I had my first race of the year this past Saturday. No the tornadoes didn't stop me or the race from happening. It was the first of three Woolmarket Duathlons. This one consisted of a 5k followed by an 11 mile bike ride.
When I woke up early Saturday morning I checked the weather. I wanted to make sure that we still had a small window for this race to even happen. I checked the race website and they had posted that the race was still on. The winds were blowing like crazy and I was looking for every excuse not to race. I packed my bike and headed towards the coast. The forecast showed that there probably wasn't going to be any rain but plenty of wind. Believe me there was a lot of wind. The forecast said 20-25 mph sustained winds and up to 35 mph gusts. Awesome.
Nonetheless I showed up to the race about 45 minutes before start time. There were probably about 100 people there to race and there would have been plenty more had the weather been nicer. I went and signed up, paid and got my race number. I saw some friends of mine there and sat around and chatted with them. I got my transition spot set up and was ready to go.
So the race starts and we are off. My goal for the 5k was to go out at a decent speed but not push too hard because I still had to ride my bike. I had done a trial duathlon before and riding after running is definitely different than anything else I had ever done. The first half of the race was all downhill and it was an out and back which meant the second half was all uphill. It was so muggy. I guess it was so muggy because it was about to start raining or that the fact this is South Mississippi. I saw it was 90% humidity the day before. I finished the 5k and headed for my bike.
I got on my bike and the fun began. We rode back down the same road we had just run on. Once again all downhill. I think I forgot my legs in transition because I was going nowhere, even on the downhill. We were riding right back into the wind. I even slowed down on a downhill that I was pedaling on. My fat butt was slowing down going down a hill, unheard of. I found my legs after about mile 4 and I started to push the pace. This was just when the skies opened up and it started pouring. My goal for the race was to make it hurt on the bike. I did, some. I kinda wimped out because the biggest hill was on the highway where we would be headed right back into the teeth of the wind. My midrace goal was to not get passed and do all of the passing. I probably passed 15 people. I kept pushing the pace but the wind was no joke. The last leg of the course was on a major highway for about 5 miles. This wind was crazy. At one point during a gust I knew I was going down. It blew me sideways probably 4 feet. I passed a few more people on the last big hill but got passed myself by 2 people in the last 2 miles or so. I raced to the finish line and passed one of those people back.
I ended up averaging right at 18 mph on the bike. I wasn't too thrilled but then again I won't ever race in wind like that again. Of course the weather was really bad here in Mississippi with all of the tornadoes and stuff later in the day. I know I could have average 20 mph or better on a normal day. I will get my chance soon. My first triathlon is in less than a month. Woot woot!!
On another note there is a rumor about a Hattiesburg or Pine Belt Triathlon Club. I sure hope so. There is a big one in Jackson that has a bunch of members. Maybe we can have that here in Hattiesburg.