by Nathan Cline
Blessed by beautiful weather and endowed with a challenging trail system, the 2014 Des Moines Dirty Duathlon was difficult and fun at the same time. Temps were in the 70s, which is the most pleasant I have had for the Dirty Du.
I compete in the solo division, which is two-mile trail run and ten-mile mountain bike, followed by another punishing two-mile trail run. I kept my running up this year but running alone can’t quite prepare you for the maxium effort a race brings out.
First run went about as expected, started strong and faded back a little. I thought my lungs would explode but they didn’t. On to the bike leg, my first lap I was hanging quite a few pedals as I was still trying to catch my breath from the run, but the next two laps went smoothly as my breathing settled. I was being pushed by a competitor but he had a few mishaps on the bike and I was able to gap him.
I caught the eventual winner on the third lap of the bike, but I knew that he was an excellent runner from the first lap when had blown around me and asked, “How do you like your Altras (shoes)? I love mine.” To which I had responded “Love. <Gasp> Good.”
As I biked by, I told him “I’m going for it but you’ll probably see me on the run.” He told me I was in second place at this point. That was a little bit of a surprise because it’s hard to tell the difference between the relay teams and solo participants. I gave it everything I had on the bike to see if I could get close to number one but to no avail.
The last run was very difficult. I was passed back by the winner about a quarter of the way through, but I chugged on feeling like I could not get enough air into my lungs the whole run. The last half mile had me panting like a dog. I hate to admit it, but I walked a little up the last steep climb.
I finished third. I was very happy to be done and be able to enjoy the day, the people, and the wonderful park in the center of Des Moines (plus, a beer). The Des Moines bike community is strong, fun, and kind, and I’m happy to be a part of it!
Scott and Katherine did the race as a relay. Their report is on our blog, too.
Full results from the Des Moines Dirty Duathlon are online at OnlineRaceResults.
Photo credits: Eric Roccasecca