Sunday, May 22, 2011

XTERRA Pacific Championships

Last weekend I raced the inaugural XTERRA Pacific Championships, in Santa Cruz, CA. Happily, this race's proximity to my home meant I got to sleep in my own bed! That was, however, probably the most comfortable part of the day.

The forecast was for rain, and we got it, along with wind and a sunburn (for me, anyway). It was raining over Hwy 17 as I drove in, but instead of constant cloud cover, it was little mini storms floating along in clear skies. That kind of weather makes gear planning a little tough.

Swim: 1500 meters in the ocean, alongside the Santa Cruz Wharf. Oh my, that was cold. In retrospect it probably wasn't as cold as the REAL race in March, but the time in the water was longer, so more time to feel the affects. As per XTERRA usual, the swim was two loops with a short run in the middle. First loop felt good. I stopped for a bit on the second loop to pee (I didn't foresee having a better opportunity to do so for the rest of the day), and lost the group I had been swimming with, and a little of my mojo. The second loop felt sloppy and I got off course a bit. The weather was also deteriorating at that point, so things were more choppy than they had been.

I went through T1 feeling completely swim-drunk, and shoved my numb feet into my shoes for the ride.

Bike: the absolute hardest part of this leg mentally was the mostly-flat road section right out of T1. I was so cold that I didn't feel I could move my legs, and we were riding into a headwind that didn't make things any warmer. I kept trying to jump on wheels as people passed me, and I just couldn't get my legs to keep up. So frustrating!

I had pre-ridden the course a couple times prior to race day, so I knew what to expect. The only thing that was different was that the overnight rains had turned the dirt to mud, so some of the previously fast sections were pretty sketchy. My bike split was slower than I would have liked, but the mud and the weather definitely had a hand in that. The storm that was headed in struck when i was at the top of the course, so my descent in to T2 was in the rain. Brrrrrrr!

Run: this actually went pretty well. I kept my riding vest on as I headed out of T2, because it was still raining and I needed all the clothing I could get. After about 10 minutes, the sun came out, and I got a little too toasty a couple times. I only got caught by one person, and I managed to hold him off until the finish. The run was mostly flat, enabling me to find a rhythm and slog it out. The only "XTERRA" section of the run entailed running down a cliff, running across a little beach (ugh, sand), and scrambling back up the cliff on the other side. Super fun, I hope they add more sections like this in the future.

I crossed the line about 5 minutes slower than my time goal, and was told I got fourth in my age group. Just missed the podium! When results were posted online on Monday, I was listed in 3rd place. Awesome, but a little bummed I didn't get the podium pic, as it was my first legitimate, I-didn't-get-last, podium at one of the big XTERRA races. Oh well.

Next up is XTERRA East Champs in Richmond Virginia. Fingers crossed for a Maui slot!!!

1 comment:

Sian said...

Cute blog; I like reading other people's perspective's on races I've done too - can't remember quite how i came across this but glad I found it, I should update mine much more often! Good luck at the east champs - that race looks very different! Sian