Sunday, March 13, 2011

Steed Defends Dirty Duo Title...WITH ME!

Maybe some pressure is just what I needed because I/we had a phenomenal day yesterday at Run the North Shore's first trail race of the season, Dirty Duo.

I woke up feeling all tight and visited the bathroom about 5 times. It wasn't pretty, but I just kept telling myself it was pre-race jitters. At least I was hoping that was it. After a quick coffee, pulling up my Zoot calves, and cranking up the Salomon Speed Cross 2's I started to feel like a racer again. I had no clue what the day would hold, but I knew my partner, Kim Steed, really did want to win this one. I would have to race hard, but also smart because the Dirty Duo course is not one where you can recover later.

The incredible race director, Heather briefed us on the course and we were off and heading up Lynn Canyon. I started with serious fasties Dario Herrera and Mel Bos, and thought maybe I should ease up a bit. I chose not to and heading into our first hill set I felt great and hooked up with a few others. One being Geoff Watts who carried our pace almost the entire race, particularly on the downhills. The two of us ran nice and easy up Lynn Canyon, Geoff took off down Twin Bridge hill to fisherman's, and then I caught him going up Bridle path and across to Old Buck. Going through one of many amazing aid stations at Old Buck, I looked at my watch and I knew I had been going too slow - it said 1:06 and I figured if I wanted to come close to my goal of 2:20 I'd have to get moving. For me the race really began here because I started realizing how strong Geoff was and that my hope of wearing him down wasn't happening. I tried to push him to red line on Old Buck and up to Mushroom Parking lot at the entrance to Ned's, but no dice. I needed to beat him to get Kim out first. Geoff was strong and we started downhill together...and stayed together. I don't think I've ever gone down Ned's so fast and I was able to hang on until the Bottle Top descent where Geoff stopped to tie a shoe lace. I reeled in another guy and kept a great flow until the bottom of Homestead when Geoff ran by and passed another racer. Knowing what was coming up I geared down and wondered if these two guys had any clue what was up ahead. About half way up the steepest section I left them walking and hoped that was the last time I'd see them again...until the finish that is. The race back through the canyon was fast, I felt light, and I had an eye open over my shoulder for Geoff. I'm not stupid. I knew enough not to count this guy out. The climb out of the creek was hell and what was to come was even worse. Diamond trail to the cemetery was so messy it was difficult to get any sort of rhythm happening. I couldn't tell if I had the stupids or if the trail was just in bad shape. Emerging from the trail on to Lilloet Road was the second time I looked at my watch and I saw 2:18 and some seconds. Since half way up Homestead I'd been using all the energy I should have used earlier so mustering anymore wasn't going to be easy. Through the cemetery, passed the equestrian center and I could see Lara and Saje. At 2:21 I crossed the line and handed my timing chip to Kimbo who took off to have an incredible ride. The ride we needed.

I had the fastest relay run time of the day which brought me over the line second. to Mike Murphy. It didn't matter though because Kimbo's time of 1:52, and our total of 4:14, was fast enough to bring us a couple of 1st place gold medals. Full Results here.
Although I viewed this race as a whole lotta' pressure to begin with I can now look back and determine where I need some attention for the upcoming season. Thanks to Curb Ivanic from Core Running, who had an awesome race, I climbed better than ever before and felt super strong across the core, even at the end of the race. The most important thing to focus on before the season continues is some turn over. It would be great to be quicker on the flat sections.


  1. you might wanna try my off-the-couch potato eatin' routine ... :p

    great race you two...the perfect team. why would steed ride a santa cruz...?! :p

  2. Thanks for the details. That was an amazing drive you had from homestead to the finish. You put 9 min. on Geoff in about 7K.

    I volunteered for this because I am in the KneeKnacker, but realized I loved watching the race too. Any North Shore trail race is a world class event.

  3. Thanks, PB. It was a phenomenal day out there and it helped me figure what I've got in my legs for the year - need more turn over.

    Congrats on the Knacker. It's hard of course, but super fun.