Sunday, June 07, 2009

Xterra Northwest Cup Race Report

Bad day.  4th AG. 9th OA.  Way off the comparative times of my comp.

Swim: Two laps with a short beach run inbetween.  Not sure how long the laps were, but they felt long.  The water was cold, but wasn't a factor for me after a couple 100 warmup.  The water on the lake was rough.  Fortunately the longest stretch of each lap was with the strong current.  The final stretch of each lap was a battle with the water as the angle brought us back slighty against the current.  Fortunately the water tasted good because I drank a lot.  We started in waves 1min back from the pros.  I had what felt like a great start.  I focused on fast turnover and quick strong hips to the first buoy before looking where I was.  Half of the long middle section I was on a guys hip and the went around him up to the next guy.  I felt like I was swimming good.  Just before the second buoy before heading for the beach/lap 1, a guy from the wave behind me went by.  I hopped on his hip, but didn't like that at all.  This hip swimming thing is new and I need to get use to the variations.  This guy knew what he was doing and took me dead on into the buoy.  - could see his plan is his eyes, but wasn't sure what I could do.  I should have pushed back.  Once we rounded the buoy we were onto the toughest roughest stretch where he got away.  Coming up to the beach I felt pretty worked, but not fatigued.  Out for the second lap I was solo the entire time.  Looking at my time which was 6min off of the top pros who I am usually 3min behind and 2min behind pros who I am typically with or slightly ahead, I guess my swim wasn't so good.  Damn, I thought it would be one good thing for the day.  I guess not.  One thing is for sure is that in tough water the better swimmers swim that much better.  Also I bet I lost time on the second lap not having a group or someone to push me.  Good lesson.  I felt fine in the rough stuff, so I don't think I need to work on that.  My start was good, so more of the same there....but something was lacking, maybe figuring out what to do when there's no one around...which equates to a) not letting people push me off their hip and b) focus. 

After a kinda tough steep run up to transition I was on the bike chasing Zyrski who was my target (beat me in the overall by 1min in vegas) and was about :30 ahead.  I need to understand that chasing and catching a world champ doesn't come easy.  Realistically it could have taken the entire bike to bridge just :30.  I was I no way prepared at the time for that type of pursuit....mentally that is.  Had not thought through that scenario.  Hind-sight is great.  "Are you mentally prepared to ride all out for 1:30 with only a :30 gap being closed as a reward??". I felt fine on the first flat section then some slight uphills hit and my legs didn't do what the have been doing...which is going uphill fast.  I think I must have not realized that it takes some time sometimes to get warmed up/into the bike....which is not ideal, but totally ok.  I am a student of the stats and know everyone's relative strengths and where everyone stacks up.  I was expecting to race at least as good as Vegas if not way better.  When some pros passed me on the bike early at a seemingly speedy pace, I had no response and had an "it's ok" attitude.  What the heck man!!  a little less than 1/2 way through the first lap a guy in my AG came flying by.  Yee-haw, I stuck with him.  Miraculous, my legs didn't fall off...of course they didn't!!  Rising behind this guy was great.  He showed me how fast and hard the course could / should be ridden.  Realistically, I would never had ridden that course that fast solo.  Onlookers would probably say we were out of control skidding around corners, fishtailing, stand up and cranking hard all over the place.  It was fun.  After a while we chatted.  There were two age groupers ahead.  He asked me to share work.  I lost focus and on the next seried of descents followed by a long flat, he dropped me.  He was faster on the descents, but I was always able to pull him back.  Crap.  Just as the gap opened another guy in my AG passed me on the flat.  No repsonse.  They Xterra gods threw me a line and I didn't take it.  I road most of the second lap with Danielle Kabush.  I knew it wasn't the pace I needed to go, but it wasn't a bad pace / I still worked hard and wrote off the bike and geared up for the run.

Game on.  I knew the run was the only way to salvage my race.  The single loop 6.5 mile course was sweet.  Up, down, flat with some tech (which I never point out but others seem to have trouble navigating, so I guess I'll give it some cred).  I set off just as I had hoped.  Fast turnover, solid pace, cruising hard.  I was concerned about my nutrition, but knew I was down the hole already and would crack if my body wanted to crack, so I didn't worry about it.  I was looking for people ahead but there weren't many.  Again, I need to get use to not getting instant gratification.  I started running out of juice or focus, not sure which.  I think my sights were set on catching people vs just going as fast as possible for the entire run.  After a tough climb the course flattened out and had some downhill.  Out of no where the jostelling on a downhill caused my stomach/abs cramped bad.  I had to stop and then walk.  I kept trying to get rolling again, but no dice.  I knew my bike sucked and that I needed every second....this wasn't helping.  Finally I figuered out a way to breath and to shuffle/speed walk to minimize the cramping and get moving.  Typically, I belly breath which has kept my inside-muscles happy and stretched, but that didn't work at all.  I did this hunched over, chest deep only breathing.  The course was so sweet and the second half had my name written all over it, but to no avail.  I ended up catching back one guy via my turbo shuffle. 

If I had put together a killer run I might have been ok age group wise, but the guy who was 1min ahead at Vegas beat me by 16min.  Wow. 

So....where from here.  Back to base for a while, have some fun and regroup for Ogden.  Training plans are intricately woven things and with the travel over the past coupke of weeks, I didn't follow my plan.  Not massive errors, but nonetheless.  This coupled with what I think amounts to the need for a midseason break.  I've been hiting it for 6mths.  I noticed a decrease in performance and desire over the past couple of weeks that I figure I could push through.....but maybe not.  Not a good combo with travel and not following the training plan.