Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Race Weekend Report #1

Last weekend was XTERRA Nationals, and I had the best weekend I have had in I don't know how long. Nothing crazy-spectacular, just great fun. I'm breaking up my weekend and race report into two segments because I have to get a massage eventually and it would be really long otherwise.

I left on Friday, after schlepping over to Aptos on Thursday night to dog-sit and not get much sleep. I finally got myself a travel buddy in my friend Vanessa, one of my customers and frequent ride buddies. I enjoy hanging out with Vanessa both because she rocks and because she is six feet tall and has a propensity for wearing heels and I think we make quite the spectacle. But then, I am easily amused.

A little bit before we reached Vacaville, I got an email from a friend (who is in Kona for Ironman) at Specialized who had an athlete racing at Nationals who was shipped a bike with no saddle or seatpost, wanting to know if I could find him one. Of course I said I would try, being the kiss-ass that I am. Oh and by the way, the "athlete" was Ryan Sutter, of "The Bachelorette" and "Ryan and Trista" fame. Vanessa and I quickly googled him on her phone, since neither of us actually watch the show. I made about a billion phone calls, emails, and text messages in search of a seatpost over dinner, and had made pretty good progress by the time we got on the road again.

Rain had started falling by the time we left the restaurant and continued for the rest of the night. Ideally, one would find out that her windshield wipers don't work well on a shorter drive, but whatever, it made for an adventure. Layer on the weird fog (dubbed "Rog") we encountered with the rain near Truckee, and it was interesting driving.

We got to our hotel, resplendant in its neon glory, had the longest check-in ever where I contemplated napping on the counter, and went to find the room. Now, we were staying in your standard hotel/casino in small town Nevada, but I had opted for the "Cottage" room because it was a little bit cheaper. It turns out that "Cottage" is code for something resembling cabins one would encounter at summer camp, minus the bunk beds. Not that bad really, but they were erratically numbered, so Vanessa and I spent a good 15 minutes running around in the 40 degree pouring rain in our flip flops giggling and shouting "142 over here!" "152 here!" before we found our room. That was chilly.

On Saturday we slept in a bit then made our way to the race venue. Because it was a big XTERRA race, there was a whole weekend's worth of events to behold, so we had plenty to check out. I got my race packet for Sunday (AND there were only four people in my age group...sweet), found my XTERRA buddies Dave (who was racing the Sport race) and Meiling (who was volunteering in the Sport race), hooked up with the fabulously talented Courtenay Brown who won the 10k trail run (and a trip to Hawaii!), and ran into old friends/customers from Fresno Scott and Leah, who won the 10k and got second in the 10k respectively. Apparently I know some fast runners! We walked around the expo drinking hot chocolate and checking out hot boys for a while until I determined that I would have no luck mooching a seatpost from anyone there, so we headed out for lunch and a trip to the bike shop. Burritos are delicious.

Rented a seatpost, put more clothes on (it was in the 40's and windy by the way), headed back to the expo, bought a jacket and arm warmers, met up with Ryan, got picture taken with Ryan, visited with Dave after his race, went to the lake to check it out, took pictures of the lake and went back to the room to nap before the evening's meetings and dinner. Naps are delicious too.

Post-nap we headed back to the host hotel/venue once again so that I could get to my race director meeting, which was basically "Good job guys, I know we cancelled the swim for the Sport race but you are champions so even if it's still bad you will still be swimming. K? K!"

The "Dinner of Champions" or whatever it was called was really cool. The people who did the most races were recognized, along with those with the best overall results, the people who put on the races, and the ones who were the most inspirational. Jamie Whitmore was the focus of the whole weekend, with good reason. Jamie is the winning-est athlete in XTERRA history. Period. She has 37 wins to her name in her career. The person with the second-most wins is Conrad Stoltz, the current world champion, with 22 wins to his name. Jamie not only raced, but coached (and still does, Meiling is one of her athletes), raised money and awareness for a disease (sorry, I totally can't remember what it was, but it affects people in her family and some friends), and was all-around awesome. Last year doctors found a baseball-sized tumor in her pelvic region. They removed it, and in doing so removed some of her sciatic nerve, and Jamie was told she would never walk again. Not one to give up a fight, Jamie got a prosthesis, and started walking again. Then they found another tumor. The second tumor grew to the size of the first in a period of about two and a half months. Jamie went in for surgery again to remove the tumor, and to make sure they got it all, her doctors removed one of her glute muscles and part of her tailbone. She is still fighting, still planning on racing again somehow, and still awesome. The whole room was in tears when she spoke, including myself. Awesome.

Once everyone got their composure back, all the regional champions were recognized, given their jerseys, and had their pictures taken. I was totally up there!!!!!!

Southwest Regional Points Leader Women 20-24 right here!!!!

Vanessa and I climbed back in the car, took some silly pictures, drove back to the "Cottage" and I pulled out all my stuff to race. Yikes!

I was hoping to get a good night's sleep before the race, but there was a concert at our hotel so we were graced with drunken fools until 2 am outside our window. I yelled at them once and called security twice. Kind of felt like an old lady about that....

Coming soon: actual race report!


Unknown said...

you are hilarious!! what i fun weekend. i want to come next time! :) i'm a great travel buddy.

Anonymous said...

...and the picture of Ryan is where? :)