Sunday, August 27, 2017

BikeKing Duathlon: That's Better

Great race org overall. Simply THE BEST duathlon organizer in the country! From the registration to the race proper all the way to the medal and finisher's area plus loot bag, it was very well organized. Of course, riding the SCTEX is always the main attraction of this race and it never fails to disappoint.
Race distance accuracy could be something to be improved though as the bike leg measured an additional 2+ kilometers ---evaporating any PR chances goodbye. I understand the placement of the turnaround point at the Floridablanca exit which is at the toilet area which makes it convenient for participants to make a stop for #1 or #2. Not sure though how Bikeking can resolve this very minor issue.

Took a Nutella sandwich minutes before gun time.
Run1 took us to the ever familiar Porac road which was 3km downhill and then go back up the same 3k for T1. I planned for a 6:30/km pace throughout and I was on point for the first 3k, averaging 6:29+ per km for that downhill section ---refusing to let my adrenaline rush to push for more.
It was a different story though after the turnaround as my pace dropped to 6:44/km for the last 3k uphill. I was overtaking the other participants (who may have pushed too hard on the first 3k) but pace was way outside my target ---a reminder yet again that I should do more hill repeats.
Gel #1 taken at km5 of Run1.
Finished Run1at 6:37/km which was still a good start for beating my PR (I was 6:51/km in the 2015 version).
I was able to borrow a pair of UCI-legal aerobars days before the race. I know this is something unusual for me as I try not to do anything new on race day. Although I raced last May with the same aerobars on two duas, I didn't quite specifically train with it for this race. It will just all come to familiarity of feel when I exited T1 and, fortunately, I didn't do any major adjustments with using them (again).
Riding downhill was a breeze (reached 55kph max) and the upward section to the turnaround was expected. I was still feeling good so no issues were encountered...yet. 
Leaving T1 towards SCTEX
The bike leg was a 2-loop ride from Porac exit to Floridablanca, which was probably between 15-16kms. As I looked at my Garmin when I approached the turn around point, it read 15 point something kms which meant that this'll exceed 60kms. I mentally calculated that beating my 3:29 PR will be a challenge as I may have to double the effort. However, opting for safety (in preparation for a good Run2) I just had to manage my pace on the bike since there are makunat climbs on the way back to Porac (which I will tackle TWICE).
As expected, it was a chore on the way back so I relied on my power numbers (3sec power and NP readings) to manage my effort and prevent bonking. Fortunately, this strategy worked well as I was able to finish the 2-loop (hard!) bike course to reach T2 in one piece. 
Average speed = 25.8kph (2015 version was 24.6kph). I will probably make a separate post for my bike leg analysis a la Trainingpeaks for future reference so watch out for that. ;-)
Gel taken every 30mins during the ride (4 gels in total). Hydrated with water only.
I ran out of gels by the time I reached T2 so the plan would be to gulp Gatorade at the hydration stops. I was expecting a grueling Run2 if we were made to tackle a shorter version of the same downhill-turnaround-uphill route. Fortunately we were made to run a two loop course inside Sandbox, Porac. It still had its short climbs but not as challenging as the previous versions of this race. What was difficult was running in the hot sun so I had to douse myself with water at the hydration stations. 
I started off well pace-wise (6:30/km) but it considerably dropped to 7:00+ all the way to the finish. Not sure what happened to me from km2-4 of this leg. Possibly fatigue or ran out of energy (although I gulped the Gatorade, it may have been too late as it normally takes a while before you feel its effect to pump you up). Note that I was still running well (i.e. not walking) on those last kms but not on the pace that I liked.
Average Run2 pace = 6:58/km (2015 version was 7:15/km on a tougher course). 
I reached the finish arc at 3:36 which was 7 minutes over my PR. Nothing to be ashamed of here as I did well in my opinion. Had the bike distance been accurate and I haven't spent too much time on T1 and T2 (over 3mins each), it would've been a PR victory. 
There will be a lot of post race analysis on this one but, overall, I am very happy to finish this (my A-race) on a better condition vs 2015. My (pace and nutrition) strategy was better, my HR numbers were lower with same or better speeds, and I managed myself mentally well all throughout the race.
Even though I left Porac without a PR, this is probably my strongest SCTEX duathlon performance to date.
And I think I am just going to get better by next year's version. ;-) 


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