Experience pays off for top Duathlon competitors
By Brian Hagberg, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 27, 2015
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Filling in for a friend who was unable to compete, Scott McPeek had some extra motivation heading into the 11th annual Schriever Air Force Base Duathlon here July 24.
He used that motivation, and his experience as a mountain bike racer, to take top honors at the event with a time of 59:28. McPeek was the only one of the 15 competitors to finish in less than an hour.
"My personal goal was to finish in less than one hour," McPeek said. "I knew if I went out hard enough on the bike, I could push through the runs."
Each competitor had to complete a 1-mile run, 12-mile bike and another 1-mile run. All 15 participants were able to complete the event.
McPeek finished more than four minutes ahead of Heath Busche (1:03:42) and more than 10 minutes in front of Joseph Hardy (1:10:30). Busche actually finished the first run before McPeek, but the time it took to change shoes allowed McPeek to grab a lead he wouldn't relinquish.
"Not having to change shoes was huge," McPeek said. "I was able to save 45 seconds to a minute and that was huge."
Gail Smicklas took top female honors for the second straight year with a time of 1:16:37, more than 10 minutes ahead of Jessica Wong (1:27:19).
"I feel good," Smicklas said just after finishing. "This was a tough course with the wind and sand."
The event had been postponed because of heavy rains in June, and Schriever Fitness Center Director Seth Cannello said the rescheduling had an effect on participation.
"We originally had between 60-70 people registered," Cannello said. "Unfortunately, with the [date change] we only had 15 compete."
He said the rain also made the bike trail a bit rougher than it would be with a typical Colorado summer.
Smicklas said one of the last hills on the bike trail had more sand than other areas, which made it more difficult to climb. McPeek also noted the increase in sand in that area.
"There was a bit of sand on one of the hills on the east side [of the trail]," he said. "I had enough pressure in my tires to push through and it didn't slow me down too much."
The less than ideal conditions didn't take away from the fun of the event in Smicklas' opinion.
"This was a great race," she said. "Seth and his staff put on the perfect race."
She tries to participate in all the base races, even though she's now stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
"Seth has been really nice about [my participation]," Smicklas said. "He lets me come back and play."
The Duathlon is one of the monthly fitness events the fitness center hosts. The next event is the annual Triathlon, where participants will need to complete a 400-meter swim, 12-mile bike and 3.1-mile run, scheduled for Aug. 14. For more information, or to register, contact the fitness center at 567-6628.