I believe that Xterra Myrtle Beach is one of those races that everyone looks at and imagines that it is going to be a walk in the park. They think to themselves, “It’s at the beach on flat land, how hard could it really be?” I have to admit that that is me. Every time I go to ride at the Hulk I am surprised at how much of a punch they are able to pack in a very quick seven miles of trails.
Kim and my dad decided that they both wanted to do the Xterra trail run race on Saturday so it made getting up early for a pre ride/run even easier. Saturday morning we got up bright and early and headed to the race. While they were working on packet pickup and getting ready I went ahead to get my ride in and finished just as the race begun. Once I finished my ride I rode around the inside cross sections of course until I found both of them on their second lap. Kim looking very strong and my dad fighting to finish. They both finished in the top 10 and walked away with some pretty sweet pint glasses.
After they finished I went ahead to get my pre run in then headed to breakfast. Saturday afternoon was filled with laziness and relaxation around the camper to be rested and ready for the race on Sunday.
My alarm came much quicker than I had anticipated, but it was time to get up and head to the race. We had an interesting time trying to get the truck and camper parked on the side of the road but ended up being very successful. Since the transition racks already had assigned spots it seemed less important to care what time I got to them. I decided to take my time a little more with moving items into transition and getting everything ready before the race started. Before long it was time to head to the boats and I still was not completely done with setting up. I quickly scampered to finish and ended up catching the last boat to the start line.
As soon as the boat stopped I got ready to jump off because I knew I would have little to no time to warm up. It seemed like thirty seconds between the time I got in the water until the race was starting. I had no swim warmup at all, but I hoped that my winter training would pull through. Although I swim in the shape of a Z all the way down the river, I was able to actually freestyle the whole thing and got out of the water in 19th place. I had a quick transition and off on the bike I went. I knew that the lead pack wasn’t that far in front because of all the tight turns where the trails comes close to over lapping itself you can see competitors within a half mile in front of you. I passed people left and right any place I could just to try my best to catch up to the leaders. I finally caught Dwayne Dixon, one of the people I was worried about during this race the most, and was able to get around him. The top three of us all went into transition within a few feet of each other. Before I was finished on the bike I took down a GU Roctane Gel so that I could have a little extra push of energy to get me started on the run. I knew the race was all going to be down to what each of us had left in the tank. As soon as I racked my bike I heard Darren say that he cramped and had to sit down, so now it was just me and Dwayne. I got out of transition first but looked back repeatedly to see him not far behind.
After making it through the snake and starting down the gravel road, I kept checking to see that I had gained a little distance on him but not enough to come close to feeling comfortable about my lead. I ran the basin area at a decently fast pace without going all out because I knew that I had to do two laps of it. When I came back around to get my hand marked for my second lap I looked back to see Dwayne not far behind, although after the race I asked him and he said he never saw me. Once I started the second lap I gave it everything I had left to gain as much of a distance I could. I got out of the basin area, back on the road, and I felt that I was on the home stretch. I had a quick glimpse in my mind that I might actually be able to pull of the win, but didn’t want to give up the speed just yet. I kept looking over my shoulder to see where Dwayne was and found that I had put a huge gap between us as I was entering the black snake trail section at the end of the run. One of the pieces of the black snake at the beginning and end both come together very close while it loops around a lot in the middle. As I was running through I looked over to see Marcus Barton who had come out of nowhere running through the snake also. It made me quite worried until I realized that I was finishing the section of trail, crossing the road, and headed to the finish line.
I was so excited to cross and get to pull away a first place overall win!
One of the coolest trophies I have ever won.
Great racing and great friends.
What I learned: Just because you think someone is faster than you doesn’t mean that you should ever let up during a race, they might even be thinking the same thing about you.