31 October 2016

XTERRA Dominican Republic

Race Details:
Bike: Pro Cycling Epic with SRAM XX1 156Q SRM Crank
     Antiflat Protection: 90ml of Effetto Mariposa Caffelatex, 21.5psi Front, 24psi Rear, 2.2 Fast Trak 
     Helmet: Rudy Project Windmax Helmet
     Glasses: Rudy Project Tralyx 
Run: Colorado Running Company X-Talon 212
     Glasses: Rudy Project Tralyx
Race Nutrition: +First Endurance Triathlon Nutrition Plan
     Pre-Race: 24oz of EFS Pro mix of Lemon and Cumber Flavors, 20 oz bottle of water
                      3 Capsules of PreRace
     Bike: 2 - 24oz bottles with 1.5 packets of EFS Pro Lemon in each,
               3 servings of Vanilla EFS Liquid Shot
     Run: 1 servings of Vanilla EFS Liquid Shot and on course hydration.
     Post Race: 1 Serving of Cappuccino Ultragen

XTERRA Dominican Republic

When I saw the new races on the XTERRA Pan American circuit, Dominican Republic really stood out as one that I wanted to do and I can’t recommend enough that you go and race as well.  For a first year race it was well run at a spectacular venue of the Casa Bonita Tropical Eco-Lodge.  The staff and management did everything they could to provide the best experience possible for the racers and I know it will only continue to get better the more the race goes on.
As a first year race we didn’t know what to expect going in but the XTERRA DR crew did a fantastic job using what they had at their disposal for the course, most importantly they have the vision and desire to continue to keep adding more trails and keep improving the race experience.
No pictures do the waves justice, but this does show how rocky the beach is.

The race is a beast, with the ocean swim you never know what you will get and on race day it was better for surfing than for swimming that is for sure, as guys were tearing up the waves 200m down the beach from the swim start.  It swells were huge and I was very grateful that we were not having to swim through to many breaking waves.  The start was brutal on a rocky beach as the waves tossed rocks around and you just had to commit and get in to the water.  Once you were past the beach break it was not smooth sailing though as there was probably a 15 foot difference between the bottom and top of the swell so it was very tricky to sight the buoy and the currents made it very difficult as well.  I tried a couple times to surge and get ahead but I was only putting out more effort with no noticeable gain.  I stayed tucked in the front group and did what was necessary to not loose the group.

Once out of the water I got a good sense of who was around me; and it was two local guys, and Rom Akerson.  We hit the bike and my plan was to work with Rom and try to stay out front as long as possible.  That plan went quickly out the window with the surprise of Josiah going by 400m into the bike; he swam well and was only just off of our feet.  It was a quick change in mindset and the only thought was getting on his wheel.  The 3 of us rode together to a steep staircase that is ride able 
We rode the staircase in the pre-ride but not in the race
it is steep and there is no slowing down.
but for the safety of the entire field of competitors the right call was made that we would have to dismount and run/walk down the steps.  There was a grass siding that I knew the bike shoes would get better traction on and planned on running down that, Josiah had the same idea and was a bit more fearless about it and managed to open a gap running down, leaving Rom and I chasing.  We managed to close the gap a little bit since Josiah had to stop to open up a gate but then we reached the hill he really started to open things up.  The hill is brutally steep, you gain about 1000ft in less than 2 miles, everyone is really crawling along up the hill, and many had to walk.  One saving grace was the cloud cover otherwise it would have been even tougher with the sun beating down as you were going 3-4 mph up hill.  To make things a bit tougher there was after a short downhill section it was then a steep hike-a-bike to zap the legs a bit more before you finally go to head downhill.
Rom dropped me chasing Josiah and tried to keep him in sight and worked to stay ahead of Kieran McPherson, as I knew I needed time on him heading into the run.  The couple river crossings on the bike were great to help stay cool.  The good and bad thing about the course is that is two loops, you get great encouragement from everyone coming back through near transition but at the same time you have to go up the hill again.  The second time is always a bit tougher but I mentally used the short sprint athletes that had started later as little carrots to catch as I was riding, I felt like I rode the climb stronger and hit the downhill hard.  About half way down I saw Josiah stopped with a flat, he asked for Co2 
but unfortunately on the first lap my Caffélatex Espresso (a Co2 and sealant that I carry to fix flats) had shaken loose and I didn’t have it any thing else with me.  I was lucky not to flat after I lost that, flats and mechanicals are part of racing and it can happen to anyone you just have to make the best of it and in my case I had to use that to try to gap Josiah so he wouldn’t run my down.

