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Bucks County Duathlon Wrap-up by Brad Sponaugle

posted Sep 8, 2014, 6:20 PM by Chris Burns

This morning’s Bucks County Duathlon almost became an experiment in bare foot running as I rolled out of bed and realized I forgot my racing flats (DOOH!).  Luckily I keep an old pair of racing shoes in the trunk of my suv (just in case I do something stupid…like forget my racing flats).  Regardless of what I was wearing on each foot, my lungs were feeling wicked heavy from a pneumonia infection.  Before anyone tells me that racing with pneumonia is even more brainless than forgetting your shoes, I had to complete this event in order to fulfill the minimum requirements for a 2014 USAT ranking (there's always a reason to the madness).

 To top off the already sick feeling in my chest, warming-up next to me was 2009 World Duathlon bronze medalist Todd Wiley.  Even at the age of 44, this guy can absolutely fly!  It’s not every day you get a chance to take on a guy with a ridiculous resume.  Knowing Todd would smoke the opening 2 mile run, I decided to make this race a cycling time trial and at least try and pull even for the final run.

 As we lined up, the starter pointed his pistol in the air.  About 100 yards into the run, I began to think the starter shot me in the chest.  My breathing was erratic and my feet felt like bricks were tied to them (guess I should have gone bare foot)!  More than eight runners pulled away (I think a few were Clydesdales).  Nearing the point of embarrassment, I finally reached transition in a horrific 12:34 (or 6:17 per mile….9th fastest). 

 Struggling into transition (and 2 minutes down to the leader), I slowly switched gears, trying every breathing technique imaginable to bring down my heart rate.

 Existing transition (now in 8th place), I started my charge to bring back a bronze medalist.  Within the first 2.5 miles, I had worked my way up to 3rd place.  At the mile 5 turn around, I found myself in second place overall.  Unfortunately, the previous 2nd place rider entered my draft zone and decided to take up permanent residency.  I continued to chase the leader with little success.  I rolled into transition #2 tied for 2nd place.  Bike split was 24:12 (or 24.8 mph….1st fastest). 

 Transition #2 was nearly as pathetic as #1.  I barely managed to stumble out of transition in 2nd place overall.

 Holding 2nd place lasted about 5 seconds until the very fresh runner (who spent 5 miles in my bike draft) pulled away into the woods.  My bike efforts afforded me a very nice cushion over the remaining field.  I shuffled all the way to the finish with a lousy 13:13 effort (or 6:36 per mile…6th fastest).

 While I managed to have the fastest bike split (beating Todd Wiley by 8 seconds), my running killed any chance at an overall win (Final…3rd place overall…Two minutes 50 seconds behind the winner).  Not sure if I will attempt another duathlon this year.  Right now, I’m planning some VERY easy rides and runs (possibly a few bare foot) to help with recovery.  Next event....TI Time Trial.

Brad Sponaugle is a current member and Vice-President on the board of Team Integrity