Two dirty uniforms

Jeff Gaura first place overall at the Raseur Duathlon
Rory Murtagh and Jeff Gaura at the Ramseur Duathlon

With the leaves changing color and beginning to fall in Central North Carolina, football season starts and endurance racing winds to an end.  We multi-sport people go into Plan B mode, as daylight and temperature prevent us from cycling and running as much as we have been accustomed to.  It’s the biggest drawback to sport…it is seasonal!

Training for the upcoming ultra-marathon has had me nearly abandon cycling.  That said, my running is at an all-time high both in number of miles per week and in average speed per mile.  I still love to cycle and get into aero and feel the power of going 20+ mph for an extended period of time.  It is a rush that invigorates me, especially when the air is crisp like it is this time of year.

This last weekend’s Duathlon was the last one of the NC racing season, for me.  Between duathlete and triathlete, there were perhaps 100 of us at the race.  Last year, I did well in this race.  I saw the guy who won it last year, as well as a friend from Pontevedra, all at the starting line, ready to race.  I still felt TeamUSA proud, and I donned the uniform for the last time this season.

Since I have only been running lately, I didn’t consider this to be a race to win.  After all, I spent the night before the race doing tent camping at a Boy Scout outing an hour away.  I had to rise early, get out of my tent and walk through the woods to get to the car.  I ate yogurt and granola while driving and showed up for the race without any caffeine in my system.

So much for predicting an average outcome…

I got first place overall.

As I look at the results page for the first time right now, it shows that I came in first place on the bike…the very item I had NOT been practicing.  All the running made a difference in cycling, after all.  All the runs came in the 6-minute-and-change pace, per mile…about what I expected.

Imagine practicing only your pole vault and discovering that you are now the fastest hurdler on the team….

Hmm.  I still don’t know how this stuff works very well.

Waiting for the awards ceremony to start, I sat in the grass and listened to people talk about their race and what might be next for them; literally in a state of disbelief.  I didn’t speak very much.  I reflected on the past and couldn’t match it with the present.  In early May, I couldn’t walk without pain.  In June, I competed in the World Championship on Team USA, running at less than 100%.  In July, I competed in the US National Championship and did really well.  Today, I am winning first place overall against athletes who are young enough to be my children.  Progress is an understatement.  Today, I beat Rory Murtagh, an Irish guy who beat me by seven full minutes at the World Championship.

Perhaps I will be back in a walking boot, next month, after the ultra-marathon.  Who knows?

I am not going to take this success for granted.  No way.

Jeff Gaura first place overall at the Ramseur duathlon showing his pie plate.
An empty pie disk and two dirty uniforms is all I have to show for the weekend’s efforts.

First place meant an apple pie, in a glass pie shell made by the organizers.  I got one!  I took the pie back to the scouting event and put it out for people to have after our dinner that evening.  The bottom of the pie was burned, and between 20 men, only half of it got eaten.  We had to throw the rest out.  I cleaned the glass pie disk and took it home.  There are probably some metaphors to be made here about victory having some overcooked components that can be scraped off afterwards.


  1. WTG, Jeff! God always rewards our discipline, & most often in unexpected ways!! So proud of you for this accomplishment & excited for your class at church on Food & Fitness, which I prayed for this am to be successful!


  2. Also, we were thanking God for all the people who have ministered to & supported us through our “transition” & of course, your names came up of those whom se asked God to bless in a BIG way for your help!


  3. You are an amazing and inspirational person to everyone you meet! So glad to be one of those ppl! You did awesome and I so know what you mean about wanting to “cut corners” I thought briefly about just turning around on my second day of going 75miles on my bike…the thought didn’t stay more than a second though because I don’t want to cheat myself or my accomplishment.


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