Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Xterra USA Championship Race Report

2nd place 25-29 age group

8th place overall amateur

17min 43sec faster than 2007

I am satisfied with my year-over-year improvement. However, I didn't put a complete race together....definitely not down on myself....but certainly more fuel for the fire to keep me going until the Xterra World Championships in a couple of weeks. I am extremely motivated to get the most out of training between now and then and to work on a couple of deficiencies. I will not leave fitness on the table. No mas.

Modeling after my travel schedule from the Xterra Mountain Championship, we flew into Reno on Saturday, the day before the race, to limit my time at altitude. After grabbing lunch at Whole Foods and stocking up on some essentials to eat quality home cooked meals, we cruised up and over the mountains to Incline Village just in time to get my packet. #111. Nice. It was cold and wet and the Lake looked quite rough. Not exactly perfect triathlon weather.

Race morning was a little better. No rain and the water was calm. After setting up shop in transition, we headed to Starbucks and then back to the condo to stay warm and out of the pre-race buzz as long as possible. About 1hr before race time, I headed back to the venue to start my warm-up. After finalizing transition I headed out on my bike for about 15min. My legs felt great although I definitely felt the altitude. Nature of the Tahoe beast. Game face on, I suited up in my new buddy that I spent the past two week , my Zoot Zenith, and headed to 1/4+ miles down to the lake. In route, I positioned my running shoes just off the beach so I could comfortably and quickly run back to transition post-swim. I love swimming in Lake Tahoe and was really looking forward to having an exceptional swim as my training would suggest. After a 10ish minute warm-up in the water, I was feeling great and was ready to rock.

Boom! At the gun, unlike other races, I ran in the water for quite a while and then porpoised some prior to settling into my stroke. Wow. What a difference this made. Much less spastic of a start. Somewhere between the start and the 1st buoy I forgot that I had to work hard to swim fast. I lost a bunch of time and it took until the 2nd lap of the 1500m course to find my groove. Once I did, I felt great and swam pretty fast, I think. Looking at my time...it was well below my target. Regardless, exiting the water and making the run to T1 was enough time to get my head ready for the bike.

T1 was a bit more complicated than normal this time around and it all had to do with staying warm. The additions to my normal set-up were 1) socks, 2) toe covers (already installed), 3) a jacket and 4) full finger gloves. I practiced plenty with these things, but it still made T1 complicated. Finally on the bike I knew I had some work to do.

On the road leading up to the first climb, Cody Waite came screaming by me. What better way to get into the bike than to hammer along with Cody, so I stuck with him as long as I could. With my legs and head now warmed up, I found a really solid cadence and began picking people off. I felt good and worked my way up into 3rd overall amateur and had a head full of steam....then....the trail flattened out and my head fell out of the game. Major bummer. I gave up some ground on the Flume Trail and the stretch around Marlette Lake. Not a fitness thing at all. I had worked specifically on keeping the power going on terrain like this leading up to the race, but didn't put it together. Finally at the top of the course, it was time to bomb the descent. I definitely went faster than in years past, but could have used a full suspension and would have benefited from pre-riding.

Let's run. It took too long for me to get into to my stride...about 1.75 miles. It took Branden Rakita (finished 5th overall - Pro) to blast by me/lap me to get me moving. I stuck on his heels for the remainder of the 1st lap and then kept the pace going for the final 3 miles. I averaged 6:28 miles, but really needed to get rolling much more quickly and flat out just push harder.

Two words: Turbo Maui