04 May 2011

Going Wacko

After a few short days at home it was off to Wacky Waco Texas for the South Central Championship.  I was very excited when this race was back on the schedule, not the type of course I may excel at it is just plain fun.  The community backing is superb they did everything possible to bring the race back and hopefully we put on a show to show our gratitude for bringing us back.  They set up a great BBQ a few nights before the race, put us in an amazing homestay with John and Genevieve.  Craig, Will and I really thank you for providing us with a place to stay, a bed and a kitchen for those few days, I know that we are all looking forward to coming back next year.  John and G have a few amazing dogs as well D, probably the largest Great Dane you have seen and two eccentric Border Collies; Trey and Emma, they nearly wore us out before our race.

Out of the water with Patrick on my heels.  Thanks G for the Photo!
All too quickly race day approached and we were setting up transition, we were prepared before until the fateful announcement cracked that the water temperature was supposedly 68 degrees, wetsuit legal, Craig, Chris, Seth and I couldn’t believe it we had swum in the Brazo’s River in the days before and knew how warm it was and just didn’t think it was possible that it dropped 6 degrees in the past two warm days.  After a quick warm up on the bike I picked up my 2XU Velocity wetsuit back at the house.

Seth and I in pursuit of Conrad on a climb. Photo: XTERRA
After getting in the water I knew the best tactic would be to let someone else push the pace and sit on their feet to not over cook myself in the wetsuit.  Chris and Seth led the way in the swim and was leading heading on to the bike.  The course is very different than West Championships the previous week which had longer climbs, continuous efforts and is very wide open with no defined track.  The course in Cameron Park never seems to head in a straight line for more than 100 feet before you are making some other turn, the longest climb takes at most a couple minutes.  The biggest thing that I had to switch were going from my Ergon GX2 grips with the integrated bar end that were great for the climbs in Vegas to the Ergon GS1 grips so as not to hook a tree and send myself sailing over the bars.  I had a few bumbles at the start of the bike with my chain dropping and losing traction on a hill but soon got in the the flow of the course and got back by Seth and Patrick who had passed when I had to put my chain back on.  The inevitable happened with the Caveman making his way toward the front and about half way through the ride and we would be chasing the rest of the day.  At the end of one of the longer grinds he started to power away with the short burst through the corners.  Seth got by as well and although he was never more than 20 seconds ahead of me because of the course I never saw him till we transitioned to the run.

About to attack Jacobs Ladder. Photo: XTERRA
After running well in Vegas and really feeling like I was floating through the run there I was hoping for some similar experience in Waco.  Straight off you are slapped in the face with Jacobs Ladder which is about 150 steps that range from 4 inches to almost 2 feet tall, the legs got moving after cresting as I put off in chase of Seth.  He had found his running form through that eluded him the previous week and I never saw him again.  Then all too soon I heard the pitter patter of feet behind me as Josiah flew past with one clear mission, I had no chance and he was gone in pursuit of the leaders.  I continued my mission of trying to hold off any further chasers feeling my legs burn from the constant surges that this course requires on the bike.  With about half to three-quarters of a mile to go I glanced behind to see Nico.  The only thing I could do is try to dissuade him by putting in a surge and make it increasingly difficult to finish the catch.  It was to no avail, he grazed past, I took my second podium finish of the year in 5th.  I walked away very proud, riding very well on a course that is hard to practice for in Colorado.  There is little to second guess and but much to have great faith in with this season, and with how things have been rolling and have a lot to look forward to in the future.
Mens Podium: Me (5th), Seth (3rd), Conrad (1st), Josiah (2nd), Nico (4th)

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