RACE REPORT: Patrick at Kysilis Biathlon

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Having warmed up with the Drake Relays on the Roads 8K run Saturday morning, at noon I headed north to Nevada, Iowa for the first annual Kyrsilis Biathlon.

Leaving aside the fact that the term "biathlon" usually denotes an event with some element of riflery [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biathlon ], I'd noticed this event on the Fitness Sports race calendar earlier in the week and assumed it involved some mix of biking and running. Thinking it'd be a good smaller event at which a person might knock the winter rust off his TT skills, yet not knowing what to expect in terms of an event, I made the trip.

Arriving at the race site, I was encouraged to see a makeshift transition area. I'd seen course markings and police along the route, too— both good signs. Once registered, I geared up and spent the remaining time talking my legs into racing for a second time that day.

Surveying the 50 or so in the field, it looked like some cyclists and some runners, but I won't b.s. you-- perhaps not many triathletes/duathletes. That it appeared to be more of an event and less a highly competitive race was fine; I'd still treat it as such and make the most of race-atmosphere training. The distances would be a 15-mile bike followed by a 5k run.

As with what our DS5K road team dealt with at the Iowa City road race, the wind in Nevada was nothing short of howling. The bike course was 3 laps of a north/south out-and-back 5-mile loop. The straight-line express was straight out of the west, with virtually no landmark slowing it down. As we all know from Elkhart experience, this is rural Iowa.

After a brief course talk by the race director, we rolled to the start line. (Thankfully Ben Garrett wasn't there to jedi mind-trick me onto the pavement.) I'd asked the race director during the course talk if drafting would be allowed, and she answered that it would be. Given that 100% of my multisport events this year won't be, I decided I'd stick with a non-drafting mindset. The start command was given, and we were off.

Heading out, I rolled to the front. My plan was to ride steady on laps 1 and 3, and go hard on lap 2. Riding Zipp 808s with an aero frame, allow me to say that the gigantic crosswind was making things "interesting." I'm not sure I've encountered handling issues of that magnitude before, but it certainly gave me something to keep my mind off the mileage.

At the first turnaround at mile 2.5, I found myself with a 30-second gap on a pack of five. The benefit of frequent turnarounds (every 2.5 miles), of course, is being able to monitor what's happening behind you. Eventually the chase packs broke into smaller factions, and by the end of the windy 15 miles, I had what I estimated to be five minutes plus on second place.

The 5k run was an out-and-back on the same road as the bike course, and the opening was flat, thankfully, as once out on the run I was reminded of the 8k already in the legs from that morning (though the first mile of running off the bike never feels too swell, regardless). I got into a rhythm and concentrated on keeping the pace high with a quick and light turnover.

There were a couple decent rollers in miles 2 and 3 to make it a true workout, and I felt better as the run went on. A quarter mile from the finish, the second place finisher was heading out on the 5k. Because the Death Squad is a squad with a human heart, I high-fived him and offered wholesome words of encouragement. I rolled to the finish line and notched a win for the Rassy's triathlon team.


PS A member of the Rassy's mountain bike team was out there tearing it up, as well, though I can't recall his name. Good to see the orange cammo mixing it up in a multisport setting.

PPS Word to the wise: keep an eye on tri team member Louis DeWild, who is setting PRs left and right, including a scorching 1:17:07 (5:56 pace) half marathon at the Drake Half on Saturday. And after he dragged me around for two hours on TT bikes yesterday, I can confirm that this dude has wheels-a-plenty.

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