a goal to try and run the second loop as fast a time and finish in one hour. The second loop was definitely tougher and it wasn’t made any easier when the first female, who had started 5 minutes behind me, passed me about half way through. Eventually two more would pass me before the first run was done. I should be thankful though, as I picked up my pace when the first one went by, otherwise I would have been well over an hour, as it was it took me 1:01:26, a 6:36 per mile pace. Not as fast as I’ve run before, but faster than I was expecting…

I wasn’t in any real hurry to get out on the bike, but I realized I had to get it over so I hustled to my bike and headed out on the bike course. I knew what to expect, but it’s hard to prepare yourself to ride 4 loops of a 20 kilometer course. I also knew my pass and get passed ratio was going to be dramatically reversed. In most of the local races I do, I would put that ratio at about 10:1. As I’ve improved on my swim, that ratio has gone down. But the combination of limited cycling and stiffer competition was destined to reverse that ratio in a major way! At first it seemed as if I wasn’t passing anyone and I was only getting passed. Aero helmets and disk wheels were the standard fare but even a few un-aerodynamic individuals passed me up. Eventually though, things changed and I began to reel some of these people back in, or else all the fast people had already passed me and now I was just lapping some of the really slow people?

The course was a lot of fun. A lot of people hated it; I will say it was really rough. On more than one occasion I almost bit it when a substantial bump would catch me off guard while in my aero bars or shifting on my bike. I’m sure my experience as a criterium rider helped some as there were multiple 90 degree turns, probably around 15 to 20 of them. For people who had to slow down considerably for each of those turns, that’s a lot of slowing down and then re-accelerating to do!
I knew that nutrition would play a key role in such a long event. I took in one Hammer Gel on the run, and then one on three of the loops of the bike course. I also did a bottle of Hammer Heed as well as a couple small cups of Gatorade on the runs. Over all, I think the nutrition element worked out well, except for the mad dash to the porta potty when the race was over. I was hungry coming off the bike and was worried about bonking on the second run, but didn’t.

About that second run… Coming off the bike my back felt as stiff as a board. I hobbled into transition dreading that final run. But after a few minutes on my feet, I felt much better and headed out for the run. I hoped I could keep it close to 30 minutes for this final run, but knew it was unlikely. After looking at my watch, I realized a good goal would be to break 4 hours. That first girl that passed me on the first run, she passed me again a second time. The only consolation was to realize I had passed her on the bike at some point… With about a ¼ of a mile to go, I had one competitor about 100 yards ahead of me. I knew he wasn’t in my age group, so I wasn’t going to bother trying to beat him. But when Gina Zaccagnini with USAT yelled at me and asked if I was going to let him beat me, I had to speed it up and sprint past him before the final corner. As it turns out, if I hadn’t put in that final effort, I would have gone over 4 hours! Unfortunately, I didn’t break 4 hours either, I finished in exactly 4:00:00!

On a side note, Ronald McDonald was at the finish line and I wanted to get my picture with him but my camera was in transition and I couldn’t get to it… :(

posted at 23:57:32 on 10/23/07 by Tony Rigdon – Category: Race Reports


a fan wrote:

Nice job Tony!
10/24/07 21:14:54

Karen Knowles wrote:

Very fun to read, Tony. Congratulations on continuing to do a terrific job. I am so sad, though…that you were not able to get your photo taken with Ronald. :)
10/24/07 22:09:21

Tony Rigdon wrote:

Thanks Karen! About the photo, I’m going to make up for it this coming weekend, I’ll get photos this time…
10/24/07 22:44:22

adina wrote:

Good job, Tony!!!! Thanks for sharing!
10/25/07 10:24:49

Dorian wrote:

Tony, what highschool did you attend?
12/02/07 15:01:57

Triathletes are cool! Thanks ya’ll…

I’ve encountered some really nice triathletes over the years, as well as a few that aren’t so nice, but in general the nice ones far outnumber the not so nice ones. This past weekend in Richmond I met a bunch of really nice triathletes and I wanted to thank a few specific ones.

Chuck and Terry Miffleton – Richmond residents who kindly offered me a homestay when they learned I planned on sleeping in my car for the weekend. Not only did they put me up Friday and Saturday night, they made me feel at home, they fed me, and they gave me a jug of Mandarin Heed! Then Terry got up Sunday morning and won a gold medal! Major props go out to Chuck and Terry.

Kate Meyer – A Kiwi, who had just spent a week in Tahiti training, will be competing in the Xterra World Championships in Hawaii next weekend, heading to South America next to work with orphans, and then moving to England as a primary school teacher! And I think I travel a lot!? If I had planned on sticking around for the post race party, she offered her extra bed to me since her room had two. I didn’t stick around but she did let me use her shower so I didn’t have to drive home stinky. Thanks Kate and best of luck in Hawaii!

