It has been a while since the last post that I have made so I thought that it’s time to catch back up. Previously I have raced Xterra Knoxville, Nat Greene’s Offroad Triathlon, 3 hrs. of Tsali, and Xterra Tsali. Check out my results page to see how I did at each of them. Most all of these races were a test of battling the heat, but none of them were near as hot as it was this past weekend at Xterra Whitewater.
It started out with a super early morning. Somehow I was able to beat Marcus to the transition area and get to have first choice at my spot. Once I got my transition area setup I had plenty of free time before the race (which never happens). Normally I am rushing right up until the swim start so it was actually an odd feeling to have so much time left over.
Gu Crew representing
I got down to the swim start and jumped right in, trying to adjust my speed suit and make sure that I feel comfortable in the water. I swear that there was a current going down stream because as I sat in the water I was slowly drifting away from the docks. As I swam downstream the first leg, I felt like it was taking me forever to make it to the first buoy. Once we rounded it we had to go back “upstream”, which somehow felt twice as fast than going downstream. Either way, once I rounded the last ones up stream it was all a race to get out of the water and to my bike.
I made great use of the run between the swim and bike to make up a few places. I got out of the water in 40th place which meant I had a lot of people that I needed to pass on the trails. Whitewater is not only my home course but it is also where I do almost all of my training. This being said, I was able to fly through the bike portion at a pretty fast pace. Though, even I was confused about some of the course markings which ended up making it a bad day for many other racers.
The most exciting part of the race was the run. I came out of transition with Patrick right in front of me. I was slowly gaining on him going through the first half of the run until the raised crooked wooden bridge on Academy. All of the sudden when we get to the bridge and I make it over it that 15 yard gap and closing that he had on me turned into him being nowhere in sight. I am not sure what kind of motor he’s got in his legs but he sure did turn it on. This was one of the few runs this year that I came off the bike and still felt like I had plenty of power left for the run, and I tried to use every bit of it. Finally right before we got to the water stop I saw another runner on the trail, to my amazement it was Marcus. I slowly caught up to him, exchanged some words of encouragement and then I powered up the climb. This climb had to be one of the worst parts of the whole race, its completely out in the open underneath loud buzzing power lines. There is not even a glimpse of shade to be had so the sun is beating down on you the whole time. You literally feel like you are getting sun burned just going up this one section. There is not a crazy amount of rocks, but not one of them seems like it is actually attached to the ground so they bounce and slide with you in every step. Once I finally made it to the top I knew the hardest part of the run course was over, now I just have to give it everything I had for the last mile back to the finish line.
I ended up crossing the finish line with a faster time that I did last year (it also wasn’t wet and raining like it was the previous year) and came in at 2nd place overall. Going into this race I was doing tons of around the house work which lowered the amount of bike time that I wish I had had. Thankfully I relied heavily on my GU nutrition which kept me going all the way through the race. The new Lemon Berry Roctane sure is a new favorite racing mix for me!
What I learned: Racing is all about having fun. Not every course is going to be perfectly marked or even have water stops everywhere you need them. Just go out there, race your own race, and have the best time of your life doing it.