Running & Gunning in the Desert

Desert Classic Duathlon
McDowell Mountain State Park, Fountain Hills, AZ
Race Date: 2.25.2007

So my multisport season kicked off this season the same way it did last year, with the Desert Classic Duathlon. I was looking to improve on a rather mediocre 6th place finish in 2006. With a lot of new equipment (the same stuff I raced on last year, minus race wheels) as compared with last year’s race, I knew I would get a lot more of my power on the bike. But even more than that, I was carrying a lot of confidence from another year of training and my best winter of training ever, having been in Flagstaff with the BAMF group since the beginning of January.

We headed down to Phoenix on Saturday morning and did some race prep on the course, then it was off to the hotel to rest. Then I headed off to Whole Foods for dinner, where the hot buffet has always served me well. Race morning, we headed over to McDowell Mountain Park, which is outside of Fountain Hills, which is right next to Scottsdale.

The weather race morning was cool, which was nice since we have almost no real training in the heat this winter. The first run started out quickly, at least for everyone else. In typical fashion, everyone hammered the first run, and I just couldn’t get my leg turnover going and lost contact with Colin Jenkins, who I’d hoped to do the first run with. I came into T1 almost in last place, about a minute down on the leader(s), but then I got out on the bike feeling great. My recovery in transition was really great courtesy of being at low altitude after training at 7,000ft. I headed out on the bike and quickly started to catch and pass people. Near the turnaround of the out-and-back course, I got a time gap to the leaders, who I was clearly closing in on. After the turnaround, I passed “Dr.” Kyle “Indiana” Jones, who was having a strong race. Heading into the last bit of the bike course, which is a five mile steady climb, I caught Simon Whitfield, who was riding in second. Then about halfway up the climb, I passed Lewis Elliot, a former Timex Team athlete who was second last year at this race. After passing Lewis, I put in a big push, and managed to put in about a minute over Lewis (who was caught by Simon) heading into T2.

In typical fashion, the first race is a bit rusty, and I flubbed getting out of my bike shoes, costing myself a few seconds. I then had the exciting feeling of heading out on the run with Simon on my heels. I’d like to clarify what I mean by exciting here. I think the most similar feeling would be the excitement an antelope feels when a cheetah decides it wants to eat it. It is that excitement of being very, very afraid. Simon caught me about one mile into the run, but I actually managed to pace off him quite well, and it definitely helped me to have him to chase, since Lewis Elliot was charging hard. I had about 20 seconds or so as I headed back onto the short road section of the second run and down the finish line chute. I managed to hold onto that margin, crossing the line, very painfully, in second.

Overall, Team BAMF had a strong showing, capturing 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 8th in the men’s race, and 2nd, 4th, and 5th in the women’s race. So it was a great day. We then all proceeded to the local casino in Fountain Hills and blew all our prize money on high-stakes BINGO, which seemed like a good idea at the time…

Representing the House of Lonetree

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