18 May 2011

ITU Cross Tri...simply Xterra by another name

I am a bit behind and hope to get caught up with Spain and Xterra Pacific Champs in Santa Cruz before I am off to Xterra Southeast Champs in Alabama this weekend.  A couple weeks ago I had the chance to be apart of the very first ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship and race as part of Team USA.  I have been to a few ITU World Championships before but they were all on the road and I was in the amateur or age group category racing, it is different when you are racing at the highest levels possible.  ITU Cross Tri is the same as all the Xterra's I have been racing, swim, mountain bike, trail run, though the distances are a bit shorter, in ITU they elected to do a 1 kilometer swim, 20 km mtn bike and 6 km trail run opposed to the 1.5km swim, 30km mtn bike, 10km run in a standard Xterra.  Another great feature of the ITU was a multiple loop format and separate racing so we could actually watch the women's team race and respectively kick arse and have a ton more spectators watching us as well.  The multi loop format makes it so you are seeing racers go by more often we aren't disappearing for an hour or more, you see us every 5 to 15min from the same spot.  Here are some photos of the race:
Unique pontoon dive start under ominous skies.
 It was a simple out and back swim, I found a nice rhythm early and held strong.  There were some faster swimmers as I expected and came out about 20 sec back from the lead the question was how could the others handle the mountain bike.

Dry conditions to start.
 We started the bike in dry conditions everything was smooth except there were a bunch of non Xterra regulars that seemed to have a lot of problems with the course not sure why.  We did four 5 kilometer laps and after the second lap the rain started falling.  We were also riding along the edge of the lake for half of the lap adding to the wet muck.
Riding on the lakes edge, add rain and it got a bit muddy by the end.

Rode my way up to 5th before Josiah passed with a few of the regulars ahead, Conrad leading, Seth in 2nd, Marceau 3rd.

Bit muddier getting off the bike once the rain started.
Once off the bike I didn't know what to expect but new more mud was going to be the case, just hoping it wasn't going to be thick and suck the shoes off.
Headed out with Spanish favorite Eneko Llanos on my heels.
Thankfully the worst of the mud.
I hit the run in 6th with Eneko right on me and couldn't shake him, this was probably the fastest and hardest I have really run in a while.  I did everything I could but I couldn't hold off Bruno Pais from Portugal and his fastest run split, ended up 8th overall.  The US team dominated, Seth took 2nd, Josiah 4th, Craig 10th, Brian 13th and Cody 15th.  The women dominated as well with Shonny in 2nd, Emma in 3rd, unfortunately a flat left Suzie in 13th after riding in 3rd on the bike and a back issue and borrowed bike put Sarah in 17th.  Hopefully they start a team relay at Cross Tri, we will dominate.  Overall the Xterra regulars dominated as well, Conrad taking his 5th world title, and Melanie taking the women's side.  Once I get a few more photos I will post more and have an entirely separate album and post of all things non-race as well.

Here are a couple videos, one is in Spanish but some great footage:

Cto del Mundo de Triatlon Cross from photodeporte on Vimeo.

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