O’Fallon Biathlon Race Report, – September 29th

I decided to try something new today. Rather than waiting for a while and then trying to recall a race and write a race report, why not write one the day it happened? So here it goes…

I’ve had a really hard time training for about the whole month of September. Too much going on, too many distractions. To be honest, I really don’t enjoy training, but racing is another story. I love to race and since training is currently so difficult, I might as well race and chalk it up as interval training or something. So after racing a 5k last weekend and working out one time since, a 6 mile run on Thursday, on Friday I decided I would drive to O’Fallon, IL and do the local YMCA “Biathlon”. Now I shouldn’t even bring this up, but calling it a “Biathlon” is a huge pet peeve of mine. Biathlon is a winter sport consisting of skiing and shooting, running and biking is called duathlon! But I digress…

I got up early, around 4:30am and made the hour and fifteen minute drive to O’Fallon. It was a decent size field for a second year event, probably around 125 or so participants. I’m usually pretty good about picking out the top competitors and noticed two or three who looked like they were possible title contenders. With my under-trained state, I shouldn’t have considered myself in the running, but I’m always an optimist! I think even if I were to do Kona tomorrow, in the back of my mind I would think a win were possible, even when pure logic says otherwise.

At the pre-race meeting, they had stated the race would start at 8am sharp. So at 7:59 we were all lined up in the YMCA parking lot ready to go. Immediately I could tell the race was being put on my people who were not multisport athletes themselves. The start had us lined up in the parking lot heading onto the road and taking a left turn within about 3 feet! Why they didn’t just line us up in the road, facing the direction we were going to head I have no idea. Instead, with about 3 seconds to go the girl with no prior warning says, “Ok, we’re about ready to go” and then blows the horn just as a pickup truck is approaching us from the left. He had no idea she was going to start the race and non of the volunteers were stopping traffic, so for a second most everyone just kind of froze. I thought, what the heck, I’ll go and said out loud “he’ll stop” and I went and everyone followed. So for the first couple of hundred yards I led the race and then was passed, I didn’t want to lead at this point anyways, what matters is who leads at the end. I felt fine for the first mile or so, we covered it in 5:51. At about a mile and a half I started thinking about how tough Richmond is going to be, here I am running a 5k and suffering, the first run in Richmond is going to be three times as long! The second mile I covered in 6:17, a 26 second slow down. By this point I had been passed by 4 people and was running in 5th place. The final 1.1 miles I slowed down to 6:43 pace. Running once a week just isn’t cutting it!

Heading into transition in 5th place, I knew a fast transition would be key. Since I had planned for this, I was able to make it out of transition in third place, making up around forty seconds time on most of the competitors that were or had been ahead of me. I quickly passed two riders and in turn was passed by one of the competitors I had picked as a possible contender. I would later find out his name was Scott Shaw and he was wearing a St. Louis Tri Club tri-suit.

About 3 miles into the bike was a downhill stretch with a stop sign at the bottom where the route made a left onto a main road. Ahead you could seen the green shirt of a volunteer. I had already seen Scott make the turn, however there was another cyclist between me and Scott at this point. As this other cyclist went to make the turn, I noticed in shock that the volunteer was standing well off the road and no one was attempting to control cross traffic. As the cyclist ahead of me went to turn left, they were almost broadsided by a speeding vehicle. Needless to say, I slowed down considerably and only proceeded when I knew there was not traffic! A repeat of last year was not necessary…

A lack of any type of traffic control was the only downside for what was otherwise an enjoyable event. They are fortunate no one was injured or killed. For the rest of the ride I approached all the intersections with an extra dose of caution. I had passed the cyclist directly ahead of me and now only Scott was still in front. For a while I kept him in sight, but eventually the fact that it had been two weeks since my last bike ride eventually caught up to me. I finally ended up with a time of 54:06 which was just about 4 minutes faster than the previous course record; however, Scott had done it in 52 minutes flat!

posted at 02:47:53 on 09/30/07 by Tony Rigdon – Category: Race Reports