Monday, July 28, 2014

XTERRA Mtn Champs

I am behind again but I wasn't really sure what to say about this race. Terribly disappointing maybe...

Well, it started out with vacation back home in Winter Park for a couple weeks which was great! I was hoping this would give me ample time to get acclimated again to the altitude (at 8500 shouldn't be a problem) and some time with the family and riding some great single track. It did take a bit to breath again but about a week in was starting to feel more normal again with my training sessions. I did an Epic Single track race a week before. The start of that hurt. Those races seem to always start fast with a climb. I went out feeling good climbing with the lead girls then about 4 mins in the lung  burn was so bad! I dropped back a bit and rode the rest of the way to the top of the climb with the expert girls. As soon as we got to the top, it was a really fun course and it was just playing catch up for me! I ended up 5th, (this is CO racing :), women's turnouts for MTB is so much better!).

Anyway, I had a good week leading into Beaver Creek. I do not like this course at all but was really trying to feel positive about it and be confident in my strengths and training.

My mom and I left Ashlyn with my sister and headed to BC for the race, just the two of us. It was nice to have a night out with mom. I got there in time to get a little swim in. I thought that was important since I hadn't been in my wetsuit since Memorial Day! I got all ready to go and we had a nice dinner at our usual pre BC spot.

I look ready squinty eyes and all  :)

 Race morning came and I got all set up at T2 and then back to the hotel and getting stuff to T1. I was feeling a bit extra antsy today, but just pushed it off. I think I just had a little high hopes of doing well here. 

I felt like I started out pretty strong. I was feeling pretty good and felt like I held onto the main group a little bit longer. I was really glad that I had gotten that initial high-altitude-feel-like-your-going-to-drown swimming out of the way 2 weeks ago. However, I did get a kick to the face which caused a slow leak in one side of my goggles. I kept going and debated trying to fix it or just doing the whole thing like that. There was another girl drafting me nicely so I figured a quick re-seal of the goggles and switch spots would be good. I ended up loosing her feet though and we both swam the whole thing about the same distance apart. I didn't think my swim was anything crazy but it seemed solid despite the goggles and I was pretty happy with were I came out of the water.  Unfortunately, that turned out to be the highlight of the day. 

I had some issues coming out of transition with my helmet buckle but got ready to get into the bike. I could see the next girl, Kim,  just ahead of me and I knew that I could catch her and decided to get the legs going and real her in. But... nothing really happened. Then the next 2 girls came by looking really strong and I told myself to grab a wheel and go with them, but... no I just rode where I was. It just seemed like I had no race gear for the day. My head was saying "GO, push hard!" but my body just did nothing. Then, to make matters worse, once I came down the fun little downhill section on Corkscrew I came out on the last little fire road descent about 1/4 mile from T2 and my rear through axle came out and my wheel was coming off!! I had to stop there and spend a few minutes trying to get it back in. It took forever as I was having trouble getting it lined up right. I burnt my hand on my searing hot brake rotor in the process. Since this thing unscrewed itself somehow during the course of the ride this may well have had something to do with my lack of power possibly. Just another piece to the day.

This is where it all started going south for me.

So, by this point my brain had no push and I was not looking forward to doing the run course in reverse, but I set my head to it and got to work, until it went up unrelentingly for quite a ways and I was brought to the speed walk. At this point the top two Age-group women had passed me and I gave Meagen Sheridan a good push because she still had some push in her.  I tried to run hard on the downhills and then came to the second round back up the mountain. The first part was not all that steep and I kept telling myself to keep running but kept finding myself walking. Finally, I got to the dirt road and was able to maintain a steady run up the final climb. Once I got to the single track I was ecstatic because I knew it was all down. Now, I was sure much happier to be running down this part than when we used to go up it. Made it through and I was actually a minute faster than 2 years ago. Ha! I know that I have made so much more progress than that. :)

I ended up 16th on the day. A very disappointing finish for me.  However, there were so many girls out there today that had amazing races and I was so excited for some friends! The Pro women's field was larger than the pro men's field in this race and was filled with some great ladies! Also, I believe about half of us are mom's.

As my brother-in-law says, I never learned anything about myself by winning all that time! So, I try to take these days and see what I can learn. Part of that is hard because it is hard to pinpoint why I was so flat. But, lesson of the day.... Never forget to check that your through axles are screwed tight! Many races are a test of perseverance, this one was no different. Now, not letting the bad day get to your head and moving on is the big thing. Just before the race, Kara Lapoint posted on twitter, "Our true measure is our worst day, not our best." Good stuff. The great thing is that at the end of the day, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be out there doing something I love, even on the bad days! I am grateful for all the great people that I know through this sport and for all of the ones that support me in the good and the bad!  A little shout out to all my sponsors!! 

Had a great time being back in Winter Park and so thankful for the support of my family. It was a little disappointing to end the trip on this note. I was so glad to have a night away with my mom, thanks to my sister for keeping Ashlyn!

Next up Downieville Classic!! 
Watch this for some great footage of all the fun last year.   See cover photo.

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