These few weekends have been crammed with ‘end of the season’ races for many Minnesotans. 2 Weekends before this last weekend with Kona and the US Open races, our own David Thompson and Kevin O’Connor drove down to Concord, North Carolina for the USAT Short Course Duathlon World Championships. Athletes competing had to qualify through either the National Championship of their country, or a select few other races serving as qualifiers (Kevin qualified at the Apple Duathlon, with DKT competing in the pro race). The race consisted of a 10K run, a 40K bike, and a 5K run.
Serving as the World Championships, the competition in both the pro and the age group races were top notch. A race of this calibur would need to have a top notch venue to match, correct? Enter the Lowe’s Motor Speedway:
Racers would use the speedway for parts of both the runs and the bike legs of the race, swooping out and in by means of stadium tunnels. The Pro race got underway in the morning with DKT being right in the hunt on the first run clocking a 31:36 on the first 10K, just a minute back of the lead pack. On the bike he quickly made up time and finished in main pack of guys. Being a draft legal event for the pros, it’s not surpising that the race came down to who would be fastest on the final 5K run. DKT ran a 15:55 (1:51:04 for the race) and finished 2 minutes back of winner Jarrod Shoemaker who clocked a 13:52 (1:49:02 for the race).
The age group race took place in the afternoon, but the weather did not improve. Kevin paced himself out at a 33:29 for the first 10K, and went to work on his now DI2 equipped Felt DA. DI2 being Shimano’s new line of electronic shifting, which allows for razor sharp, crisp shifting from both the aerobars or the base bars with the push of a button. His choice to go with DI2 for this race was mainly due to the number of corners in race (over 40), anticipating wanting to shift from the basebar. The choice panned out well, coming in with a solid 54:49 over the 40K (6th fastest overall). It also allowed him to freely use the small ring without worry of dropping the chain, as DI2 automatically trims the chain to the perfect position. He finished with a 17:33 5K putting him 2nd in his age-group and 9th overall.
Kevin also rode with a PowerTap equipped Sub-9 disc for the race, so we’re able to analyze his power output over the 24.8 miles.
As you can see from the power numbers, Kevin did a fairly good job of even splitting the race. He only slowed down .1 mph in the second half of the bike and averaged 10 less watts (As an aside, this also shows that for Kevin, 10 extra watts means .1 mph faster). You can also see that with 40+ turns on the course, there were a lot of variations in power having to slow down and accelerate out of corners. 40+ accerations will artificially decrease your power numbers (as opposed to a flat time trial), so we were estimating Kevin’s ‘normalized power’ to be right around 300 watts.