Du It For You

Duathlon training and racing: stories, advice, and views from the top

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What to “Du” When Your Training Route Collapses

Understatement of the year: it’s been a little wet in the San Francisco Bay Area this winter.  Most of the region is well above normal in rain totals this month, and it seems like most of  it came in a three-day period last week. As a result, almost half of the state is no longer in drought. This is good! But we’ve also had a lot of flooding, fallen trees, sinkholes, and muddy crud and debris in the road.

One of the biggest rain repercussions occurred on a section of Alhambra Valley Road that’s one of the East Bay’s popular riding routes. A creek that passes under the road rose higher and higher, and eventually washed away a hunk of the road. Check it out: It’s a canyon! Too wide even to bunny hop, unless you’re especially talented.

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photo courtesy of Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group

Obviously officials have closed the road until they can fix it. Who knows how long that will take.

Bear Creek Road

Elsewhere on the course – Bear Creek Road. Photo courtesy of Ryan Masters, Santa Cruz Sentinel

On any typical day, motorists and cyclists can choose another route. But when it’s the most logistically feasible bike leg for a popular duathlon series,  what to do?

That’s the dilemma Wolf Hillesheim faced the past few days as he figured out how to hold his next event, Du 3 Bears, on January 28.

Here’s what he’s come up with: He cancelled the USAT-sanctioned short- and long-course duathlons. The five-mile run will go on with a new start time and location. Wolf will bring his transition racks for any athlete that wants to ride an out-and-back route after the five-mile run. He will time and hand out awards for the run as usual, but the bike is self-timed.

If you decide to “du” this modified run-bike, he asks you to pre-register via the printed entry form. Run-only participants can register either online or by snail mail.

Race directors face all sorts of strange last-minute challenges: no-show volunteers, signs and course markings blown away, extreme weather conditions, construction, you name it. It’s not everyday your road disappears! Kudos to Wolf for making the best of a bad situation. He could have canceled the entire event. Instead, he got on the phone with city officials and park officials and figured out a way for the show to go on. And a loyal duathlete following is ever-grateful!

What is your strangest weather-related race experience? Let us know in the comments below!

— GoRunBikeRun

Will morning runs make you smarter?

Happy Christmas Eve Duathletes!! In the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle, don’t slack off too much on training. One great way to make sure you get it done is to get it done first thing. Morning runs, rides, or some combination leave you energized for the day ahead. And according to a recent study, running may make you more productive at work.

A University of Arizona study shows running stimulates part of the brain related to decision-making and planning. Much like playing a musical instrument, running helps improve memory and attention span. Read more here.

As I write this, I’m about an hour away from a long early morning bike ride. Unfortunately, the study didn’t analyze cycling, but if it did, and it posed similar benefits as running, I will return home able to recite the encyclopedia!

From your favorite Duathlon blog, have a very merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just a very happy week between now and January 1. You may hear from me in the interim. If not, and in the meantime, follow me on Twitter @gorunbikerun.

 

Cyclists needed for Specialized health study

If you read this blog, you probably ride a bike. Probably a lot. Share your cycling habits (no matter how excessive), your bike fit issues, and other general health info for a large study conducted by former Specialized consultant Dr. Roger Minkow.

Minkow hopes to recruit as many as 50,000 cyclists for a study to assess how cycling affects health and how bike fit “fits” into the equation.

“What we are trying to do is address real issues by looking at bike fit and other factors pretty deeply, in a way that hasn’t been done before,” Minkow said in a press release. “We may be able to find out for sure that some saddles are safe and some aren’t, so we can give people some real information that is not just marketing BS.”

The survey takes about 15 minutes.

Read more about the study here.

Read more about Minkow and his work on Specialized’s Body Geometry saddles on his website.

You can access the survey here.

How has cycling influenced your health? How has bike fit helped you stave off injuries?  Share in the comments below!

CODA: My apologies for the brevity of this blog. The Du It For You team of one has been pretty busy with other work projects, and that’s eaten away precious duathlon blog time. I’m continually on the hunt for interesting athlete profiles, race reports, and other duathlon-related training tips. If you have any to share, I welcome guest contributions! Send me a note via the Contact form on this blog. Happy running-riding-running!

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Racing weekend: NOLA and NYC

Two big races take place on the first day sans Daylight Savings Time: the New York City Marathon and the USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Duathlon World Qualifier in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Draft-Legal Duathlon

Who’s racing in New Orleans? Do tell! The sprint-distance races kick off bright and shiny at 7:30 a.m. (Men 16-49), followed by the 50-plus men at 7:45 and the women at 10 a.m.

