20 May 2014

The Double: XTERRA Southeast

When my coach Derick, at Durata Training, and I came up with my race schedule at the beginning of the season we decided that I would race the Rev3 Series along side the XTERRA series.  To maximize the potential for Rev3 that meant that I would race on back-to-back days, XTERRA Southeast Championship on Saturday and the Rev3 Knoxville Championship on Sunday.  I had raced back to back before in 2006 with the Tri Cal Pacific Grove Triathlon and LA Triathlon and last year in the BE Series race and knew the pain, suffering and logistics of racing twice in a weekend.  What was different was the length and challenging courses that these races had.  XTERRA SE is a 0.9mile swim, 20mile mountain bike and 6mile run and Rev3 is a rather odd 1.2mile swim, 40.1mile bike and 9.8mile run.  It would be a tough weekend no matter if the conditions were perfect, what was an immeasurable help was having, my love Bri along my side to go through the absolute craziness with me.  She went above and beyond in being my Sherpa, support crew, cheering squad, coordinator and chauffer from the start of the first race until the car was packed the final time.  I can’t thank Craig Evans enough as well for his support through the weekend, for not just the use of his car for the trip, airport shuttling, and awesome crawfish dinner to close out the trip but for his friendship and unselfishness to always help me and anyone else improve and learning how to ride his XTERRA course even through we are competing against each other.

XTERRA Southeast Champs
Race Equipment, Setup & Nutrition
Clothing- 2XU Custom Compression Long Distance Tri Shorts
                2XU Custom Long Distance Tri Singlet
Swim - 2XU Race Goggles
            2XU X:3 Project X Wetsuit
Bike - Pro Cycling SW Epic, Rotor 3D+ SRM w/38-27 Q-Rings
           Effetto Mariposa Sealant in Fast Trak 2.2 Tires, Front 22psi, Rear 25psi
           Rudy Project Windmax Helmet
           Rudy Project Noyz Fluo Sunglasses
Run - Colorado Running Company Trailroc 245
Nutrition - First Endurance Off-Road Nutrition Plan

Photo bombing Chris Jeffery after the first lap of the swim.
After two days of perfect temperatures and dry conditions it was an unexpected dark stormy morning to which we woke and with a light rain completely changing the conditions of the course.  The magic XTERRA thermometer measured “64 degrees” presenting a wetsuit swim, thankfully this year I was prepared for it unlike last year.  Though I needed to race each race as if each were the only one that weekend there were certainly ways I could try to conserve as much energy as possible as well and the first step was successfully accomplished in the swim.  As soon as the cannon blasted I jumped straight on to the feet of Dan Hugo, Craig, Mauricio Mendez, Flora Duffy, Sean Bechtel and drafted through the entire swim in the lead pack and into transition.

Perfect position photo bombing Craig as we hit the Oak Mtn Trails
On the bike I found my target position right on Craig’s wheel right as we hit the trail and the only focus was to keep the master right in front of me through the ride.  Though the wet conditions did make the roots and rocks slick and the wood bridges like ice there is one constant in how you ride the trails at Oak Mountain, you attack them and that is exactly how I took to the course.  Craig was on a singular mission to catch Dan who what ahead and riding like his bike was on rails, I was following as close as possible but he slowly crept away.  I was superbly confident in my riding and continued to rip along 
Blood Rock photo bomb of Josiah
better than ever hoping to distance myself from the young stud Mauricio, Brad Weiss and Josiah.  At the base of the jeep road climb I was super encouraged to hear that I was only 60 seconds down from Craig and Dan, the closest I had been to the front of the race at that point ever and charged the climb harder than ever. On the climb the darkness closed in and the skies opened up for a good 10 minutes.  On the rolling section along the top Josiah and Brad had caught up and latched straight on to Josiah’s wheel over to the descent of Blood Rock.  With the slick conditions it is best to keep a short 
Ripping Blood Rock to stay with Josiah.
distance between you and the rider in front of you incase of mistake and you need to adjust and get around.  I had a small bobble but stayed on my

bike, Brad was too close got jammed and had to put a foot down and there was a gap between us.  I descended like a mad man closing the small gap to Josiah at the base of Johnson's Mountain.  On one of the wood bridges I don’t even know what happened but my wheels went straight out from under me and hit the deck.  I remounted my chain and got going a bit shaken, Brad was right back up to me.  It took a bit to get my wits about me and start to ride hard again after sliding out but I had to stay with it as Brad took the opportunity and jumped ahead.  Through the last section of the course I was able to attack the course but stayed relaxed and closed the gap to Brad and we hit transition together, we had lost about 2.5min to Craig, Josiah was 1 minute up and Dan was about 40 seconds up.

SRM Powerfile of XTERRA Southeast Championships

On the run I had Dan in sight and the legs were flying along well and reeled him in the first mile.  About two miles in Brad passed but stuck fast about ten seconds behind for the next few miles, using him as a carrot to pull me along.  I knew I wasn’t safe as Mauricio’s speed on the run is unmatched by anyone and I didn’t have any idea of how far behind he was.  With about a quarter mile to go I heard the dreaded light quick footsteps and he cruised past me, it was a bit crushing.  I cruised in able to see that he nearly caught Brad as well in the finishing straight, crossing the line in 5th only 12 seconds out of 3rd place.
Congratulating Mauricio after a close finish, this kid is the real deal, so young and talented, sky's the limit.

It was my best effort and performance at the Southeast Championship and went to show how the smallest things can really change the outcome and sometimes those small things are out of your control.
2014 XTERRA Southeast Championship Men's Podium
Race report is on the way from the Rev3 Knoxville Championship.

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