Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Xterra Snow Valley RR

I know I said I was done with tri training for a while, but I just couldn't stay away. Not that I got bored with exclusively cycling, I just find too much joy in swimming and running. So a few weeks back, I figured I'd salvage what I could of my early season fitness and have a go at Snow Valley. With zero pressure to qualify for world's or Nationals, I figured I'd show up and throw down absolutely everything I had and see what happened. I was out to have fun and smash myself along the way. It turned out to be a great day. Big Bear in the Summer NEVER disappoints; friggin' love it up there. 
Like the race kit? It came with the new job! While I didn't totally quit lifeguarding, I took myself off the schedule for July and August and started working for B&L Bikes staring in late June. Working     two jobs and going to school was hellish for while, but year-round employment and STEEP shop      discounts will be perfect for me in the long run. My co-workers are awesome, we get along great and the parade of pro triathletes and super fast amateurs coming through the shop is always cool.          

Shot of T2 from the base area. The swim and T1 are half way up the slope, which makes for         interesting race logistics, but probably the only Xterra with a net elevation LOSS. Good news for   all you Gonzos out there who love bombing descents like I do. Steeper than it looks!                     
Coming past T2 to finish out the initial 1/2 lap. Notice the Tri shoes! Saved me huge time in transition despite having to use road pedals. TriVents are drilled for 3-bolt cleats and my MTB cleats are 2-bolt. Little did I know there's an adapter and I didn't figure that out until I got home from work...after all the bike shops are closed. So on with the road pedals and cleats: I figured if I had to walk this course, I deserved to ruin my carbon soles. The shoes were amazing! Super light and stiff!
Heading out to finish the bike course. You can see in the above pic the guy I had just passed on the downhill. I tried dropping him on the flat section and then tried hanging with him on the climb, but he had a 7-pound advantage on his S-Works hardtail. I found out on Saturday that my "race bike"           weighs 26 pounds. Ouch.                                                                                                                       
Finishing up the bike leg and getting out of my shoes. Saving time everywhere I can. Seriously, if        you're not getting off and walking, what does it matter what shoes you wear?                                    
I vaguely remember hearing some people yelling for me, but I was so focused and on the limit that I      didn't even see who it was (thanks Allison and Justin! LOL!). You can barely see me bent over in the back ground (shoot the moon!), but the dude in the foreground is about to get a lesson in Transition 101...                                                         
See ya! That's how it's done people.
The guy in front of me was the one I battled with on the bike course. I chased him for the majority of the run course and put in some HARD efforts on the really steep stuff trying to reel him in, no dice. The "rock on" sign from me is because I hit the trash can with the aid station cup with an over the shoulder no-look toss. The volunteer was stoked: "Two points!". That's how I roll, son!  
Finishing up. Smashed. I got caught late in the race and battled with a someone for an overall spot.  We passed each other at least 3 times that I can think of, but I finally cracked in a soft sand climb and he got away. Dammit. Still, I knew I'd given everything I had on that day and was stoked with how it felt regardless of where I placed. A solid race despite a shitty swim.                                                
It's hot...and I'm tired...and altitude...hurts...
I got my stuff together and started packing up so we could drive the 2 hours home to San Diego since I had a paper due the next day. I heard the announcer calling out names and figured I'd see how I did.
Third in my age group and tenth overall! WOW! Highest Xterra placing for me EVER.
Cool burned wood trophies and a burned leather coaster as a finisher's award. I'm totally blown away since I didn't think I had a performance like that in the tank considering how sporadic training has been lately. Given how crappy Vegas went for me, I really needed a confidence boost training and racing-wise. Too bad I can't afford to race more, who knows what could happen!

Recovery this week with no race plans as of yet, I'm just enjoying training and settling in to the new job.

Hard work pays off!