Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Xterra World Championships 10.29.2006 - Maui, HI

I am back home in San Diego after what has seemed like a really long week. Traveling to Maui and getting the chance to race in a world championship was incredible.

Just to get an idea of hard this race is here are some quotes from the winners:

Hamish Carter:
"It was really tough, a lot tougher than I thought," said the 35-year-old from Auckland, winner of the 2004 Olympic triathlon. "At one point during the run I didn't even know if I could finish."

Melanie Mcquaid (3 X world):
"Never has this race ever been longer or harder than this year and I am absolutely stunned to have had the race I did on Sunday."


Our (my sister and nephew went on the trip with me) flight
at 7am from LAX. After what seemed like and endless flight we touched down in Maui at 9am local time. We picked up out rental car (jeep commander) and headed for out condo in Kihei. We checked in and then head down the coast for some snorkeling and exploring. Later on I went for an easy 40 minute run and was feeling great.


First thing in the morning we head down to the Maui Prince (host hotel and race site) so I could check in, pre-ride the practice bike course, and then go for a swim. You are not allowed to pre-ride the actual bike course which adds significantly to the difficulty of the course. The practice course was pretty short. It only took me 30 minutes to do the loop but it was blazing hot out there. After the ride I went for a swim. The swim was great and I felt really good in the water. When I got about 400 meters offshore I came across a reef and a bunch of sea turtles. It was killer. After the swim we grabbed some lunch and then drove to the top of the volcano.


We headed back to the race site and my sister and nephew went snorkeling and I got in a 20 minute run and an easy 750 meter swim. I was feeling really good, completely relaxed, and ready to go. That night we went to the pre race dinner and I really began to realize how big of a deal this race was. I already new that there was a big international presence (out of the 33 guys in my AG only 10 were american) but seeing all the countries represented at the dinner and all the videos from the races was mind blowing. I really felt fortunate to be there and knew that I had really accomplished something... and the food was awesome.

Sunday: The race.

i was up a 5:15 am without an alarm and got a really good night sleep. I had a cup of coffee and then a Snicker's Marathon bar and a bottle with 2 scoops of carbo pro and a NUUN tab. This was different from my normal pre-race meal. I usually have a whole wheat bagel with natural peanut butter, honey, and a banana. I have had some stomach problems in my last few races so I changed it up.

I got to the race site, set up transition, and got body marked. The race was supposed to start at 9 but got pushed back to 9:15. I sipped on water mixed with NUUN, and took a gel about 8:30. I got in the water and swam about 500 meters to warm up and was really feeling good in the water. After I warmed up I talked with my sister and the got blessed by the Hawaiian priest. I was feeling completely relaxed, not stress. It was kind weird how calm I was, even my sister noticed.

The swim: 2 x 750 meter laps w/ a 50 yard between laps

I lined myself up right behind a group of pros and when the canon went off I charged it. I quickly found a good draft and really didn't caught too much with anybody. I hit the first buoy feeling really good and got around it in a big crowd. I stayed calm and just kept on pushing and staying on peoples feet and knees. At the end of the first lap I knew I was having a good swim. I looked around on the run between laps and I had pro men and women all around me. The second lap went really well too. I felt relaxed the whole time. The swim felt easy and I was stoked running up to transition... and I was even more stoked to see most of the bikes still in trasition.

swim split(2 x 750m, 50 yard run, 75 yard run to T1, T1): 24:46

Bike: 19.8 miles

This by far hardest course I have ever ridden but I was feeling really confident after a really good swim. I immediately started passing people on the climbs. The course was treacherous. All the descents were filled with lava rocks big and small. I just opened it up as much as I could and flowed. I saw a lot of people crashing and people stopped fixing flats. I have never seen so many people go down (including a number of pros), and these weren't minor crashes. Some of them were nasty leaving people waiting for assistance off the volcano. I got passed and also did my fair share of passing. After the last downhill I hit the paved road that led back to trainistion. I was so stoked to have made the whole ride without going down or having any mechanical problems. It thanked the Hawaiian preist for this at dinner.

Bike split: 2:02:41

Run: 6.9 miles

I felt pretty good leaving T2 and knew I had some work to do. I think I was in 11th or 12th place in my AG heading out on the run and knew there were a couple guys within reach. The first 3/4 of a mile are on a golf course and paved road with rolling hills. I started passing people right away. At the 1 mile marker it turns uphill for 3 miles of relentless, hot climbing. This is where I made my moved. I was dropping a lot of guys on the climb, including guys in my AG. I had moved up into 6th place once I reached the top and I was with a pro male as I hit the aid station and started the rocky descent. At this point I was caught by a guy in my AG and he dropped me on the downhill. I was in shock. For the first time I couldn't respond to his surge. This had never happened to me before. This kind of broke me mentally. After the descent I hit Makena beach. This is where I fell apart. The beach is a mile of super soft sand and there was a 20mph headwind. It took everything I had to keep moving forward and not breaking down and walking. Then we headed into the "spooky forrest" and I was concentrating on turnover, but I was bonking big time. Then it was back onto a black sand beach, again with super soft sand and wind. I was crushed, but I kept moving. Soon enough I was running over the rocks and corral, back onto the golf course, and then onto finish. This was the hardest run of my life. I hit the wall but luckily only got passed by one guy.

run: 53:07

Overall: 3:20:34 - 7th in AG (of 33), 62nd overall (of 575)

As soon as I crossed the finish line the heat hit me like a ton of bricks and I was out of it. I was walked directly to the Med tent and draped with cold towels and given fluids. They were about to give me an IV but I started coming around. Nothing has ever felt that good. I finally left it all on the course, but wish I had more to give. I think I really blew it by not eating enough before the race. I was bonking hardcore over the last 2 miles. If the race would have been another mile I would have had to walk.

Overall I am very happy with my race (and first season). I had a breakthrough swim for me, and my bike was solid. For once my run wasn't there which I know will not be a regular thing. I still have tons of room to improve and I hope I can qualify and get back there next year. I want a podium finish in 2007.


Anonymous said...

Awesome race report.

jpsjourney said...

damn impressive. 7th in your AG at Worlds?? Yeah, I'd say your first season was solid all right.


Not sure I can keep up with you anywhere but the water...but if you're up for some easy riding let me know. I'm doing ralph's in march and will riding the course a lot this winter.

Flatman said...

You're a stud... :)

Habeela said...

7th in your AG at Worlds in your first season?! Outstanding! And next year will be even better.

Barb said...

Awesome job! Congratulations!

Jessi said...

Great report - it was obviously a tough day and you held your own and then some.