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TriHardAlan - Tales of an Age Grouper
TriHardAlan - Tales of an Age Grouper

The art of winning without winning

TriHardAlanby TriHardAlanOct 18th 2013
How do you win without winning? Well¬.....

I only entered the 2 Fast & Furious Duathlon last Sunday as a warm up, to get my Duathlon legs back before the more serious business of the Jekyll & Hyde and the Ballbuster. When I got up to the forecasted downpour I certainly wasn¬'t taking it too seriously despite knowing that a small field might possibly mean an Age Group win, my first.

Having read the instructions I lined up in wave 2 with all the over 40¬'s and females and after a quick briefing set of on the first 5k run starting with a loop of the green in the school hosting the event. By the time we got out on the road we had all settled in to our pace and I was in 3rd place. Hhhmm, I thought to myself, they are not pulling away, this could be interesting. After a Kilometre or so we went up a hill and I went in to 1st place. I lost that on the decent but regained it on the next hill and knowing I was stronger on the ascents made me confident I could outpace them both when things got ugly on the 2nd run. Still, what to do in the meanwhile? Push on and open a gap? Or just run my own race and trust my bike will be strong enough to keep in range? Being at the front of the field is a totally different mindset and is a really enjoyable kind of pressure, something I have only previously encountered at the smaller Parkruns! I opted to keep to my own pace, especially as I was still leading. I came in to transition after 18.32, so far so good.

After a 41 second transition and a smooth mount on the bike I was of. Now, how hard to push? More tactics rushing through my mind! Not only did I have making sure I didn¬'t toast the legs to consider but also the conditions, it was still hammering down, lots of surface water and frankly I couldn¬'t hardly see a thing through my visor. And whilst it was a simple out and back untechnical course on a decent road surface it was sometimes hard to tell. I opted for caution. Regardless of what was going to happen today I still had other events and after about 5k somebody came past. Now for a change of tactics, I opted to keep him in sight and upped my effort just a fraction with no intention to actually catch him. This was a hard task because as the road twisted he wasn¬'t in sight but every time it straightened out there he was, even if his lead was growing. When we turned around I again pushed the effort up a fraction and started to enjoy the course a bit more having a little bit of familiarity with the bends on the course, and it was a course that lived up to its name. In the dry, this would be a great bike course. By the time I got to the last few K he was a small dot on the horizon but that was enough to give me a chance and in tricky conditions, I was in one piece. Despite the dismount line having moved since the race started I was of smoothly and completed the 21k bike in 35.53, which included my T2 time.

Out on to the run, I¬'m in 2nd place, lets catch this f*****r! Time to run aggressively. I wasn¬'t sure how far ahead he was but was confident I was running quicker so dug in and gave chase. I used a few people from wave 1 as a target quickly sweeping past and then caught a glimpse of my target. Half way up the 2nd hill where I had first taken the lead on the 1st run, I did so again. We exchanged well dones and then to make sure I didn¬'t relax and think job done I set of to hunt down the next wave 1 athlete. Was I opening up a gap? I couldn¬'t hear footsteps behind me but I always have a never look behind policy, it¬'s a sign your worried, whether you are or not. I kept pushing, it had now turned ugly as I expected it would but I was winning, anything worthwhile has to be worked for so on I pushed and crossed the line after a second, slightly shorter run of 18.37 for a total of 1.13.42

So, my first Age Group win. No, my bubble was quickly burst when somebody I knew from Ottawa pointed out half the over 40¬'s had gone off in wave 3! Had I missed an announcement? Don¬'t know, but if I had I wasn¬'t the only one. Talking to another guy in my AG he had done 1.10 and he thought came second overall so knew at that point I hadn¬'t won but with prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd for over 40 and over 50 categories it was worth hanging around to find out. After much chaos and confusion whilst the organisers worked out on pen and paper the results (no chip timing) with at one point the guy I had overtaken being awarded 2nd place overall I eventually got the 2nd place trophy despite finishing 3rd as the winner, as he suspected, picked up the 2nd overall trophy. I had also finished 9th overall.

This was my first trophy for either a Duathlon or Triathlon. Not my best result by any means but they don¬'t often give out trophies for 2nd or 3rd so a very happy day and that trophy now sits proudly on my shelf. Also have to say that I was happy with my times. The runs were quite simply quick but I was also pleased with the bike considering it¬'s a rolling course and I put in a controlled rather than hard effort. In a small field of 74 I had the 15th quickest first run, 7th quickest bike and 4th quickest 2nd run. That¬'s good pacing and bodes well for the next two Duathlons.

Also want to add that this was a bloody good event. Very small and friendly on a great course and I will certainly be back.

PS Despite me swapping the key word did anybody recognise the title and can tell me which film I borrowed it from? First person to leave a comment with the answer wins a prize. Well, not a prize, just the honor :-)
ritatrisby member: ritatris, Oct 24th 2013 16:18
No idea on the film reference, but I had a similar experience of being in for a win at a relatively small event this year. The difference in mental state was very interesting, but it also made me realise that whoever wins is only the fastest person to turn up on the day. It's kind of helped me take those speedy untouchable ones off of their pedastal and start thinking like a contender! Making the podium is the first step, well done :)
TriHardAlanby blog author: TriHardAlan, Oct 24th 2013 16:26
The original line was "the art of fighting without fighting" from Enter the Dragon

It does comes back to that regular phrase, Controlling the Controllable's. And who turns up is very much an uncontrollable. I have had better results, its just in those races they haven't given out prizes for AG 2nd or 3rd on those occasions. Thanks, and I am sure the AG win will come soon :-)
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