What's up chuck?

An unreal week for HAUS as races in all types Jenny Holsman took to the course in Rocky Point…we saw her take a left hand turn when she saw the “USA Turn here” sign and haven’t heard from her since.

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Rich McKnight took to the Nations toughest 50 miler in Payson, AZ. As someone who has completed this race, I can vouch for Rich as saying it was a “bitch” of a course (I may have said that but the course is TOUGH!) This course has close to 9,000 feet of climbing…yes…9,000 feet, long unprotected sections that are hot and dry, and 50 miles is just LOOOOONG…rich hit the 40 mile mark and muscled as far as they would let him…great job Rich!

Scott Schraff took to Richmon, VA for the National Duathlon Festival. I will let you all read Scott’s report on his race below…great job Scott!

I began writing this yesterday and just finished it.  Race report from National Duathlon Championship.

I’m sitting in the airport completely depressed.  I’m on my way home from Richmond, VA after competing in the National Duathlon Championship. As a relative “newbie” to multi-sport racing I guess I had it coming.  I had always heard horror stories about mechanical issues that can derail a race.  I’ve been pretty lucky and have had only minor issues, none of which impeded my race…until now.  The depressing part about it is that physically this Haus was on fire! (Unfortunately, the fire truck had mechanical issues..more on that soon.)

 Despite forecasts for thunderstorms, the race was relatively dry, not too hot, but humid.  The day of the race, I arrived at the race with plenty of time to get my gear laid out and uncover my bike, which I had neatly wrapped in a heavy duty drop cloth I bought at Lowes. I was the envy of a lot of people, who obviously have not been racking bikes overnight in the rain. I got a lot of “where did you get that” comments. However, I am becoming an expert rain racer as 3 of the 4 duathlons I have done (career total) have been raced in the rain.  I got in a nice 20 minute warm up run and lined up right in the front at the start line.

 I learned my lesson at World’s last year…you need to be in the front hitting the first turn to avoid the bottle necking that occurs when 80 guys try to turn a corner a mob.  If you are not at the front, you’re left behind by the leaders.  There was one guy who finished ahead of me at Worlds who I knew was a good runner so I marked him.  He beat me at Worlds, so I called him Worlds.

 The horn went off and off we went…downhill and steep for the first 400 meters. I settled into 3rd place and found my rhythm.  At about 800 meters, the guy who went sprinting out front and was quickly the leader decided the pace was way too fast for him and suddenly he was gone, in reverse….I’m now in second place.  Hmmmm, not so sure what is going on because I know I’m not the best runner in this race.  Then this rail thin guy comes blowing by me…ahhh, The Rabbit.  Off went The Rabbit and one guy went with him, but couldn’t keep up and he settled into No Man’s Land, between The Rabbit and a small group of 3 that included me, Worlds. and Tall Guy.   At about the halfway mark, Worlds slowly passed me.  I stayed within 5-10 seconds of him.  I probably could have stayed right on his heels…I was feeling REALLY good. The pace was fast for me (5:30 roughly for the 1st 2 miles) but I was completely within myself and not struggling.  I stayed with Tall Guy and we soon caught and passed No Mans Land…he was huffing and puffing.  By the time we hit the hill before the transition/finish area we were within 5 seconds of Worlds. The four of us (Rabbit, Worlds, Tall Guy and me) all came screaming into transition with a 5 second window.

 I couldn’t believe it. I had accomplished goal #1, which was to stay with the leaders on the first run…and I didn’t kill myself doing it.  Look out, baby! I know I could take Worlds on the bike and Tall guy was sucking wind.  I wasn’t sure about The Rabbit, but he was so skinny and I didn’t think cycling was his forte. (I was right, he was super slow on the bike.) Things were going great…the moon’s were aligning. I could taste it.  I was right were I wanted to be going into my strong part of the race.

 In transition, I quickly took off my running shoes and slipped on the cycling shoes. Normally I would have had my cycling shoes pre-mounted on my bike but the transition area was nice grass and I figured I would save more time by putting them on in transition and running out with them instead of trying to torpedo my foot into the shoes once I was on the bike.  I was real quick in transition and ran by Tall Guy who was sitting on the ground putting his shoes on as I ran by him. He gave me a “What the hell!” look.  I gave him the “That’s the way we do it at the Haus!” look.  I never saw The Rabbit again. Blue and Black was on the move.

 Out the transition zone I flew…in second place!  The leader was Worlds and he had about 5 seconds on me coming out of transition.  I immediately started chewing into his lead and passed him about 2 miles into the bike.  Smoking! I’m now in the lead and have a lot of bike miles to put into the rest of the field.  I didn’t think too many guys were going to do a sub-1 hour bike time (I was correct on that one…only 2 guys posted sub 1 hour).  I was pretty confident I would be in the 58-59 minute range.

 On the bike I was feeling really good.  Worlds stayed close on the first lap, but 2 miles into the second lap he was fading back.  I was flying!  You know you are drilling it when spectators and other athletes come up to you afterward and comment on how fast you were going on the bike.  Yeah, I was going fast.  I had good legs.  I was going to be bringing a National Championship back to the Haus.

