Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Xterra USA Championships

First off my current blogs are not sequential. I currently have a gimp leg (broken femur) so I am randomly catching up on events from my year of racing. I was lucky enough to qualify for the Xterra USA Off-Road Triathlon Championships. I've raced at this race for the past 3 years and each year I am consistently out performed by many of the national age groupers. I've accepted this, but the enjoyment of this race is the atmosphere and friends I have made through Xterra. This year I would again be staying with a group of friends for Colorado and Arizona.

The course is set up as follows; 1500m swim, 35K mountain bike and 10K run. The swim is two laps of 750m in beautiful Lake Tahoe. The bike is epic!!! You start with a 1200' 5 mile climb up a

Start of the Flume Trail after 1200' climb. Swim start was at the far right side of lake.

sand box to the Flume Trail. You then enjoy a rip through the famous Flume Trail which sits 1400' above Lake Tahoe. The trail pops out at Marlette Lake and you then have another 1200' climb up to the top of the climb and then you have 6 miles crazy descent through loose sand back to transition. The run is 2 twisty laps in and around Incline Village.

The Yeti ready for battle

My goal was a top 15 in age group and around a finishing time of 3:18. This would be 22 minutes off last year, but I was comfortable that all components of my fitness were much stronger than previous year.

Sunday morning was beautiful and I was stoked to get the race going. I did some pick-ups and felt great! As the race start approached I grab the wetsuit and went down to the lake. The water was a chilly 58 degrees, but I felt great warming up and was confident with my race plan.

Self portrait before race. Wearing the glasses to hide my fear and tears!

The start is a mass start (pros and amateurs) of around 400 racers. I had a great starting position, but when I hit the water the wheels came off. My breathing was erratic and I was struggling with my stroke. 3 minutes of swimming and I thought I was going to die. I started to hyperventilate and actually had to stop and tread water. Unfortunately, when I stopped I was run over by all the racers behind me. Shit!!! OK, my swim sucked and I was blasted coming out of the water. I was 8 minutes slower than expected. Dude, my biking legs better be on today!

Mommy!!!! Why am I such a shitty swimmer. I know I am uncoordinated, but really, that bad!!

I was so happy to be on the bike and started to tear up the trails. The climb up to the Flume Trail was beautiful. I was making up great time and then got stuck behind many slower riders on the Flume trail. Unfortunately the Flume trail is single track and passing is not possible. On your right is a rock cliff with boulders protruding out into the trail. The left side of the trail is a 1/4 mile plunge into Lake Tahoe (ouch). My attitude was good and once off the Flume I was able to hammer again. The rest of the bike was uneventful and I was able to shave 5 minutes off last year’s time!

Done!!! Where is my beer!

Off on the run. I felt great and there were no surprises. I dropped 6 minutes off last years run which equates to almost 1 minute per mile. Booyah! Unfortunately my swim was terrible and my finishing time was 3:31, much slower than expected, but overall I was happy. My finishing place was 24th out of 40 in age group, but at this time my focus was on the after party. There is nothing better than a bunch of skinny-ass triathlete trying to drink each other under the table. It's complete amateur night, but always good for a few stories!

Oh sweet nectar of the gods!

You have to love the local talent. One of Lake Tahoe's finest cougars!

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