With lows in the mid ’60s, the men will have comfortable temps on race morning. Things will heat up for the women’s race, when the thermometer climbs to 72-75 degrees.

It could be worse. Have you ever visited New Orleans in the summer? Don’t! The hottest, sloppiest weather I have ever experienced was in New Orleans in August. It was well in the 90s, I think, with steam room humidity. The swimming pools felt like bath water and had big bugs floating in them.

There will be none of that this weekend, thank goodness. The course looks pretty straightforward and runs along the water, so I assume it’s pretty flat. I don’t remember hills in New Orleans. Of course, there’s lots I don’t remember about those trips, many years ago, for reasons you might expect.

For the curious, here is the start list. What’s draft legal racing all about? More about that in one of my previous blog posts.

Before I start my long run on Sunday, I plan to watch the TCS New York City Marathon. Will Dathan Ritzenhein do something special? Will Molly Huddle hit the podium in her marathon debut? Will super-triathlete Gwen Jorgensen break 2:30? (Let’s Run predicts 2:27.) We’ll find out in a few days!

Here’s what the men’s marathoners have to say leading up to race day. And here’s the scoop on the women’s race.

Whether you’re running, riding, or both this weekend, enjoy the fresh air and the gift of good health.

 

USA Triathlon Announces 2017 Calendar

Last week I talked about goal setting. This week I give you goals! USA Triathlon has announced its 2017 national championship calendar. Start planning now!

The season runs from January to November, so you have more than enough to choose from! Of note to duathletes, the duathlon long course nationals will take place again in Cary, North Carolina on April 29. The standard and sprint distance national champs will be held in Bend, Oregon in June (most likely late June), date TBA.

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photo by Rich Cruse, courtesy of USA Triathlon

These events qualify you for ITU World Championship events. The 2018 Multisport World Championships, site of the standard and sprint distance duathlons, will head to Odense, Denmark that year.

You can find the full national championship slate on USAT’s website.

What big races do you have planned for 2017? Tell us in the comments below!

My duathlon “A” race next year is the Duathlon World Championship (standard distance) in Penticton, BC. I also plan to compete in the National Championship in Bend, Oregon. I’ll call that an “A-” race goal!

How to master draft-legal racing

For most duathletes, draft-legal racing is a new opportunity this year. Drafting, riding in a pack, forming or chasing a break…most bike racers know these skills, but “du” you?

Draft-Legal Duathlon

If you want to compete in the ITU Draft-Legal Sprint Duathlon World Championships in Penticton, Canada, you’ll need to know some basic pack-riding skills. Otherwise, you may find yourself time-trialing at the back of the pack, and what fun is that?

To help you your quest to ride assertively and safely in a draft-legal race, duathlete and coach Eric Schwartz put together a podcast on that very thing. Check it out here.

Still got questions about draft-legal racing and skills? Ask them here. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it for you. Du It For You at your service!

Oh. And if you do have your eye on Penticton, you’ve got to qualify. In the United States, the place to do that is at the USAT 2017 Draft-Legal Sprint World Championship Qualifier in New Orleans on November 6. Place in the top 10 in your age group and finish within a to-be-determined cutoff time, and you’re in!

If you’ve got New Orleans on your race calendar, I wish you the best race ever.

My duathlon season has come to a close, so no run-bike-run for me until early 2017. In the meantime, I’m running ridiculously hard in USA Track & Field-Pacific Region’s cross country series, which takes place along Bay Area hill and dale until mid-November. It’s a nice change to take part in a bunch of no-frills races—no transitions, no fancy bikes, no aero anything. But the level of intensity is like nothing else.

Happy running-riding-running,

–Du It for You

 

Zofingen ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon Worlds-news from the U.S.

USA Triathlon reported that United States duathletes claimed two world titles and eight total medals at the Zofingen ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships in Zofingen, Switzerland last weekend.

Steve Sloan, from Berkeley, California (not far from yours truly in Oakland), earned gold for his 7:21:33 performance on the extremely long, difficult course. At age 19, Steve was also the youngest athlete in the race. He’s certainly got a long, successful career ahead of him.

Jenny Hay, from North Richland Hills, Texas, also topped her 20-24 age group with an impressive 10:42:46.

Read the USAT press release and get full results here.

