23 March 2012

XTERRA Philippines

It is hard to believe but the XTERRA Asia Tour is almost over, the weeks have gone by incredibly fast and there is only one more race to go in XTERRA Saipan on Saturday.  Before that happens though need to get things caught up on what happened last week at XTERRA Philippines.  I will tell you more about the culture and experience once all the racing is done but want to get an update on the races before I go and do another one.
The race was held in Liloan a suburb of Cebu, it was an early shuttle over but the earlier the start the more thankful I would be of not racing in the heat and humidity as much.  I was happy that it was overcast for much of the day with the sun poking through here and there during the race.  Had the sun been blazing it may have been a very different story.  Though I thought is was warm all the locals thought it was a very pleasant day, and not nearly has bad as last year.
Unlike Guam where we were in a more protected bay, we were right out on the open ocean and it was a bit choppy for the two loop swim.  I started toward the outside that way at the gun I could use the ground to push off of as opposed to being in deep water at the buoy.  It was a bit longer but I figured I could swim hard and get to the inside line and on to the feet of the other guys.  It worked perfectly and I filed in right behind Olivier Marceau.  As expected Ben Allen and two others got away after the first turn and slowly worked up a gap.  Olivier and I exited a little over a minute down from them and took off in to the crowd.

The bike was like nothing any of us has experienced in a race.  The two loop bike course wound through the small towns surrounding Liloan.  After chasing Olivier out of transition he took off and once we start to wind through the streets I wouldn't see him again except for at the turn around points.  We were flying through the streets, backyards, basketball courts, through a marina around light house and through the "graveyard".  The entire time there were people lining the road, no one that lived in that area was inside, they were all out on the course watching, it was awesome.
There were cheerleaders dancing, entire schools chanting, and everyone else was screaming and cheering along with them.  The longest gap between spectators of groups of spectators was maybe 100 feet.  The course was super fun on top of that, flying down the streets then bouncing through the yards with some short steep climbs.  It was a technical course with the coral rock sticking and you had to carefully maneuver through as I saw plenty of flats on the second lap.  There was a section on the course that only the pro's rode, the Vaseline Men Pro Challenge.  It was a rock jetty that we rode across that was only about 1-2 feet wide at the beginning with a sheet metal fence on
one side and it dropped in to the ocean on the other for about 100 feet then it opened up a little bit to 2-3 feet wide but riding through some smooth sections and some rock garden sections and both sides dropped into the ocean.  It was a fun different challenge.  I was riding much better than the previous week in Guam technically and flying through the rough sections making time on everyone but it was a flat and short climbs that my legs just weren't responding on.  Just at the end of the first lap Cedric flew by before we entered the graveyard section.  It was a short rocky decent in to a rough single track section with loose rocks
here and there and then up a steep rock hill to start the second lap.  I had no problem catching and staying on Cedrics wheel through the technical stuff but once it opened up he was gone.  I tried to just get back into my rhythm but I one way out on the second lap I really felt the heat and humidity and felt like I was going to burst when the sun came out from the clouds.  Once it was over cast again I felt a bit better but just didn't feel the power in my legs.  I cleaned the technical sections again and slowly ground my way back into transition in preparation for the run.
As I headed out I grabbed an extra bottle of water on top of my bottle of EFS and began the slow slog out of transition.  The legs were very heavy and I tried to use everything to try to help them start turning over.  There was not much that was going to help a that point, I focused on grabbing all the fluids I could and tried to help cool myself down but was just suffering.  About half way through the run Graham Wadsworth caught me as we ran through a group of turkeys (literally) and then crossed a nice semi rickety bamboo bridge the creaked and felt and sounded like is was breaking beneath your feet.  This was the only stretch on the entire course where there were not spectators for almost a quarter mile.  The crowd is all that kept me from walking parts when my legs were just lead weights.  They turned out to watch us and I was very grateful, it was an unbelievable sight.  I crossed the line in 5th exhausted and immediately went to the massage tent and laid down hoping to get all the kinks worked out and get re-hydrated.  Congrast to Ben, Olivier, Cedric and Graham for getting the best of me today, they suffered a bit better than I did through the heat.

14 March 2012


I wanted to add a big of adventure to the season and so I decided to start off the year in style with a three week journey to the South Pacific.  I took off from Colorado Springs on March 5th at 6am and once all was said and done landed in Guam at 8pm on Tuesday March 6th.  I tried to figure out the best way to deal with the possible jet lag and laid out a plan of sleeping on the two flights from the Springs to Honolulu and then would stay up on the long leg from there to Guam.  Overall it worked pretty well, it was hard to stay awake the last couple hours of the flight into Guam but made it and I managed to sleep in Wednesday morning till 5 then managed to fall back asleep for a couple hours.  My stay in Guam was supported in a rather unique fashion and shows how small the world can be.  My homestay was with Julie Mages a fellow Durango Demon and CSU alum, also the sister of an old soccer teammate Matt Mages.  It was great to start the trip with a friend and "local" to help get to know the area, Julie and her husband Mike were amazing hosts and I can't thank them enough for everything you went way above and beyond, you really make my journeys possible.

