14 October 2011

Racing or Fun Eh?

I am a bit behind so here is a quick update on XTERRA Canada, expect another one very soon for XTERRA USA Champs

One of the most anticipated races of the year is XTERRA Canada, as a racer it is very hard to beat the riding in Whistler, BC.  It is definitely some of the most challenging riding around as well as some of the most fun.  It is very hard to label any one place as having the best riding in the world because as each location; Moab, Fruita, Whistler, Crested Butte, Pelham, each offer their own unique challenges.  This is why XTERRA is an awesome sport because each venue is entirely different, and the number of variables that can change from race to race is much greater than what a traditional road triathlon offers.  The thing that really sets Whistler and BC riding apart is their dedication to developing one of the most amazing trail systems in the world, easily the best I have ever been on.  When a community can come together and work with the local government on a specific task anything is possible and Whistler is a shining example.
The weekend started with a quick flight to Seattle and through the graciousness of my former roommate Haven, loaned me his car to use for the weekend since things popped up and wasn’t able to make the trip with me.  Once I arrived I put the bike together and headed out to pre ride the course with Will, Josiah and Cody.  The course was almost 100% brand new this year and was going to offer a whole new set of challenges, all I was hoping was that it would be as good as last year and it far exceeded.  Cal and the XTERRA Canada crew had local Trevor Hopkins put together a course that is a clear favorite for the most technical and most physically demanding XTERRA course worldwide.

Out of the chill and on to fun.
The chilly early morning made using the 2XU V:2 wetsuit necessary to stay warm, I started out quick and settled in knowing it was likely to be a bit of a longer day than normal with a technical bike and challenging run to come.  I pulled Conrad though the first 3/4 of the swim before managing a small gap over the last few hundred meters.  Exiting the water about 1 minute down from super swimmer Ben Allen with Seth close on his heels.
Down one of the many bridges in River Runs Through It
It was a bit of a struggle at the beginning getting into my Sidi Terra’s and Ergon HX1 gloves due to the switchbacks on the hill immediately out of transition but once I got things set, I gripped down on the Ergon GX2 and charged along to close the gap to the leaders.
Umm?  Focused but duhh...
Within the first hill I had one of the lead 3 in my sights and caught him at the top of the climb.  I was expecting Conrad to come charging by but increasingly more time had past and never heard his wheels rolling up on me.  I hit the first downhill and struggled, I had been nailing the pre-rides but was just off my game.  I was pushing to much and not riding smooth, and on this course smooth was fast, trying to push and go fast was not.  I eventually caught Ben on a short rocky section and then Seth a short time later when he had to stop to put air in his wheel.  A short time later I heard wheels come up behind, Josiah was flying and I did my best to try to get on his wheel and try to get the flow of the course and ride smooth.  He slowly got away as we finished the first lap of the bike.  Charging up the hill on the second lap Mike Vine caught me, I did my best to try to stay with him but he was to strong.  I did manage to relax a bit on the second lap and started to ride smoother through the first section but was still fighting things a bit.  The other athletes that we started to lap were very gracious in letting us go by but the fatigue of the course was getting to me and I was making small mistakes again as I finished up the bike.
Flying though the beauty of BC riding
Actually looks like I was running.
Once on the run I had only one goal and that was to hold my position, I hoped I had put enough of a gap on Seth to hold him off.  I knew the run would be challenging knowing that we were running the bike course from the previous year but it was one of those courses that just never seemed to stop.  The climbing was relentless and the technicality of the running was beyond what I had imagined.  The course got harder and harder because as I got more tired I couldn’t take the quick steps and bounce and balance around on the rocks.  I managed to hold my own for what I think was about 5k but Seth was much quicker today and I had to concede to him.  I semi stumbled home in fourth.

Podium: Me 4th, Seth 3rd, Josiah 1st, Mike 2nd, Kelly 5th.
I did manage to put together a decent race considering I had gotten sick the week before but I don’t think that really affected things.  Looking at the good and bad, I did feel much better in the water than I had in a while but I did lose a good chunk of time to the leaders.  I rode pretty strongly but I think I  over did the pre-riding and was a bit flat on race day and well technically I just sucked which was especially frustrating when I had nailed things on the pre-ride.  On the run I was solid for the first half then things started to come undone.  I don’t think I had gotten the necessary nutrition in on the bike which was hard to do and with the longer race I started to pay for it in the end.  Lessons were learned that will be applied for the next race, XTERRA USA Championships.

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