Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Last God's Country?

It is hard to believe that 11 years ago Gerard, Carolynn and I started this little event called the God's Country Off-Road Duathlon. This years edition was the 10th Annual as we took a year off due to total exhaustion. Does anyone remember where that first event was held?

I had some big goals for this years event and decided we should make a weekend festival of it - God's Country Fat Tire Festival. The plan was to hold a traditional mountain bike race (UFD round #1) on Saturday and then our big duathlon on Sunday. A weeks worth of rain put a damper on our plans a little and hit us big with final registration numbers. We still had some good numbers, but we did not reach my goal which I will talk about later. The LRT dried out so quickly that it ended up that we could have raced on Saturday after all. But I guess better safe that sorry. Sunday's course conditions were the best I have ever seen. Our MTB race well be held on April 7, 2012 at the same great location.

This past week was very, very stressful and tiring. Adding event promotion to a full time job is bad enough, but with all the weather issues and big decisions that had to be made I was at my ends wit come Friday. Maybe it was a good thing we postponed the MTB race because I really do not know if we could have pulled off a two event weekend. Luckily we had some great volunteers that turned up and lent us a helping hand. Thanks to everyone who helped out on Saturday and Sunday. I have said this before, but without volunteers events just would not happen. It takes a good leader and a great team to make things happen.

My legs felt like crap Sunday morning and when it came time to finish loading up the trailer Sunday morning at 4:30 am I looked at the final piece of equipment (my Anthem X) I decided to go ahead and bring it just in case I need to do any final trail marking. Race morning went smoothly again thanks to the volunteers and everything being somewhat organized on my part. As the racers started to arrive I got the "racing bug" and started mulling participating. About 30 minutes before the start I got dressed and went out to make sure the course was marked well enough and that the Patrol was in place. Everything was fine so I decided to just go ahead and line up and at least start the event. A quick run to the packet pickup to get my bib number and timing chip and I was officially in the event - Short Course option.

I briefly went over race instructions and lined up with the rest of the field. All the fast guys were lined up front including two time winner Tige Lamb. I opted to get about mid-pack. With tired legs you never want to start out to quickly. Christopher sounded the air horn and we were off.
The first run which is ~ 2 miles long (many stated the run was long at about 2.3 miles and I think they are correct :-)) starts on the Levee and then heads down to the single track. I always seem to run quicker in the woods than on roads be them gravel or pavement. I was way back in the field at the start but once we hit the single track I started making up ground quickly. My final mile was a good one as I finally got this old body of mine warmed up and rolling. After a quick transition I was off on the bike. The first several miles were filled with riders. Passing was a slow process. At least for me it was. I am usually a little aggressive with passing, but being the event promoter you really have to be nice :-) A little after the big log section I finally was able to bring the pace up to race speed. Most of the fast guys like Tige and JP were gone by this point, but I still put in a solid effort on the bike. I knew Eric was close behind me but felt like I was close to the overall lead on the Short course. Heather asked if anyone would finish under an hour and I said I would finish in around 55 min. Check out the photo on the right. One thing I do know is my body and the effort I can put out on a given day. Some days it's not much of an effort, but sometimes .... End result was 1st in the Male 40 - 49 division and 2nd overall short course.

My form is coming along. The past two weeks I have actually regressed some due to all the additional work I have done and the missed training due to said work. I still have a lot of ground to cover if I want to do well at this years Xterra events including the UCI Cross World Championships in May. This is one of the main reasons that this just may be my last God's Country Off-Road Duathlon. It takes a lot of time and commitment to promote events. There is only so much time available in ones life. Luckily my wife and son support me and whatever I decide. Maybe it is time to give more to them? The other reason is this may be the last one is participation numbers. I am very goal oriented if you haven't not noticed. Some objectives you have control over, others you do not. As a promoter my goals were not reached at this years event. Was that my fault? The weather? Lack of demand for the product? I feel like I have come up short this year but was it because I created unrealistic goals?


Anonymous said...

I hope you change your mind about this year being the last year. I have done this race at least 5 times and always had a great time. It is unique as it is the only off road Du in the area.

Anonymous said...

I've known Chris 13 years and we've promoted together since 2001. Every year is his "last" year.


mikeltm said...

This was my 2nd year doing God's country and I enjoyed it even more this year thanks to having the long course option.
Thank you for putting this race together.