Well once again the new job had foiled my original plans, Thursday and Friday turned out to be two back to back 10 hour days so I decided to not race the Edinboro Olympic triathlon in PA on Saturday and jump in on a local sprint duathlon on Sunday. We started Saturday with a 2 hour tempo ride then headed off to packet pickup where I volunteered from 1-5 to help with packet pickup and set up the bike racks, then I headed home for some pasta and tuned the bike up.
Sunday morning and race day we showed up to the course 1.5 hours early to ride and run the course before hand, considering this would be the shortest race I would do all year I wanted to get a few extra miles in for the day. The race is a 2 mile run 10 mile bike and a 2 mile run a true all out sprint! The run was mostly flat with 1 big hill at mile 1.5 (here's the elevation chart for the run)
the ride started with a 2-3 percent grade for the first mile then mostly flat with 1 killer half mile tiered hill at mile 8 (and here's the bike elevation).
After we rode and ran the course as a warmup we set up in transition.
I had just enough time to do a few strideouts to get the legs ready for some speed before the race started.
The gun went off at 7:30 am and we were off, I ran in 4th place through the first 1.5 miles and backed off a little on the last half mile, I knew the first mile on the bike was all uphill and wanted to start the bike with a little energy. T1 was not great I headed out on the bike in 8th place. I biked conservatively for the first mile and then began to hammer the rest of the course and biked my way into 4th place comming into T2. The last run was a sufferfest temps were around 90 and I was starting to melt down, I was passed by 2 runners in the first mile and was caught in no man's land the last mile. The runners in front were too far ahead to reel in and no one was behind to challenge me, so of course with no one to push me and brutal temps I slowed way down on my 2nd run. I finished 6th overall and 1st age group, at least I thought that was the outcome according to the orginial results, 1st run 6:02 pace, bike 22.3 avg.mph, 2nd run 6:34 pace.
I was not overjoyed with the results considering I felt I could have pushed much harder on the second run but I figured it was a great speed workout and some quality miles for the day. We finished the day with a cool down run of the course again and hit the showers and waited for the awards to start. The race director said it would be a few minutes before the awards because there were quite a few penalties and the results had to be altered. I thought nothing of this because I believed I had raced a clean race. When the awards were announced for the 40-44 age group and I was called out in second place, I was shocked and thought there was some kind of mistake. I asked the race director what had happened and he said I had received a 2:00 penalty. Once again, I was sure there was a mistake, so I set out to find the the USAT official as you can see here...
and started grilling her on how she penalized me. She claimed it was a drafting penalty. I was livid because I knew not one time on this entire course did I gain an advantage by drafting or hanging on to anyone's wheel. Apparently the call was made on the huge hill near the end of the bike course. I had passed a guy right at the beginning of the hill and he passed me in the middle of the hill and I did not drop back quick enough out of the draft zone. She said she had her stop watch on me and it was a fair penalty. My point was that, yes according to the rules I might have spent a second or two in the draft zone, but it is impossible to gain a draft advantage on a hill with 8-10% grade, with avg. speeds at 8-12 mph making it a complete bullshit call. Anyway, I guess the thing that upsets me the most about it, is that I sincerely try to race fair and on this day I was called a cheater and penalized for it and it knocked me down from 1st AG and 6th OA to 2nd AG and 11th OA. Being the competitive person I am, it really ruined my day!
I guess this is a lesson learned the hard way, and believe me next time I am passed on the bike even on a hill I will drop back quicker. Still It's been 2 days since the race and it has not stopped bothering me. I guess I just need to take my lumps and move on!