Written by Guy Petruzelli
Last weekend I raced the Racing for Recovery 47.5 mile duathlon, a new distance, and new race held at Maumee Bay, OH. The race has always been known as the “Battle by the Bay”, and provides great racing at a great venue, where the weather changes everything. My last time here was 6 years ago, and again weather was going to play a big factor. Instead of the normal hot, humid mid 80’s, we had lots of sun, 70’s and wind. Lots of wind.
This year, instead of the Olympic Distance Du, they were offering something new, a 47.5 mile Du – 5k/38 mile bike/6.55 mile run. Honestly, I loved it, as it allowed me to practice nutrition for longer races, while forcing me to run fast to stay at the front. With 3 duathlons taking place all at the same time, on the same course, a sprint, the 47.5 and a half iron du, we all went off together. I decided to hold back a bit, not wanting to burn any matches that first run, but hard enough to make others in my race have to dig a little deeper than they would have liked. I came through the 5K in 18:03, fast, but not blazing.
Quick transition and out to the bike. Flat course, not the best road surface, but still pan flat. However, the game changer – the wind. We faced a lot of cross wind on the 2 loop course, and a fair amount of head wind on the course’s longest stretch. I built a decent lead, and just put my head down and hammered. I got to the 13 mile mark, which had a 180 degree turn and started my watch, checking to see where everyone was. I had built a 3 minute lead. Not enough. There were fast runners behind me. Head down again and more hammering. Spent the rest of the ride like that, and at the second 180 degree turn, I had 5 and half minutes. Decent, but I knew I was going to have to run hard.
Jumped off my bike with the fastest bike split, and started to run. The wind had picked up considerably off Lake Erie, mixed with the lack of shade on the second run, made things slightly unpleasant. I had to slow down a couple times, but managed to dig deep enough to get the win and a course record. It felt great, especially with my race experiences in Ohio. Its never been particularly kind to me, so I was happy to get the win.