Did it hurt when you fell from heaven
No, but it hurt like hell when I fell on the trail. Cheesy pickup lines aside the race yesterday was really brutal. This wasn’t helped by the fact that I took a fall early in the first run. Almost four months after I finished my first dualX event, I decided to try and run the race again but on another course this time. Sadly due to a number of issues I was nowhere near where I wanted to be with my fitness and training, this combined with me doing the full distance (vs the half distance previously) meant this was possibly the worst race I have ever run and I am not even sure how I managed to finish this race.
Organization and general issues
As with the previous event organization was really well executed, everyone knew what they were doing and the grounds didn’t feel over crowded. Compared to other events the toilets were enough for the size of the crowd with almost no lines till about 10 mins before the race start.
Even though I started the race an hour earlier than my previous event it was still crazy hot and I genuinely have no idea how one is supposed to cope/deal with this except being crazy strong/fit.
The first run
Knowing that I was not nearly as prepared for this race as the previous one, I decided not to push for a front of the pack position as in the previous race, rather I stuck to the back to allow as many people to pass without me holding them back, which is an annoyance I think many people don’t seem to care about. The terrain was not nearly as easy as the previous race when it came to technical skill. As I mentioned in the introduction, I took a fairly hard fall around the 3km mark. I was pondering about things I needed to do in transition and did not notice a rock which was covered in dust till I kicked the rock and tripped. As many of the people I train with will attest to, I fall often enough on the trail and sadly at this point I am just used to rolling with it. Unlike previous falls I managed to pull back a bit on the fall so that I mostly slid on my knees instead of smashing my palms into the ground and potentially making the situation much worse for the cycling leg of the race. Fall aside, even though it was hot and my HR was up even though I wasn’t pushing, I like to think that I managed to finish the first run reasonably well. I could have pushed harder, but I wanted to save energy for the ride (which I expected to be hard) so I am happy having not pushed harder.
It was pretty cool to be able to accurately track my transition this time. According to the data on the run I took about 3 mins for both transitions. This was again acceptable to me because I used the time to cool myself down and refuel before hitting the next part of the race. My transitions were more fluid that the previous race with the only hitch being that I had forgotten to remove my cycling gloves from my camelbak before the race started, this cost me about 20 seconds which is not the end of world time wise.
I had prepared for this race based on the last DualX event I participated in when it comes to the cycle. So during the two (short) weeks of training I did as much distance as I could while throwing more climbing than I was used to. Sadly while that may have been enough for the last race, it did nothing for me in the current race. I had carried as much water and energy as possible, sadly I used all this even after refueling at the mid way water station. This combined with the crazy climbs up the mountain (I think there were few people besides the elites that were able to ride this all the way) mean that I was again insanely drained and worried about heat exhaustion. In the end I just gave in and ended up walking up the mountains and riding small sections where possible after recovering some energy during the walk.
After all the mountains and climbs on the last section before the finish the climbs were not to bad I got really bad cramps in my quads (first the left, then the right), to the point where I had to stop riding (twice) because the pain was unbearable. One other issue I didn’t have to deal with in the previous race was crazy steep descents. While they can be fun, I was generally so exhausted on reaching them that I didn’t even chance using them to recover some time, because I know the pain of falling on a downhill and its not something I want to experience on a race (It didn’t help that I saw someone perform an otb fall on one of the steeper descents). With all these issues I am still thankful that I took part in the race since it made pretty obvious what areas of my riding I need to work on, in particular I need to practice :
- Sharp cornering on the bike (Mostly in the case of switchbacks on downhills)
- Climbing on longer steeper hills
- Heat acclimatization (This is more generic but I really need to do more heat training)
- Downhill handling and faster descents
Transition 2 and Run 2
Not to much to say here, I desperately needed to cool down and used any water I could get to cool me down. There was sadly no more pepto left at the transition exit, so I had to fill up on as much water as I could. I started of the run pretty fast but forced myself to slow down because I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish if I used all my energy in the first 500m. Sadly in the end the heat was still too much for me and all I could manage was to alternate between a slow trot and a walk.
I do wish I had more time to train for the race but I am happy that I was able to finish in the end. I might try another one of these later in the year, but for now I need to focus on my tri which is going to happen in may. In closing there is one small victory that I managed to achieve yesterday, which was beating people with significantly better equipment than me :P
Details of the race : http://www.movescount.com/moves/move52257392