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Rock/Creek Race Team’s Cathi Cannon and the Blankets Creek Dirty Duathlon

Cathi Cannon always puts together great race reports for us, and she recently competed in this Atlanta-area duathlon. Here’s some before-lunch reading material for you!

This past weekend, I took a break from my normal trail running events to interject some multi-sport fun into the mix. The Blankets Creek Dirty Duathlon is put on by regional standout athlete Lisa Randall. If you know her as a racer, you know that she’ll put on nothing less than a top notch event. This year — I believe it was the 3rd for this event — was no exception.

Since I lived in Atlanta for 8 years, I used to ride these trails a lot. Just when I’d get the hang of one trail, SORBA-Woodstock would add a new ones to keep things challenging. Let’s just say they’ve been quite busy the last few years; there were many new-to-me sections!

Last time I was here (in 2009), it seemed like every time I turned around I ran into an old friend. This year, only a handful (likely due to an unfortunate conflict with the Blue Ridge AR). In fact, besides one speedy biker friend (who insisted she’d finish nowhere near me), I had no idea who my competition would be. This was going to be interesting.

4 waves of competitors went off before the last one –- where all the solo and team females were. Fortunately, the time in-between allowed folks to spread out to minimize any traffic jams. Assuming that most of the women were local and knew these trails like the back of their hand, I was hoping to have a faster run split to gain precious minutes needed on the bike. Once we were deep in the trails, it was hard to keep track of who was where, as the coed teams started before us. After a 5 mile run at what I think was a pretty decent pace, we were back at the transition area to get on our bikes. I was able to beat at least 3 of the girls ahead of me out of the TA, and was full steam ahead.

By now, the temperatures had climbed higher than we’ve had this year, and the humidity was at least 115%. Sweat was everywhere, mixing with bits of mud and dust. My hydration pack was filled with Nuun, and I was drinking every bit I could, but that was just not enough today.

Towards the end of the Van Michael trail, there was a log/rock obstacle to power over. I hit it just wrong enough that it tweaked my calf, locking it up in one ginormous charlie horse. Yeowsers! While I was working it out, the fast girls that hadn’t slipped by me already did so now. Oh well…

I grabbed another Gu, took a long drink, and set off to tackle the Dwellings loop. There was still a lot of riding to do (we also hit part of the South Loop – the advanced rocky trail), so I rode hard where I could, and played it conservative & smart where I needed to, knowing the slightest wrong movement could send my calf spasming again.

Luckily I had no other incidents along the way and was able to finish strong and with a smile. In the end, I was 7th overall and 2nd in my age group, sharing the podium with my old friend Aimee (remember the one that said she’d finish nowhere near me? Yeah, she was nipping my tail!), and new friend Leah –- hope to ride/run with both of you in the future! Checking out the overall results was quite interesting: 5 of the 6 women ahead of me were in the 40-49 & 50-59 age groups. Hot damn! Talk about strong!! Hoping that means my best years are still to come!

Big thanks goes out to Lisa and her husband Chris for organizing another fantastic event. Mountain Goat Adventures has several other events coming up this year… definitely check them out!