When is draft-legal coming to a #triathlon or #duathlon near you?

running-advice-bugLots of my age-group duathlon buddies have expressed surprise and a bit of consternation about draft-legal racing on the bike coming to our part of the sport. I’ve talked to a number of people that have said they don’t feel that draft-legal racing will be safe and they want to avoid those races that head that way, but here’s the thing: draft-legal is coming. We all need to start thinking about it.

Draft-legal is coming, are you ready?

Draft-legal is coming, are you ready?

Draft-legal racing has been the norm at the elite ITU level for some time now. Many people may not realize that it has also been the norm for juniors and Under 23 (U23) as well, essentially training a whole new generation of athletes as youngsters to learn how to race draft-legal. Outside of the United States, draft-legal is not frowned upon as it seems to be here. In the US, we seem to have been trained to “hate” drafting on the bike as that’s been the rule since the beginning of the sport for most races here.

The International Triathlon Union (ITU), which is the governing body of the sport, has started moving individual age-group events to draft-legal racing. Starting in 2016, the ITU Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon World Championships will both be draft-legal. This means that drafting will be legal in ITU races for elite, junior, U23, and age-groupers — that is for all but paratriathlon/paraduathlon. It’s already legal for all distances of winter-triathlon and cross-triathlon. This just leaves the standard (or “Olympic”) distance and longer distances races.

Clearly this feels like a test to see how age-groupers do with draft-legal racing at the shorter distance. But the writing feels like it is on the wall that the standard distance won’t be far behind.

Now, the ITU doesn’t govern all triathlons and duathlons. Many are sanctioned by national bodies like USA Triathlon or organizations like Ironman or local organizers. But again, it feels like national bodies will begin to follow suit to get their athletes ready for the overall change in the sport, so we should see national bodies start re-framing these rules sooner rather than later.
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USAT Duathlon Nationals 2014 Held in St Paul #USATDU14 #triathlon

running-advice-bugST. PAUL, Minn. — Matthew Payne and Kirsten Sass captured overall standard-distance titles while Nathan Hoffman and Patty Peoples-Resh raced their way to overall sprint titles at the 2014 Life Time USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships, held Saturday at Harriet Island Regional Park.

Nathan Hoffman wins 2014 overall Sprint Duathlon title

Nathan Hoffman wins 2014 overall Sprint Duathlon title

Nathan Hoffman (South Haven, Minn.) posted the fastest time of the day in the sprint race at Duathlon Nationals. (Photo: Mario Cantu/CIMAGES)

Payne (Columbia Heights, Minn.) clocked in at 1 hour, 16 minutes, 25 seconds on the 4.6-kilometer run, 31.2-kilometer bike, 4.4-kilometer run to claim the overall victory as well as the male 35-39 age group title. Dave Slavinski (Point Pleasant, N.J.) posted a time of 1:16:46 for second overall and first in the male 40-44 age group and masters division. Thomas Woods (Lincoln, Neb.), also in the 40-44 age group, was third overall in 1:17:35.

“Really, I would say we have the most competitive duathlon scene anywhere right here,” Payne said. “I knew if I had a good race, I had a shot. Any time you get something like this in your backyard, you have to do it.”

Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.) was the top finisher for the women, picking up the women’s overall title along with the win in the female 35-39 age group, finishing in 1:25:10. Dani Fischer (Wausau, Wis.) was second overall after a penalty set her finish time back to 1:26:06, which was still solid enough for the female 25-29 age group championship, and Brenda Williams (Cornville, Ariz.) sealed her female masters and 40-44 wins in 1:27:46, finishing third overall.

“I was hoping for a good day out there and just gave it what I had,” Sass said. “It’s a very supportive environment and that’s what drew me to triathlon in the first place, and that goes for duathlon as well. Everybody is out there encouraging everybody else, and I just think that’s incredible.”
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US Duathlon National Championships Head to St. Paul #USATDU14 #triathlon

running-advice-bugNearly 650 athletes from 44 states and Washington, D.C., are on the start list for this Saturday’s 2014 Life Time USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships, held in St. Paul, Minnesota, at Harriett Island Regional Park. The race will be held on July 19, 2014.

