Sorry for the delay of game. I’ve been busy…… not sure with what,but busy.

Anywho,onto the show.

Saturday’s Fly-By-Night Duathlon on the Watkins Glen international race track was my 5th year racing this event.  My first attempt at this event was in 2008 and I was able to finish 5th overall.  I was super excited on that day as it was a definite suprise AND I found a new race that I love. 

Since this first race I have been lucky enough to be on the overall podium each year since,with a 2nd in ’09 and two 3rds in ’10 and ’11

I have been a brides maid for years…… and I’m not yet a bride. 

This year I finished again on the podium,but as Ricky Bobby says “If you ain’t first,You’re last”.  Second step was mine this year,though it wasn’t ‘free’ for the taking,there was a big effort put forth to get there. 

It seems every year there are a few new faces that show up to try and take the crown,this year was no different.  On the starting line there were the usual player and some new faces.  Being a 7 time champion of the event Travis Kuhl was lined up to my right at we normally do.  This year had a few Slowtwitch members showing up and ready to raise the bar.  Barry McMaster,Brett Long,and George Hade.  All very capable individuals.  There was also a fantastic showing of Rogues out there as well.  With the option of relay’s and the individual race,the Rogue team sets up some ringer relay’s.  This year was a combination of Jim Derrick(Run) and Jeff Naylor(bike) and Dave Cook(Run) with Bill Solt(Bike).  There were more,but those were the front of the pack guys. 

When the ‘gun’,rather a cowbell, went off there must have been an explosion behind us as EVERYONE came off the line at a near sprint!  I was glad to not be wearing a watch as that first mile was BLISTERING!  With Jim and Dave running the relays they weren’t holding anything back.  This meant if you wanted to be at the pointy end you better be able to break a 5min mile!  I can’t,so I was left to lay chase.  That first run FLEW by in a whirl wind of pain and dry mouths gasping for air as the pace never let up.  Coming into T1 I was 4th individual and 7th (I think) person thanks to the relays. 

Transitions are a chance to make or break your race,just ask Bruce,a Rogue that is SUPER strong but doesn’t have the transition skill mastered just yet and lost valuable time there.  It would seem that my competition for the day was Brett Long as he came off that first run two folks back in only 3seconds behind.  With a T1 time of :27 for me which was 3rd fastest but not fast enough as Brett was able to gain a full second on me.  Looking at the results shows that two of the individuals that we were chasing lost MASSIVE time allowing for 30+ seconds put into them starting the bike.  This left me in 2nd starting the bike and Brett still hot on my heels. 

Onto to the bike with Brett just behind andTravisout of sight up the “road”.  This bike course is by far the best you could possibly find,sorry to all the other RD’s out there you just can’t compete with this one.   Three laps of the race track that is far hillier that one would expect,nets us about 10.2 miles of closed course HUGE sweeping turns with long gradual climbs and fast descents with no potholes or broken glass all on silky smooth pavement.  How I ask could this NOT be a place found in heaven?  Any who,back to the race.  Out of pit lane we fly with a clear track in front of us for a full lap.  Brett and I are pushing each other as neither of us wants to admit how tired that run made us.  This is great since being alone against some of the relentless climbing on the back side of this track would make you soften your effort enough to allow gaps to be closed.  So with Brett alongside/behind/infront (in a non drafting,legal format) I was biking scared.  The whole time dicing it up with Brett I also knew there was Bruce an animal on the bike somewhere behind us “burying himself” and surely making big gains.  With the first lap down and going into the 90* turn one,which is a hoot at 30mph with no need to even consider braking,we encounter the first of the traffic.  Thankfully the track is wide enough that there is plenty of room for everyone.  We negotiate the traffic for the next two laps with Brett pushing the uphills and making me cry while I fly effortlessly down the downhills and make up time and return the gap into my favor.

Coming into T2 I always remove my feet from my shoes,today being no different.  The joys of coming in hot and scaring the volunteers screaming of the dismount line.  Love it!

T2 was FAST!  Having a cushion of 13seconds over Brett after a strong finish of the bike. (though I didn’t know if was 13 at the time) should relieve some pressure,but it didn’t.  I knew Traviswas up the road and that’s who I was chasing while I was trying my best to not let those behind me catch up,which Bruce had done!  He was hot on my heels as I heard via the announcer.  “Tim Andruswith a teammate hot on his heels”  I didn’t look back,I knew who it was.  Bruce had turned a 36second gap into only a 12 second gap coming into T2!  There is no rest for the wicked!  With my bike racked and sneaks on in 25seconds flat I was out the gate and onto the run in 2nd overall.   I was able to put 4 more seconds into my chasing foe, if you will, during this pitstop giving me a 17 second lead out of T2.

