This past weekend on Saturday was the Central Iowa Trail Association's annual fund raiser race commonly known as the Dirty Du (Dirty Duathlon)! It takes place at the Greenwood Park trails known as Center Trails. I have always tried to participate throughout the history of this event. Some years, the dates line up the same weekend that I am away at NATS, but this year worked out just right that I could do it. I have done it in the solo male category, the coed relay category, and the male relay category. In the early years, it involved the flat section known as Denman's for the running, but recent years have seen the entire event move up to the sections known as Hillside and Roller Coaster for both the running and the cycling. Running those hills without much training did me in, and I switched to doing the relay version with a runner.
My daughter and I won the Sprint Version coed relay one year when I had opera rehearsal in the afternoon and couldn't do the longer afternoon race. I competed with several Simpson students as my running partner several other years. I actually had a female student runner lined up, but I roped John Taylor into doing the running section with me for the men's relay version of this race. John is a sub 4 hour marathon runner who is trained, and more used to running those longer steady pace runs. The Dirty Du format is a quick lap on the dirt singletrack trails filled with hills that is a race much more akin to a full out sprint interval that takes about 16 - 20 minutes for the more competitive runners for a lap. Then the runner waits for the mountain biker to race three laps on their bike which takes about 15 - 18 minutes per lap for the more competitive riders - at which point the runner goes out for one more lap. My relay team came in at 1:37:36 last year for 10th place in the men's category. I was hoping to top that this year.
There is no masters category for the relay, but John is 58 and I'm 55 - so we were representing the AARP card carrying crowd for sure. The weather was perfect, the trails were groomed, and we met in the parking lot about 30 minutes prior to start. I told John our strategy was not to get hurt (no twisted ankles, no falls, etc...). I had a goal of riding faster laps than I did last year as I felt in a bit better aerobic shape this year than last year due to my semester overseas and failure to get the base training, and structure I needed. This year I was in much better condition, so thought I could shave some time off of my lap times from last year. John's wife, Peggy came along as did my wife and daughter to cheer us on as we made our way around the course.
John lined up with all of the runners, and at the sound of the gun - off he went.
As I waited for his first lap to be completed, Tara posed with me...
John was caught on film jumping the creek crossing in true free spirit fashion...
He came through the finish line area, and tagged my hand which sent me off for my three laps. My heart rate jacked up high as a kite on the first set of climbs, but I kept at it. The trail was in excellent shape and I kept pushing.
Ron Cooney snapped a picture of me as I approached him...
A short time later, David Krohse caught me coming off one of the new bridges...
I felt pretty good rounding the finish line area after lap one, and pushed off for my second lap. After some of the initial climbing in this lap, I backed off just a bit to conserve a little bit for the remainder of the lap, and for my final lap.
Laps two and three were pretty uneventful in terms XC racing. The creek crossing was hardly even felt aboard my Yeti...
I felt pretty confident I had ridden faster this year, and when checking my times - sure enough, I met my goal of riding faster.
Last year lap times ----- This year lap times.
18:43 --------------------- 17:45
18:48 --------------------- 18:18
19:03 --------------------- 17:53
56:34 --------------------- 53:56
In total, I was able to cut off 2:38 minutes this year over last year. John ran his two laps in 19:37, and 19:12 which when combined with mine was good enough for 1:32:46 - or 7th place in the male relay division, and 13th out of the 72 teams overall. Not bad for a couple of old guys trying to stay in shape and keep young!!! That was a grand total of 4:50 minutes better than last year.
Kudos to Cheryl, Andy and the entire CITA crew for yet another excellent Dirty Du event. Thank you to the sponsors as well. It looked to be a successful fund raiser for CITA which will go back into our trails and tools to help maintain the trails.
After the race, we all went to Mullet's for some post race treats with John and had a nice visit.