Weekend race recap - Xterra ATX.
After a very tough past few months, my race on Saturday was somewhat of a breakthrough for me and I have a lot to detail.
This was my first Xterra race of the year (off-road triathlon) and I really wasn’t feeling confident. My training has been hit and miss with a super busy work schedule and weekends full of kid’s games.
Nevertheless, I have been following coach Morgan Hoffman training schedule as best that I can, hoping to just stay in shape.
Saturday morning down in the Austin area was misty and foggy. No real rain, just sorta gloomy.
Running a little behind in getting out to the race site on Lake Travis but got set up in transition, ready to go and headed down the 400m walk to the lake. ( the lake is pretty low and the hike to the new swim area was unexpected)
Water temps were at 64 and the new Rocket Science wetsuit that Ahmed M. Zaher set me up with late last year was just what I needed.
Having only been in the pool a few times this spring I was not expecting much on the swim. And it went about as I thought it would. Slow and steady. ( do any of you ever question why in the world we do this sport about halfway through the swim?)
Out of the water and onto the bike.
The bike course at Pace Bend Park is extremely rocky and technical. There are only a few tough climbs, the real challenge are the multiple rock gardens that the trail navigates through.
Was feeling pretty good about halfway through the first lap when a guy from my age group came up and passed me.
This happens almost every race I do in Texas. I beat him out of the water and he always passes me on the bike. This time I was going to try and hold his wheel. Somehow I did and we ride together for a while before we come up to the toughest climb on the course. I hammered up the rocks and managed to pass him and another racer in my AG.
Unfortunately I spent a bit too much energy and by the top of the climb I was having dry heaves.
Both of them passed me back. UGH.
I managed to recover and I set my sights on tracking them back down. Just after the first lap I passed them both again, I was feeling pretty good. A couple of miles later (on lap 2) I ran into some traffic and my nemesis caught back up to me, passing at a bottleneck.
I kept my pace, hoping to reel him back in. After a few more miles on the single track, I saw him ahead. I don’t think he knew I was behind him because as soon as the trail opened up, he relaxed and took a drink off of his bottle. Without a sound, I flew past him and gave it all I had. He wasn’t able to catch back up and I flew into transition running 9th overall.
I had just had one of the best bikes of my Xterra racing.
Posting one of the quickest transitions of the day in T2, I headed out of the run. I could see the other guys in my AG approx 45 sec behind just before I turned into the trees for the trail run. I kept telling my self to run as fast as my body would allow and to not let up. If I could just hold the other guys off, I could maybe make it onto the podium.
Suddenly I heard footsteps coming up behind me and a much younger racer flew past me. Ok, not great, but at least it wasn’t the guys in my AG.
Another mile and I was hurting, but able to keep the pace and then a second racer passes by me, and again another speedy young guy. Man, they are fast.
Finally, I was on the last stretch and as I looked behind me I could not see any of my competitors behind me.
I had kept them off and I finished the race placing 11th OA and Second in my AG. (First in my AG was also the overall winner - he is a beast).
This was one of my best finishes in Xterra racing. It was also one of the first races where I battled a fellow racer back and forth on the course. It was so exciting.
Additionally, what made it so good for me was that I really did not feel like I was in any shape to race. I am a little heavier than I would like and I have not been mentally prepared for the season.
What did work was the training plan that coach Morgan has been preparing for me.
Hopefully, this will be the catalyst that I needed to carry me through the season with a great outlook!