Joe English will attempt to repeat in the Sprint Distance Championship in 2014

Joe English will attempt to repeat in the Sprint Distance Championship in 2014

After a three-year stint in Tucson/Oro Valley, Arizona, St. Paul will host the best duathletes in the country this weekend and again in 2015. Age-group duathletes and paraduathletes will race their way to national titles in both standard-distance (4.6-kilometer run, 31.2-kilometer bike, 4.4-kilometer run) and sprint-distance (2.9k run, 20.8k bike, 2.7k run) events. Races will begin at 7:30 a.m. CT on July 19 with the standard-distance race, followed by the sprint race at 11:45 a.m. CT. Visit usatriathlon.org/du14 for complete event details, and follow the race live at usatriathlon.org/du14coverage.

Twenty-three returning national champions highlight the field in Saturday’s races:

Sprint Defending Champions
Michael Ashworth (M30-34, Jersey City, N.J.)
Margaret Bomberg (F75-79, Chico, Calif.)
Celia Dubey (F40-44, Tarpon Springs, Fla.)
Joe English (M40-44, Hillsboro, Ore.)
Terry Habecker (M65-69, Ithaca, N.Y.)**
Janet Jarvits (F45-59, Pasadena, Calif.)
Heysoon Lee (F70-74, Morristown, N.J.)**
David Morrow (M60-64, Tarpon Springs, Fla.)
Patty Peoples-Resh (F55-59, Redlands, Calif.)
Kristin Villopoto (F50-54, Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Timothy Winslow (M19U, Elk Grove, Calif.)**
Standard-Distance Defending Champions
Andy Ames (M50-54, Boulder, Colo.)
Donald Ardell (M75-79, St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Jason Atkinson (M30-34, Alamogordo, N.M.)
David Burkhart (M60-64, Brighton, Mich.)
Kirsten Chapman (F50-54, Edmond, Okla.)
Kerry Mayer (M65-69, Brookfield, Wis.)
Robert Powers (M90+, White Bear Lake, Minn.)
Erica Ruge (F40-44, Rhinebeck, N.Y.)
Jennifer Scudiero (F30-34 and female overall winner, Eagan, Minn.)
Dave Slavinski (M40-44, Point Pleasant, N.J.)
Chelsea VanCott (F20-24, Oceanside, Calif.)*
Keith Woodward (M60-64, Stowe, Vt.)

*Indicates athlete is racing in the sprint event
**Indicates athlete is racing in the standard-distance event

Duathlon Nationals is the sole qualifying event for the age-group 2015 Standard- and Sprint-Distance ITU Duathlon World Championships in Adelaide, South Australia, on Oct. 14-18, 2015. The top 18 finishers in each age group, rolling down to 25th place, will qualify for Team USA.

Team USA is comprised of the nation’s top multisport athletes who represent the U.S. at each ITU World Championships event. Visit usatriathlon.org for more on Team USA.

In addition to the weekend’s races, USA Triathlon and local St. Paul shop TrüBerry Frozen Yogurt have partnered to collect unwanted sneakers this week through July 19. Donated shoes will be given to Listening House of St. Paul, a day/evening shelter and community resource center that provides hospitality, practical assistance and counsel to people who are homeless, disadvantaged or lonely. Shoes may be dropped at 949 Grand Avenue in St. Paul, and those donating shoes will receive a buy one, get one free item from TrüBerry.

Source: USA Triathlon
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2013 Long-Course Duathlon Nationals (Mt. Rainier Duathlon) Course Preview

running-advice-bugWith the 2013 Long Course Duathlon Nationals (AKA Mt. Rainier Duathlon) coming up next weekend, I spent some time riding and running the courses yesterday to give you a sneak preview and some advice on how to approach the course.

UP7512_2013 NtnlChampLogo_LongCourseDU_DateI’ll start by saying that there is a lot about this course that I like and I think that everyone should find something that they like about it. The course offers a great deal of variety, but is not highly technical. The hill climbing on the bike will favor strong riders, but there is enough other terrain to help even that out a bit as well. In short, I think this is a fair race course and should be good for well rounded athletes.

