Mud, Sweat & Gears Report 2011

Whew!  What a weekend!  Saturday October 1st was FIRM’s Mud, Sweat & Gears Duathlon–an off-road race I had done once before in 2009. This time, I talked my brother into doing it with me.  It was a damp day, after a week’s worth of rain. My only hope was to beat my time from 2009, which I realize in retrospect may have been a foolish goal considering the difference in weather/course conditions.

Run 1

My brother & I started together and stayed together through the first run.  We hadn’t discussed staying together through the race and I expected that not to happen at all.  We floated toward the back of the pack, in the last 5/8 of the field and he arrived at the bikes a bit before me.  I was slowed down by my glasses and gloves.  He asked if I wanted him to wait, and I waved him on with an annoyed “Go!”  I sucked down a chocolate goo and jumped on the bike after him.


The bike ride starts off easy on pavement before hitting a rocky, sandy, double-wide trail.  Part of the trail had eroded away from all the rainfall we’ve suffered in the Northeast.  The course brings you out across an aqueduct and then back the way you came, riders on the right and left on opposite sides.  Steve had turned the corner and was heading back to the woods as I was heading out, and we passed each other, giving each a little high-five (which was really cute–my brother is a big lug with a hidden sweetness to him).

Next, I re-entered the woods for the hilly section.  Now, I always, always feel great on the bike.  Which is why I was so surprised when I started to feel abnormally fatigued.  Then dizzy, then nauseous. I started to slow down–significantly.  I was struggling, and confused about that, but more concerned that I wasn’t even one lap through the 3 lap bike portion.  I started to think I would have to abandon I felt so sick.  What was going on?  I decided to start sipping my Gatorade, which I hadn’t done at the first transition.  I perked up a bit and the sick feeling passed.  All of the sudden, I was racing again.  I started to pass people, feeling stronger and pushing it wherever I could.  I became annoyed when I got hemmed in by some less daring descenders on the one really good hill. I was going to make it through the race and maybe, maybe beat that time.

Run 2

Now I’m feeling really good.  I guide the bike to the next transition and I notice the signs that instruct riders to DISMOUNT right before the sensor pad.  I didn’t want to do the wrong thing, so I came to a stop and tried to quickly dismount before the pad.  Something went really wrong at that point and the next thing I knew, I had completely fallen off my bike.  I crashed.  Sort of.  The bike fell on me and my leg really got whacked by my front tire.  Race workers were right there and they looked as shocked as I was that I had just fallen over for no particularly good reason. They asked if I was ok: “Yup, just a little disoriented.”  I responded as I picked myself up and hurried off to the transition station.  “Drink some water!” they shouted.  I changed shoes and the throbbing began.  I wondered how wise it was to run another 2 miles.  I pressed on–slow but sure, and a bit sore.

I finished slower than my 2009 time, which disappointed me, but I noticed I did finish ahead of more people this time.  My brother just kept up the pace through his race and he took 1st in the Clydesdale category (little brother is about 215 lbs), and I took 2nd in my age/gender.  We both got medals to impress our kids and a small prize (Steve got sunglasses, I got some cycling socks).  All & all a fun race.  We’re looking forward to Rockbuster in April 2012  🙂


PS-I need to examine my nutrition and fluids intake.  A few hours after the race, I suffered an incapacitating headache that rendered me useless for the rest of the day.  I had the same experience after LIVESTRONG last summer.  It’s been suggested that I haven’t hydrated properly, that I may have some hypoglycemic issues, or my electrolytes are amuck.  I welcome opinions–since I’d like to keep abusing myself with events like this, but I’d rather not struggle after I cross the finish line. 🙂


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About Karen

Mid-life female amateur athlete focused on cyclocross, mountain biking, and road cycling.

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