Just for fun, I let myself be "fixed up" for this duathlon with a runner known by a friend to be seeking a biker teammate. So to recap, I'm the biker and someone else is the runner. My runner (or was I his biker?) was named Jon, and he coincidentally works at Argonne. We faxed the entry paperwork back and forth a few times but apparently the signatures were still legible enough for use.
About the race. Run first, followed by bike. Two distances, either 5k run + 15 mile bike or 10k run + 30 mile bike. Jon had selected the longer distances by the time I got around to asking him the day before, which was fine by me. The run started from the Sandpiper restaurant on the Pocatello bench and meandered up and down the bench before both courses converged on the Bannock County Fairgrounds for the purpose, of course, of the transitional area. From there the bike went down off the bench (not much of a hill), over the interstate, and headed north up to the Fort Hall bingo palace before crossing over the interstate again and going only a few miles back into the foothills for a turnaround. Five miles had been cut from that end of the course since last year's event.
Since we were both early arrivals, and had neither one of us participated in this event previously, Jon and I took advantage of the time to drive part of the run and all of the bike course. The weather, which had been notably uncooperative just north around Blackfoot, looked like it might not snow too hard. We were both hoping for the clear sunny spot to the west to move on over.
Then we did a car pre-placement exercise, and I dropped Jon off back at the Piper to start his race while I went to the fairgrounds to assemble my bike. Being that this was a time trial, I had brought my disk wheel just for the cool sounds it makes while riding. Slapped on the aero bars, and was ready to go. Well, except where is my runner? And why is it still so cold? I then shivered for the 40 minutes it took Jon to complete his part of the race, watching all the short-course runners come in. He was actually pretty close to the leaders of the 10k group, maybe a minute or two back. We tagged at the appointed line and I was off.
I think there were three people on the long course ahead of me, along with some short course stragglers, but with the assistance of a slight tailwind and the rumble rumble of my fun wheel, I had passed them all within about three miles. Kind of lazing along on the 13, didn't feel that I was pushing that hard. Not that I was coasting and waiting for someone to catch me, either, of course.
It was kind of boring with no one to chase the rest of the way out, the monotony broken only by my fingers informing me quite frequently that I had definitely chosen the wrong gloves, the ones with not enough insulation. Rumble brr rumble brr. Wonder what the tailwind is going to feel like after the turnaround. I was actually taking it pretty easy for the last several miles before the turnaround to rest for the way back, not working too hard on the small rolling hills.
Hey, there's the turnaround, a guy standing by a cone. Hadn't seen anyone coming back since I passed the short-course turnaround, so I am definitely in front. Now, after I turn around, how much time until the next rider? Hmm. A couple minutes. It's Bad Bob, followed by Brian, Dave Gates and Dave Weatherston, then a few others. Not many people doing the long course? Oh well.
I put in a little more effort for the headwind, but it's not that strong. I look back every now and then on the way back, but never see anybody. Only after I finish climbing back up the bench am I sure that no one can catch me before I get to the finish. Not so cold on the way back, either. Rumble rumble, finish. Jon is there, all excited because I am indeed first. Well, that is pretty cool, and nobody else comes along for several minutes. Then Bob and Brian finish, and the Daves too. Brian did his own run, so he wins the non-team race.
Put away the bike, put on warm clothes again (but it's not so chilly now either), and head to the Piper for the spaghetti feed. Mmm. I'm done after about three plates. Another half hour, and the results are finished. My bike split of 1:09'56 is best for the long course, then a clump at 1:14'xx. Class winners receive custom handmade coffee mugs. With a PowerGel inside, woo hoo! The mugs are duly distributed, and then the raffle begins. Almost everyone gets something, in my case it's a $5 coupon for a Pocatello restaurant. Yay.
A few of the other riders from Idaho Falls had elected to leave earlier and ride home -thereby missing their names being drawn in the raffle - but since I had to pick up my prize and all I missed out on that 50-miler, drove home and watched basketball. Probably needed the miles, too.