23 September 2013


After a great XTERRA Mountain Champs I had almost two months of prep time for USA Champs and every one of those days was needed, if not more.  Outside of the usual suspects there were a few guys coming over from Europe as well to make it the deepest field at USA Champs.
My prep was great going in, I traveled out a week early to really nail the course and know how to ride each piece as fast as possible.  I can’t thank First Endurance and Robert enough for the support in being able to stay at the cabin in Eden and be able to easily access the course.  I had a great training partner going in as well with Craig Evans coming out for the week before to train with in the Springs before we rolled over to Utah.
Transition race morning, I am some where in there on the left. (N2PHOTOSERVICES)
After a week in Ogden, race morning arrived quickly and we were off swimming in the low waters of Pineview Reservoir.  The reported water temperature was 60 degrees there was some miss-calibration or error in reading the thermometer, as the water was definitely closer to the limit at 68.  If you did XTERRA West Champs in Vegas, that water was around 60 degrees.  I started strong and worked into the front group with the exception of Ben Allen and Leonardo Chacon who were off the front.  As we neared the end of the first lap I could tell the swim was long but put my head down and just tried to keep Ben and Leo as close as possible.  We exited the swim a minute down which was a manageable gap and was great to have them that close considering that the swim as 10 minutes longer than normal.  It was nice to have a long swim considering that it is usually the first thing to get cancelled or shortened.

Rolling up the climb (N2PHOTOSERVICES)
 Dan Hugo and I took off on the bike in pursuit trading off on the road to Wheeler Canyon.  I felt good and was riding well and was sticking close to Dan but whenever the trail flattened out a bit I had a hard time getting my legs to turnover and Dan was slowly opening up a gap.  I pushed on and about half way up Middle Fork trail Conrad caught me and Josiah went by close to crest.  I descended well and nearly caught Josiah before the trail turned up again.  Just before the base of Sardine peak Ruben Ruzafa caught up, I tried to key off of each of them and stick to their wheels but the legs were not turning over fast enough to keep pace.   I climbed steadily up Sardine but by the peak I was starting to feel cooked.  It was then that I realized I had failed in a key area of every race, my nutrition.  I have the best race nutrition out there with First Endurance but if I fail to actually take in my EFS drink and Liquid Shot during the race it doesn’t really matter.   I squeezed some in but was way behind and it was damage control at that point.
SRM File of XTERRA USA Champs

Still running well early on (N2PHOTOSERVICES)
Just after Nico caught me trying to keep in contact (N2PHOTO)
I hit the run, about 2 minutes down from Ben and over 5 from the lead.  Though I felt heavy and slow to start the run I was moving all right up the hill.  Brad Weiss was not far behind and I managed to keep ahead of him for the first 2 miles but he was gone quickly when he passed.  I plodded along taking in as much as I could with out upsetting things but I really started to struggle at 4 miles which is almost all downhill to the finish from there.  I leg the legs go as much as possible on the way down and kept checking to see if anyone was catching me.  With a mile to go I caught the first glimpse of Nico Lebrun and knew that I had to give everything if I wanted to stay ahead.  He caught me about 1/4mile and I pushed again to stay with him but when we hit the last short uphill before the downhill to the finish he glided up as I struggled to keep my feet moving.  About 20 feet from the turn downhill I heard footsteps behind me and had a feeling that this person couldn’t beat me.  I threw the last of my energy into getting up that last twenty feet and threw myself around the corner and downhill
The last struggle before the sprint for home (N2PHOTO)
towards the finish.  As I rounded the corner I heard names and it was Ryan Ignatz that was coming up on me.  We were separated by 1 point in the series and who ever was first across the line would be 3rd in the series.  As some put it, it was the ugliest sprint they had ever seen as I was flailing all over the place but it worked.  I stayed on my feet and edged Ryan across the line for 9th on the day and held 3rd in the USA series, my highest placing in the series to date.  I collapsed almost immediately after the finish and after a good recovery in the med tent was able to get my muscles working again to move around.  I learned a few lessons that I certainly can't forget in Maui in 5 weeks time, clock is ticking.

2013 XTERRA USA Championship from XTERRA TV on Vimeo.

Nitty Gritty Details:
Clothing: 2XU Custom Compression Team Kit

Swim: 2XU X:3 Westsuit, 2XU Race Goggles and 2Toms SportsShield.

Bike: Pro Cycling Specialized SW Epic 29, Fast Trak 2.0 @ 23psi front, Renegade 1.95 @ 27 psi rear with Effetto Mariposa Caffelatex sealant, SRM Rotor 3D+ crank, 38-27 Q-RingsSidi Terra
Rudy Project Wingspan helmet and Rudy Project Noyz Fluo Yellow w/ImpactX Photolaser Racing Red