I have never been a fan of an afternoon race but I had my first ever reason to be. The night before Xterra Greensboro I went diving over a berm at the Whitewater Center, which ended in lots of scrapes and a tacoed wheel. The later race start gave me plenty of time to head to Cycletherapy on Saturday morning and get a replacement wheel so I could still race. After leaving the bike shop, we made a few more stops in Winston and then it was off to Greensboro. At the beginning of the race it was mid 90’s plus the Greensboro humidity which together had me sweating just standing in transition getting my stuff ready. I got to the course early enough to get a great transition spot and to give myself plenty of time to warm up. With the blazing heat it felt almost unnecessary to warm up and loose a huge amount of fluid due to the temperature. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, it was finally race time. I gathered my pre-race nutrition and headed down to the water. The water was the warmest I have ever raced in, measuring in around the mid 80’s. I was very surprised with myself as I swam along feeling very comfortable and going at a decent pace, two things that never seem to happen for me when swimming. Once I finally reached the shore I was quick to pull myself out of the water, rip off my swim cap and head for my bike.
“Finally that’s over with” haha
I could feel the burning cement beneath my feet as I ran from the boat ramp to transition. It didn’t seem as scalding as it did the year before but was still not a comfortable feeling. My seat, grips, shoes and helmet of course were already warm after baking in the sun, which didn’t help me trying to keep my body temperature down. I blazed as fast as I could into the trails passing fellow racers very often near the beginning of the bike course while the pack was still spreading out along the trails. I didn’t do much testing on my new front wheel due to the blistering heat before the race so it was a little bit of a new feeling. I was running the same tire and what seemed like the same pressure, but it didn’t seem to roll or corner the same as the tubeless setup and lighter rim that I had on there previously. I was pushing through every turn knowing that the loose dusty and twisty trails played directly in my favor. I have previously ridden Wild Turkey and Owls Roost a countless amount of times when I was growing up in Winston-Salem so I felt right at home racing on them. I felt very comfortable flying through the trails and taking all the lines that I wanted to. I reached down to take my first sip of fluid and felt that I was going to spit out a ball of fire. My bottle had been baking in the sun and although it was “insulated” and previously had ice in it, it had reached a very warm level. I finished the rest of the bike course, sprinting every hill and feeling that I had sweated out double the weight of what I had drank during it. I arrived back in transition to find that I had made it up to 5th place overall.
Watch that edge, it’s narrower than it looks.
Out of transition, I went on my still newish trail running shoes. My running bottle had taken the same toll as my bike one did. Baking in the sun and warming up my liquid which didn’t seem to keep me cool very much. It was insanely difficult to make it up each hill with the heat and blistering sun coming down through the trees. I was worried and felt that I was going to have a heat stroke just like I did the year before. I didn’t want to give up or give in, I pushed harder and harder and saw Dwayne Dixon coming back towards me. He had made it to the turn around and was headed to the finish line. After a few more racers passed me I was finally at the turn around and headed back too. Once I crossed the finish line I had nothing left in me, I went straight for the lake water to cool off but since it was in the 80’s it didn’t provide much help. I was very thankful that I did not have any cramping issues whatsoever during the race.
Talk about a prize, the homemade jam is delicious!
Result: 1st place age group – 4th place overall
Nutrition: Strawberry GU energy chews, Lemon Lime Roctane Energy Drink, Strawberry Banana GU Gel
What I learned: You cannot keep the same level of nutrition for every single race, it has to fluctuate with the conditions that you are racing in. For hot races make sure to cover up your bottles or pack them with extra ice to try and balance the outside heat that will take its toll on your bottle.