Monday, May 19, 2008

Xterra West Championships: Race Report

Hands down, one of the toughest races of my life. I've done this race every year since 2005 and it never seems to get any easier. Ok, so it got easier when they changed the 11k sandy river-bed run from '05 to a hilly run in '06. I digress.

Out to Vail Saturday to camp and get in one last pre-ride. I rode the two main descents and felt pretty good. Quads seemed a little tight (race morning too), but I rode strong and had the single track sections wired. Back to the campsite, prepped the bike and stayed off my feet as best I could. Dinner and to bed early. Thankfully, the band at the resort's "Village" quit at 10 P.M. Thank you, God!

Up early for the 8 AM start and it's warming up FAST. Rode over to the venue for my bike warm up, a little jogging to get the run muscles going (cut short due to the heat) and into the water.Notice the lack of wetsuits. This would be a no wetsuit swim. I was happy about that since I'm a State Parks Ocean Lifeguard in San Diego during the summer and open water is familiar turf.
Ever notice how you can never understand the race announcer?

Swim: Pros off first with a cannon and 2 minutes later we get an electronic *beep* which confuses everyone (me included). A few confused looks all around and the wave decides that must've been the "GO" signal.

I'm trying to get into a rhythm and I can feel that I'm sitting low in the water and alomst plowing through it instead of that feeling of "surfing" I've been getting in my swim workouts. I did my best to stay long and not blow myself out and finally I can feel water getting into my tri suit, causing it to act like a drag suit. Crap. Mental note: get a swim skin or a better fitting tri-suit.

Out of the water and flew through T-1. Passing people left and right in T-1 and early in the bike.

Bike: Felt strong the whole way. Got stuck behind the Sport racers on lap 2, but we all knew that would happen. Did my best to pick my way through and made it to T-2 without any mishaps or mechanicals. Even managed to catch a few of the Pro Women, who started 2 mins up on me. Wow! First time that's ever happened!

Run: Hot. Horrifically hot. People scooping ice water out of the aid station water jugs and pouring it over their heads trying to cool off. I can hear race radios jammed with emergency traffic. Ugly. Honestly, I wanted to run faster, but when I did it was that indescribable "Hot" feeling that tells you to slow down "or else!". At each aid station, it was one cup of water in the mouth and one on the head. I got one cup with lots of ice in it and scooped the ice out, stuffing it down the back of my suit. Ahhhh...

Loop 2 on the run and I start feeling better! Huh? No arguments here...GO!! Much better 2nd time around, reeling in people that passed me on lap 2 and then some. Wish lap 1 had gone so well!

DONE! Results here.

Big thanks to Luke for taking pics and to my g/f, Holly for walking a mile in the heat to watch me race and then standing there for three hours while I try to kill myself; she gets 5 million "cool girlfriend" points.

Good stuff: Super strong bike leg, totally dialed transitions and accurate nutrition both before and during the race.

Bad Stuff: Swimming in a "drag suit", still taking too long for me to get my running legs after T-2.

SOLID race overall and my third sloid race in a row since my mediocre performance at Xterra REAL back in April.

Next up is the Rim Nordic MTB race series and maybe Xterra Tahoe City, depending on funds.

See ya!



David Emmond said...

Dude. Clean your bike.

Big Rig said...

Looking good. Excellent pics!

David - true mountain bikers never clean their bikes. ;-)

Eddie said...

Good job on getting it done! This race was hotter and more challenging than I could have imagined... but totally worth it.

I had a better 2nd run lap too... my body gave me the green light after the second aid station. It was still slow, but much better than the first time around.