Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quick Review of the 2013 Millstadt Biathlon

So back in 2011, I did the Millstadt Biathlon (in Millstadt, Illinois, about 30 minutes from downtown St Louis) in pouring down rain but ended up meeting Melissa, who has become a much appreciated triathlon buddy and friend.  Boy, could I have used her today as I returned to this course!

Race Details:  This event starts with a 5 mile run and then goes on to an approximate 22 mile "rolling hills" course (lesson learned -- pay attention to any race course that includes "rolling hills"!  These folks are saying something!)  The race starts at 8 AM and has a pretty informal transition area (in the sense that there don't seem to be any "rules" -- your loved ones can stand right next to you and your racked bike).  If you can't tell from the picture below, I was the first person there (I figured I need to get better at being earlier like my triathlon friend Bill -- and it was nice to set up, stretch, hit the restrooms, figure out the course, and finish my coffee -- before heading over to the start line!)

Weather:  This part was perfect (low 70's I think with a clear blue sky!) -- it couldn't have been any better (in the same way that the 2011 event couldn't have had even worse weather!).  I didn't feel the wind until the bike course started -- and then it would just smack you in the face as you were trying to speed through open fields.  Not fun.  But -- no complaints!  Again, at least it wasn't raining!

Run Course:  Today this was my favorite part -- I am not in the best of shape right now but I actually beat my 52:19 time from 2011 by 19 seconds!  I came in at 52:00 minutes exactly and I am pretty sure that the last two miles were fast for me.  I got my mojo and just pushed on the gas pedal (and many thanks need to go to Billy Joel's "Pressure" for getting me up that last major hill!).

Bike Course:  Or as another way of putting it would go, "the hour and half when I thought I was gonna die!"  I knew doing this before that this was a tough course but I think last time I was so focused on making sure I didn't fall (the roads were slick from the rain) that I don't remember the bike course being that long.  Or hilly.  It felt super long today.  To boot, I didn't prep well in terms of nutrition and somehow I managed to bring only one water bottle (which was dry about 1/2 through the course).  I bonked and it was a pretty major bonk.  I really wasn't sure if I would be able to finish (especially since I was having some problems with low pressure in my back wheel).  But about five miles out, I just pushed harder and probably made up for some of the lost time from before.  I must have been going fairly fast because I passed about 10 bikes on the way in and I think each one just made me go a little faster!

Race Organization:  Perfect!  There were volunteers everywhere and police officers on all the major intersections.  Absolutely no complaints for the folks behind this race -- they did a fabulous job!  (but maybe they could have cut out some of those hills on the course?!)  You get a bright neon long sleeved shirt for this race but I was more excited about the recyclable grocery bag!

Will I do this one again?  You betcha!  My 2011 overall time was 2:16:17 (52 minutes on run and 1 hour 23 minutes on the bike).  This year my official time was 2:27:41 (a 52 minute run and an hour and 25 minutes on the bike).  Next year?  a 50 minute run and one hour and fifteen minutes on the bike!)  But I will do more hills.  Lots of them!

1 comment:

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