Lisa and Jesse – Ran into my friend Lisa Thompson while getting my bike looked at by the mechanics, met her boyfriend Jesse, and they ended up treating me to lunch. The following day Jesse was out on the course cheering on Lisa, it was nice to hear my name called out as well! Really enjoyed hanging out with them and now I’ll probably have to find a race in La Jolla to do!

Daniel Clout – Another Kiwi I met. Kate and Daniel both made me realize I should probably plan on visiting New Zealand some day; all the Kiwis I met were really nice! Daniel is getting married next weekend when he gets back home. Best of luck with your marriage and with turning pro!

Nicole Klingler – The sole female triathlete in Lichenstein! I met her while out previewing the bike course. I thought I knew the course; she had a map with her. Between the two of us we ended up riding a little extra and then we finally hooked up with some others who were riding the course. Best of luck with your medical schooling and your triathlon career!

posted at 22:46:54 on 10/23/07 by Tony Rigdon – Category: General

On the Road to Richmond…

Not in a figurative since, I’m literally on the road… Ah, the power of technology! Remarkably unprepared to compete this weekend, so I’m just going to have a fun time, try out a few east coast beers, make some new friends, and say hi to some old ones. I’ll post more when I have a real keyboard!
05:51:06 – Tony Rigdon

Richmond, The Perfect Duathlon Destination

As the world’s elite duathletes transition from training to achievement, the 2007 McDonald’s ITU Duathlon Long Course World Championships – the first ever on American soil – set for October 21 in Richmond, Virginia, is now the focus of their final sprint.

“I think they’ve chosen a great venue for the course,” said Jason Spong, a South African duathlete, who has been living and training in Richmond since last November. “There’s a little bit of city and a little bit of urban park setting, so there’s diversity. And the bike course is pretty technical.”

The race will follow a run-bike-run format over two loop courses. The run loop, portions of which follow downtown Richmond’s scenic Canal Walk, is 7.5 kilometers in length. The bike loop, which winds along parks and neighborhoods bordering the James River, is 20 kilometers in length. Athletes will run 15 kilometers (two run-course loops), bike 80 kilometers (four bike-course loops) and then run a finale of 7.5 kilometers, (one last run-course loop).

“This race will be decided on the bike,” adds Spong, who is a seven-time South African national champion, was ranked 8th in the world in 2005, and has traveled the globe competing in world class duathlons. “You can take five or six minutes out of someone on the bike.”

Five hundred athletes from 25 countries will compete in Richmond. The strongest contingents will come from duathlon powerhouses like Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, and Spain, while the largest contingents will come from multisport stalwarts Australia, Canada and the United States. While the age groupers will be vying for international recognition and bragging rights, the elites will be dividing up a prize purse of $50,000 – $25,000 for the men and $25,000 for the women.

The strong sponsorship program put together by event organizers, the Sports Backers, includes title sponsor McDonald’s, Saturn, and Snagajob.com, ensures that the race will be well organized and well promoted and widely supported.

“The Sports Backers, McDonald’s, Saturn and Snagajob.com have a common goal of hosting a world-class event that lives up to the standards of the elite athletes that will be participating,” said Sports Backers Executive Director Jon Lugbill. “This event will solidify Richmond as a host city for world-class sporting events.”

Locally, the Sports Backers are working with the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau to roll out the red carpet and share the city’s many amenities and attractions with athletes, national delegations and families and friends.

“People will be surprised with what they find,” said Doretha Winckler, of the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s a small, cosmopolitan city with a small-town feel.”

“Urban settings are great if you get the cooperation of the people who live there,” agreed Gerard Deegan, a resident of California who will be making his seventh duathlon world champion appearance in Richmond while racing for the Irish team in the 35-39 years age group. “We find a lot of support for us in cities with people who want to identify with their Irish ancestry. Last year at the duathlon world champs in Corner Brook (Newfoundland,) people played Irish music and hung banners. They made us feel great.”

And while the McDonald’s ITU Duathlon Long Course World Championships promises to create a huge multisport splash this fall, the ripples won’t stop in October because USA Triathlon and the Sports Backers have already inked a deal to have the 2008 USAT Duathlon Nationals in Richmond on April 26 and 27 as part of the National Duathlon Festival that will also include the USAT Junior Duathlon National Championships, as well as the National Off-road Duathlon Championships held on Richmond’s infamously rugged urban mountain bike trails.

“We think Richmond can be a hotbed for duathlon,” said Lugbill. “And together with USA Triathlon, we see an opportunity to build on the success of having the 2007 Duathlon World Championships here.”

“The multisport community is very active here in Richmond and they enjoy duathlon,” added Spong, who works at 3Sports, a retailer with wide multisport following. “There’s a rich American culture here. And it’s very green with nice quiet roads. It’s a great place to train, and the duathlon worlds are going to be a great race.”

posted at 23:12:47 on 10/10/07 by Tony Rigdon – Category: General