It’s good to be back. 2016 has been a tough and frustrating year. From an early season injury that lingered the whole year, having a chance to train at the Olympic Training Center, only to have it cancelled, my brother passing away, and getting hit by a car while riding my bike, it was a very challenging year. Through it all, I kept a positive attitude. I would think the past two years went really well, and I was due for a down one, and that I was still lucky, because many deal with a lot worse than what I did.
So the Crystal Lake Run & Roll For the Dole Duathlon was a nice comeback for a couple of reasons. The first time I attempted this race was 4 years ago, and it did not end well. After a nice 2 mile run it was off on the bike. The first part of the bike course has a handful of “S” curves, and on that day it had started raining over night and was still raining during the race, so the course was a bit slick, and to that lots of leaves and the road paint, and you are looking at potential trouble. Well one of those curves got me and I went down and skidded across the road. Crashes took out a few people that day, including a guy went down right after me in the same spot.
This year the ground was damp, but at least it wasn’t raining, and there were a lot less leaves on the ground. We start the race with a 2 mile run, and I’m feeling better than I have all year. I finish the run in 12:41 and in 6th place overall. After a quick transition, it’s off on the bike. I take that first part cautiously, and get through it without incident, and I feel a sense of relieve. Now it’s back to race mode, and I pass 3 people. Before the race the race director mentioned that we should be careful coming back down the last street as there was construction. There were two cross streets under construction and there were those bumps that could really damage your wheels. I saw the bumps signs and eased back and went over cautiously, and during that time two guys passed me, but they were not any of the 3 I had passed, so I finished the 12.8 mile bike in 36:02 and still in 6th and :13 and :32 behind those two guys. Another quick transition and it’s out onto the 2nd 2 mile run.
A couple weeks before this race I did another Duathlon in Woodstock and I started the 2nd run in 4th a couple seconds behind the 3rd place guy, but I let him go as I still wasn’t confident in my health or fitness level. This time was different, I came out of transition aggressively, and had a purpose to go catch those guys. Within the first half mile I got the first guy and was now in 5th, but I wasn’t settling with that. I thought I have 10 minutes to get the next guy, and with about a mile to go I caught him. I kept pushing the rest of the way and finished the 2nd run in 12:47. If felt so good to be able to race hard again and compete. Oh and the 2nd guy I passed was the one that crashed in the same spot I did 4 years ago, and it was his first time back since, so some redemption for both of us.