The team of Nicole Sin Quee, Isang Smith, Simon and yours truly made the trip to Maryland last weekend for the inaugural Maryland Women’s Duathlon. The plan was in place:
- Nicole would race the Elite field
- Isang would race the Age Group field
- They would both win their respective races
- We would celebrate and have a festive drive back
At first, all went according to plan. Nicole started at 8:00 with the Elites. The 40+ ladies left at 8:02 and finally Isang and the young guns set off at 8:04. NSQ was 3rd into T1, second out of T1, and then came into T2 with a 1:30 lead. She actually opened up the lead a little bit and was first across the line. Meanwhile, Isang had not only caught two of the ladies from the Elite field (who had a four minute head start) but she also distanced herself from the rest of the age groupers. She led after the first run and opened it up from there.
So everything went according to plan. The ladies were waiting for their awards, and would then get rewarded with a trip to the amusement park and Waffle House before heading home. That’s when the Race Director came over and told us that the Head Referee had penalized both Nicole and the apparent runner up for illegal passing. The official acknowledged that there was no intent to cheat and no benefit gained from the illegal passing, but would not budge. She penalized NSQ not once (which would not have impacted the standings), but twice. That moved Nicole to second, and elevated the woman who was third across the line to the winning spot. Suddenly the ride back to NYC wasn’t going to be so festive after all.
Still, there were far more positives than negatives. The good folks at Rip It Events did a great job, and were very gracious hosts. Isang’s debut in a City Coach uniform showed just how talented she is and how good she’s going to be. We left with lots of swag and prizes. We saw old friends and made new ones. Hopefully we’ll be back next year, with lots of podium photos.