28 August 2014

ITU Cross Tri World Champs/XTERRA Germany

ITU Cross Tri World Champs/XTERRA Germany
Race Equipment, Setup & Nutrition
Clothing-USAT Supplied National Team Race Suit
Swim - 2XU Race Goggles
Bike - Pro Cycling SW Epic, Rotor 3D+ SRM w/38-27 Q-Rings
           Effetto Mariposa Sealant in Ground Control 2.3, Front 23psi, Fast Trak 2.2 Rear 26psi.
           Rudy Project Windmax Helmet
Run - Colorado Running Company Inov-8 Trailroc 245

The ITU Cross Tri World Champs/XTERRA Germany was the key race for the trip the field was one of the largest pro fields with almost 70 guys including the U23 racers and extremely talented.  Going into the race the big question was the weather it was off and on rain all week and we weren’t exactly sure what the weather would be on race day but when the day arrived it was heavier spots of rain mixed with periods of sun, which made for the wettest and muddiest course possible. 
Having a good laugh with Ben Allen on the line before the start.
Through the rain and cloudy skies leading up to the race the water remained just warm enough to have a non-wetsuit swim which suited me.  As well with the ITU rules governing the race we would get called up according to our world ranking which is based upon the previous years ITU Cross Tri World Champs and I would be called up 10th and slotted in right next to Ben Allen and Ruben Ruzafa which was perfect having a strong swimmer on one side and a weaker swimmer to the other to get out and on to feet immediately and have some open water to the other side.

It worked perfectly as there was a “directional” buoy about 75 yards from the start that we had to turn at to head to the first official turn buoy.  The arms turned over well and I felt very strong cruising in the swim.  In what seems like an automatic Conrad and I were at each other’s side half way through the first lap and I eventually made my way up to the head of the chase pack and back ahead of Ben Allen surprisingly.  There was a small group of 3 in the front then Craig floating in the middle then the group I headed up behind at the end of the first lap, I kept the pressure on trying to bridge to Craig but couldn’t quite do it and exited the water in 5th about 1min to the front and 10-15 sec from Craig but I had Conrad, Ben and Braden Currie all out the water on my feet and a great group to work with on the bike during the first 5k of gradual uphill.
Craig and Faris Al-Sultan headed out and me in the background headed to my bike.
Conrad blew by quickly out of transition and I could not attach myself quick enough to his wheel and was just off him on the first section and I worked as hard as I could to close the small gap.   I pulled Craig back in and Braden went by shortly there after and pulled to the front and we had a good train going up the road.  The legs were feeling better than in Czech but as the climb gradually got steeper Michi Weiss cruised past and Ruben was not far behind, Braden made the jump to Ruben’s wheel but I didn’t.  I continued to head up the climb steadily as they slowly cruised away.
Quite hilarious as Conrad and I seem to have a lot of twin pictures like this where we are doing the same thing.
We then reached the first actual dirt parts and things that actually resembled mountain biking about 9k in to the course and saw how sloppy and muddy the course was after the 500+ amateur athletes had raced on it that morning.  I was very happy to have left the caveman water jug mud flap on the bike from the Czech race the previous week.  Thankfully the mud didn’t stick to the tires that bad and traction wasn’t horrible climbing.  There were slick sections but with some basic maneuvering you could keep going, the first descent it was a quick lesson to stay off the front brake entirely and let the bike skip across the top of the roots and get back in the dirt where the tire would grip.
The train, Braden leads with me on his wheel (10), Craig tucked in there along with another mystery athlete.
The slower you went the longer the front tire would be on a wet slick root and it was easier to go down.  The steepest section was very rooty and rocky and with the wet conditions was unrideable and we were all left hike-a-biking for about 1k then still had a good 2km’s of climbing to the summit.  Once at the peak of the course I hit the downhill hard flying past people taking back a over a minute to some of the guys that had passed me on the climb.  It was difficult maneuvering at times as the race organizers had decided to send the elite women off 20min before the men and we started to catch them before the descent and then was trying to be respectful but still go full on past them on the descent.  Through the rest of the bike it was more of the same flying past guys on the descents and trying to minimize losses on the uphill sections.  Getting off the bike everyone was coated in mud head to toe and nearly unrecognizable but was thankful for the sponges at the start of the run to wipe some of the mud off and get clean drinks of water.
2014 ITU Cross Tri Worlds SRM Powerfile (Wet and muddy course caused issues at times)

