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Duathlon World Championship report - long

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Old January 14th 15, 12:02 PM posted to rec.sport.triathlon
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Default Duathlon World Championship report - long

Il giorno domenica 22 settembre 1996 09:00:00 UTC+2, JimTurner2 ha scritto:
If you want to skip this long report and are just interested in results,
they are available at the following URL:


The Duathlon World Championship was held last Sat and Sun, Sept 14 and 15
in Ferrara, Italy. My three race goals for 1996 were to qualify for the
US team for Italy, make top 3 at Nationals and to make top 5 in Italy.
These were ambitious but reasonable goals for me since I had twice
previously qualified for Worlds, was 2nd in 95 Nationals and 5th in 95
Worlds at Cancun. I met my first two goals by qualifying for Italy in
April at Strutters in Texas and won US Nationals in July in Massachusetts.
I expected worlds to be tougher this year and, sure enough, it was The
last time Worlds was held in Europe was in Frankfurt in 1992. Naturally,
when they are in Europe you get a greater turnout of Europeans. Last year
in Cancun there were 21 entrants in my 55-59 age group with only 3 from
Europe. This year there were 38 with 23 from Europe, 12 from US and one
each from Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The short version of this
story is that I finished 8th in my age group behind 7 Europeans. The long
version follows.

My wife and I left for Italy on Monday, arrived in Bologna Tuesday evening
and got a train to Ferrara. Ferrara is a city of about 150,000 population
located roughly midway between Bologna and Venice in northeastern Italy.
It turned out to be an ideal location to hold the race. Medium size
cities are ideal for events like this. They're large enough to have an
infrastructure of hotels, restaurants, transportation, etc to support over
1000 athletes, but small enough that the event is a significant one for
the community. That helps in getting local news coverage, local
volunteers, spectators and generates some enthusiam in the community for
the event. With a 9 hour time zone change plus over 20 hours of travel
and layovers, we crashed into bed and got a good night's sleep.

Wednesday I reassembled my bike and headed to the hotel where US support
people were located. Dave Ledesma was lead US team massage therapist along
with Chris Bey from Mountain View who also happens to be my regular
massage therapist. They had already completely booked their schedules,
but I got in when an appointment cancelled. I planned to test ride the
bike course. Distances for the race were to be 10K run, 40K bike, final
5K run. The bike was originally planned to be 4 loops of 10K around
Ferrara but was changed to a pure out and back course to a small
neighboring town. When I first heard that the race was to be in Italy, I
expected it to be hilly. In fact Ferrara is in the Po river valley and
the area is pancake flat. The course turned out to be the flattest 40K
I've ever ridden in my life. There wasn't even an overpass to "climb".

Thursday was a tourist day for us with a day trip to Florence, about 1 1/2
hours by express train from Ferrara. That's a pitifully short time to
spend in a city with so much to see, so we planned just to hit a few
hilites. One major goal for us was to see Michelangelo's David statue, a
work of art that I consider to be one of the very greatest achievements of
Western culture. I'm enclosing below an excerpt from my wife's "trip
report" about the statue. Just skip if you're not interested.

As it turned out, the line for David was miniscule, so we had ample time
to walk around and around the statue. It is placed in a domed room at the
end of a corridor containing some unfinished pieces, so we could see some
works with rough chisel marks. The finish on the David is velvety smooth
and makes you want to stroke him -- fortunately for his preservation, he
is mounted high on a pedestal. "The Agony and the Ecstasy" describes how
he was carved from a single 17-foot high block of marble which had been
gouged in an awkward spot by a previous owner and rendered unusable for
most designs. Michelangelo put enough rotation in David's figure to fit
into the block!

