Sunday, April 29, 2007

Atomic Man 2007, Race Report

This morning Sweet Baboo and I got up and headed for the 3rd Annual Atomic Man Duathlon. They have two courses, the "Fat Man" and the "Little Boy". Forgetting for a moment the objectionable source of the names, I have to say that this is one of the best duathlons I've ever done. It's well organized, and they give you HEED at the aid stations instead of the evil stomach-cramping gator-juice. And, they give out some serious shwag. Last year they gave out technical T-s, long sleeve, which are one of my favorite shirts. This year they gave out LG Jackets. And, if you fill out a post race survey, you get a really nice runner's cap. The awards are usually something interesting and artsy.

We stayed in the area the night before and ate at the Peking House, I think it was called. Really decent Chinese food, including Tofu. We tried getting a bite at the Los Alamos Beverage Company, but they didn't really have anything vegan-ish. The people there looked pretty happy with their food, though, so I'm assuming it's a pretty good place. I met the owners, who did this duathlon, and they are pretty nice people. Their 8-year-old also did this race. I think he beat me.

Anyway, I'm babbling. Back to the race.

The little boy course is a 4K run, 15k bike, and 4K run. The fat man course is a 10K run, 40K bike, and 5K run. It is worth noting that the bikes on each of the courses are formidable. As in, "holy hell, this hill is steep and long, and I think I'm going to throw up." As in, the Jemez Mountains not too far from the Santa Fe ski area. They are not only very winding, but involve considerable climbing, and the whole things is at an altitude of over 6000 feet.

I did this one last year, and I was hoping to best my time. I probably would have, if I hadn't wasted time doing any of the following:

  1. Standing at the bike mount line repeatedly punching my cadence meter, muttering, "reset, damn you."

  2. Stopping to pick up a gel I had accidentally dropped on the course after the race director, in the prerace meeting, threatened that if we trashed any part of the course, he would find us and he would penalize us.

  3. Pedaling with one leg on my bike aftering picking up said gel, while saying, repeatedly, to my left shoe/pedal, "Clip in, damn you."

  4. Stopping to put the chain back on that jumped off while pedaling uphill.

  5. Pedaling with one leg on my bike after putting on said chain, while muttering to my left/shoe pedal, by now shouting, "Clip in, damn you!"

It is interesting to note that it's been suggested to me repeatedly by Sweet Baboo that you're supposed to clip on the side that's most difficult first. Of course, I never remember this until I'm at the point where I'm screaming at my pedal/shoe.

Sweet Baboo would also tell me, in his kind and patient way (if he saw any of this) that swearing at my pedals, or my cadence meter, don't make it work. I, however, would insist that the end justifies the means: I feel better by swearing at my pedals and my cadence meter, and that's what's really important.

Besides, he never sees me swearing at my equipment; he's usually finished with the race, showered and relaxing with a cool beverage by the time I hit T1.

Anyway, here's a profile of the bike course. You'll have to click on it; the elevation is on the right in green; my % heart rate is on the left in brown.

Before and after the bike from hell, the two 4K runs are more or less flat, with some slight grades increasing or decreasing no more than 100 feet across the same course. The longer 40K course, by the way, including a decsent and climb into a canyon.

I missed last years' time by about 10 seconds, I think. Lessons learned: reset the cadence meter BEFORE the race; clip in left first.

Oh, I was 11th in my age group (40-44). Out of 12. I miss getting the medals. But I'm determined to get faster.

I hadn't said much about this before, but after my grand announcement of no longer being an Athena I immediately gained five pounds that have stubbornly refused to budge. I've been toying with the idea of reclaiming my status and re-entering the Athena category.

It's damned hard, at 155 pounds, (that's 11 stone for our Aussie and Canadian friends, ay?) to outrun all those skinny birdy women who dash by me. Those women who don't have to haul my fat ass up a grade 8 or 9 hill on a bike.

They are hardly much more than the weight of their skeleton, muscle, and some connective tissue, as they do their 7 or 6 minute miles and then haul their 5% bodyfat up a hill on a bike. Yeah. I'm whining. Don't remind me, or I'll sit on you. I, on the other hand, to use the vernacular, have a whole lot of cushion for the pushin'.

And I miss the gratuitious medal. I know, I know... I should be above all that. But who doesn't love a medal?

In any case I'm going to make my decision some time this week.



  1. I would humbly suggest getting the Speedplays for your pedals. I had the Look pedals on my old bike would often fight to clip in and out of those bastards. I figured I'd go with the Speedplay when I purchased my new bike in December.

    Big difference.

    I no longer mumble "clip in, damn you".


  2. Oy, I know I sound like someone who's doing the "Yes, but..." thing, but I don't know if I can do speedplay. My super flat feet have to have a wide plateform. Thanks for the advice, though. Maybe I just need to spend more time riding my bike!

  3. you say you're whining as though it's a bad thing....?
    Go for the bling I say!

  4. M - I know somebody who says the chain thing should not happen, and he can fix for you my dahlingk.

    Good for you, by the way - for getting out there. Never mind the skeletors passing you, that race is full of fast women. So Good for You!

  5. You know, I forgot to say the most important thing: this race is FUN!

  6. Here are some alternative solutions to 1-5.

    1. Current cadence is what really matters. If it refuses to reset, say, "Have it your way!" and voila, you're on the road.

    2. Dropped gels aren't trash. They are bonus aid stations.

    3. Spend all your time doing single leg drills (right leg) and forget about ever again having to clip in your left foot.

    4. Can't help you here. Except to say that my chain didn't jump off during the uphill. It just snapped in half. So, really, jumping the sprocket is minor.

    5. See point three.

  7. Look pedals are easier on my feet as well. Numb toes and feet were a problem with my smaller SPD pedals.

    As for the Athena thing, do what you want. When those last few pounds fall away, you'll be stuck in your age group forever. Race athena while you can.

  8. egg beaters. mmmm scwag. you just had a bad day.


Comments containing links to commercial websites from people with invisible profiles are deleted immediately. Spammers are immediately deleted.

...and I, I have a goal.

Dear Diary, For the first time in 7 years I have a goal. It takes a lot to get me motivated.  I am the demotivation queen.  The princess...