I ran the second installment of the Chilly Cheeks Duathlon Today. The course was completely snow covered. Here is a description of the course that the race director posted Thursday evening:
Run-1: Approximately 1.5 miles in length. Starts on the road for approximately 0.5 miles. The road here is 100 percent snowpacked, and may be a little slippery in spots. The course then moves onto park trails which are a mix of packed snow trails, and a couple of short stretches where my footprints are the only ones. I will pack-out those stretches with snowshoes on race morning, but expect the final mile of the first run to be a fun challenge.
Oh, I said I would pack it down, but don't expect too much. It will still be very uneven. I had a blast out there today!!! Plan on a 1.5 mile time that is similar to what you would run for 2.5 miles.
Bike-1: Approximately 4 miles, of which 90+ percent is currently hard-packed snow. The final 0.5 miles into transition are a little rutted. It is supposed to be above freezing and sunny on Friday, so the snow pack may get a little slippery in spots. I would use a mountain bike if I were racing, but the decision is completely yours. I am definitely recommending that everyone stay off the aerobars!
Transition-2: The parking lot for this transition is partially plowed. I have asked to have the rest of it plowed for race day, but there may be up to 6 inches of soft powder in this transition.
Run-2: Approximately 2.5 miles in length. We have switched it from a loop to an out-and-back because it will be more runnable for everyone. From the look of things, this stretch has already been used by several hundred walkers and runners, so it is a wide, well-packed trail. I comfortably jogged it at about a 7:30 pace today.
Bike-2: Approximately 6 miles in length. Again, 90 percent snowpacked roadway.
Run-3: approximately 25-50 meters in length. Just rack your bike in the main transition and run to the finish. It will be snowpacked.
They started the race in a series of 8 heats, which took off 2 minutes apart. I was in the 6th heat, and heats were chosen randomly. In run 1 I was the first lady off the starting line and throughout the 1.5 miles was able to catch up to people in several of the heats ahead of me. The course was shin deep power that sent your feet every which way. I am used to this with the snowshoe racing, so I just cranked through it. I passed a lot of people walking and cussing. People seemed to hate it, and it was quite painful when your feet are going everywhere and you are fighting just to keep from falling down, but it's all about attitude, and mine was of pure fun and enjoyment.
Bike 1 was fun, I was wearing my Ipod, so I matched my cadence to my songs and cranked up the resistance...just like spin class.
Run 2 was wild, the first 1/4 mile was on an icy road, then it went to a snow packed trail, but the trail was only packed WELL about 1 foot across. On the way up one of the hills a guy running downhill assumed I would step off the 1 foot packed portion for him and he ran into me so hard it knocked me off the trail, and almost knocked me down. AND I had stepped half way off for him..just thought we should split the trail...seems obvious. I yelled a *very* nasty word that starts with F and ends with "er", and took it as an excuse to run harder. The run was out and back, so I started counting how many women were in front of me, there were 4. Not that it matters, because we started in heats, so it's all a little confusing. However, since I was in the 6th heat and no woman had passed me, I knew if I passed ladies, that they were from heats before me. At the turn around in the run I passed the 4th girl, but the other three seemed to be too far ahead.
Back to the bikes, I had a really quick transition, passed a few guys just by being quicker to put on my helmit, and was off. Once again, matching my cadence with the tempo of my ipod worked wonders. I was able to pass 4 guys on the ride back.
The last run is only 30 meters, so essentially you throw your bike on the transition rack and RUN...helmet and all! For the first time in all the races I have been running I won something. At this race the race director just hands random people prizes as they finish, and he handed me an awesome Orange GoLite shirt in Women's Large, it fits perrrfect. I was sooo stoked about this and did a little happy dance at the finish line. I felt GREAT during this race. I felt like my body and mind loved the adversity. I really think I race better when the conditions are crazy, I just find it fun. Last night I was really worried about riding my bike on the ice. I fell on my bike about a month ago on the ice, and so I felt a bit skittish. But this morning I woke up feeling that "If I fall, then I fall, no bigee". And, I didn't, in fact I felt really stable on the ice.
Results came out this evening and it turns out I was the second Woman overall! My time was 1:18.17. The first woman was 7 seconds ahead, the 3rd woman was 3 behind. If only we had all been in the same heat, then we would really know who's the bomb, but with this format, I'm sure that we all had to run our races pretty much in isolation. Too Bad. I was the 29th person overall in the race (out of 115). I once again held the title of fastest woman in the fat tire division. Allthough, allmost everyone chose to ride their mountain bikes today (your classification depends on what bike you will ride for all three races, so people in the open division can choose to ride a road bike or a mountain bike depending on the conditions, whereas I MUST ride my mountain bike for all three races...I did this b/c I don't own a road bike :)...YET!).