An interpretive sign by the statue said the statue represents David AFTER
he slew Goliath. Jim and I strenuously disagreed with that interpretation
-- we think David is considering his approach, calculating his slight odds
of success, yet resolving to execute his plan. I hadn't actually read the
section in "The Agony and the Ecstasy", but on the plane home I read
Stone's interpretation and felt vindicated:

(From "The Agony and the Ecstasy")

He [Michelangelo] sat in his shed before the column, drawing David's
head, face and eyes, asking himself:
"What is David feeling at this moment of conquest? Glory?
Gratification? Would he feel himself to be the biggest and strongest man
in the world? Would there be a touch of contempt for Goliath, of arrogance
as he watched the fleeing Philistines, and then turned to accept the
plaudits of the Israelites?"

All unworthy emotions, none of which he could bring himself to
draw. What could he find in David triumphant, he asked himself, worthy of
sculpturing? Tradition portrayed him after the fact. Yet David after the
battle was certainly an anticlimax, his great moment already gone.

Which then was the important David? When did David become a giant?
After killing Goliath? Or at the moment he decided he must try? David as
he was releasing with brilliant and deadly accuracy, the stone from the
sling? Or David before he entered the battle, when he decided that the
Israelites must be freed from their vassalage to the Philistines? Was not
the decision more important than the act itself, since character was more
critical than action?

For him, then, it was David's decision that made him a giant, not his
killing of Goliath. He had been floundering because he had imprisoned
himself and David at the wrong moment in time.

How could he have been so stupid, so blind? David pictured after
Goliath could be no one but the biblical David, a special individual. HE
was not content to portray one man; he was seeking universal man,
Everyman, all of whom, from the beginning of time, had faced a decision
to strike for freedom.

This was the David he had been seeking, caught at the exultant
height of resolution, still reflecting the emotions of fear, hesitation,
repugnance, doubt...

(end quote from Stone)

I also bought a photograph from the museum store with some interpretive
notes on the back which also agrees with our impression and adds some
comments about the rendering and stance of the figure.


Friday morning we had a US team meeting to describe details of the run and
bike courses, time we were supposed to check in, what the age group waves
would be, etc. The pros were to race Saturday the 14th and we
age-groupers would race on Sunday. The pro race was to be draft legal and
the age-group race was to be no drafting. In the team meeting we were
told in detail what the drafting rules were, what the penalty would be
(stop, dismount, and wait to be given permission to continue) and that 12
motorcycles with officials would be patrolling during the race. Friday
evening there was a "Parade of Nations" in the main part of town where
athletes of 35 nations marched behind a placard (Stati Uniti d'America)
and flag bearer into the courtyard of a beautiful preserved/restored
castle which is surrounded by a moat. Speeches there were followed by a
short bus ride to a pasta feed at a local school. An older genleman from
the Czech Republic graciously offered my wife his seat on the crowded bus.
I'd expect most people would see this as a good chance to mingle with
athletes from other countries, but, in fact, nearly everyone seemed to
seek out team members from their own country to sit with. The meal was a
pretty modest one, but we used it as an opportunity to meet some of the
members of the Canadian team.

Sat morning I did an easy warmup run and a short bike ride as a final
check of my equipment. The pro race started at 3 PM so we went to watch
that and cheer for the US pros and Junior A (16-17) and Junior B (18-19)
teams who were also racing on Sat. Both pro races were won by
Australians, Andy Noble for the men and Jackie Gallagher for the women.
No US men or women pros finished in top 20. The Juniors race was also
draft legal.

I got very little sleep Sat night but I've long since learned that that is
normal for me the night before a major race and it doesn't seem to affect
my performance. The weather was perfect Sunday morning with temperatures
in high 60's or low 70's with sunshine and almost no wind. Wave starts
began at 8:57 with all women followed at 3 minute intervals by men 20-24,
25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-49 and 50+ (my wave). I felt strong and ready to
go hard. The first run was to be two loops of 5K through the city. We
could easily tell from the times during the pro race on Sat the the run
course was significantly less than 5K. There were about 140 people in my
wave. We got off in good order, got up to speed and I felt good through
the first lap. Starting the 2nd lap I caught up with a couple US guys and
we joined forces and intentionally ran together for about a mile. I
gradually pulled away a bit and came into the bike transition in about 34
minutes. We later found that the first run was about 5.34 miles, not 6.21
so my actual pace was about 6:22/mile.

