I competed in the Fort Lewis Triple Threat Duathlon Series event #2: 2 mile (flat road) run / "9" (about 8.5) mile non-technical mountain bike / 2 mile run (same as first run).
Besides adventure races (which are very different than sprint duathlons), this was my first multi-sport race. It took longer to get there (in what seemed like particularly slow rush hour traffic) than I expected, so I pulled into the parking lot with 5 minutes until the start. I jumped out of my pants and into my shorts, threw my shoes on, grabbed my transition gear tub and bike, and ran into the stadium with about 2 minutes to go.
Luckily for me, Ginger Fields had seen my car pull into the lot and had announced my arrival, so Jon Campbell was there at the transition area to help me. He fetched my chest and bike numbers and put the bike numbers on my bike and helmet while I pinned on the chest number, swigged some water and tied my shoes. My heart rate monitor strap had fallen out in the car, so I had to go without. The race organizer was nice enough (and the other racers amused and/or patient enough) to hold the start for me about 2 minutes. I arrived at the starting line to a round of applause and we were off.
During the first minute of the run, Jon briefed me on what I needed to know about the flow in and out of the transition area. I then sped up just a bit and started to work my way toward the front of the pack. I reached the mile mark and grabbed a cup of water--still in 4th place. A couple minutes later, I passed two guys and was in second but didn't seem to be gaining appreciably on the guy in front of me. I came into the transition area second in 11:06 and with a few guys not far behind.
I was pleased and somewhat surprised to be out of the transition in under a minute, and the guy in front looked pretty close--just a couple hundred meters ahead. We were on flat paved road, and I was gradually closing the gap. After 5 minutes into the bike, a guy on a cyclocross bike who had been closing in on me was very close behind, I was only 50-70 meters behind the leader, and I saw the leader slow way down and get pointed by the soldiers manning the course through a narrow gate and onto a dirt road. The guy on the cross bike passed me just before the gate, then he and I passed the run leader going up the steep hill before all of us dismounted and pushed our bikes to the crest.
When we mounted up again, the guy with the cross bike and I pulled away from the people behind us. He lead for a little while, then he let me lead, which was sensible of him, given that I had seen him fishtail a couple times, my dual suspension bike had better handling, and he could watch me to get an idea what was coming up on the curvy and rolling dirt and gravel roads. Every time I looked back, I saw no one behind us, and my legs felt okay, so I was feeling pretty good about my performance. About 2/3 of the way through the course, the other guy passed me and gradually put some distance on me after I slowed down for a few seconds to drink from my water bottle. By the transition, he had extended his cushion to about 20 seconds, and he transitioned very quickly.
I was determined to stay within striking distance, so I transitioned in 39 seconds--even more quickly than the first transition--and ran off after him. As I started running, I immediately noticed that my legs felt wierd from riding the bike and that it felt awful to run. My turnover was very good, but my legs felt totally flat. I looked at the guy now 200 meters in front of me, and I couldn't imagine catching him, the way my legs felt. However, I noticed that my stride frequency was greater than his, so perhaps there was hope.
At the mile mark, I took a sip of water and threw the rest on my head and chest. I could see that I had closed the gap significantly; at this rate, I would have a chance. A minute later, I saw that the leader was slowing some, and it looked like I would catch him. A sped up slightly just before I caught him, so he would see our speed differential and be discouraged from challenging me. This tactic was probably overkill, because I passed him and put about 30 seconds on him in a strong run to the finish. I'm a bit surprised and very happy to have won my first duathlon. Here are some statistics:
2 mile run: 11:07, 5:29 + 5:38
about 8.5 mile mountain bike: 32:04
2 mile run: 11:10, ~5:40 + ~5:30
Total time: 55:52
Running - Road / Track (road) 11:07  2.0 mi (5:33 / mi) +5m 5:31 / mi
First 2-mile run of duathlon. I took my pulse a couple minutes from the finish, and it was about 170-175. The average of 170 is a guess. I felt somewhat clunky from not warming up.
Cycling (mtb dirt road) 32:04  8.5 mi (3:46 / mi) +150m 3:35 / mi
The first and last few minutes of the course were on paved roads, and the rest were on various sizes of dirt and gravel roads. The course was rolling and had no big ups or downs, so it was possible to ride with a pretty steady, hard effort for probably 90-95% of the course. There were several sharp turns that required slowing down. The 165 average heart rate is entirely a guess.
Running - Road / Track (road) 11:10  2.0 mi (5:35 / mi) +5m 5:32 / mi
Second 2-mile run of duathlon. I was surprised to run about 10 seconds faster on the last mile than on the first. I felt pretty strong at the end. The 173 average HR is totally a guess.