I’m fascinated with Zofingen and intimidated by it. I’ve heard Ironman triathletes say it’s the hardest race they’ve ever done. Yikes! I think of the hilly 10K-150K-30K course as the pinnacle of our sport. When I talk to someone that’s finished Zofingen, my eyes get all big and I have to know more.

Soon, I hope to have my own stories to tell. My goal is to compete in this race before 2020. 2018 will be Powerman Zofingen’s 30th birthday. That could be my year!

New Duathlon Training Camp…in the Pyrenees!

When I heard that Embrace Sports was hosting a duathlon training camp, I got very excited. I haven’t heard of any duathlon-specific training camps anywhere, ever, so this seems like a rare opportunity. When I found out where Embrace Sports was hosting the camp, my daydreams distracted me from other work for a while. A long while.

Ride up and up and down epic Tour de France climbs. Sail through a scenic valley as you work on your aero position. Run through forests and along scenic trails…all in the Pyrenees. In between, the Embrace coaches give training advice and feed you very well. Bliss!

The duathlon “holiday” takes place May 20-27, 2017. Visit the Embrace Sports website to find out more.

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What’s the World’s Largest Duathlon?

On September 18, thousands of athletes will gather at Richmond Park for the London Duathlon, dubbed the “world’s largest duathlon.”

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By my count, last year’s event drew nearly 2,000 athletes, most of which competed in the standard-distance du (10k-44k-5k). The event also includes a half duathlon (5k-22k-5k), an ultra duathlon (20k-77k-10k), a standard distance relay, and a 10k run (I didn’t count the run in my participant tally). For duathlon, that’s a large field!

For comparison, the USAT Duathlon National Championships in Bend, Oregon, saw nearly 600 finishers. The Apple Duathlon, one of the more popular events in the U.S., saw about 270 athletes this year. Compare that to major marathons that draw up to 20,000 people, or the popular Wildflower Triathlon, which has attracted up to 7,500 participants, and it’s clear that duathlon has some work to do in the numbers department.

It always has. For a glimpse into the UK’s state of duathlon, which provides a bit of history of the sport both in the UK and U.S., check out this article on 220 Triathlon.

Back to the London Duathlon. I’m sorry to say, it’s pretty much sold out. With a commitment to raise £400 for one of the event’s charity partners, you can run as a charity entrant. You can also compete as a member of a club or as part of a corporate team. Already running? Set a goal and race for free in 2017. The London Du has a PB Race Free promotion where if you beat your time from a previous year in 2016, they’ll give you a free pass into 2017.

Congrats to the race organizers for putting on what looks like a fantastic event! If I lived closer (much closer), I would be there!

ITU Worlds Penticton adds Aquabike

The 2017 ITU Multisport World Championships in Penticton, BC, has added Aquabike to its event roster. In addition to sprint and standard duathlon, cross triathlon, long distance triathlon, and aquathon (swim + run), the 10-day event now has a swim + bike. Here’s a link to the release with all the details.

The aquathon and aquabike don’t exactly get the fields that triathlon or even duathlon see, but they are great events for people new to multisport that a) like to swim, and either b) don’t want to mess with the bike or c) don’t want to mess with the run. It’s also another option for folks that want to compete in multiple events in Penticton. I know at least one person that’s planning to compete in the standard duathlon, long course triathlon, and aquathon in the same week!

To compete in multiple world events, you have to qualify for those events. USAT’s duathlon nationals took place last month in lovely Bend, Oregon. But if you like to swim (unlike me!), there’s still time to compete in the long course tri, aquathon, and aquabike national championships! Why not? You could be the next aquabike world champion!

In the U.S., the aquathon nationals are October 8 in Santa Cruz, Calif; the aquabike is November 13 in sunny Miami…the same day as the long course tri. Here’s the link to the full list of national qualifiers.

Canadian athletes have the home field advantage. Their primary long course tri, aquathon, and aquabike event will be held on August 28. There are other ways to qualify. Click here for details. They also have some qualifying spots left for duathlon. Click here for info.

Some of Great Britain’s qualifying races are TBD. This is the best link I could find.

As for me, I will be competing in one event only—the standard distance duathlon (10K run, 40K bike, 5K run). It would be fun to plan a racing vacation, but ugh! So much swimming! I’d much rather run more. That’s why I’m in the perfect sport!

Are you planning to attend the ITU World Multisport Championships in Penticton next year? Will you do a double? Or even a triple?  Let us know in the comments!

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