Xterra Fort Yargo turned into a great family vacation this year. We took the camper down right after work and decided to make a fun trip out of it since the race was on Saturday and we would have all afternoon plus Sunday to relax. As always we got in late Friday night, setup our site, probably woke up a few other athletes doing so (sorry Tingles) and got in bed as soon as possible.
Kim was not so excited to have to get up so early for race day, but since coffee and breakfast were included in early morning prep she was happier. After breakfast we went back to the campsite to walk the dogs, grab race gear and head to check in / transition.
After checking in I surprisingly got my transition area ready and had extra time to spare before the race (I think I’m getting the hang of this).
After a nice swim warm up it was time for the race to start. Somehow the “half mile swim” turned into about a three quarters of a mile. I swear those buoys were floating away as we are sitting there waiting for the race to start.
While listening to the racers meeting I found multiple feet of fishing line wrapped around Tony and I. Not sure why it was left there, but that sure created a lump of stress in my stomach thinking I might get hooked trying to take off from the shore (nothing happened and no one did). I felt that I was flying in the swim again; this winter’s work was really paying off. I was not with the front pack but each time I looked forwards and back I was near the lead. As I was coming into the shore I kept looking up to spot and realized that I was veering wide right. So I’m sure I turned that 1300 yards into 1500. I was coming in fast to the finish of the swim, there were four of us all shoulder to shoulder and I wanted to beat them out so that I could get into transition first. As I was coming in, pulling and kicking hard on each side WHAM!!! I ran straight into a submerged stump. I am gonna guess that’s what the fishing line was probably wrapped around. Next time I will remember it is over there. I crawl around it trying not to hurt myself anymore and get into transition without stepping on any roots or pine cones.
The bike started out pretty rough (just like my water exit) where I felt that my legs just had no power in them. I passed many people early on but as I stood up to hammer up the hills I just had nothing to give. It took about three miles for my legs to start feeling normal and once they did I was off like a herd of turtles. I was going as fast as I could to both catch people and try to see any leaders up ahead. I could feel the training I put in this week between Myrtle and Fort Yargo setting in on my legs but I was not going to let my mind take over. As I was pedaling through a fast part I hear a loud SNAP and PING. I could now hear what sounded like a spoke smacking my frame with every wheel rotation. I pulled over to the side and wrapped the spoke around the next closest one then got back on and kept moving. As I was going, I felt weird pressure and changing in my gears. I was not sure what but that stick had definitely messed something else up. As I was coasting down the next hill the chain wraped around the cassette, ripped off the front ring, and this is when the fun began. I stopped to put the chain back on, could tell the derailer was no longer straight but I was going to limp it as best I could. I lost count how many times I had to stop after twelve to put the chain back on the bike. Each time I would stop pedaling I would have the same issue and the chain would come off the front ring. I finally got to the point where I would take my feet off the pedals to let the pedals go round like it was a fixie but found that I was being pogo stick ejected off the seat and into the weeds when I would hit a bump. My next act was to stand on the rear triangle of the frame thus allowing my legs to soak up the bumps but this proved to be quite dangerous also. The best solution I came up with was to brake enough on the downhills that I could pedal fast enough to keep it in line. After half the bike course riding my crazy acting bike I finally made it back to transition. All smiles because I just endured one of the most comical rides I have had.
I knew that the race was lost for a top placement but I wanted to still give it a good shot. I passed as many people as I could, putting in one of the top three fastest runs of the day. I heard multiple people tell me how much bad luck it was to get such a tough race, but that’s just how it goes. All in all it was still a blast of a race, enough with all of these “experiences” of the day. Glad that I got all the bad things out this early in the season, must mean the rest will be flawless haha.
Products Used: GU Roctane Drink Mix: Lemon Berry
What I learned: Not every race can go well, the key is to just have fun and enjoy what you’re doing. If you’re not enjoying it you’re in the wrong sport.