Monday, August 07, 2006

Snow Valley Off-Road Triathlon (Xterra Points Series)

Finally another Xterra race. After doing 3 road tri's in the past 6 weeks and not doing an Xterra races since June 18th in Richmond I was anxiously counting down the days until this race.

This race was held at Snow Valley ski resort in the San Bernadino mountains. It's about a 2 hour drive from San Diego and LA. It was kind of different being up there with no snow because in the winter I am usually up there snowboarding a lot. This was going to be my frist race at altitude and serve as good practice for the Xterra nationals in Tahoe. The eleveation was 6500ft at the base where the T2 was, and 7300ft at the lake for the swim.


I got to Snow Valley around and noon and the weather was perfect, mid 70's, sunny, and a nice cool breeze. I met up with a couple of guys I know and we headed out to do one loop of the bike course. the bike course was short (12 miles) and mostly on fire roads but there was a lot of climbing, and the trails had a lot of loose packed sandy sections. We took it easy, checked out the lake, and the finished up the ride. I did take a good spill on the big downhill section for the course. It was really sketchy because it was a really long fast section and it was super sandy. I manage to get a couple of pretty good scrapes and bruises but nothing major.

After the ride we walked the run course and I was shocked at how hard it was going to be. There was also a ton of climbing on the run and some super steep downhills. I am always stoked when I see a hard run course because I know that defintely plays into my strengths. Before heading back down the mountain for the day we drove up to the lake for quick swim. Until then I really didn't notice a too much of difference being at 6000+ ft. In the water I put in a couple of surges and really felt short of breath. It kind of felt like I was swimming harder than I actually was. Not a good sign for me.


Swim - 1000m:

From the base of Snow Valley you had to ride or hike 1.5 miles up to the lake. There were two transition areas. T1 was at the lake and T2 was at the base. I chose to ride and use it as my warm up. I felt good and I was ready to swim.

I lined up in the front and on the inside. I am by no means the fastest swimmer but I have found starting with all the fast guys helps. They leave me behind in the first 100m but then I am out of the crowd and don't get too beat up. The swim was going well but I was again defintely feeling the altitude. I just kept on pushing. I was able to draft off of a guy for a bout 75% of the swim and can't believe how much it helped. I had my best swim to date and was 7th out of the water.

The transition area was kind of packed and it was single long line of bikes. It took me about 15 seconds to find my bike. I kind of blew it. Other than that it was quick. Wetsuit off and in the bag. Because it was shorter course I decided to not waste my time with gloves and glasses (not really a good idea in hind sight).
I was in complete shock when I was leaving T1 on the bike and they told me I was in 6th place.

Bike - 12 miles - 2000ft of climbing:
The bike went pretty well for me. My strategy for the bike was to really push on the climbs and take the downhills conservatively. I am not going to win races on the bike and I knew if I could stay on 2 wheels I would have a chance on the run. I did get passed by one guy in my AG group in the first couple of miles and he was killing it. There was no way I could keep up with him. Then came the big downhill that I ate it on the day before. I took it conservatively, probably too much so, and got passed by a couple more guys. I was now in about 10th overall. On the next lap I caught all the guys that passed my on the downhills on the climbs. The same thing happened on the second lap heading into T2. They blazed past me on the downhill. Heading into the last section of the bike and into T2 I could already see the guy in my AG out on the run. He was way ahead of my at this point.


Fast easy. My sister (who I have coached into giving splits at T2) yelled to me that I was 5 MINUTES behind the leader in my AG and in 10th overall. "Crap... time to go for it."

Run: 4 miles - crazy hills

I felt really good coming off the bike but I was kind of mad at myself for letting those guys gap me so much on the downhill. In the first half mile (uphill) I passed one guy and he was having a hard time. After that I just made it my goal to catch the next person ahead of me. At the end of the first major climb I had pulled up right behind 2 more guys and then passed them both right after a super steep downhill. The next climb was the longest and it was tough. I was now in 6th and could see 3 guys ahead of me and they were all walking this 1/4 mile climb. I knew I had to run it. I caught and passed one guy on this hill but it felt like I was running in place. I got to the top and really turned it on on the flat and the next downhill. Back at the base I caught and passed a guy I know and was now in fourth. I was now in the only real flat part of the course so I turned it on, and then quickly got to the next climb which was the steepest. I could see the 3rd place guy near the top and he was walking. I charged up but with 20 yards to go it got so steep that I was forced into power walking with my hands on my knees. I made it to the top and was really feeling the effort I was putting in. Right after that climb it was down the other side on fire road. At the end of the road there was the final turn around. Right after the turn around I passed the 3rd place guy and gapped him on the climb back up and then it was back down the super steep trail. I was in 3rd all alone and that's how I would finish.

3rd Overall
2nd AG

This was by far my best race I have had. I was stoked to be able to move from 10th to 3rd in the run on the most challenging run course I have raced so far. They said it was only 4 miles but it was harder than any 10k I have ever ran in a race. I really had to dig deep for it though. The guy in my AG that had a 5 minute lead on me going into the run finished 2nd overall and only beat me by just over a minute. So I took about 4 minutes out of him on the run.

I love Xterra racing. The courses are awesome and people are amazing. I started this season not knowing anybody at these races and now I know dozens from all over the place and it's cool to be able to catch up with them from race to race. It is a totally different vibe than road racing. I was stoked to have some of my family out there too. My sister, nephew, aunt and uncle all made 2 hour drives to come out for the day and all had a blast.

I can't wait for nationals!!! Back to training tomorrow.


IMmike said...

great job jameson. That's a pretty amazing run you put together.

Flatman said...

Nice job, J! You just keep getting better and better... The question now, is pro road or pro xterra??? OR BOTH? :)

XTEric said...

You refreshed my memory to how crazy it was last year plunging down the ski slopes in the loose deep sand on my bike, whew! Super catch up on the run, you've got your AG's lookin over their shoulders.

Anonymous said...

Congrats awesome job. -Guernsey

Cliff said...

Great job Jameson.

Way to smoke everyone on the run.

Your training is paying off :)

Habeela said...

You picked up 4 minutes on the guy in front of you?! That's incredible! And Jameson does it AGAIN!!!! Nationals are going to be so awesome!

Jessi said...

Congrats on an awesome race - can't wait to hear how you do in Nationals!