Run2.  Traviswas up the road….. waaaaay up,out of sight up,like 1:19 up the road!  Daunting to say the least!  Now is where the head game of “chase Or pace?” begins.  I didn’t want to loose that 2nd step but I really wanted that top step, which at this point seemed very out of reach.  With no time to consider I went with a little of both.  I was up against my redline for pace but still had a little in reserve ready to push another bike/run.  During this run I had the pleasure of being passed by the two Rogue relay’s as their runners were stupid fast and of course had rather fresh legs.  Apparently I left a little too much in the tank as Brett was setting a pretty burly  pace behind me as he choose the option of “Chase”.  Into T3 he had closed that 17 second gap down by 13 seconds!

T1……..again.  Brett was still 4 seconds in arrears with Bruce well behind.   It’s make or break time.  And I broke!  Brett smoked that T3 like it was a cigar!  Making up those precious 4 seconds in T3 and coming out side by side into the last bike.  It’s gonna be a fight to the finish!

The last bike!  Brett was on his saddle at the same time as I was.  Down pit lane we both were having the same issues getting our feet in the shoes as they never seem to be setup as nicely the second time around.  We both managed to get strapped in as if we practiced in unison.  I was first to get in attack position and was onto the ‘course’ a mere split second ahead.  The track was littered with folks still on their first bike but again plenty of room to move around.  This set of laps would prove to be more painful than the first!  The wind was a little different giving a tailwind up the climbing back stretch.  This helped me as a non-climber,to keep up and even push the pace a little.  The front stretch in front of the crowd was a slightly downhill section only this time with a headwind.  We were side by side in a drag race down the front straight on both of the trips through.  Normally you get a smidgen of a rest through this part,not today.  The jockeying for position was constant with neither of our ego’s willing to let up.  It wasn’t until the final lap where Brett showed any weakness,even then it was only at the very end of that lap.  I later found out he had a cramp as we crested the last hill that was maybe a quarter mile or so from the finish of the bike.  I pushed at that point in a last attempt to get away from him going into T4 the final transition.   It worked as I came in 7 seconds up! 

T4  a little slower this time,but not by much.  28 seconds as I was having a bit of trouble with my bike/shoes hitting the pavement and forcing me to lift the whole bike up and run with it for a second to get it back straight,couple that with my running shoe folding over a bit and me fixing it slowed me down a little.  Still even with what I would consider a few follies,I was able to grow my gap on Brett by an additional 2 seconds leaving me with a 9 second margin coming out of T4 for the last time.

The last run.  Hitting the ground running at this point was/is tough but it’s tough for everyone,so no time to let up.  As I hit the course just out of transition I was in second again,having passed the relay bikers.  I heard a volunteer/spectator say “You can catch him”.  This had me thinking “yeah right!  That gap was HUGE (remember 1:19 after the 2nd transition).  As I turned onto the pit lane straight away that starts the run I could seeTravis!  Not way off in the distance either!  He was only 39 seconds up… or for you math majors out there about 185yards up.  That’s close….. but not gimme close.  Jim Derrick, runner for the lead relay, FLEW by me in those first couple hundred yards and made me feel like a chump.  He closed the gap onTravis in moments and made me feel like I could do the same.  It wasn’t as easy as he made it look!  Trust me, I tried.  I was pushing for all it was worth and the gap was getting smaller, but not as quickly as I needed it to.  Meanwhile I had Brett starting only 9 seconds behind me and closing fast.  Was he going to pass us both?  It got to one point where I could hear his footsteps and I swear I could feel his breath on my neck!  His recount says he was 10yards back at his closest….. Man 10yards seems close!  I had to put in some surges to break Brett off my tail.  It worked after the final climb surge put him off my back for good, though by this timeTravis had a gap that I couldn’t close.  It made me feel good seeing him looking over his shoulder, a sign of someone hurting (like I tell my kids all the time “never look back!”). 

At the tape.  

At the finish line I was 3rd across the line as the first was one of our relay teams made up of Jim Derrick and Jeff Naylor, 2nd over the line was Travis 28 seconds up the road and the closest margin he has ever won by.  I was 17 seconds up on my chaser Brett after he told me of my last surge putting the final nail in his proverbial coffin.  The 4th person across the line was the other Rogue relay that was mixing it up in the front of Dave Cook and Bill solt. 

Once again I was a bridesmaid,but I’m not complaining.  This was a hard one!

A fantastic race!  I had a blast and was spent when I crossed the line.  I was fearful of a sprint finish and very glad it didn’t come to that as I’m not sure how that would have turned out as the tank was on “E” for most of that last run.  The push of a race is something that can’t be recreated in training.  That feeling of being chased is something that is primal.  Something that I enjoy more than most anything else.  I love racing!  Thanks to all those out there that make it happen!  Keep ‘em coming!

Next YearTravis!  28 seconds!