Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Xterra Nationals

I'll be brief, due to the brace on my hand.
In 2014, I had the race of my life here.  I placed 2nd out of the US contenders, and 6th overall.  I've been wanting to repeat that performance since then.
In 2015, I had major mechanical issues on the bike.
In 2016, I had an injury due to a crash that prevented me from racing well.
This year, I wasn't' 100% due to illness and injuries, but I felt good on race day.

Our Friday was a bit of a cluster.  Our normal campsite was closed!  We were forced to get a hotel room, so no camping :(

The swim started out well enough getting into the lead.  There was another pack to my right, and I knew I had to drill it to stay ahead of them.  Whoever was on my feet decided to get to come up on my left, and push me to the right.  He kept bumping into me over and over. I was getting really, really upset.  I swim straight and clean.  I didn't want to waste energy with him, but he wouldn't stop.  I kept thinking "you idiot! get on my feet and I'll lead out of the water".  I spat water in his face, I yelled at him, I pushed hard left... all to no avail.  I eventually got onto Mauricio Mendez's feet (from the other pack) and this guy didn't stop running into me.  Finally I gave up and slowed down to let him onto Mauricio's feet.  He slowed down too!  Once that gap opened up, I was too tired from fighting to get back on.  Finally Branden Rakita came up to my other side and I got pushed into him.  Finally I gave up (again) and paused from swimming altogether so I could swim alone.  I came out of the water tired and upset.

I don't ever call out people for bad racing by name but Kyle Smith, you are a terrible swimmer.

The bike was uneventful, I was tired therefore slow.  The run took some time getting into my rhythm, but once I did I was flying... literally when I tripped.  One moment, I was running, the next I was superman.  I landed hard on rocks and sprained my wrist.  It was a hard fall that took a lot out of me. I crossed the line carrying Ashley which made her EXTREMELY happy, so that cheered me up.

This was a tough season, and I'm glad it's over.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Drop it like it's hot

Xterra Aspen:
Quote from Tina:
"That was the most spectator friendly race I've ever seen of yours!"  She saw me the entire swim, 8 times on the bike, and twice on the run.  Also, as part those times, the spectators could see athletes for approximately a mile of their racing while they weaved through a grassy field in a "cyclocross style" part of the varied course.

My new goals of racing this year is to win the swim, and have the fastest transitions.  My friend and old training partner from when we lived in Chicago, Ruben, came up to race.  He's from Spain and has been living there and practicing his downhill MTB skills, so I knew we were going to have a fun race.  I was able to put a gap on him at the very start, and just barely hold it throughout the swim so I was able to be 1st out of the water.  I had a great transition and ended up being fastest there as well.  2 down, 1 to go.  The MTB was great, varied, fast and fun.



I installed a new dropper post this week and wanted to try it out. It allows me to downhill better by getting the lowering the seat which gets it out of the way.  You can see it to the left in the image.

That with my new brake pads from Truckerco, I was descending like a madman.

A spectator friendly course is also good for me, as I love getting cheered on and seeing everyone.  (Except my dog Senna, who wasn't allowed.  This was about the only downfall to this race.)

I finished the bike fairly cleanly and had a safe run. (after having the fastest T2) I say safe because I had sprained my ankle on the bike doing something stupid.  (sorry, it is too embarrassing to post publicly)

I hope Ashley remembers this
Ruben had a terrible race.  He had many mechanical issues on his rented bike (which I found for him...) but he had such a good swim that he placed top 10.

Rife (injured), Ruben, and I 

I loved this course.  The swim was beautiful in a ski lake and nice and long.  Too many triathlons have short swims... and boring runs.  This run was fantastic.  It was technical with  many ups and downs.  (did I mention it was spectator friendly)

Another quote from Tina: "It's always fun when you win" and it is easy to like a race that you win, but this truly was a great time.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sick of being sick... and injured

I raced Xterra Indian Peaks recently.  In 2011 I won this race (my first Xterra win) and was hoping to do the same.  I hadn't raced it since then, since it was shut down for a while (replaced by Xterra Winterpark/Snow Mtn Ranch).  Unfortunately, when I found out Ben Allen was racing, I knew it would be tough.  I've beaten him in the past, but lately he has been extremely fast.  I, as the only former winner to toe the line, was #1.  It was a time trial start, so I started first.  I took out the swim... well... like I normally do... FAST!  I built up a good lead, but Ben eventually caught me and I drafted off his feet.  He left me in transition and I simply couldn't close the gap.

