Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Let the Run-Up to Xterra USA Championships Begin!

Well, it actually begun quite a while ago, but now with Ogden out of the way, I have the next challenge to focus on, Xterra USA Championships. See, Ogden, the Xterra Mountain Championships, was a designed to be not only be a guide to my current level of fitness, but to test the various types of training, tapering, racing strategies etc I've been exploring. A lot can be learned over the course a triathlon season and I encourage everyone to never stop building, learning, evaluating, testing and improving. To be more accurate, I will be employing the growth over the past three Xterra seasons towards the remaining two races of the year, Nationals and Worlds. This is always true, the employing learning part, but I feel like significant growth has occured of late.

After Ogden's race two weekends back, I jetted over to Colorado Springs to catch a friend's wedding and to hang with my sister for the week. Great times. I use to live in Colorado Springs and was super happy to be back. For this trip I only had my mountain bike with me, but that was all I needed. I didn't exactly follow my prescribed training plan and erred on the side of biking more, which was ok. One thing that I had forgotten about Colorado Springs was that every ride has lots of fairly steep uphill....and lots of pretty sick downhill. I mean I get my fair share of climbing here in AZ, but it is not really comparable, not even close. From a power perspective I am able to accomplish my workouts and get "enough" climbing where I live now, but.....not the same level of climbing quality as if I were to live in Colorado. Needless to say, I miss the place.

I wasn't able to fully diagnose my altitude experiment with flying into the race last minute and racing within 18hrs of being at altitude immediately post-race. But after spending time in Colorado Springs at altitude, I definitely noticed the elevation and its impact on my performance 3, 4, 5 etc days after being "up there." So...I will re-create the fly-in last minute for Tahoe. I thiking it works(ed).

While being in Colorado was nice, I did realize how mechanical I've become with life here in AZ and how good I have it. All my training needs are easily met and I have settled into a nice schedule. I now exactly where to complete each and every workout that coach Grasky can throw at me. I highly recommend checking out AZ if your are a multi-sport athlete. Maybe I'll formalize an early season Xterra camp or two....hmmm.

On training this week, the most noteworthy tough workouts are in the pool. I mean everything looks pretty tough, but, since I struggled a bit in the pool today, the remainder of the swims seem hard. It's in my head, of course. I did get to do a good workout with Tom Obrien this morning on the Hawes trails near Red Mountain (Northeast Mesa). We did a short ride with 4x10min at race pace with 2min recoveries followed by a 30min transition run at 10k race pace. If you recall, I lost some time on some of the rolling and techie sections at Ogden. Well, today Tom taught me a simple thing how to improve my mountain bike riding. He was riding behind me during the intervals above and noticed (and corrected) a couple of shifting/pedalling inefficiencies. Tom is a great mountain biker and some of the stuff he showed me today should help my performance significantly on certain parts of Xterra courses...and even more at mountain bike races.