Monday, October 8, 2012

A year of preparation

I just returned from the Standard Distance Duathlon World Championship in Nancy, France on September 23, 2012! This is my excuse for not writing a blog post for a whole year.
Dealing with the giant bike box on the airline was not very difficult. I am now well practiced at taking this bike apart and putting it back together. Good thing I work at a bike store ;) United Airlines charged $200 each was for the International Flight. In comparison, Southwest only charged $50 for a domestic flight earlier this year. A few notes about boxing your bike: 1. Do it yourself. Know your bike. Be confident that when you get to a strange destination for a big race, the one thing you can count on is that your bike is ready. Plus you will save a lot of time if you don't have to stand in line for the French mechanic. The Brits were very helpful, btw. 2. Don't forget that one of the greatest dangers to your bike in its box is frame on frame damage. Put spacers in the front and rear dropouts. Wrap any parts of your frame that touches anything else. 3. Remember that there may be some tools you need to put your bike back together that you didn't need to take it apart. Your torque wrench, for example.
We got to practice on the course a bit on Friday, so I decked myself out in some TBL gear. This was my one and only "Team USA" interaction, really. Sort of strange to be on a "team" with a bunch of people you have barely met before. The transition area of the race was in La Place Stanislaw. Basically the town square. There were cafes all around the perimeter and terribly slippery stones underfoot. This was good, however, as it would finally the the thing that got me to leave my shoes clipped in to my bike and sock-it through the transition area.
The run was through the park. The terrain was flatter than I am used to, but the advantage of laps was that it was much easier for my companions to see me go by. In the next part of the race, they learned that keeping track of me was harder than they expected. Bikes go by much faster than runners. I ran and biked pretty much the exact times that I expected. Not awesome, but exactly what I deserved considering how little I have been running lately. I was happy with my nutrition plan. I drank water and Scratch while on the bike and a Clif Mojo bar. They are salty which I prefer to capsules, though I could probably benefit from trying Sportlegs in the future.
In the end, I am really glad that I went all the way over there. I enjoyed the race and the course more than I expected. The bike course was 5 laps with 3 turn-arounds each! That is 15 traffic cones on a tri bike! I am proud to say that I did pass a few people on the inside. My legs were sufficiently sore the next day that I didn't feel like slacked off, at least. I am newly inspired having found a group of ladies that are truly impressive! I really have something to strive for now!

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