The reward after the climb, you can see the Caffelatex Espresso right when I lost it below my right foot (leftside)
I came in to transition a few minutes down on Rom and didn’t know how quickly Josiah would have gotten going I just pushed on.  The run course is the “easy” part if you want to call it that, though there is not much climbing it is still a gradual climb for 5k and it grinds a way at you before coming back in.  I focused on staying hydrated and was very happy that the run was well shaded in the trees, there were a few times I still considered jumping in the crystal clear cool water of the river that we run besides.   I managed to keep things together well and held my position and finished 2nd behind Rom.
SRM Powerfile and elevation file from XTERRA Dominican Republic (not sure why the elevation isn't symmetrical)

The post race party at the finish line with the wood fired pizza oven and barbecue was great to get refreshed.  The awards were back up at Casa Bonita were we got to sit and relax at the infinity pool for the awards.  This is truly a brilliant place for a racecation.

5-Ryan Ignatz, 3 Kieran McPherson, 1 Rom Akerson, 2 Me, 3 Josiah Middaugh

15 August 2016

XTERRA Beaver Creek

Race Details:
Bike: Pro Cycling Epic with SRAM XX1 156Q SRM Crank
     Antiflat Protection: 90ml of Effetto Mariposa Caffelatex, 21psi Front, 25psi Rear, 2.2 Fast Trak
     Helmet: Rudy Project Windmax Helmet
     Glasses: Rudy Project Tralyx
Run: Colorado Running Company X-Talon 212
     Glasses: Rudy Project Noyz
Race Nutrition: +First Endurance Triathlon Nutrition Plan
     Pre-Race: 24oz Bottle of 1 Single serve packet of EFS Pro mix of Lemon and Cumber Flavors
                      3 Capsules of PreRace
     Bike: 2 - 20oz bottles with 1.5 packets of EFS Pro Lemon in each,
               2 servings of Kona Mocha/Vanilla EFS Liquid Shot
     Run: 1 servings of Mountain Huckleberry EFS Liquid Shot and on course hydration.
     Post Race Cappuccino Ultragen

XTERRA Beaver Creek
A couple weeks later I was on to the closest thing I can call a hometown race being in Colorado.  It also starts the beginning of the mountain courses with all the remaining courses on the Pan-American series all have a lot of climbing involved.  Being that Colorado is a training hotbed for triathlon in general, racers come out of the woodwork and race Beaver Creek since it is an easy drive.  This year was no exception with some very top name road guys racing their first XTERRA and a few guys that do 1-2 XTERRA’s a year that are very talented.   This also changed the dynamic of the race a bit over the XTERRA in Alabama and Milton where there was a group of 2-3 of us in the swim to now a very solid group of 7-8 guys to push the pace from the gun.

Not a great effort in the swim but when nobody else wants to lead. PC: Jesse Peters/Backlight Photo
More Photos from XTERRA Beaver Creek
 Leave it to the roadies showing up to do a gradual forward drift of the start line during the countdown to the gun, I took my normal position and got away clean on the side with Brad Zoller and happily slid back to draft him after clearing the dock.  Normally I take 10-20 hard strokes then settle in but I couldn’t get comfortable and find my stroke and breathing was difficult.  Brad built a small gap and it stayed steady through the swim.  I knew I wasn’t swimming fast but no one behind me wanted to take the lead and catch Brad so I just cruised at what was comfortable.

At switchbacks to the road, with Sam Long on my wheel, he surprised us all, great race from him
PC: Backlight/Jesse Peters

I headed out on the bike in second and passed Brad shortly there after and was joined by Ben Hoffman, Rom Akerson and Leon Griffin.  I think all of us were feeling a bit off as I knew I was not 100% on my game but they were not accelerating away from me at all and it was a very slow gap to open.  Just before the cross over point of the bike Josiah rolled up to me with someone else in tow and continued to roll away.  Once on the short road section I got a gauge on Ben, Rom and Leon and knew I needed to overtake Leon before we started the downhill to start gaining time on him and by the top of the climb I managed to catch him and took off downhill.  It is not very technical but you can still open up some time on the switchbacks down Arrowhead.  I pressed on hoping to keep close to the 4 guys up the trail on the traverse on Village to Village trail trying to not let Leon catch back up.  Everything remained the same through the end of the bike and I headed off in fifth knowing it would be a tough task to catch anyone ahead but also wanting to preserve a top 5.

The decent down Corkscrew PC Backlight/Jesse Peters

SRM PC8 Powerfile from XTERRA Beaver Creek
Top of the Aspen Glade climb PC:Backlight

I managed to preserve things for about a mile before Leon rolled by, I kept things in check for the first 5k and the legs were feeling good on the downhill and was hoping for a stronger 2nd half of the run.   The legs would not respond as well as hoped on the second climb and he opened up the gap more.  I was glad to have gapped the other guys behind on the bike as I needed the time over guys like Greg Bennett and was able keep things rolling and finished 6th

In to the finish in 6th

More photos of XTERRA Beaver Creek from Backlight/Jesse Peters