Saturday, March 10, 2012

Desert Classic Duathlon - Pro Recap and Some Thoughts on the Race

Here are some quick thoughts on the pro race at the the Desert Classic Duathlon today.  For those unfamiliar it is the first major multi-sport pro race that takes places in the US for the calendar year.  It always amazes me who how many athletes turn out for this race given the relatively small prize purse and this year was no exception.   I didn't do an official count but there was a good number of pros including Matt Russell, Chris Foster, Ben Hoffman, Lewis Elliott, Jozsef Major, Kevin Taddonio, Brendan Halpin, Jesse Vondracek, James Burns, Jason Pedersen, and others.  On the female side it was Linsey Corbin, Amy Kloner, Christine Jefferies, Lisa Ribes, Kelly Fillnow, and some others who I can't recall or don't know. As for me well I took the "easy" way out and was the only male pro in the pro mountain bike duathlon along with at least two other females.

Anyway the drama of the day was that many of pros went of course and it likely shifted their entire race.  What could have been:

1st - Chris Foster
2nd - James burns
3rd - Matt Russell

 Ended up being:

1st - Jason Pedersen
2nd - Brendan Halpin
3rd - Kevin Taddonio

I say "could have" because you just never know.  What happened specifically is that a few of the pros went straight instead of turning right - the pros that went straight not only went straight but followed the course for quite some time with no idea they were off course.  To be fair, the run is a crisscrossing mountain bike park and sometimes someone that looks like they are just in front of you is actually on a completely different trail making things extra deceptive.

There was a lot of discussion after the race about how to handle the situation and I think the RD did the best job he could in handling the situation.  In my opinion there are lots of pieces in triathlon besides just swimming, biking, and running but many people simply don't want to do the little things that make you successful.  The place the pro's went of course was not at all confusing to me as I had surveyed the course the day before.  Now did having a smash-fest on the course the day before the race affect my race adversely - absolutely - but I know enough to know that when you are racing a complicated trail course that maybe it might be a good idea to become familiar with it.

If you have ever lead a race before you know that all kind of things occur from wild dogs roaming around, to unready volunteers, to traffic cops sitting in their police cars and NOT directing traffic.  It is just the simple the nature of being first.  Now maybe I simply know this because I have had my fair share of adverse events at races.  But in this case some age-groupers got misdirected so I have some sympathy for the situation.  In my opinion all courses could be better marked and mistakes can be made, and this simply reminds me that any time a race course changes or is a new race course that extra recon is needed.  This is especially true when the course doesn't involve streets with memorable names such as "turn here if you want to win".

Overall I had a great time in my first ever mountain bike duathlon and I'm already looking forward to next year.   An official race report for my race is in the works.

1 comment:

  1. i have zero sympathy for those who went off course, they should have done their homework first

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