The first few days were focused on pre riding and running the course and getting a little fun mixed in with some meet and greets arranged by the race director Eric, who did an amazing job getting everything organized.  On Wednesday we did a q&a of any mountain bike tips then we went down to Chamorro Village for dinner and a little of the local culture.  On Thursday had a quick press conference (Article) and that night the pre-race briefing and a little mixer to meet more of the athletes.  On Friday I met up with Will Kelsay, Jamie Whitmore and her husband Courtney for a quick final course preview on the bike so see how the conditions would be slightly muddy and to get a feel and dial in the right lines.  It proved a little costly.  I cut a corner a bit to much and ended up in a bit rut and came down hard on the saddle and broke the clamp on the top of the seatpost.  We finished out the ride with me standing the rest of the way, thankfully it was mostly downhill and we were towards the end.  The rest of the day was spent getting things organized for the race and I managed to track down a seatpost to borrow for the time being.  Though to keep things an adventure on the way to pick it up Will and I ran out of gas in the car (it really isn't our fault, the gauge still read 1/4 tank remaining!).  Being in a "foreign" country it was fun with no cell phone to call anyone, so we walked around the neighborhood searching for a wifi signal to poach and managed to send our savior Erin an email.  Luckily she got it and came and bailed us out going to get gas and then proceeded to get the seatpost at her house and Will proceeded to shave his head.  

After all of that it was race morning before I knew it and time to get it on.  I am not used to XTERRA's starting so early but I knew I knew I would be very thankful to get it done early out of the heat.
The swim was a two loop ocean swim in a calm bay, I knew that I needed to get out quick and wanted to try to jump on Ben Allen's feet but couldn't hold them, I lead Olivier Marceau through the first lap and he led the second as we exited the water a little over a minute down from Ben.

The bike starts on a paved section with a mile flat then heads up a nice hill to the top of the course.  I stayed with Olivier till about half way up the climb as we tried to reel Ben back in.  I was hoping that once we got on the dirt I would be able to use some technical skill to help close the gap but it never happened.  I am not used to slick muddy conditions, and these weren't that bad but I just did not ride well in the race.  I rode pretty well the day before but I think the crash was mentally affecting me and I went down early again on the dirt which didn't help.  I tried to keep it smooth but just was not feeling the flow of the course and slowly was losing time to Ben and Olivier.  About half way through Cedric Lassonde came storming through and I did my best to stay with him for as long as I could but he was the strongest man on the bike that day and I just didn't have it.  I kept fighting knowing that anything can happen and came into transition about 3min down from the lead and a minute and a half behind Cedric.
It was then on to the gem of the race, the run.  Just on the preview a few days earlier it was a blast and I couldn't wait to get out and race it.  After slogging back out the road you start heading up hill which slowly gets steeper and steeper then a quick jump off of a small cliff and then to the river.  I was hoping that one of the three ahead would falter and I might be able to gain some ground.  Pushing as I ran under the bridge to the first of a series of waterfalls.  It was a stupid amount of fun half crab-walking, half running down some of them.  It was crazy to think that some were near vertical and 10-15 feet high but if you stayed in the path of the water your shoes stuck like glue and you didn't slide at all.  After decending a number of them it was all about how fast you could run through a flowing river bed that varied from ankle deep to chest deep.  I dove through the sections that were chest deep and swam and used the best of my trail running abilities to fly downstream.  I never managed to close the gap the the racers ahead and after trying to ford the ocean along the coast line which was 3 feet higher than when we pre ran the course I crossed the line in 4th.
 A big congrats to Ben Allen for taking the win, he really improved his riding and was impossible for me to catch, Olivier was strong as always in 2nd, with Cedric rounding out the podium.
Race Reports from local Guam paper and the XTERRA Report
 I will post some video of the bike and run courses after I edit the footage down some but you can enjoy some more pictures, through my website.
I will also have a quick update of some for the post race activities and getting to go scuba diving for the first time, all I can say is that it was awesome I am working on getting the pictures!

08 March 2012

2012 Race Schedule

It is hard to believe but my winter trip to Arizona is already over.  It was a great trip and I am very much hoping that the ability to really focus on training for the few months and be outside doing it will translate well as I head into the season.  I can't thank Chris Jeffrey enough for letting me stay at her place for the few months to train, it was one a few things that made it possible.  I really have to thank Shelby Katz as well for helping me get me an all my stuff back to Colorado.  It worked out well for her to come down and get a few days of sun and training in and get out of the bubble of winter in Colorado.  It was also nice to have a travel companion on the way back to Colorado.  Getting everything back was no small feat but we did accomplish it.  I was in Colorado for all of 4 days before I flew out for my first races of the year.  Which brings me to my race schedule for the year:

3/10 XTERRA Guam
3/18 XTERRA Philippines
3/24 XTERRA Saipan
4/14 XTERRA West
5/6 Rev 3 Knoxville Olympic
5/19 XTERRA Southeast
6/2 Rev 3 Quassy Half
6/10 XTERRA East
6/24 XTERRA Curt Gowdy
7/14 XTERRA Mountain
8/4 XTERRA Mexico or Indian Peaks
8/12 Rev 3 Wisconsin Half
8/26 Rev 3 Maine Olympic
9/2 Xterra Canada
9/9 Xterra Pueblo
9/22 Xterra USA
10/7 Rev 3 Half Full Olympic
10/28 Xterra World Championship

It will be a very fun season with some exciting new races with the Rev 3 Series as well as new XTERRA's for me in Guam,  Philippines and Saipan.  The Rev 3 Triathlon Series are all road triathlons that are either Olympic non-drafting or half ironman distance races.  I have heard some amazing things about Rev 3 over the past few years with how well the race organizers support all of the athletes and they put the races on for the athletes.  Unlike some other triathlon corporations that put on races trying to figure out every way to make an extra dollar.  There will be alot of updates over the next few weeks as I work on getting video of the courses up in preview of the upcoming races when I can.