I stared the run well and really felt like I was moving well till guys started flying past me again, the legs just didn’t seem to want to turnover.  I was thankful the run was not quite as muddy as the bike, there were a few slick sections but nothing like the bike.  I hit the deck once on at the top of a shallow downhill since I didn’t understand what the volunteers were yelling at me in German that it was very slick mud right where I was headed.  I plugged along until about 7k and that is when the lights went out.  It was an immediate bonk, no warning just all of a sudden I was shuffling along and having a hard time holding a straight line running.  Unfortunately in the rush to set up my transition when the rain started I neglected to put my First Endurance Liquid Shot flask with my shoes and they had only water on the run course and had no way of getting in extra calories.  It was a slow last 2 k losing three minutes from what I would guess and I stumbled across the line in 29th.  It was a very bad end to a marginal day.

27 August 2014


Race Equipment, Setup & Nutrition
Swim - 2XU Race Goggles, 2XU X:3 Wetsuit
Bike - Pro Cycling SW Epic, Rotor 3D+ SRM w/38-27 Q-Rings
           Effetto Mariposa Sealant in Ground Control 2.3, Front 23psi, Ground Control 2.1 Rear 26psi.
           Rudy Project Windmax Helmet
Run - Colorado Running Company Inov-8 Trailroc 245
          1st Endurance Visor

The first of a three race trip to Europe this year started at XTERRA Czech, it has been on my list for a while as the former Czechoslovakia is part of my heritage, however after break up to Czech Republic and Slovakia, my family came from Slovakia.  It is a unique race course as it is the only net downhill bike course that I am aware of on the XTERRA circuit, there are a couple net uphill bike courses with Mountain Champs in Beaver Creek and USA Champs in Ogden.

The swim is in a beautiful lake about 15km from the town of Prachitice, though the water is the color of ice tea it is refresh and clean.  The water temp allowed for the use of my 2XU X:3 wetsuit and I smartly positioned myself next to Ben Allen on the start line and took off trying to hold his and Braden Currie’s feet.  There were two amateurs that started fast as well in the mass start and I was behind the one that started to fade and lost contact with the front three.  Ben got away and had a lead out of the water with Braden second 20 seconds back and I was about 1min back from him.

I started hammering on the bike and felt like I was riding pretty decently until Ruben Ruzafa and Alexander Hass rolled up on me about 8k in to the bike and they were flying.  It was a flatter dirt and road section and I jumped into the draft, then on the next hill though they looked effortless and I felt like I was pushing a tank up the hill.  Josiah cruised by shortly there after in pursuit and the hill was open enough that I could see Ben and Braden just ahead and we had definitely closed the gap down on them.  I was unable to maintain contact with anyone on the hill but kept the pressure on but the legs just weren’t turning over and I didn’t feel like I was producing the power that I have.  On the second half of the course I struggled on the few steep climbs and Jan Kubicek caught me just as we peaked out before a fast traverse on a road before the last descent back to town.  I managed to stay with him using the descents to my advantage but he would slowly creep away on any hills.
Old WWII Pillbox on the bike course, a different one that I didn't know was there till I saw the pic.

One of a couple fun very short fun bits on the bike.
2014 XTERRA Czech SRM Powerfile
We hit T2 together and headed out on the run with a couple other guys right on our heels.  The legs were moving well but the other guys were just a touch quicker out of the gate, Jan and one of the other guys continued to pull away but the third guy was struggling a bit on the uphill but was able to open thing up on the downhill.  I knew that I needed to stay close and make a charge on the second lap of the run on the uphill and get a slight gap.  I slowly closed and was a couple steps behind but just couldn’t get by the last little bit and I couldn’t keep pace on the downhill back into town.  It was a tough struggle and ended up crossing the line in 8th.
Little log jump on the run course.