Run Course 1: At just over five miles (5.12), this course isn’t quite a 10K but is long enough that it should slow down the sprinters a bit. Looking at this on the map, I thought that it would be totally flat, but the race organizers managed to find the one hill in this part of town to incorporate into the course. The hill starts after a hard left turn right at the 3 mile mark and climbs quickly up a rolling set of inclines. The hill is short but steep and I think this is going to separate the girls from the women so to speak. If anyone has gone out too fast, they will pay for it here. There is a nice recovery coming back down the other side of the hill and then the course flattens back out in the last mile.

My advice as always is to pace yourself wisely in the first run. Your running pace should be a pace (effort level) that you can keep up for the entire duathlon — not just for that first run. Most people go out way to fast in the first run. Remember that you have a lot of riding to do after you transition, so take it easy. Work your way up the hill and then use the down hill to recover and get yourself set for the transition as you come back to the start/finish area.

Bike Course: The meat of this race is going to be on the bike. At 28.88 miles this feels quite short for a “long course” race, however, the hilly terrain makes it challenging and it will feel longer. I think the way to mentally approach this course is to divide the laps into three segments: 1) the first portion of the race until you hit the bottom of the climb (0-6 miles), 2) the climb (miles 6-8), and 3) the recovery and descent (miles 8-14). You’ll do two laps of the course.
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Duathlon — Parish and Kattouf Take 2012 National Duathlon Titles

running-advice-bugORO VALLEY, Ariz. – Patrick Parish and Gail Kattouf clinched overall national titles in the standard-distance event, while Greg McNeil and Patty Peoples won the sprint-distance race Saturday at USA Triathlon’s 2012 Duathlon National Championship, presented by TriSports.com.

Patty Peoples wins 2012 Sprint Duathlon Championship (Dave Sanders, USAT)

Parish (Bloomington, Minn.) was the top U.S. finisher on the 5-kilometer run, 35-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course with a time of 1:23:06. He finished 12 seconds behind overall winner Lionel Sanders of Ontario, Canada, who clocked in at 1:22:54. Matthew Payne (Columbia Heights, Minn.) was third in 1:25:42, and last year’s overall champion Dave Slavinski logged a time of 1:25:50 to finish fourth overall and round out the national championship podium.

“I knew a few people would take it out hard,” said Parish, who ran at Duke University in college. “I just wanted to relax through the first run, and catch everybody on the bike and see if I could close.” Parish also claimed the 25-29 age group title and posted a 49:03 bike split, which was the fastest bike split of the day in the standard-distance event.

Defending champion Kattouf (Greenville, S.C.) bested the women’s field by nearly three minutes, taking the tape with a time of 1:37:00. She led the women’s field after the first run, with a 5k split of 19:02.

“Today I left it all out on the course,” Kattouf said. “I was really pleased with how the race went down. I knew going into transition I had a couple minutes lead, and then I cruised on the run.” In addition to her 2011 national title, Kattouf won a world title and plans to defend later this year in Nancy, France.
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Commentary — It Doesn’t Always Work Out & That’s Just Fine

running-advice-bugIt’s been awhile since I’ve told a good yarn of a racing tale. Well, I’ve got one for you today and it’s a ditty. But before I get into this story that requires embarrassing myself beyond belief — almost as badly as the time I mistakenly used the women’s bathroom to change my clothes — I will back up and share with you one key learning that I want you to gain from my misfortune.

Someone Much Faster Than Me

I often tell people here in this forum that the should mix it up, try new things, and take detours here and there. If you keep doing the same things over and over, how would you know if you were really good at something else, I might ask. And, mixing it up keeps things fresh and fun. I routinely pick out a sport and spend a whole season doing nothing but that — be it ultra-running, duathlon, trail-racing, or whatever — because by focusing on a new discipline it allows me to learn things that I can apply to my other endeavors. If I hadn’t, for example, decided to focus on short-course duathlon last year, I wouldn’t have know that I was so good at it. And that’s the kind of thinking that I used to get myself into the event that I was competing in this weekend.

