07 September 2014

XTERRA England

XTERRA England
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, Fast Trak 2.2 Rear 27psi.
           Rudy Project Windmax Helmet
           Rudy Project Agon Sunglasses              
Run - Colorado Running Company Trailroc 245

Saving the best for last, the final race of my XTERRA Europe tour was in England and at the Vachery Estate near Cranleigh.  The race went through some turbulent times to be held but thanks to the hard work by Sam Gardner, Richard Stannard and a few local friends, in the weeks leading up they build one hell of a course, and with additional help from Dave Nichols who was helping while attending the other XTERRA European races pulled together a very well organized affair.
I can’t thank Sam, Susan, Abby and Zach enough for the support through the week leading up to the race, with a place to sleep, transportation and food.  I only hope that I helped out some going into the race and didn’t make things harder.
A lot of organizers could learn from what Sam did in creating a great 15km loop course and building and clearing the better part of 10km of those trails in the few weeks leading up to the race.  It was some great technical singletrack that everyone could ride and the faster you went the harder it got.  Unfortunately I did not have the best lead up to the race as a few days out I developed a head cold and had some body aches and wasn’t able to pre-ride as much on the course as I would have liked.  I spent a few days on the couch trying to keep the strength of the cold to a minimum.
Trying to get my 2XU X:3 off with Conrad on my heels as always (Photo Credit Trey Garman/XTERRA)
A number of road guys showed up to try their hand at the off road stuff and it made for a large front pack in the spring fed lake, the water was super clean even through it looked like ice tea and very crisp making for another go with my 2XU X:3 wetsuit.  I followed the same protocol that I had in Czech and Germany and lined up next to Ben Allen and followed his lead out.  I settled in to the group but could tell that I was just a bit off and had only one gear after being a bit under the weather.  I was able to settle in at the tail end of the pack and at the turnaround moved up a few spots only to then notice that a gap had formed and I didn’t have the extra gear to close things down.  I stayed steady on the way back in and hoped to be able to not get caught behind to many guys on the tight singletrack.
Pushing my SRM Power as much as possible on an engine limited day (Photo Trey Garam/XTERRA)
Due to the nature of the start of the bike I elected to put gloves on in transition, as it would be very hard to get them on and into my shoes before the singletrack.  I definitely lost a spot or two and wasn’t able to get on Conrad’s wheel but I was not going to stay there long anyway as I had one gear on the course and there were a lot of pace changes necessary to ride fast and hard on the course.  Not pre-riding definitely my speed on the course but I think my body was holding up better due to the increased rest going into the race.  I worked my way up and past many of the roadies who were
Almost to the run (Photo Trey Garman/XTERRA)
having some problems negotiating the singletrack.  I think worked my way up to about 4th or 5th before some of the good mountain bikers but slower swimmers started to cruise by me and that was when it was really evident I didn’t have that extra gear to stay with them.  I tried to ride smooth and steady on the course but it was really frustrating going along and feeling like I was hauling an anchor behind me.  I did have an absolute blast riding some great trails and that was a welcome change after the last two courses.  I rolled into transition just inside the top 10 and was hoping to hang on.
SRM Powerfile from XTERRA England
The first section of single track is a blast as you hit the first of two water jumps and then immediately have to pick a line around a bog, last year they went straight through it but is was in a bit worse condition this year so they routed us around the edge through some soft mud that if you stepped in the wrong spot you could loose your shoe.  I felt good running but felt like there was a limiter on me and could only move so fast.  I was holding a steady pace but one guy cruised by and there was nothing I could do.  Towards the finish of the two lap run you encounter the second stream crossing and shortly there a log jump, I hadn’t seen this part of the course and chose to go a bit out of my way to run across a log across the stream.  I started the
Last bit in the forest before the field to start the 2nd lap or head to the finish (Photo Trey Garman/XTERRA)
 second lap and got a good idea of how far back the next guys were and knew it would be a hard battle to hold on.  About halfway through the lap I could hear the footsteps behind me but he didn’t make the pass, just as we started a little grinder of a hill.  I knew he pushed hard to get up to me and wanted to rest just, I stuck it to him and pushed the pace up the hill and opened the gap back up.  In the last section of single track through the woods through not seeing it ahead of time cost me and at a muddy section he took a quicker line and at the last water crossing he made the jump while I ran the tree and he was ahead of me.  I pushed but he had better leg
Up and over (Photo Light Trapper.co.uk see others here)
 speed in the end and I came across the line in 12th.  It was a tough way to end the trip not racing at my best but it was what I had in me that day.  I have taken some time to recoup and rest before a little push going into USA Champs that are two weeks away now and then a bigger push into Worlds at the end of October.
Into the field headed for home (Photo Trey Garman/XTERRA)