The transition area was well laid out where you entered one end, picked up
your bike at an individually assigned position and exited at the other end
of the transition area. I still felt real good, got rolling quickly and
came up to about 25 MPH which is a little faster than I can usually hold
for 40K. Soon one of the US guys came by me, we exchanged encouragements
and I decided to try to keep him in sight. A group of us rode the first
10K or so, occasionally passing one another, but not drafting. Since my
group started 18 minutes after the first wave, and since we were riding a
pure out and back course, we started to see returning riders about that
time. What we saw was surprising and very discouraging. There were
massive draft packs of riders, a dozen or so in the first one, maybe 30 in
the next group, etc. Clearly the no drafting rule was being blatantly and
massively ignored. The race had become a de facto draft legal race. What
do you do? People around me had been riding clean up to that point. The
more groups we saw coming, the clearer it was that the no drafting rule
was being ignored by officials and by the vast majority of racers. By
then I had seen only one motorcycle, clearly not the dozen that we had
been told. We talked amongst ourselves some, formed our own drafting
group and rode that way for the last 25K of the bike leg. This was a
totally different way of doing a duathlon bike leg than I had ever done
before. My heart rate dropped from low 160' to mid 140's and it was just
a cruise. We occasionally picked up other riders and were probably up to
about a dozen by the time we entered final transition. When I read about
instances of drafting in races I sometimes wonder exactly what they mean.
Are they talking about some occasional violations of the 7 meter distance
rule or the 15 second passing rule? Let me be very clear. I'm talking
here about blatant, wheel following inches away, intentional, off the
aerobars and onto the drops, USCF type peleton formation bicycle racing.

Usually the transition into the final run is incredibly uncomfortable.
With all the rest I had gotten on the return on the bike, I was more than
ready to go. I was trying to spot people in my age group to try to catch.
The only one I saw was my top US competitor, Don Ardell from Florida. I
caught up with him just as we came into transition. He runs faster than
me and I am slightly faster on the bike. He passed me shortly after start
of the final run but didn't look too good. I caught him back shortly,
pulled ahead, but never found any others in my age group to catch. I
finished in 1:54:32. Race results weren't available until almost 5 hours
later, so I wasn't sure where I had finished. My wife thought I was 6th
but she had missed a couple finishers in my age-group, so in fact I had
finished 8th. The winner was Orjan Sandler from Sweden who had won by 6
minutes. He's the same guy who won in 95 in Cancun by 12 minutes. He is
a former olympic speed skating medalist and has won 8 world
duathlon/triathlon championships. Talking to him that evening after the
race, I asked him if he had gotten involved in a draft group. He said,
"No, the groups were going too slow"! Top 10 of 36 finishers in my 55-59
age group we

1 Sandler - Sweden
2 Leigh - Great Britain
3 Lindorfer - Austria
4 Weber - Austria
5 Baretto - Great Britain
6 Hille - Germany
7 Reber - Switzerland
8 Turner - USA
9 Ardell - USA
10 Conti - USA

I missed my goal of making top 5 but felt in retrospect that my 8th place
in this strong group was better than my 5th in Cancun last year. I don't
know background of some of top 7, but Sandler is clearly in a class by
himself, the 4th place finisher was the 1996 European Duathlon Champion
and the 7th place athlete was the 1996 winner of the Powerman Duathlon in
Zofingen, Switzerland in a time 1 hour and 38 minutes faster than my
winning time in 1995. It's always disappointing not to make a goal that
you''ve set for yourself, but I think I did as well as I could. The
European competition is just a cut above what I'm used to dealing with and
that seemed to affect other Americans as well. My 8th place finish,
modest as that is, was the highest US finish in age-groups 40-44, 45-49,
50-54 and 55-59 where highest US finish was, respectively, 15th, 21st, 9th
and 8th(me).

Hi Jim, please find here the link with the TV coverage by Eurosport of the Ferrara 1996 ITU Arena Duathlon World Champioship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogc1u33yuhE Hope you enjoy it. Renato

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