17 June 2015


Capping a very busy first half of the season was XTERRA East in Richmond, Virginia.  It is another favorite as it is an urban adventure race for us and the conditions have changed each year making things unpredictable but it is what makes off-road triathlons the best format.
As has become tradition for me I stayed with Jon and Patti and I can’t thank them enough for everything that they have done and helped me with over the last few years as my host family at the race.  They are half the reason I come back to the race year after year.
The real test of the event this year would go back to the weather but for the hot and very humid conditions as opposed to the rain, I was thankful for a dryer course than what we have had the last couple years, but some suffering was definitely in store due to the heat.   The great part is that have gradually warmer and warmer and more humid races in May starting in St. George and ending in Raleigh I really felt like I was adapting more and have been able to nail down my First Endurance nutrition.
Suzie and I dropping some knowledge at XTERRA U
The swim was interesting as always, the water level was slightly lower this year in the James River so running a ground on boulders and hitting your hands on rocks was a much more common occurrence, the current was not as large a factor but it would still play a role.   Though I had good speed off the line something wasn’t clicking and I lost ground to a small group up front, I continued to slip backwards after the first turn buoy when we then ran on a sand bar to the next turn buoy.
Part of the "Swim" in the James River at XTERRA East, I am in the middle right of the photo (XTERRA)
New section on the bike after a bridge washed out last year.
After diving back in I nailed the next leg with the current perfectly and cruised back up ahead of the faster “run-swimmers” and closed the gap to the front group.  I dove back in and again took a smarter line after the run across Bell Isle and continued to close some distance down on the front and started opening a bigger gap to the guys behind.  Once out of the water and after the long run to transition I was about 25 seconds down to Craig and Braden Currie, but was just behind Brad Zoller and Ben Collins as I started the bike.  I hammered the first section
Up the Stairway to Heaven

The Mardi Gras on the Rock in Richmond, simply the best
spectators coming out and heckling and supporting.
across the Lee Bridge using a legal sneaky Conrad Stoltz tactic to help get me to the singletrack first. Thankfully I was riding much better than I did pre-riding and the legs were moving.  Josiah and Olly Shaw caught me not to far in the Forest Hill loop and after finding a good spot to let them by jumped on their wheel. Unfortunately a bumble by Josiah on an uphill switch back caused me to have to dab a foot and a small gap opened.  I chased hard to catch back but could not get back on.  I continued to ride strong and remained close but the guys were slowly putting time on me ahead.  It was already a warm day and it continued to get hotter and nutrition
Karsten and I pushing each other to catch the front group
was going to be very key.  Over the course of the bike I downed two large bottles that had 5 scoops of EFS Pro in the Lemon Water flavor with about 100 extra calories from the EFS Liquid Shot Kona Mocha each and the taste was good.   The flavor and sweetness is low so it I do not have any stomach issues.  I mix the Liquid Shot in the drink because there are not many spots to take in nutrition and it helps simplify getting the calories and electrolytes in.  Through next lap of the bike Karsten and I played leap frog until he really felt the heat and I started to open up a gap, and I wanted every second I could get as he had started to really put races together and was going well.  I was very thankful to feel like I was getting stronger through out the bike.  It was very encouraging to get that feeling after having the fading feeling the last couple years. 
SRM Power Graph of 2015 XTERRA East
Being hunted down by the on fire Chris Ganter.
A flat and lost CO2 took Olly out of the race and I headed off on the run in 4th knowing that there were fast runners behind.  I barely had time to get my ice bags settled to help stay cool before Ryan Ignatz blazed by, I did well limiting my losses to him for a while but he slowly crept away.  I reeled Craig back in slowly only to then be passed by Chris Ganter shortly there after.  I kept him in sight and was confident in my pacing and nutrition and knew that with the heat he could blow at anytime if he was not on top of his, the only issue is that he is a First Endurance athlete as well so it was unlikely.  Over the last section of the run I kept my pace high until I knew that I was not going to catch Ganter and that I was not going to be caught and cruised the last little bit in for 5th.

I was very happy to put the whole race together and be solid very all the way through.  I really have to thank Danelle Kabush for strengthening the mental side of my racing this year.  It has been a dramatic difference staying focused, in the moment while and most importantly very positive through the race.
Getting a fast and styling racing cut thanks to the Paul Mitchell crew at the XTERRA race.

