Monday, January 24, 2011

Singapore Duathlon - 23rd January 2011

(Photos courtesy of Tey - Huge thanks from us all Tey, you really are a fantastic guy and your continued support to all athletes in Malaysia and Singapore is greatly appreciated)

I entered this race some months ago when I was sure that my missing mojo would have long since returned and I'd be in real good shape. Alas I got that wrong and believe me, a duathlon hurts far far more than a triathlon ever will. It's not a race to arrive at out of shape.

But hey, here I was toeing the start line with the biggest wave of the day, 40-44yo age-groupers. I was burnt out, fat and unfit. I was not even close to being race ready but my biking and running mojo have returned and so it was time to test the legs, lungs, heart and most importantly the spirit.

I went to the front of the start chute, no point in hanging back. It was a 10k run, 40k bike and 5k run. I have a theory with duathlons that the race is pretty much won or lost during the first run. It's certainly lost during the first run if you don't lay it all down and take it easy. Pacing therefore is easy, red line it all the way (without going into oxygen debt too often).

The gun went and before I knew it I'd gone from having no one in front of me to about 20th place within 200m. But did I mention don't go into oxygen debt? Even in my depleted state of confidence I knew that many of these "fast out gate" guys would be reeled in long before the end of the run. Having said that, the real runners were unbelievably fast and within a small number of minutes were lost way ahead of me in the crowds of the earlier waves.

The race was 4 laps of 2.5k; by the end of lap 2 I was hurting bad and it became a mind game to keep the effort levels, cadence and thus pain levels high. (Sorry I forgot, we don't call it "pain" anymore we call it a "high level of discomfort" - haha).

By the time I got to T1 the "level of discomfort" was off the chart but I reckon I was in around 10th place at this point - and now to bring down the hammer, it was now my element, my territory, THE BIKE.

The bike was 6 laps and I caught about 5 guys in my age-group on the 1st lap including a very very tall guy who I assume was first after the run - you couldn't miss him and he was running at an unbelievable pace. His cycling however...mmm! First of all he was drafting in a none drafting race but since he was about 8 feet tall and he was drafting behind a little Chinese girl of about 4 feet 6 inches I was chuckling too much to bother shouting at him. Not to mention that his cadence was about 120rpm (ridiculously fast) and he was only going about 25kph.

I reeled in some more guys in my age-group on lap 2 and then it was impossible to tell who was who and whether they were in front of you or behind. So I just kept concentrating and putting the hammer down. I couldn't believe how many brand spanking new Trek Speed Concepts were there. I went past quite a few and couldn't help complimenting the riders on their steeds - awesome bikes.

I finished the bike in a little under an hour, hit the ground running (for half a second), then walking and then hobbling. The first run had taken its toll on my feet, especially the recent Achilles Tendinitis injury in my left ankle. T2 was a long run/hobble but I struggled through, got my runners back on and I was off on the last 5k run.

The first 500m were genuinely a hobble and a limping shuffle but the ankles then warmed up and I was able to turn over a reasonably fast cadence. After the turnaround half way through lap 1 I saw a guy in my age-group moving very fast not far behind me - my heart sank a bit but I told myself that the second run was all about keeping focused and doing whatever the body was capable of - the mind gives up before the body! There was another guy in front of me (not in my age-group) who looked like he was flying but amazingly I was reeling him in. I used this knowledge to convince myself that I could still do it.

I really am in terrible shape, I'm 77kg whereas in February last year for Ironman Langkawi I was 69kg. So I had no illusions as to my current form...BUT...this race did seem to be going very well, I passed guys on the bike early on who'd creamed me on the first run and I was fairly confident that I was in the top 3. No way was I going to let myself down for the last lap. At the turnaround half way through the lap I saw the guy behind who seemed to be flying, he was a couple of hundred metres further behind than last time - awesome! Just goes to show what you can do if you believe (or at least convince yourself to believe - DENIAL is a wonderful thing).

I cruised down the finishing chute to be greeted by the winner who was looking disarmingly fresh and chilled out. I was 2nd and comfortably ahead of 3rd. I was very pleased with that as a result - a huge confident booster and this just 5 short weeks after I decided to go looking for my mojo. I'm 5kg lighter than then but still 10kg more to lose (I need to be 67kg for IMChina) and a massive amount of training a.k.a. pain, misery and suffering to go but we're on the right road for sure.

Also Having just checked the results, I had the fastest bike split of the day out of the entire field not just my age-group, so I'm pretty stoked about that. And amazingly not only was I second in my age-group but second overall. 40-44 age-group ROCKS!

Although I had to leave Shilpa, Sid and Seb behind in India to attend this race I did have the pleasure of driving down and back with Disco Dave and Lydia which made the weekend a real joy. Not to mention Dave won his age-group and Lydia got 2nd in hers. Thanks for the company guys and well done on your superb results.


JohnP said...

That's awesome!! Congrats on the performance!

That's so true - mind goes before the body. It just goes to show that you've got the mental discipline and experience to pull it off! You rock!

Great race report, loved the story telling :)

Simon said...

Hey John, thanks buddy. Not sure about mental discipline, more like mental stubborness or more likely just a huge ego, haha.

yipwt said...

Cool, you still performed regardless of weight. Wait till you reach your ideal weight, then you'll be flying...

Simon said...

Thanks Yip, that's what I'm aiming for. Just got to keep to the plan.

Bryan Payne said...

CONGRATS on the 2 nd place. Are you sure you were in the right catagory, the guy who won looks about 50 - 55 years old. haha