Monday, April 30, 2007

Race Report: Xterra Castaic 4.29.2007

So here's the race report from Xterra Castaic. I am writing this while sitting a plane headed for Newark, NJ. A week in Nj for work right in the middle of build up for Temecula. perfect.

Xterra Castaic.

I headed into the race with very little expectations after a week of being laid up with a stomach virus. I was a little weary of possibly digging myself into a hole with the Xterra West Champs coming up in the 3 weeks in Temecula. I told myself that if at any point during the race I was getting to uncomfortable or really not feeling good I would just pull the plug.


I woke up early and had my now-standard pre race meal:
coffee, oatmeal (1c oats, 1c Van soy milk, cinnamon, banana)

Then it was off to Castaic Lake. I got there pretty early and they were just opening tranistion. I checked in and secured a good spot in tranistion. I remembered last year transition getting really crowded. After everything was set up I headed back to my truck and listened to some tunes and just relaxed. About an hour out I headed out for my warm up. Considering the lack of running I did this week I headed out for a 20min jog with some accelerations and strides. It was already getting warm and I built up a good sweat.


At 930 am (race started at 10am) they had the pre-race meeting and then we all walked to the swim start. Once to the swim start I jumped and started warming up. With the warm temps the 60 degree water felt awesome. I also decided to do a bit longer of a swim warm up just to see how I felt. Suprisingly I felt pretty quick and this gave me a bit of optimism.

Swim (1200m - 2 x 600m laps w/beach run in between):
It was a mass start and just like last year it was tough. I was getting hit from all sides but I stayed calm and with a pack and pretty much got sucked all the way out to the first buoy. Once around the first buoy I found some space and a pack. We swam together through the first lap and then hit the beach. I noticed I was still in a pack and I let them jump in the for the second lap just ahead of me. i dove in right on their feet and tucked in for a good draft out to the next buoy. At the last turn I was still feeling strong and the guys I was drafting off of were fading. I picked up my pace, swam alone for a while, and then latched on to some more feet. Before I knew it I was on the beach.

swim + T1: 15:39
swim place: 10th

Run between laps, that's me in the middle.

out of the water:

Bike (16 miles - 2 loops):

The bike course is pretty tough. It's not too technical but there are quite a few steep climbs and the temps were now climbing into the mid to upper 80's. The first climb is about a 1/4 mile out of t1 and it puts your heart in your throat. I stuck on a guys wheel through the first coupld of switchbacks and then made a move to pass at that poing I had a clear shot to a guy in my AG that I have raced before. he usually gets more time on me in the swim so I was stoked to get to him so quickly. I latched onto his wheel and kind of just hung back for a minute. I wanted to see how hard he was going to push it and how strong he was. After a couple of short climbs together I made my move on a short steep climb and never looked back. I was able to put a good gap on him. I rode consitently on the first lap and really wanted to push it on the second lap.

It was hot. I finished my frist bottle at the end of the lap, grabbed a bottle at the aid station, took a swig, showered myself with it, and then chucked it. After the second time through the first set of climbs I grabbed my bottle (while climbing), took a drink, and then of course dropped it. I looked back to see it rolling down the hill. This is begining to become a problem. So for the whole second lap I had nothing. I had a gel in my jersey but the only aid station was at the start/finish of the bike loop. Right by the start of the last climb I took a quick wrong turn, locked it up, and dropped my chain. i jumped off, got passed by a guy, but was back going in the right direction in a couple of seconds.

On the last climb I was fading. About half way up I could see the guy I had passed in my AG making up some time on me. I was so thirsty and my mouth was so dry I couldn't even spit. I just really focused on my cadence and pedal stroke just to make it through that last incline. The loops ends with a couple miles of descending and I opened it up in hopes of building my gap back up. It worked. I had a flawless descent and my chaser was nowhere to be seen as I hit the ending aid station. I grabbed a bottle, finally took a drink, and downed a gel. Once I was back in T2 I looked around and there was nobody close to me coming in from the bike, but there were defintely guys to catch on the run.

Bike + T2: 1:21:10
bike place: 7th
T2... off the bike:

time to "do work":

Somebody yelled to my that I was in 7th overall heading out on the run. Time to work. I was feeling ok but it was getting very hot as the temps were now pushing the low 90's and there was no shade for 90% of the run. I quickly caught and passed the 6th, 5th, and 4th place guys By the half way point of the first lap. In another 1/4 mile I caught the 3rd place guy and then it was on to the 2nd place guy. I knew first place was out reach. I saw Mike Vine (xterra pro) early on in my first lap as he was finishing his first lap. About 3/4's of the way throgh the first lap I passed 2nd place and just started to pour it on. I opened up a good gap and just kept extending it. By the time I headed out for the second lap I had a big gap and continued to build my lead over the rest of the pack until the finish.

run: 26:57
run place: 2nd

Overall time: 2:03:46
AG Place: 1st
Overall Place: 2nd

End of lap 1:

This result was very unexpected. I beat guys that regularly beat me last year and I did it with having I strong swim, bike, and run. It was hands down the best complete performance I've had. The only person that beat me or ran faster than me was Mike Vine and he's a top performing pro on the Xterra scene. The next amateur was almost 3 minutes behind me. I am stoked to stay the least and can't believe I had my best race so far after having such a hellish week. go figure...

I am going to use this race and confidence it gave me to build into Temecula.
Top 3 overall (R to L): Me, Mike Vine, Jimmy Wills


runninggunner said...

Way to go!! Great race, and after being sick.

Cliff Tam said...


Way to rip the course apart.

Love the description of "do work" in the run.

Jessi said...

Wow, awesome race. Nice work!

Jeff Kerkove said...

Nice dude!

Mallie said...

Awesome. Especially after a bout of gastro-e! I'm so glad you had such an spectacular race outing. It was definitely what you needed to carry you through a week on the road.