Mermaid Series Sprint Duathlon: Recap Part 1

Hey Everyone! On Sunday, I finished my first ever duathlon, woot woot! I’ve split the recap into two parts for easier digestion.

Mermaid Series Start

Packet Pickup and Transition Set up

There is limited parking in Capitola, either permit or 2hr maximum zones only, so I parked at the Capitola Mall and biked to the start about a mile away.  I didn’t pick up my race packet Fri or Sat, but it was super easy and fast to pick it up early that morning.  Then it was time to make my way to the transition zone (~5min uphill) to set up and drop off my stuff!

Once there, I had to look around to find the area for my start wave ’34 & under duathlon’.  Fortunately I found an empty bar so I was able to set up on the edge! I brought a backpack full of my post race stuff, so I didn’t have to lay anything out on the ground. Just had to put the stickers on my bike and helmet, chip around my ankle, helmet/water in my basket and apply lots of sunscreen!

Transition Zone

Transition zone

After I finished prepping my area/stuff, I headed back down to the starting area to use the restroom and eat/hydrate before the race. P.S. It was FREEZING cold in the morning! I’m glad I wore capris and a short sleeved tee with my running sleeves since it kept me from being too too cold before the race began (and I didn’t want to lug a jacket).

Sprint Duathlon Start


The triathlon and duathlon start was at the pier: the triathloners started on the beach, while us duathloners started on the pier. By the time I got there I still had an hour to kill, so I watched the sunrise, warmed up/tried to stay warm and watched the Mighty Mermaid Triathloners (olympic distance) swim around the buoys! Chilly chilly water! Plus I heard there was a massive fish death and many had accumulated near the start area…must have been lovely to swim through dead fish!

P.S. I’m a total nerd and I love to map out the courses before I run or bike them! Gives me an idea of where I’m going as well as the elevation profile.

Duathlon Part 1: 1.5mi run (click image to enlarge)


At 8:15 we were off, up an immediate hill to the turnaround. The original route is above, but instead of heading down Stockton, we turned under the pier and ran along the beach to Monterey St. I was NOT expecting sand during the first run, only during the last part of the final one! Slowed me down a bit since there wasn’t much wet sand to run on…

When the race first started, lots of people were practically sprinting and blowing by me. While I did maintain a faster pace than usual (until the sand), once off the beach I started passing people up the hill to the transition zone.

Time: 14:45. MapMyRun said I had an avg pace of 9:12min/mi.
Transition time: 1:42min. Someone moved my backpack under my bike and smushed their bike up against mine so I had to move my stuff, take down my heavy bike and then put my backpack back in its correct spot. Added an extra 30seconds.

Duathlon Part 2: 12mi ride (click image to enlarge)


Once out of the transition zone, I mounted and sped out to start the bike course! I gave myself a little time to recover from the hard run and then pushed myself until the first big hill around mile 3. Having such a large, heavy, bike I had to get off and walk.  Even at the lowest gear and stand pedaling, I wasn’t able to go anywhere…this was where many people passed me on their sleek efficient road bikes.

Duathlon Split timesIf you look at my MapMyRun split times to the left (click to enlarge), you can see where I hit/recovered from the hills.  That first one was the only I had to walk up, while the smaller ones I was able to manage stand pedaling on gear 1. Near the turnaround, it was fairly level so I was able to achieve ~16.5mph on the straight aways!

Along the way, around 10 people made a comment about how they loved I was on a cruiser! I told them I was here to have fun on the only bike I owned and thanked them for their words of support (like ‘awesome’ ‘so cool’ etc.).

Time: 53:38 min. Yay!!! I was secretly hoping for something under 55min, so I accomplished that goal!
Transition: 1:10 min. Just had to rack my bike, remove my helmet, and head out of the transition to run! I forgot to take off my sleeves at that point since I was getting warm (and so was the weather), so I just tied them to my fuel belt around my waist. I think there are awkward pictures of me during the race since they had photo ops about a half mile after each transition zone, you know, when you are adjusting your fuel belt, fueling, applying sunscreen etc….oh well!

Then it was time for the final stretch! Come back Wednesday for Part 2!


11 thoughts on “Mermaid Series Sprint Duathlon: Recap Part 1

  1. Way to go Nicole! This just shows that you don’t have to have the latest fancy equipment to sign up for these events. It IS awesome that you did it on a cruiser!

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