It started a couple of weeks ago when I was doing my schedule planning for the year. I have sorted through dozens of races trying to find a race schedule that sounds fun and interesting. My one big problem is that the USAT Duathlon Nationals falls within a heinous period of travel for me. In five weeks, I will be in five different countries with Nationals right smack in the middle of that. So if I wanted to try to go to World’s again, the only way to do it would be to try to get to Nationals somehow. In looking at this, I thought of some other options. I thought, for instance, that I might try Sprint Triathlon Nationals instead. And this is what found me pondering what off-road triathlon might be like.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’m find myself signed up for an off-road duathlon. I didn’t really even realize that it was an off-road duathlon when I signed up for it. I actually thought that it was just a winter season on-road race. But about a week before the event I was looking on-line at pictures from last year and sure enough people are riding through the mud and snow. Hmmmmm I thought to myself. Well, I guess I could get myself a mountain bike and give it a try. As I just wrote a minute ago, I do encourage people to try new things and all.
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Multi-sport — Coach Joe Races the World in Gijon (part 2)

running-advice-bugI came blasting into the first transition with a lead of almost 30 seconds. I knew that this lead would evaporate quickly. My strategy would be purely defensive from here on out.

Coach Joe on the Bike in Gijon

Running through the wet grass, I looked for the landmark that would point out my bike in the sea of pricey bicycles sitting, waiting for their riders. My landmark was a speaker on a stand, poking up into the air about half-way down the row. All of the bikes were there in the transition. The most expensive bikes from Cervelo, Specialized, Guru were there, all decked out with the most expensive wheels and componentry. I was guessing that this array of bicycles was worth easily over a million dollars. I was just hoping to stay on top of mine.

I pulled my racing flats off, put on my helmet and then pulled on my cycling shoes. That was all that needed to happen. I ran down the grass toward the exit. This was an area that I have struggled — not pushing hard enough in the transition areas in races. I liked to treat the transition as a break between two sports, but it isn’t a break. People at this level will grab big time from you if you’re loafing along through the transition. So I sprinted as fast as I could for the exit, being careful not to fall coming down onto the velodrome surface. I could imagine that would not look good to crash before even getting onto the bike. Once in the saddle, it was time to start warming up the legs for the climb that would come early in the course.

My strategy for this race had been developed in two steps. First, when I learned that there would be a sprint course, I immediately opted for that distance. This was a strategic decision in itself. As one of the fastest runners, I wanted to go as fast as possible. And as a not-so-great cyclist, I wanted to limit the amount of time on the bike. I was a decent flat road rider and a good climber, but not a great descender. The second part of the strategy came from looking at this course itself. The course started off flat for just a couple of miles and then rose quickly in a long, curvy climb into the hills overlooking Gijon. After that, the route descended over a screaming 4 kilometer drop around tight corners to get back down to the beach. This would be my problem area. I could envision people taking huge chunks of time out of me on this descent. So my plan was to run hard and then go as hard as possible until the top of the climb, after that it would just be a matter of holding on.
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Multi-sport — Coach Joe Races the World in Gijon (part 1)

running-advice-bugMy footsteps were the only sounds breaking through the night, pounding out a frantic rhythm on the broken pavement flying past under my feet. There was no wind and little moon. The darkness would have been nearly complete had it not been for the small head-lamp pointed out from my forehead at the undulating road ahead. My eyes couldn’t make out the track of the road, but I could see red and green flashing lights on the backs of runners ahead of me. They were moving slowly and I was catching them at a brisk pace. I used their position relative to me to guess which way the road was going to go next.

If I had looked at the time, it would have been just after four in the morning. We had traversed nearly 200 miles of highways and back roads from Mt. Hood toward the Pacific Ocean, this being the closing stages of the Hood to Coast Relay. My legs were tired. They were aching from almost a half-marathon that I had run earlier that day and night. Now I was trying to push myself through the last seven miles of dark country roads to finish my part of this effort. I was only about half-way through this section of the course, which meant I had another three miles or more to go.

Nearly at the point of cracking, my mind was starting to tell my legs that they could give up. And that’s when it happened. I closed my eyes. I closed them and kept them closed. I focused. I quietly commanded myself to breathe the pain out with each exhale. “Push it out, push it out” I thought. And there with my eyes closed, rumbling through the dark, I turned off the pain in my legs and started running even faster.

Not long ago, I began practicing yoga. Quite honestly, I didn’t understand why I took it up. I understood that it would be good for my body, but I didn’t know what it would mean for my mind. I quickly learned that there is great power in having control over ones thoughts and the ability to control mental anguish, to shut off pain, to turn one faucet on while turning another off. I was starting to see how this could be useful in controlling the pain and torture that I had already been good at inflicting on myself in my racing.

