23 July 2012

Flat in the Mountains

The courses are very different for the remainder of the year, much less of the twists and turns through the tight trees in Alabama and Richmond and on to thousands of feet of climbing in the thin air of Colorado and Utah.  Mountain Champs in Beaver Creek is the first test before ramping things up for USA Champs and Worlds in Maui to close the season out.

I have had great results at Mountain Champs through the years and headed in with a plan to go at least one step higher this year.  The swim was two loops in Nottingham Lake in Avon, I started strong to get out of the riff-raff then settled in to a good pace not wanting to push to hard since we were swimming at an elevation of 7500 feet.  Once I settled in I was not going as hard as I wanted but couldn’t push any harder and an odd thing as well is I felt that I couldn’t breath.  I stayed on the feet of Craig and Conrad through the first lap and felt a bit better toward the end and tried to take the lead only to have Craig surge back in front.  I had nothing to respond and slid back into his draft for the second lap and exited just behind.

Chasing the sea level guy out of the water, hmmm means one thing, Craig is on fire! (XTERRA)
Pacing Henestrosa up to the road. (XTERRA)
Through the trees sucking wind (XTERRA)
Descent to Finish (STG)
I jumped on Conrad’s wheel as he went by and noticed it was not nearly as hard as normal to sit there as normal and was thinking that the legs were feeling good.  Once we started the long slog up hill, that is when I noticed, that Conrad was taking the first section of the climb easier and was gradually increasing his effort up the climb.  I settled into my own rhythm still having a problem breathing and just tired to minimize my losses.  Normally a long distance road guy, Ben Hoffman, slowly crept up on to my wheel and we rode together for a bit before he also spun away from me and Josiah followed not long after.  I just tried to keep the two in sight as we continued to gain elevation as David Henestrosa was the next to be on my wheel.  He stayed behind until we reached the road section and then burst ahead and I didn’t have the legs to follow him and was then sitting in 5th.  Just as I neared the top of the climb Cody caught me but was able to put a gap on him on the descent into the Arrowhead switch backs.  On the traverse back across the mountain his legs were stronger and stormed back by and there was little I could do to stay with him.  I got a side stitch as well which is something I have not dealt with in a long time that hampered my ability to be in a good position on the bike.  It slowly went away as I used the downhills as much to my advantage as I could and was able to close to within 10-15sec of Cody as we headed out on the run.
SRM Powerfile from XTERRA Mountain Champs

Headed to the steep section (STG)
The legs felt good starting out and was able to get the legs to turn over starting the climb and I felt like I might be able to make it a battle on the run with Cody.  Through a tight switchback section on the run he seemed to disappear and my focus was then on holding my position.  I struggled up the steeper section of the run but was able to get the legs to turn over whenever there it was a more gradual grade.  On the road decent to the half way point I just couldn’t open up as the side stitch returned and Ryan Ignatz flew by.  I pushed on but it was a loosing battle as the fleet footed Brian Smith cruised by as well.  I continued to struggle up the hills and then was able to open things up on the downhills as I crossed the line in eighth.  It was a barely an improvement upon my 9th at the ITU Cross Worlds/XTERRA Southeast race two months ago but a few points are better than none.
In to the Finish (STG)

With two and a half months till USA Champs there is a lot to be worked out and get the things that aren’t clicking worked out so I can be firing on all cylinders.   I am in a tight battle in the points series with Craig, David and Will for the 3rd - 6th spots.  I have made some adjustments to my schedule for the remainder of the year and this will be an all XTERRA year as I will not be doing any of the road triathlons as originally planned.  I will be back racing in about 3 weeks for XTERRA Mexico and hope I will be able to perform at the level I am fully capable of that will be followed up with XTERRA Canada.

Thanks to Stumbling Toward Greatness (STG) and XTERRA for the photos
Nitty Gritty Details:
Clothing: 2XU Compression Tri Singlet, 2XU Compression Tri Short

Swim: 2XU Velocity V:2 Westsuit  2XU Comp goggles and 2Toms SportsShield.

Bike: Pro Cycling Specialized S-Works Epic 29, 2.0" Fastrak @ 24.5 psi on the front and 1.95" Renegade at 29psi on the rear, Effetto Mariposa Caffelatex sealant 80ml in each wheel, SRM Rotor 3D+ crank 40-27 Q-Rings, Sidi Terra, Ergon HX2 glove and GS1 GripRudy Project Windmax helmet and Rudy Project Noyz Fluo Pink w/Lazer Blue Lens.
Bike Nutrition: 2-20oz bottles of First Endurance EFS Grape and 2 gels.

Run: Colorado Running Company Inov-8 X-Talon 212 with 2Toms BlisterShield and Rudy Project Noyz Fluo Pink w/Lazer Blue Lens

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