 This is when the Gods of Multisport Mayhem (GOMM) put the smack down on me and my race went to hell.  The bike course was back and forth over 2 bridges…many times.  On the pre-ride on Saturday I noted a lot of junk in the breakdown lane that could be potential roadside bombs as far as my tires were concerned.  Fortunately, they opened up the car lanes for us to use during the race, but Saturday night showers washed all the junk all over the road.  About ½ way through the second lap I went over one of the many bridge expansion joints and instead of gliding over it, I felt a thud.  I thought to myself, man, that was a jolt.  It certainly was because about 10 seconds later I notice a little bounce in my front wheel and slowly watched the tire go flat as I continued cycling.  Oh no. I couldn’t believe it.  All week I was sure I would need a little luck to win this race.  Well, GOMM decided to give me anti-luck.

 My worst race nightmare (well almost…it ranks behind a crash and a snapped chain) was coming true.  Ok, I thought, I’m prepared.  I have a spare tire, CO2 cartridge and my Chuck (the adapter to inflate the tire).  I decided to ride on the wheel to the turnaround because there was a fence there that I could lean my bike against while I changed my tire.  Just before the turnaround, World’s passed me and asked why I was slowing down…I told him I wanted to give him a chance (I didn’t say that).  I told him I had somehow upset GOMM and payback was going to be brutal. I wished Worlds good luck and off the bike I jumped.  I quickly pulled off the front wheel and pulled out the spare and the CO2 cartridge..but my Chuck was gone. I screamed “WHERE IS CHUCK?!?!?!” No chuck…no luck.  I looked at the USAT official standing there and asked, “Have you seen Chuck?” Sorry, no Chuck.

 Ok, I thought, I’ll ride down the road and find one of the myriad of cyclists changing flats.  Surely the next guy would have a Chuck.  So I rode down the road and spotted another poor soul who had upset GOMM.  He had a Chuck! I’m in luck.  Ah, not so fast, said GOMM.  His Chuck is threadless.  WHAT?  His adapter took a non-threaded cartridge and I needed a threaded Chuck.  Unbelievable.  I had already ripped off my glued-on tire and had put my spare on, but there was no way I could ride a non-glued flat spare tire.  That was a recipe for serious bodily harm. My race was officially gone. My choices at this point were to walk it in, or keep racing…sort of.  So I started running with my bike. No matter that I was 4 miles from the transition area. Surely, I thought, there must be someone out here with Chuck.  I turned the corner and there was another guy fixing a flat.  (They were all over the course). I ran up to him and he had Chuck…and a threaded one.  It took me 2 minutes to take my wheel off, blow up my tire, put my wheel back on. If only Chuck had not disappeared.  I would have at least given myself a shot at the podium with a 2 minute wheel change. (I’m not sure what happened to Chuck. It was in my spare kit the day before. I can only imagine that one of the big bumps had knocked it out of the kit. The other option is that someone took Chuck. I’d like to think GOMM took Chuck on one of the bumps.)

 Back on the bike, back into the race.  I had now lost 16 minutes since getting the flat.  Winning…gone. Podium…gone.  Qualifying for Worlds…most likely gone.  So now was the moment of truth.  I was dripping in frustration. Should I just ride it in, take it easy on the run and say, “oh well.”  No way.  I spent 3 months,  8-10 hours a week doing running and cycling intervals, watching my diet, and I gave up beer for the final week, for goodness sake.  There was no way I was mailing this one in.  I WAS PISSED OFF.  I WAS WINNING THE GOMM-FORSAKEN RACE BEFORE THE FLAT. HAUS ON FIRE!  Also, giving up wouldn’t be a good example for the kids. So I ramped it up again and started tearing into the real estate.  I was flying by cyclists like they were elderly pedestrians on beach cruisers.  I finished the 3rd lap in one piece. 

 I started the second run and was feeling not bad.  Until I saw Worlds coming up the hill to win the race as I was heading out on the run.  Damn GOMM.  I ran a pretty good second 5K.  About 30 seconds slower than the 1st, but motivation was lower. I caught a few guys in my age group.  There was one lumbering giant I was trying to catch but he managed to finish about 10 seconds ahead of me.  He took 25th. Despite giving up 16 minutes I still managed to finish 26th.  Guess what, World’s qualifying roll down is to 25.   Damn GOMM.  If only I had caught the lumbering giant.  Kick in the gut…actually, lower.

 This was a truly frustrating experience and my most disappointing athletic endeavor ever.  Looking at the times, I would have won the National Championship or finished 2nd by seconds.  World’s ran about 50 seconds faster than me on the second 5K.  I bet I would have had about a minute or more into him going into the last run.  I also would have been super motivated to hold on.  And I was running on all-cyclinders. No heavy legs. Damn GOMM.  I’m not sure I’ll ever feel that good at such a major event that was tailor-made for me (the first run had been shortened from 10k to 5K, which hurts the real fast runners).  It was disheartening to watch it go up in flames, despite all the preparation.  Ugghhhh!

 I’m going to destroy the next race I do.

Addendum: On Monday I decided to beat myself up some more. I downloaded my bike data.  I lost just over 17 minutes during the fiasco.  If I take out that time gap, my bike time was just over 58 minutes.  Fastest in the group…and I easily win the National Championship.  I would have had 2 minutes on Worlds heading into the 2nd run. In addition, I was 10 seconds faster in the second transition.  So I didn’t need to run any faster than I did and Worlds would have had to run a sub 16 minute 5K to catch me.  Unbelievable.

Luckily the final results have me 25th, which makes me eligible for Worlds if 7 people ahead of me decide they don’t want to go.  Point is, keep going, even when all looks lost.


Many races coming up HAUS…remember that Tempe International is the Arizona Club Championships and we took third in the small clubs last year…lets do it again..chekc out the celandar and get out there!

-  C

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