Carrboro, NC — Today, under sunny skies and with perfect weather, I took part in the 2nd Annual Powerman North Carolina. The race is one of three Powerman races here in the U.S.; the other two are in Alabama and Ohio. The race format is an 8K run, done as two loops around the McDougle Middle School in Carrboro, then a one-loop 53K bike around the very scenic dairy farmland around Carrboro, and finished with a repeat of the two-loop of the 8K run course. The run course is lightly rolling, with a fast downhill to start. The bike course rolls along over generally very smooth roads. There was one section along a chipseal road that was a bit rough, but other than that, it was fastfastfast…
I ran the first loop somewhat conservatively, pacing myself with Timex teammate Michael Boehmer, who finished the day in 6th. We came into transition about two minutes back of the lead pack. Michael was speedier in transition and headed out of T1 ahead of me. I elected to do the race with socks, since my feet are still somewhat beat up from racing in Brooklyn and running big mileage, but there had a been a lot of rain so I had to put my bike shoes on in transition, which slowed me down, but it was probably a good decision. As is often the case with duathlon, it took me a bit to get my legs going on the bike, but once I started going, I felt good and started to reel people in. Michael was a great rabbit, but I finally caught him about 5 miles into the bike.
The course was really great, and I was really excited to take out my new Lucero for it’s first race. The bike was really, really fast. My position is better, the new equipment is great, and despite not generating a huge amount of wattage, I was really flying. During the meat of bike course, I averaged about 310 watts and close to 26mph average speed over a tough rolling course, including that section on the chipseal. So the bike is really fantastic, and the Rudy Project Syton, my new aero helmet was fast and also not too hot. So after a great ride, I feel really great about my bike for the upcoming season. Once I get my wattage up, I really think I’ll be able to post some great splits.
I finished up the bike in 3rd place, behind Josh Beck, who took 3rd at the mighty Powerman Zofingen last year, and who I was supposed to duel at American Zofingen last fall. I tried really hard to reel him during the last section of the bike, but with no luck. As we headed out onto the run, I felt pretty good, but without the top end speed that will come as the season rolls along. Josh is coming back to form after some injuries, but looked really great out on the course. We ended up running basically the same speed; he was unable to pull away, and I was unable to close in. We both were well behind Tom Jeffry, who was putting together a brilliant race as he avenged a very close loss to former Long Course Duathlon World Champion Greg Watson at last year’s Powerman North Carolina. Tom was about four minutes ahead of us, and didn’t show any signs of cracking. Fortunately for me, I was comfortably ahead of fourth place, but I actually managed to keep it together pretty well through the finished.
I crossed the line in 2:09:09, about 30 seconds back of Josh, and claimed a very nice glass trophy and a check for $450, which was even nicer!
I’d like to give a special shout-out to my homestay Gretchen H. who hosted me and also Michael and Brianna Boehmer, who won the women’s race. And of course, I’d like to thank Jax, Gretchen’s beautiful yellow lab, who provided comic relief all weekend with his tennis-ball obsession. I’m looking forward to coming back next year. It was a really great weekend, but I should have known it would have been when I was staying in a house on Lake Jordan!