Friday, June 22, 2007

Race Report - Xterra East Championships

ok... so here's the report.

I had one goal heading into this race and that was a top two finish to lock up a spot for Worlds. I got into Virginia Beach on Wednesday afternoon, spent Thursday relaxing at my parents house and then headed up to Richmond Friday morning to pre-ride the course.

Friday I met up with Trevor, Tom and Will to ride the course. The bike course is pretty techncal, and fun, so we just cruised and rode some of the more technical areas more than once. After the ride it was time to check into the hotel and relax. I got up Saturday morning and hit the bike course again with Trevor, and this time we were joined by Cody Waite. They took off and I just cruised and again focused on the technical areas of the course. After the ride we swam the course which would prove to be very beneficial as the current in the James River was considerably stronger than last year.

After the swim it was back to the hotel to relax with my parents and cousin and watch some of the College World Series. We headed out for dinner and hit up Baker's Crust. I scarfed and huge, grilled Turkey sandwich, pasta salad, and a side salad. I was stuffed and ready to go.

Here are some photos if the bike course from the pre-rides:

Short rocky climb:

You ride through these tunnels twice:

You have to hike your bike up these stairs twice and ride/hike down them once:

The Richmond locals have done a killer job on these trails. There are bunch of ramps and bridges throughout the course:

super fun single track:

Race Morning.

The race started at 10:30am so I was up about 6:45 with a hot cup of coffee and then my pre-race meal... my special oatmeal.. as usual. Another cup of coffee and water with NUUN and I was ready to head down to the race which was only a .25 mile ride from the hotel.

I got a good spot in transistion and just kept hydrating. The forecast was calling for 95 degrees and sunny and it was already very warm at 9am.

All set up and ready to go (#344):

The swim:

This was one of most challenging swims I have ever had in a race. It was a wave start with the pros going off first with my wave, men 35 and under, 2 minutes behind. It was a "no wetsuit" swim, which I was happy about and I was even more stoked to be wearing a Zoot speed suit.

my wave starting:

Finally spreading out:

The start was rough. I basically got my ass kicked for the first 200 meters, but then finally found some open water. The current to the first buoy wasn't too bad but a bunch of the group was drifting and I had to make a decision. Head away from the pack and straight to the buoy or stay with pack and probably swim a little further. I headed for the buoy and was right on.

Heading for the second buoy is where the current really started to get strong. People were drifting way off course. The swim course was pretty nuts with a bunch of turns and the strong current it made the swim tough. I finished in decent postion and was glad to be getting out of the water.

There was long run (1/4 mile ?) to T1 and I chose to go barefoot while a lot people were putting on shoes. Looking back I probaby should have thrown my mtb shoes on right out of the water as the path to T1 was pretty rough. T1 was OK, defintely not my fastest.

Swim time (+ T1): 21:55

The Bike:

I was so stoked to be heading out on the bike. I was really looking forward to racing this course. I quickly got with a pack and we were laying it down. I stayed with them through the initial single track but they kind of got a way when the guy in front me stacked it.

Heading out on the bike:

I worked my way into another pack with my friend Tom and we were moving. He's strong on the bike so I knew I was with a good pack and staying with them would be my plan. All was going well and were passing quite a few guys, and then as always I took a little spill. We were hauling through roller coaster section and as I came flying around a blind corner and I pretty much squared up on small tree and was sent flying over the bars. i jumped up, had to put my chain back on and I was off. No damage at all but I did lose the pack.

I was working hard to get back to them and then nthere was another mishap. There was a split in the course and the marker had fallen off the tree. I ended up taking the wrong way and lost atleast a couple of minutes. Once I realized I made the wrong turn I was bummed but just started hammering. I honestly thought my race was over at that point as I was starting to pass people that I had already passed earlier on. I was just over half way through the bike and was kind of discouraged.

I decided to just go for it and just see where I was after the bike. I killed it on the second half of the course. I was riding really well and passing people and dropping guys. My legs felt great. I got into T2 and had a quick look at the clock and realized I still may have chance, but honestly had no ided how far back I was.

working hard towards the end of the bike:

Bike time (+ T2): 1:22:33

The run:

I was mad as I was leaving T2 about going off course but my legs still felt great. Probably the best they ever have in a race. My cadence was quick and I was moving. I could see quite a few guys ahead of me and I started tracking them down one by one. I spotted my friend Tom about .25 mile ahead and my goal was to just catch him as soon as possible. Once I got up to him I told him about my wrong turn and he said he already knew and gave my some words of encouragement. Then I went for it. I had already passed quite a few guys and was now thinking I may still be able to run my way onto the podium.

I was still feeling very strong and kept my cadence high. I spotted a guy ahead of me and could see he was in my AG. I caught and passed him pretty quickly and then saw another guy in my AG just ahead. I again made sure to make a fast pass to try and make sure he didn't try to hang with me. He didn't.

I just kept going and couldn't believe how good I felt eventhough it was scorching hot and I pushed really hard on the bike. I finished the run with a good kick and felt great after crossing the line, but still didn't know exactly where I was in the race.

just about finished:

all done:

After crossing the line they got handed me my results card almost immediately and to say the least I was stoked... and relieved!
run time: 40:12

Time: 2:24:40
2nd AG
4th Amatuer/21st overall
I am defintely very happy with the results of the race and I can now relax a bit and just then just focus on Maui. The thing I am the most stoked about is how my riding is coming along. My bike split was exactly 10 minutes faster over the same course than last year, even with the wrong turn. I was also stoked about my run. I felt great off the bike and had the fastest amateur run split and 8th fastest overall. The hard work is paying off.

cooling off in the shower tent after crossing the line:

Enjoying a cold one with my parents in the beer tent after the race:


Mallie said...

Awesome. Way to really ramp it up on the bike and especially the run, even after the wrong turn. Congrats on your spot at Worlds!

Jessi said...

Great race! I'm so jealous of your run. I can track people down on the bike, but when it comes to the run it's all about hoping no one catches me. Would love to have the last leg be my strongest...

Cliff Tam said...


Great race. I saw the pic with the stairs and now i undersatrnd the lure of Xterra...i would love to run up those stairs and bike back down....sweet!!!

SixTwoThree said...

WAY TO GO MAN! I just checked out the results and wondered if that was you! Great job :-)

moonpie said...

Congrats on an awesome race!

Drew Holmes said...

great race report and the course looks great!!!! thanks for the photos, how about that hike a bike up the stairs??? wicked.

Matt said...

Congrats man. You're a real fighter.

Cody Waite said...

Great race James. Keep up the great progression. You're pretty impressive.


xteric said...

That's an entertaining report Jameson. Sounds like a race I gotta do. Great job & congrats on your Maui slot!

Lesser is More said...

Dude, you rocked the course. I did the Sport race in the morning and it was hot then! I stuck around to watch the Championship race and saw you on the bike and run near the transition area. Great race and report!