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Cherry Lake Duathlon: Race #1 of 2024

It was the first race of the 2024 season. I was excited and ready to race. Training had been coming along nicely and it was time to go have some fun at the Cherry Lake Duathlon. The race was a 5k run, 12 mile bike, and a 1.5 mile run to the finish.

Friday night, I headed to downtown Clermont and picked up my packet from Dash Sports. Packet pickup was quick and efficient. I was in and out in less than 10 minutes. I grabbed our dinner and headed home for an uneventful evening. After dinner, I set out everything I needed for the race and went to bed. I always say to make sure you get your best sleep two nights before because race jitters keep you up the night before. As always, I woke up quite a bit from fear of my alarm not going off to thinking it was time to wake up. Finally, it was 5am and time to get up.

Parking opened at 6:30am. I like to be there early because the last thing I want to do before a race is stress about parking and not having time to set up transition and warm up. It was a beautiful morning, and I set up transition and watched the sunrise. I had plenty of time, walked around, socialized with friends and also walked to the road to cheer on the Ultraman Florida athletes that were doing a much longer race than I was doing. Ultraman Florida is a three day race and this day the athletes were riding their bikes one hundred and seventy-one miles.

The announcer announced it was time for the race to start, and I lined up. Everyone took off running up the hill that started the race. I ran with them. Half a mile in the sugar sand on the course started. My legs felt heavy and I felt like I was trying to run through peanut butter. I slowed down and decided to make it through the 5k on my terms, save my legs, and have a great bike.

Forty-six minutes later I arrived at transition. I was the last one to finish the 5k, but I grinned. The bike is my favorite discipline. It was time to chase people down. I quickly put my bike shoes on, grabbed my bike, ran to the mount line, and mounted my bike. My feet danced on the pedals. I was keeping a nice high cadence and a good pace. "On your left, I called to the first bike I passed. I would get to call out on your left four more times.

Just because I passed people did not make it an easy bike. There was a headwind for a few miles and some hills. The time went by quickly as I enjoyed my time on my bike and in no time, I saw the turn to return to transition.

I mounted my bike and then returned to the dirt trail to run another mile and a half. I pushed what I had left of my legs and made it to the finish. I was sore and tired but my love of racing has returned. It was fun and I could see my training was beginning to pay off.

As a cherry on top of the Sunday, I had my first podium. There were four people in my age group and I placed third. Even though it was a small race, I am so proud of myself.

It has given me even more motivation to keep working hard and hopefully I will see more podiums, in the upcoming years.

For more information about the race click here:

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