10 June 2015

Racing Through May

Quick update as to the last couple of weeks as they have been busy and will continue to be that way till well into June.  Bri and I enjoyed a day with friends in Las Vegas and saw the Cirque du Soleil show “Love” before she had to head home and I had a quick drive to St. George.  This was the second time I had races the 70.3 in St. George and I was looking forward to competing against another deep talented field.  I can’t thank Dave and Kim enough for hosting me for the entire week leading up to the race, they made everything very easy and it was great to catch up with the whole family.
The swim in Sand Hollow is great, nice clear cool waters to begin a very challenging and possibly hot day.  I tucked in at the tail end of the front group but the pace was very fast and it was strung out single file.  About three-quarters of the way through I started to come unhitched and a small gap opened up and the group was splintering into small groups over the final stretch.
I forced the first miles working to close the gap down and get in a group and work with some guys to make our way to the front.  I was not making any in roads and had one guy sitting on my wheel and though from reports from other athletes and a photographer he was much closer than he should have been.  I continued just to push the pace and at about 35 miles Ben Hoffman, Luke McKenzie and Trevor Wurtele caught us.  I worked in to their group and we were riding strong going into Snow Canyon.  On the ascent of Snow Canyon my legs just would not respond and I didn’t have the power to stay with them up the climb.  I slowly lost ground as we entered T2.
Out on the run it took a mile before I felt like I really hit my stride but it came around and I felt good climbing the first 4 miles on the run.  I really felt like I settled in to a very good hard pace and continued to roll through 9 miles.  I could start to feel my legs tightening up about the same time Victor Del Corral had caught me and could not match his pace.  On the steep downhill legs really started to tighten and over the last 2 miles it was a mental struggle as it is a perfect stretch of road to just let the legs fly on the gradual downhill but I couldn’t do it.  About a half mile from the finish Evert, who had to rightfully serve a drafting penalty, caught me.  Across the line I was 18th and it was a decent effort, I still have some lessons to learn and some strength to gain in racing over the half ironman distance. Sorry no pictures of the race just my power file graph.
SRM Powerfile from IM St. George 70.3

In the chase group behind Craig after the first lap.
After St. George I was finally headed home to Colorado Springs.  I had just enough time to get unpacked and slightly settle back into my training and work routine at Pro Cycling before heading off to the next race.  It is always a fun time at the XTERRA’s and the Southeast Championship is one that we all enjoy on some spectacular trails in Oak Mountain State Park. Thankfully after two mysterious wetsuit swims when the water was plenty warm we got an accurate call that it would be a non-wetsuit swim.  Craig Evan put on a swim clinic for everyone and had a massive lead out of the water with three others and myself chasing.
We were not lucky enough to have a dry bike course though as rain the night before made the roots slick and caused havoc through the field.  I rode strong but small mistakes caused me to loose time to the guys ahead and I just had to focus on really putting down the power when the trail opened up.  Karsten Madsen was having a smashing day but some unlucky mechanicals allowed me to move up one spot but showed that he will be a force in races to come.  Chris Ganter continued to show his improvement and it was not a fluke in Vegas and caught me about 15miles in, I locked on to his wheel but due to a minor mechanical I lost his wheel.  Over the last few miles Olly Shaw caught me and I headed on to the run just behind him.  He stuck about 10-20 seconds ahead of me the whole run but could not close the gap down.  I held strong enough to hold off a few guys charging from behind for 6th.
SRM Powerfile XTERRA Southeast Champs
In chase mode to try to catch Olly ahead.
George and I post Raleigh 70.3, can't thank
him and his family enough for the homestay
and support through the weekend.
The last race in May was my first trip to North Carolina for IM Raleigh 70.3.  It was a lot of quick turnaround over the last month with races every two weeks but would be a good test as to how well I had rested between and while hitting a few quality workouts.   I swam strong but was about 1min off the lead after another guy let a gap open early in the swim and I couldn’t close it back down.  I felt great on the bike and was able to tick things over and picked a few guys off and only Andreas Dietz who smashed everyone on the bike passed me.  I was in 4th for the majority of the bike but two guys latched on my wheel after I passed them.  At the last aid station on the bike I settled in behind them to try to “refresh” my legs, it can feel easier riding behind people even though you are not drafting.  I found out that there was a draft marshal with us so I knew everyone was riding legally for the last 45miles.  I felt really good starting out on the run and over the first 3 miles things were going well.  Then my glutes started to tighten up and my running stride started to shorten to a jog and at points felt like a shuffle.  It was a big disappointment as I was really hoping that I was going to put together the whole swim, bike and run in a half ironman.  Slowly and steadily guys passed and I ended up 12th.  It was still a great trip, I had a great home stay with George, Kim and their kids and still got to see and experience a bit of Raleigh and what a city it is.
SRM Powerfile from Raleigh 70.3

No rest for me though as I am on the road again for the last race of the first part of the season at XTERRA East Championship in Richmond.