Right around the time of the Alligator Creek Triathlon, my friend Michelle (the one who let me borrow her bike for the tri) asked me if I was interested in doing a Pedal and Pound race with her. Of course, I jumped at the chance! I’ve been dying to do some relays (Ragnar anyone?!) and this sounded like a great start.
The Pedal and Pound boasts itself as one of the most unique biathlons around. It’s a 7.2 mile race in which you are part of a 2 person team: one person bikes while the other person runs. You can switch as many time as you like, but you must finish the race together.
Michelle and I have been planning and training for the last 5 or 6 weeks, doing some double bricks and figuring out what would be the best strategy for us. At first, I figured we’d just go half-and-half: she would bike the first half and I would bike the second half. But Michelle had a better idea: intervals. We would switch every mile, basically like doing mile repeats, using the bike as our recovery period. Sounded like a great plan to me! And after practicing this last week, I felt confident that it was going to work for us.
We got registered for the race and discussed our “game plan” with a few other teams, including my BFF’s dad Rick. He told us that probably the best strategy was to bike until you passed your partner running, go about a minute farther, drop the bike, and start running. After looking over the map (the race was a 1/2 mile out to a 2 mile loop that we did 3 times and another 1/2 mile back to the finish line), we decided that with the hills, we wanted to stick with our mile-mile plan since the 2 mile mark was at the top of a hill.
Since I am the faster runner of the 2 of us, I started running while Michelle biked. Runners started 30 seconds before the bikers, but it didn’t take long for them to catch up and pass us. I went out as the 2nd runner in the group and stayed pretty strong in that first mile. We weren’t even to the loop part of the run before people were already dropping their bikes and switching. We were by far the last team to switch, but I was OK with that because I was holding my own and not many teams were passing me. But, let me tell you how relieved I was when I saw our red balloon waiting for me on the side (we tied a red Mylar balloon to our bike to help it stand out – and it worked)!
The second mile was pretty much all up hill, which we knew from looking at the map before the race, but we stuck with our running/biking order. Running sub-7 minute miles and then having to bike up hill the next mile was incredibly difficult. It wasn’t as much recovery as I was hoping for since I felt like I never had a chance to catch my breath. My quads were also on fire that whole mile.
I finally passed Michelle right before the 2 mile mark and dropped the bike for her a little farther down the road. My legs were jello as I started running again, but I’ve never been so happy to run again! I definitely enjoyed the running part much more than biking part, mostly because my run was all downhill or flat. And it was pretty much wash-rinse-repeat after that. I was running the same parts of the course, so I knew where I wanted to be on my runs to take advantage of the shortest distance and knew when I was getting close to seeing the bike. Michelle always passed me quickly on the bike since she was only about 200 meters away when I dropped it for her and I would never see her again until I dropped the bike.
But, let me tell ya, 3 laps is 2 laps to many in my opinion! I absolutely hate running loops and this just solidified it. As I went around the turn to start the loop again, all I kept on thinking was, “I have to do this TWO MORE TIMES?!” Ugh. Killing. Me. Not only that, but I was pretty much on my own after that. The only people I passed were my partner, and 1 other group. I had no idea what place we were in, how far ahead or behind people were than us, and I had no idea how fast I was going. We had MapMyRun going on the bike, so I at least had an idea of the time, but other than that, I was totally clueless.
When I finally came to the fork in the road for the 3rd and final time, they sent me on toward the finish. I had just dropped the bike for Michelle and was still feeling pretty good, although I was definitely ready to be done. Michelle passed me right after the fork in the road and said she was going to drop it a little farther up the way. As I rounded the corner and saw the bike, I could also see the final bike drop before the finish line. Since I had to put on the helmet and get on the bike, I figured I was better off just leaving it and running the rest of the way. Michelle couldn’t believe it when she saw me come up running behind her, but I knew I was just wasting time stopping to get on the bike again.
I caught up with her and we headed toward the finish line together. One of the other teams who had finished already was heading back to the bike drop to get their bike and informed us that we were the 3rd overall team to finish! We ended up crossing the line in 41:43, 3rd overall and 1st female team to finish!
Definitely an awesome race that we decided we will be doing again! Of course, we are already strategizing how to split up the race next time! I think it worked for us, but with that one hill in the middle, we want to split it up more so that neither of us is having to run or bike the whole way up. A fun challenge to start off my racing season!
Have you ever done a relay race or biathlon? What’s the most unique race you’ve ever done?