By: Alex Solomon
5 minutes before the start I had one thing on my mind. I really have to pee. This usually isn’t a triathlon problem because you start in the water and can relieve yourself of “pre race anxiety.” Unfortunately, this race had been changed to a duathlon due to crazy river flooding and my options were limited. The bathroom line was too long and there was no major forestation in sight. This kicked off what would be a real mixed bag for me in Chattanooga this year. Because of the wide range of highs and lows, I’ve come up with an ultra-scientific ranking system for each portion of the race. First, I’ll rate pre-race prep just 1.5 port-o-jons.
Run 1: 11:32 (5:46 pace) 12th fastest
On the initial 2 mile run and it was clear to see why we weren’t swimming in the choppy, murky waters of the Tennessee river as we crossed the bridge above. As planned I tried to keep the run easy and not spike my heart rate too much. At the turn around I could see the front pack of 5 that has formed and then 2 more racers to target as I moved through rest of the field. By the close of the run I’d caught what became the second pack. All in all, this run was good and uneventful. I’ll give it a solid 3.5 Brownlees. Nice!
Bike 1:07.20 (23.2 mph) 24th fastest
We rode out onto the slick roads of downtown Chattanooga and pretty soon the bike course wound its way onto the highway onramp. I tried to settle into an early rhythm, but two of my early run victims flew by on my left and a tractor trailer sailed by on my right on one of the early hills. Between this and a section of road construction with stripped pavement, I felt totally thrown off and I knew I was in for a tough bike ride. I started to battle through it but couldn’t seem to get any power and the group in front of me continued to put on distance.
Around mile 20 another 2 guys went by and it woke me up to try and pace with them and finally I had a little gusto going into the finish. The overall split is not too terrible but nowhere near where I wanted to be. I give the bike performance a lowly 2 aero helmets.
Run: 35:45 (5:46 Pace) 2nd fastest
It took a mile or so to gather myself on the run course…I was still in a bit of panic mode (and maybe my kidneys were just angry at this point). Slowly I picked off 2 guys before the turn around and continued to quicken the pace. We ran across bridges that were waterlogged from river flooding and needed to slow down a bit to not slip on the slick boards.
Coming down the final stretch I made 1 final pass on a sprint finish and ended up 7th overall. This was my first time under 36 this year and I’m pretty happy with this run. I give it 4.5 Pre moustaches! Try and stop me… in MS paint.
Overall: 7th place, 2nd 25-29 Age group. A fun experience, a challenging day, and my first duathlon in the books!
Check out the other Team Podium teammates who put down impressive races, and the full results.
- Josh Horsager: 6th overall, 1st 35-39 male, 1:55:38
- Sandra Murphy: 1st masters female, 2:15:56
- Katie O'Dunne: 8th 20-24 female, 2:37:37
You can follow Alex on twitter: @alexswimbikerun