2007 Atomicman Duathlon Race Report

Sunday (4/29) was the Atomic Man Duathalon in nearby whiterock. The race comes in two flavors, the Fat man at 10k/40k/5k (run bike run) and the Little Boy at 4k/15k/4k. I did the fat man in 2005 when I was in good running shape and found that it was waaaaay too long. I have a long history with multisport events and 3 part duathlons are not my favorite. Run/bike/stop I can hack, but Run/Bike/Run is just gratuitous. The second run usually has little bearing on the race and only causes pain. When I did the long race in 2005 I saw no one on the second run. I also got so sore I could not really run or bike for 2 weeks. Wah wah wah wah. Anyway, long story not getting any shorter, between the early season pain last time and the lack of good running this year, I gladly opted for the short Little Boy race this year.

Whiterock is a mere 9 miles and 800 some vertical feet down from the house, I got up early ate some left over pork and eggs with an espresso, yoked up with a big messenger bag and rode on down to the race.

Post race dorkboy, clik for big

Race started at 8, I got there a bit late at 7:40 and had just enough time to rack the bike, change into running shoes and hit the portolet before the racers meeting and the start of the race.

At the starting line I chatted a bit with my super fast buddy Warren who claimed he was no runner and boom the race was off. Now, somewhere deep inside me is a skinny dude who used to run intercollegiate d3 cross country and track. I have sucessfully filled that little guy with a dozen years and 30 plus pounds of breakfast burritos, beer, chocolate and olive oil. But he is still in there. And when the gun goes off he likes to get the hole shot. So hole shot I did as I burst into the lead with a couple of actually skinny guys. Shortly thereafter one of the real runners took off at what appeared to be 5:30 mile pace never to be seen again. Another skinny guy took off after him and I settled into something like 6:30 pace into third. I felt good and somehow fast, despite not having run remotely fast in over a year. As the blissfully short 2.5k progressed I fell back a bit. Warren, the lying non runner, took off in search of the top guy. After some nonconsequential back and forth I ended up finishing the first run in 6th or so with fast guy way up front, Warren and other fast guy a minute up on four of us clustered around 17 minutes.

I had a decently crappy transition and got on the bike in 7th a fair bit behind the four guys I came in with. No worries I thought, I will crush them like bug on bike.

The bike course was tough and rolly. See amusing elevation profiles here. I started out feeling pretty slow and crappy, but ramped up my low cadence tri stomp as I saw riders up ahead. I immediately passed some dude who runs OK, but is riding a upright hybrid with flat bars. Whooosh, later dude.

Next I can see three ahead of me and I am closing well. As I get into the climb that leads to the turnaround I see fastrunner one riding hard the otherway with warren not too far behind closing on him. A short while later I decisively pass fast runner number two who is pedalling triangles, squares and possibly lines while riding all over the road near the turnaround. As I corner to make the turn I see the two dudes in front of me get in their aerobars and go to warp nine on the headwind downhill on the turnabout. Crap. There they went. I was going pretty hard, but I think I was not really having a good bike leg after the slow start, the fast uphill ride and then the demoralizing trouncing at the turnaround by the guys I thought I was about to catch. Lesson learned, find your damn aerobars next year and use them. At this point I lost focus a bit and rode hard but not out of my skull to the transition. I am in 5th.

After another cruddy transition, I get into the second run. As I suspect there is no one anywhere near behind me and I can not see anyone ahead of me. I run pretty well considering I have not done a bike-run transition in 2 years. I look way ahead and I see another guy running, but he is not really anywhere near me. During the last mile of the run we "lap" the tail end of the 10k runners from the later starting fat man. I loose sight of the guy up ahead, but being surrounded by slower runners allowed me to pic them off one by one which got me too the finish sans too much pain.

Crossing the finish while smirking at announcer choking on my name (the "I am not even going to try to pronounce this" ploy)
Click for more photos from race sponsor Pet Pangea's website

My final splits were as follows:
00:17:06 (6th) 00:27:05 (7th) 00:19:21 (7th) 01:03:33.37 for fifth overall, second inthe 35-40 age group behind warren. I can only hope my shitty transitions are reflected in my bike time. I won a really nice little blown glass paperweight from the Nambe Glass Studio, which ranks high in the noncash things I have won at races department.

I am a bit bummed that my bike was so slow, but otherwise I am veryhappy. Maybe next year I will break an hour with a bit more running training, some lace locks for the shoes and some aerobars it should be pretty easy... unless i get old.

I rode home which kind of sucked as the 800 foot climb with my bag post race hurt me. But I perservered and had a good bike (run bike run) bike day.

I always like seeing bikes in the transition areas at triathlons. They range from 10k super trigeek specials to crapped out rusting hybrids to full on mtbs to classic steel. While I was hanging around post race I noted a Cannondale Raven dual suspension knobbied MTB in the rack next to me and a really nice looking red yellow and blue paramont in the rack behind that. A woman did the race towing her kid on a converta trailer jog stroller which I blame completely on the Dick Hoyt effect. Triathlons are the realm of people that should not be trusted on bikes in any circumstances, let alone while going anaerobic trying to pass the lady towing her kid behind her.

I got outsprinted by Dick Hoyt (who probably started a wave behind me) pushing his son Rick in the Falmouth triathlon way back in 95 and have nothing but respect for the guy, but still, there is no reason people not named Dick Hoyt should be allowed to race while towing their kids. It will end badly.

Ok words words words, results here. Anyone still reading. Are these epic race reports boring you? I should maybe stop writing sooner.


Chad said...

According to the results, you aged 10 years during the race. Funny thing is that you came is 2nd place in either age group. Go Tarik!

I can attest that Warren is real fast on a bike. Gotta love LANLpeople -- I'm not that good at ______ (hiding piles of trophies, plaques, dimensionless numbers named after them, ...).

wenmei said...

Way to go! I'm duly impressed. But I'm also confused. Are you already 35? I thought you are only one month older than I am. Have I been off by a year all this time? Or am I actually 35? Or (most likely) did I know at one time that you are 13 months older but I have gotten old and have starting forgetting details?

Or...are you sand-bagging your races by pretending to be older than you really are? ;)

Tarik Saleh said...

The magic "racing age" effect. Triathlons and bike races usually place you in the age category of the age you are on Dec 31 of the year in which the race takes place. That makes your racing age a year younger than mine despite the mere 30 days of retardedness I have over you.

Or perhaps you actually are 35. who knows...

Cody said...

To answer your last question I enjoy reading your race reports, and I'm not even into that sort of thing. I like your emphasis on narrative over numbers.

(A little background -- I found your blog by way of gpickle's Stay Out of Trees! outta Iowa City, IA.)

Tarik Saleh said...


Thanks for reading. I read artbikecats and Stay out of trees fairly regularly. Also thanks for empowering me to be long winded as I need to be on the race reports...