Coach Joe at the start in Gijon

Now I was standing at the starting line of the ITU Duathlon World Championships in Gijon, Spain. With just a few minutes to the start of the race, the officials moved us up into position. Standing under the arch, I looked around me at some of the world’s best multi-sport enthusiasts. Hailing from countries all over the planet, these were the best in this quirky sporting outpost in which we run and bike and run again, just to see how fast we can go.

The past week had been full of moments when I wondered what I was doing among these men and women. Looking out my window at the road by the beach, I would catch a glimpse of a couple of guys busting out five minute miles and think, “wow, those guys look fast.” Then I’d see another group sizzle past on Cervelo P4s and I’d hope secretly, “maybe they’re pros?”
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Multi-Sport — Team USA Races to 14 Duathlon World Championship Titles

running-advice-bugGIJON, Spain – Team USA athletes impressed on the world multisport stage Sunday by claiming 14 age group world championship titles and 29 total medals at the 2011 ITU Duathlon World Championships.

In addition to the 14 gold medals, U.S. athletes combined for eight silver and seven bronze medals in the sprint- and standard-distance run-bike-run events.

Gail Kuttoff at the Gijon ITU World Championships

Eight Americans were victorious in the 10-kilometer run, 38.4-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run standard-distance world championship. An additional six U.S. athletes won gold in the 5k run, 19.2k bike, 2.5k run sprint-distance event.

U.S. champions Gail Kattouf (Greenville, S.C.) and Eneas Freyre (Norwalk, Conn.) raced their way to world titles in the 35-39 age groups and the day’s fastest overall times in the standard-distance event. Kattouf won her first world title in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 38 seconds, while Freyre logged a time of 1:47:06 for his first-ever world championship. Both athletes posted the fastest bike splits in their respective age groups.

Repeat world champions from last year’s event were Ann Davidson (Portland, Ore.), who won the women’s 50-54 title in 2:06:33, and Edwin Bixenstine (Kent, Ohio), who claimed the men’s 85-89 crown in 3:40:41 for his fifth straight world championship.
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Multi-Sport — Elite Americans Get it Going at ITU Duathlon World Championships

running-advice-bugGIJON, Spain – National champions Matt Russell and Nicole LaSelle recorded top-10 finishes Saturday to lead the U.S. elite contingent in run-bike-run action at the 2011 ITU Duathlon World Championships.

Matt Russell at ITU Worlds 2011 GijonAdditionally, Michael Johnston (TRI-5, San Diego, Calif.) and David Kyle (TRI-3, Athens, Ala.) claimed silver in their respective paraduathlon categories to cap day one at Duathlon Worlds.

In a tightly contested men’s elite race, Russell (Austin, Texas) finished sixth in 1 hour, 51 minutes, 36 seconds on the 10-kilometer run, 43.2-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course. He crossed the finish line just seven seconds off the podium and 19 seconds off the pace of winner Sergio Silva of Portugal, who broke the tape in 1:51:17.

Russell, who recorded a career-best showing in his fourth appearance at Duathlon Worlds, posted the day’s quickest bike split by more than a minute, covering the 43.2k course in 1:01:54. Josh Merrick (Alamosa, Colo.) finished 13th in 1:52:39, as the U.S. was one of just four nations to place multiple men’s finishers in the top 13.

Nicole LaSalle at ITU Duathlon Worlds in Gijon

LaSelle (Dayton, Ohio) led a strong showing by the U.S. women, placing ninth in 2:05:31 in her first-ever world championship appearance. Her bike split of 1:09:35 was the second-fastest mark among all women’s competitors. Courtenay Brown (Boulder, Colo.) was 12th in 2:08:27, as the Americans placed four athletes in the top 18 finishers. Katie Hewison of Great Britain earned gold in 2:02:45.

In paraduathlon action, Johnston earned his first career world championship medal in 1:06:51 after posting the top run splits in the TRI-5 category. Kyle raced to his third straight TRI-3 podium finish in 1:08:47 on the 5k run, 21.6k bike, 2.5k run course. After winning bronze a year ago, Kyle claimed duathlon silver for the second time in his career (2009, 2011).
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