Friday, April 04, 2014

Xterra REAL(ly WET)!

XTERRA season has come! It snuck in so quickly I barely knew what happened.  Saturday was my kickoff into Xterra season with the local race at Granite Bay. Xterra REAL put on by the ever great TBF Racing! We have been super dry here in Northern CA for most of the winter and have gotten very little rain to put us in severe drought conditions. This was NOT the case on Saturday. The forecast actually called for rain most of the night before so when we woke up and drove out to the race I really happy not to be setting up in the rain and I was hoping just maybe it would hold off just a little longer. No such luck, just about the time I got my wet suit on and headed down to the water it began.

The lake was cold but not nearly as cold as last year rain water is much better than runoff!  However, with the rain just starting up the wind picked up just enough to give us a little chop on the water and some waves. Despite taking in some water I felt like my swim went pretty well. I have been working a lot on the swim this off-season and am hoping the pool time will transfer over. I took coach Joan's advice on the my swim pacing and I think it went well! I was the 3rd female out of the water which is a big improvement over 13th from last year. It was hard to compare because the swim split also included our half mile run through the sand up to transition (I mentioned the drought, right!) As I came up to transition I could hear the announcer calling Kara Lapoint in ahead of me. I knew she wasn't too far up and this is about where I expected to be at this point. I also knew she has been riding that bike really well and I would have some work cut out in only 2 laps.

I got going on the 2-lap 16 mile bike course and it was still in pretty good shape. I tried to get into a good rhythm and get a little warmer on that first lap. At this point I knew Kara was about a minute up ahead of me. By the second lap in the pouring rain the bike was a mucky mess! I was hoping to get on my new Liv/giant bike for this race but once I started I was so glad that I wasn't able to get my new bike yet because by this time my bike sounded horrible! (Next race will be on Liv)! It almost felt as if it was working against me. However, I was still having fun splashing through the mud. Second lap was tough when we started spinning out in the mud! It is a gamble in these type of conditions to wear glasses or not. I went for the glasses. I would rather have some drips to see through than have mud in my eye, but I must say it was no problem! Bolle has done an awesome job making this hydrophobic treatment on the Bolt lenses, one swipe and I am usually good with no streaking! Love it!
Most of the bike I ended up feeling like I was in no man's land. I was riding solo. I think this made it a little hard for me to push that race, sometimes all alone I forget to RACE.
I did start to get a little chilly towards the end of the bike and I was ready to get running.
After dumping the water from my shoes before putting them on is transition I was off on the run. Hoping this would warm me up just a bit but also ready to get this thing finished.  I set off with a good pace. My run is the other main focus I have had so far this year. This has always been my weakest point in Xterra so this was a good test to see how things were going. I felt surprisingly good as I go out there and ran my first mile at a great pace! I kept pushing through the whole run and ran the sand and rocks and even the big climb up to the water tower at what felt to be much better than in the past. Turns out I ran the 3.8 mile course 3 mins faster than last year in the mud and rain. I am happy with that.
That finish line looked so great when I got there! Presented with a fresh lei, since the Maui tourism had come out with leis and hula dancers for the race, I was wishing it felt a little bit warmer :)  Once finished was when the cold really set in! This is a great race for us because Drew got to come out and race Xterra as well, only problem was he locked the car and didn't tell me where the keys were so I had no way of getting to the dry clothes!! BRR. Thanks to good people, friends, TBF staff and support out there I was able to get something dry while waiting and there was a little heater to try and get some heat!  Drew did come soon and I got some semi dry things to put on.

Yep, crazy. So wet and muddy but so much fun! Also happy to be to the finish!


Kara put in a smoking race and I never did see her. I ended up second place overall first in AG with Sian Turner rounding out top three to make that the second year the three of us took the top 3. Great fun racing with these girls out here!

A big thanks to all the TBF staff and volunteers who where out there all day. That had to be a lot colder and more miserable just standing there and supporting us yet they were all great! Also all the spectators that came and cheered on the whole time and endured that spectacle. I saw great people out there including 9-year-old Travis (great video on this course), soon-to-be Xterra superstar! Super thankful for our neighbors too. They took Ashlyn in for the morning, so that both Drew and I could race in the rain. I don't think she would have had quite as much fun as usual at the races since it was raining so much
Sian and I on the podium

Yay, a warm heater!


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