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Blog: Duathlon is Back

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I've only been around the duathlon scene for a relatively short time. I gather from reading about the sport that duathlon's popularity among multisport enthusiasts has sagged since the late nineties. People have proposed reasons from triathlon's seductive marketing machine to lack of sponsorship and high-profile athletes. Whatever the cause of the duathlon recession, the event management company Sports Backers and USA Triathlon managed an economic turnaround for the sport at this year's Duathlon Nationals in Richmond, Va.

After travel all day Friday, I moved slowly Saturday – building the bike, munching on food, napping, and checking in. I managed to take in some sights in Richmond: the James River, the war memorial, the characteristic Southern charm. Despite a sidewall blowout on my ride back to my host's house, I felt as prepared as I could be.

I spare you the play by play of my race and just say that the atmosphere was great. A snafu with a train a couple miles into the first 10k made for an interesting few moments, as everyone in the 30-34 age group was held up behind a freight train. The event director was quick to offer his apologies for the mishap after the race. For me, racing is racing. Things happen. Things fall apart. Lucky for me, one of those things wasn't me. I managed to hold myself together in the baking sun.

The first 10k was rough on me; I did not feel on top of my game. The twisty and turning course kept me interested and on task. On the bike, I stayed on a fast cruise control, pushing myself on the undulating three laps. The bike course was one of the most interesting I'd ever done, looping back on itself several times each lap with only one turnaround.

The last 5k of the race I could tell I had not done my brick work. I managed to nearly catch the 4th place finisher in my age group, but not because I was super speedy. On the day, I finished 5th in my AG and 27th overall. In the best of my dreams, I'd hoped for more, but with life's realities as they've been lately, I'm pleased. Satisfied with less than the top spot? That in and of itself is a major accomplishment for me.

I have to say thanks again to USA Triathlon, Sports Backers, and all the volunteers who made this a great race. It was wonderful to see hundreds of athletes testing their mettle in Richmond. Good luck to everyone who qualified for Worlds! I'll see you in Concord.

If you want to learn more about Bradley, check out his personal blog at http://doduathlon.com

Bradley Saul is a former professional cyclist who fell in love with duathlon last year. He competed at USAT Long Course Duathlon Nationals in Auburn, Calif., last year and he says he’s “been hooked ever since.” The Sebastopol, Calif., resident is traveling to the East Coast this weekend to participate in Duathlon Nationals in Richmond, Va. We’ve asked him to give USAT daily updates for the rest of this week and through race weekend to provide an up close and personal perspective on the national championship experience.

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