Yes, before you ask, I decided to do an Xterra Triathlon 7 weeks out from Ironman Texas. It may seem a little crazy to some, but to be very honest, anyone who knows me would not have been surprised I decided to throw this little gem into my training mix. You see I love to race and well technically I actually didn’t even sign myself up for this race. Someone who shall remain unnamed (Travis Beam) signed me up! Who needs enemies when you have friends who sign you up for an Xterra when you’ve only been on a mountain bike once in 9(ish) years. He knew I wasn’t lying either when I pulled out my mountain biking shoes and they looked like something that could go in a cycling museum.
So maybe luckily for me 2 days out from the race start the weather had not played in our favour and the ride was changed to a mountain bike on the road. This took away a little of the worry over mountain biking in a race format, but I was still going to have to work hard on the road on a mountain bike.
Race morning started with a light drizzle, but luckily slightly warmer temps. The water though was still pretty chilly and to be honest I wasn’t looking forward to it. However I knew it was only for about 10mins so just got over myself and got in for a little warm up. After a short race briefing it was 1,2,3 GO! and we were off. I felt ok for the first 50 meters then got stuck between two guys who were trying to turn me into a wetsuit sandwich. I had to navigate around the side of them and by that time I started to feel a bit rough…Like freaking out, I don’t wanna do this, rough. I just kept telling myself, it’s only 800m just do it. After going a little further to the right on my second lap than I expected I saw that red muddy bottom on was on my way into T1.
So this is when the frezzingness (I know it’s not a word!) hit me. My feet were totally numb, my hands weren’t much better, and this made for one of my worst exits from a wetsuit ever. I just couldn’t get the thing off, it was like it was literally stuck to me. Finally after some wiggling and pulling and grunting I got it off, grabbed the bike and was on my way. The bike leg was relatively uneventful other than a marker on who was in front of me and who was behind me. There was one group of about 5 men who were lucky enough to get in a draft, but the rest of us just hammered it out solo. I was in 2nd at this stage and I made a decision that I was not going to be 3rd. I put my head down and went for it, just like I would in a road tri. It paid off and I had the fastest bike split of the women. Not quite enough for me to catch 1st place, but enough for me to get a lead on 3rd going into the run.
Back into T2, fastest transition this time and up the hill for about a 1 mile run to the start of the trail. I knew I had to take advantage of the road as I would be slower on the trails so pushed pretty hard on this section. The trail was nice, very loopy, not too many long straight sections, and a pretty slippery muddy section at the back side. It was 2 loops and that made it great to be able to see some other athletes on the run. Best part was other athletes coming across me as they were exiting the trail and giving me a heads-up on how close 3rd place female was to me. This was the motivation I needed to dig a bit deeper to make sure I didn’t get overtaken.
It definitely wasn’t a race for the faint hearted, I’m so glad I did it though and already looking forward to the next one.
Swim 800m: 10.55
Ride 26.5km: 5835
Run 8Km: 46.40
2nd Place overall Female!
So – now I need to get back to training for Ironman Texas…less than 7 weeks away..