Before getting to the what the title of this blog is about; I did race a more traditional triathlon in NYC a few weeks ago. New York was my first professional podium finish in 2010 (3rd). Therefore, I went into this race with high hopes to improve on that finish from 3 years ago. While I wasn't able to come away with the win, I did finish 2nd, and it was great to be back on the podium in New York spraying champagne!
I had an amazing homestay with my friend Ken Rideout. I won't hold it against him that he is a proud NYAC member. Ken also had a great race and won the Janus Peak Performance Challenge.
As the title of this blog indicates, I did my first Xterra Triathlon last weekend in Beaver Creek. While I did start mountain biking a few weeks ago, I didn't really have any intention of racing on a mountain bike anytime soon. But with the close proximity of the race it sounded like a fun way to get in a hard effort. After pre-riding the course with Will Kelsay a few days before the race, I was having second thoughts on how much "fun" this race was going to be. For one the race starts at about 7500 and just goes up from there. There was over 3300 ft of climbing on the bike portion and 1300 ft of climbing on the run.
Although I was having second thoughts, I did end up doing the race and had an amazing time! I had a minor panic attack in the swim because I started a bit too hard and couldn't catch my breath because of the altitude. But with a little backstroke, I was able to get myself together, and was first out of the water.
The start of the bike course is one giant hill. It is almost a 40min climb before you get to any of the faster/fun parts of the course. I just tried to use my Stages power meter to pace myself up the climb. I figured that I would loose most of my time in the overall race on the bike; but I thought it would come on the downhill parts, and I was surprised when I was passed by a few guys on the climb. I was still enjoying the suffering and was having fun racing on a mountain bike; which was something I had never done before.
Once I got to the run, my legs actually felt a lot better than they normally do coming off of a time trial. I think the descent into T2 actually allowed my legs to recover a bit. Whereas normally I would be constantly pedaling. So naturally I took the run out really fast and way too hard because I felt so good. That lasted for about 800 meters until I got to the really steep climbs. I still managed to have the 2nd fastest run on the day and finished in 6th place! This race was extremely difficult and I have so much more respect for Xterra athletes now. I did have a ton of fun racing because every time I was hurting I just reminded myself that I was riding my mountain bike or that I was trail running. It was a totally different perspective than racing on the road.
Now I am by no means switching my focus to Xterra; but, I do want to race more of them. So I am going to make a slight change to my racing schedule and I am going to head to Maui for the Xterra World Championships at the end of October. As was the case with this race, I have no idea what I am getting myself into; but it seems like it could be a lot of fun. (And there are a lot worse places to race than Maui!)
I'll be back to the road triathlons as I am getting ready for Rev3 Wisconsin in two weeks!