Sunday was the 3rd installment of the Des Moines Dirty Duathlon. I’d heard about it last year, but not being a runner and not started into mountain biking yet, there really wasn’t any reason for me to participate. I’ll have to admit, the concept sounded a bit foreign. I mean who in their right mind would want to run, bike, and then run again through the woods, mud, muck, and everything else? Amazing what a year will do to change your mind. I couldn’t think of too many other places I wanted to be come a beautiful fall Sunday in Des Moines.
I teamed up with Heather Myer-Davis from Punkrock Cycling to take part in the relay. I may be a mountain biker now, but I’m still no runner. With the temps full on in the 70’s, it was just about perfect for a race. I showed up early enough to watch both the kids and beginners race through the course. Everything looked to be set on kill as far as the course being dialed in and fast. I helped Squirrel run through the woods and set up a couple Rassy banners before the start of the beginner race and got to see how well the CITA boys had prepped everything on Saturday. Shoot, they even blew the leaves off the trail!
Heather made a small confession before the run started. She'd never done the offroad trails at the Science Center before... I told she was in for a treat as they were all downhill, smooth as a baby's bottom, and would guarantee personal bests would be set all day long. OK, so maybe I didn't quite say that. Actually, I think it was more of a mirth filled chuckle followed by something along the lines of, "You're in for a treat." Soon enough the runners were off. I ran to the drop into Rollercoaster and cheered her on as she ran by, before heading back to get my bike ready.
Soon enough, runners started streaming in and then Heather was back. We tagged and I was off. Somehow, I even managed to execute a great running cyclocross mount onto my bike at the end of the transition area and was off to the uphill grind. The first climb out of transition was brutal, long, and on soft ground, before we cranked it back downhill and dropped into Rollercoaster. Soon enough I had my rhythm and was reeling in a few bikers. For the most part, everyone was really great about allowing passes and I got by a number of people without slowing myself or them down.
I had to keep reminding myself that I had 4 laps to do so try to keep my pace under control. When I got stuck in traffic, I made the best of it by gearing down and just spinning up the hills waiting for a chance to pass. This seemed to work well for me, but I was still working hard by the end of lap one. I did find a good strategy for passing though. For some reason, most people were using the pavement sections as either just another average pace section or for recovery. This was my opportunity to pass so I drilled it every time and hauled as much speed as I could to the next section of trail.
I blasted the creek crossing and switchbacks all 4 laps on Rollercoaster which brought a smile to my face.
Soon enough, the grind of 4 combined laps of Rollercoaster and Hillside was taking it's toll on me. I started grinding up the hills just about in granny gear and taking the downhills as my opportunity to recover as much as possible rather than bombing them.
I finished with 90 minutes showing on my bike computer and was happy to tag Heather for her second run. She was off and I think we finished right around 2 hours 18 minutes, but we couldn't find our tag number on the results right after the event so we have to wait until final results are posted. All in all, not too shabby for a couple amateurs just out to have a good time and work ourselves over as much as possible. Hopefully we'll get a chance to come back next year and see if we can do a bit better with some actual prep. Congrats to all those that competed in any of the categories!