Saturday, June 23, 2007
Xterra East Championships--Richmond, VA
June 17th I competed in the Xterra East Championships. I was really excited to go back East to visit my family and race against the top pros in the sport. The course is very unique in that it takes place in downtown Richmond. It has a definate urban feel but the bike runs through tons of great, technical single-track. Overall, I loved the course and will be back next year! We stayed with my cousin Whit and her husband Dave...sooooo much hospitality! Thanks guys, when you come out to California we will repay you!
In the days leading up to the race I was lucky enough to pre-ride/run/swim the course with Cody Waite (1st year pro), James Walsh and Tom O'brien...all great guys that made the trip a ton of fun. Checking out the course prior to the race is critical given how technical the course is.
We swam in a river that was filled with boulders and sand bars (you literally run at times), the bike course weaves through super tight trails lined with millions of trees and rocks, and the run just beats you down b/c it is so hot (95 degrees). Up until this race I felt like I hadn't had a bad Xterra race (okay, nationals last year was pretty bad but that was at altitude so I wrote that one off). Let's just say I blew up big time on the run and lost my chance for top overall amateur and a high placing. I haven't hit the wall that bad in a VERY long time!
Here is what happen...I lost one of my energy gels on the bike so I didn't take in enough fuel during the ride. Plus, like an idiot, I didn't have any calories in my water bottles. So, your probably thinking, how can a guy that has done triathlon for so long make mistakes like this? I question this myself but I did make the mistake and, as a result, I fell victim to my worst race in a long time. I will say, I worked very hard on my bike during the off-season and it is paying off b/c I put in a solid ride and I am happy with my progress. The sad thing is that I am in the best running shape of my life and if I had taken in enough calories during the race I feel that I could have laid down a fast run split.
So, lesson learned. I have figured out a good mixture for my race day water bottles and I now realize that I need to stash one extra gel in transition and take it with me on the run.
All-in-all, I had a great time and I am really happy that Jess joined me for this adventure. I also believe that as an athlete you have to make these kind of mistakes to become better. I know I will be a stronger, smarter athlete as a result of my mistake in Richmond. In looking back a things I think I could have raced 4 minutes faster. I should have swam at least 1 minute faster but the swim was ridiculous (chaos--poorly marked, poor direction, course cutting, etc.) and I should have run 3 minutes faster. Oh well, hind-sight is 20/20 and I can assure you that next year I will be back in Richmond for redemption!
--Notice the huge Pacifico Beer bottle in the background--What a great sponsor!