I started off on somewhat of a wrong foot by forgetting to pack my pedals in with my stuff. After a few texts and calls I located a pair I could borrow for the first couple days pre-riding from Conrad since we use the same one, the Look Quartz. A fellow US Elite team member Kim Baugh went and picked my pedals up at my house and brought them with her since she was traveling down a day later. This is really what sets XTERRA apart from any other triathlon, we are a family and every athlete is always ready to help each other.
It took a bit of convincing but my mom and dad came down to the race as well, dad was racing of course and mom was the ever present support and spectator. My dad had a fantastic race won in a sprint finish by two-seconds and now has an ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship to accompany the XTERRA World Championship he won in 2010. It was then on me to represent the family that afternoon in my race.
|In for the 2nd Lap (Kevin Cox/Getty Images/ITU)|
|Hanging tough w/Stoltz (Justin Poland Pic)|
After a frantic transition I was off on the bike with Conrad on my heels and he jumped ahead just before the dirt, perfect position to follow him and hopefully get pulled along. I got into a groove which is critical on the tight and windy course through the trees, which also make it a course where you don't want bar ends and so the Ergon GS1 grips were on the bike in place of the GS2. I managed to stay with Conrad for a bit but his power was too much to try to hold on to and I fell back a bit and settled into my pace. With the tight course the main concern was passing since there were very few spots where it was available and safe to do. I got through three people on the wider sections of the course and was unscathed so far. I came up on a Mexican athlete that was having mechanical problems but he would not move from the trail, and I had to go off the trail to pass him. Note to other racers if you are having an issue don’t impede or interfere with the others in the race. Once I was clear I was able to set my own rhythm and tempo focused on catching the last guy I knew I could, Richard Stannard as I would need an unfortunate incident to happen to Craig or Conrad if I were to see them again in the race.
|Pounding out the road section with Stannard (Kevin Cox/Getty Images/ITU)|
|Trying to put the hurt on. (XTERRA Photo)|
|More and more corners (Justin Poland Pic)|
|Looks like I am running at least (Justin Poland Pic)|
Immediately I felt the crash as my hip was a bit sore and tried to sort things out. Legh and Stannard easily cruised away as I struggled to get the legs going. Through the first lap of the run the legs struggled as it seemed the field was slowly catching up and I couldn’t do much to stay with anyone that went by. I slipped back to eighth by the end of the first lap and it was hard to mentally to keep progressing at that point. I played mental games through the second lap to move quicker but the legs just would not turnover going up hill, but I was able to open things up a bit on the downhills. I soldiered across the line in 9th, immediately wanting more.
I took a moment to get out of my funk of not performing how I am capable and found the guy that I knew would put a smile on my face because of his performance. Craig Evans had an inspirational race taking 2nd to Conrad (taking his 6th off-road World Title). He did what very few could do staying with Conrad for the majority of the bike turning himself inside out to stick on his wheel. Then having an amazing run closing the gap down on the first lap of the run. His celebration across the line I could hear from the other side of the lake and that is something that put a bit of a spring in my step for the rest of the race. His performance here and Dan Hugo’s performance at the XTERRA World Champs last year are races I wish I could have watched more than been in for the gutsy performances for laying it all down and making the races that they were. It is back to work for me to try to get it all sorted and work on having a performance I might be proud of like their performances.
Nitty Gritty Details:Clothing: USA Triathlon ITU Competition Uniform
Swim: 2XU Comp goggles and 2Toms SportsShield.
Bike: Pro Cycling Specialized Epic Expert Carbon 29er w/Fastraks, 2.2” @ 20psi on the front and 2.0” at 24psi on the rear, Effetto Mariposa Caffelatex sealant 80ml in each wheel, Sidi Terra, Ergon HX2 glove and GS1 Grip. Rudy Project Windmax helmet w/large visor and Rudy Project Noyz w/ImpactX Photochromic clear lens.
Bike Nutrition: 3-20oz bottles of First Endurance EFS Orange and 2 gels.
Run: Colorado Running Company Inov-8 X-Talon 212 with 2Toms BlisterShield and Rudy Project Noyz w/ImpactX Photochromic clear lens