The race took place at 9000ft+ in elevation, which usually helps me, but not today.  I rode alone on the great bike course and then ran reasonably fast.  Due to an earlier foot injury this year, I couldn't run full speed, and I ended up taking 3rd by someone I never knew was near me (shame on me for not realizing this with the time trial start).

Now I have Xterra Aspen coming up this Saturday, with my old training partner who now lives in Spain, Ruben.  We were always pretty equal in triathlons, but he didn't MTB.  Recently, he's gotten into downhill mountain biking, so his skills have seriously improved.  He's also won a couple of Xterras as well.  It is going to be an interesting race.

So... I've been sick for a week now, and I'm finally feeling better (last night's Master's meet helped)  Hopefully my fitness hasn't' degraded too much.

I don't have photos from the last Xterra, but here we are swimming at the master's meet:

And some videos of the whole meet:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkMTdv0_tES3MCSlTS49vrf8laMQ2r-gy


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sprite and Saltines

How does Sprite and Saltines work for pre-race fuel?  Well, I'll tell you the long version.

I started out the week sick with gastrointestinal issues and in bed.

Having not eaten much all week, Friday's pre race nutrition was simply Saltines and Sprite.  They were the only thing that didn't upset my stomach.

It was a rough week, needless to say.  I was pretty sure I wasn't going to toe the start line.  This saddened me since I love this race so much.  It's my home race, I know the course by heart, and the altitude suits me.

Saturday showed up and I felt well enough to swim... (well enough, but I considered putting Sprite in my waterbottle)
I went out as hard as I could.  I got to the 1st buoy in the lead, but not by far enough.  Mauricio Mendez was on my feet, and that was all I had.  He went by me and I couldn't stay with him.  The next group of swimmers caught me and I was able to stay with them and recover enough to lead them out of the water... and stand up, and not move.  I was finished.  I shuffled through transition and got riding.

I blew up immediately when the climb started.  Whenever I pushed into the red zone, I had to recover at almost a standstill.  Finally, I crested the climb when my friend Rife caught me.  He had started many waves behind and got me motivated to keep going.  We raced for a while which helped my mental state.

Coming into transition, I received overwhelming support, which always helps me.  I needed it since my quads cramped severely and not surprisingly early in the run.  At the halfway point, Tina and our friend Austin decided I REALLY needed help.  They ran with me to keep me going.  This kept my spirits up and allowed me to finish.

Considering I was unlikely to start this race, I had fun getting 2nd out of the water, racing Rife, and running with Tina and Austin.

Sprite and Saltines?  No, not good pre-race fuel.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Big Race Saturday

Xterra Beavercreek!
I actually caught a glimpse of the race on TV last year where I won the swim and it definitely affected my sleep last night!  The race jitters are in full force.... and my illness.  I was in bed all day Monday and have been recovering, but I hope this illness is out of my system before Saturday.  I was able to get a short ride and swim in yesterday and felt OK, but this morning hasn't been the best.  OK, Enough complaining... I'll be fine.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I didn't compete in the GoPro mountain games this year.  If you watch this video you will see my miserable experience with a leaky kayak from last year:



 Unfortunately, Senna didn't get to compete either!  I signed her up for the dueling dogs competition instead of the long jump.  I thought her competitive nature would really help her since it is a race down the dock and to the end of the pool.  The organizers were not very beginner dog friendly, and were super strict on the rules, therefore they wouldn't let us train her before the competition.  She didn't know what she was supposed to do so we couldn't compete.

Tina and I tried to continue our small preseason 5k races this year.  We raced in one in Rifle, CO.  It wasn't well organized, though.  The course was marked reasonably well, except for the turnaround!  I still managed to cross the line first after getting lost.  Tina, had SHE not gotten lost would have beaten me.  We got some ice cream out of the race, so it wasn't too bad, but it's hard to get a good race pace in when you are lost!

The MTB race season has started too.  I never do well at these races, but I raced last night and had a good time racing with my friends.

I have to welcome XX2i Optics as my new sunglasses sponsor for this year.  Check them out!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

It's amazing how fast spring has sprung!  Xterra Lory is almost a month away, my 1st Xterra race of the year.  I like this course.  It's not such a bike climbing heavy course like most of them are.  The run is very technical, and that is great.  Training has been going well with.

I signed up last minute for a short track MTB race tonight.  We'll see what the spring weather has in store for us tonight!