The second stop on the Xterra Tour was this past weekend in Waco Texas.
Waco doesn't bring about thoughts of amazing trails or a place you really want to go visit but this race is easily the BEST race on the entire circuit in my opinion. The trails are incredible, the race is challenging, and the community/people are over the top nice! I LOVE this race and can't wait to go back.
My homestay is perfect and they really make you feel at home. I can't thank them enough for all they do for us! When I say us I mean all of us pros and racers...they bend over backwards to make this race a success and without their support I don't really think it would happen.
I was excited to race on Sunday. I felt ready but the course is challenging enough to make anyone suffer so I really didn't know how I would hold up. The swim was wetsuit legal but the water was way to warm so we all overheated in the water. I was so ready to get out of my wetsuit at the end of the swim...felt like I was in a furnace! I was sitting pretty good for about 2/3rds of the swim and then got gapped slightly...totally a stupid mistake but the water was really murky so you couldn't really see feet. Plus, there is a current so when swimming up stream in the river it's critical to stay on feet. When you can't see them though it makes it kind of tough. So, a little lack of attention on my part led to a gap and I lost about 20 sec. No doubt my swim has improved over last year and I think it will only get better. Still a long way back of the leaders but it's decent enough to put me in the "fight."
Then onto the bike and I would say it took me about half the ride to get my balance. I hit more trees in the first 30 minutes then I think I have hit in my entire life...my cut up shoulders are proof of this! Seriously, I was so annoyed. Just making stupid mistakes but my riding did seem to get better as the race went on. I am still riding too slow though. I think all the Ironman training has been great (and necessary) in terms of getting me strong and fit but when it comes to high intensity mountain biking I just haven't put in the time on the trails. The good news is Ironman is over in 2 1/2 weeks and I can get back to Xterra specific training and hopefully get my riding up to par!
So, I would say it was a good race for me. It moved me into 6th in the series. It wasn't a perfect race for me but it was solid and much improved over years past so I am happy. Moving in the right direction for sure. Huge thanks to Adam Zucco and Trainingbible Coaching for keeping me healthy and strong!
Now the focus is on Ironman St George (2 1/2 weeks away). I already miss my Epic 29er but after this long distance nonsense I will be in Santa Cruz and Bama for the next two stops on the Xterra Tour. Probably not able to walk but I will be there for some fun =)
--My buddy Tom O'Brien KILLED it. First amateur and 14th overall!
Finally made it out to Hoover Dam before the race in Vegas.