Desert Classic Duathlon

I opened up the engine over the weekend at the TriSports Desert Classic Duathlon in Scottsdale, AZ.

This is a race I have done before and to be honest, it was a pretty miserable experience. The last time I raced the Desert Du I showed up fatigued from a big training block and it was pouring rain and whipping winds. It took a monumental effort to pull myself from the car and even start. I ran way too hot my first run, paid for it with a sluggish bike and stumbled my way up the second hilly run course to end with a sub-par performance. Needless to say, I was eager to return and bury the hatchet.

Saturday’s race was quite the opposite. I rested a little bit going into Saturday. The weather was 70 and sunny. The only thing that remained the same was the challenging course and the pesky hills on the second run.

Friday I headed up to Scottsdale with fellow Montanan, Brendan. We met up with a our friend, DJ, and had a great dinner in Scottsdale. Up early Saturday and I was excited to race! I made sure the bike was in working order (thanks, Trek Tucson for the extra TLC), said hello to a few friends, got in a quick warm-up and before I knew it, it was time to toe the line.

I took the first run out on the easier side - from experience I knew that going out too hot on run #1, you pay a price on the bike. I had a small lead going into the first transition and was super excited to get a hit out on my brand new Trek Speed Concept. I know this thing can fly - so I was fired up to give it a whirl in its first race. I could tell I was at the end of a training block as I had moments where I felt okay riding coupled with other moments where I felt like I was laying down some serious power and feeling great. The first 2/3 of the bike were a ton of fun - big rolling hills and smooth roads. The last 10 miles took us into Fort McDowell Park, this was a bit chip sealy and lots of turns - I lost a bit of luster here. Onto the second run and that familiar feeling of heavy legs that don’t want to cooperate settled in. The girls were a-charging behind me, so there was no letting up - no matter how ugly I felt I was running! The second run was a challenge with steep ups, downs, all-arounds. The course wasn’t super marked, so you had to be on top of your game to not get lost. The last mile was a real treat when we got to run 1/2 mile up a 20% grade mountain. I kept thinking: perfect Wildflower practice! After that it was straight down hill and into the finish. Whew! Done and done!

A race highlight was that Madison came to the race as it was a dog friendly venue. She was quite the media darling. She got plenty of pets, stole an Oreo (or two), and made her first ever podium appearance. Another highlight was seeing my friend & training partner, Brendan, make the podium. He is a hard worker and has an incredibly positive attitude, so to see his hard work pay-off was great.

All in all, it was a great hit-out and nice to make sure my race gear is in working order and a good reminder to the body that racing hurts!

Nice work to everyone that came out to race - run #2 was no joke. Racing in Arizona is always fun for me - everyone is so friendly and supportive, its great to hear all the cheers and see some familiar faces out there. Also a big shout out to all my incredible sponsors - I am looking forward to getting the 2012 season underway and couldn’t do it without your support. Finally, thanks to DJ for the great hospitality.

See you at the races!
Next up: Ironman San Juan 70.3 in less than a week. Can’t wait.