Resting for the BIG One

I took Sunday through Friday after Utah OFF from training. I figure that every time I come back from that trip to altitude I end up getting sick and have to take the week off anyways so might as well do the same thing healthy! It was great to spend the week without a schedule but given the weather was not incredible I still ended up bored before it was time to climb back on my bike. I did get in the water a couple of times and it blows my mind how much faster I swim without cycling or running. I was ALMOST fast last week. Unfortunately, that speed has already disappeared now that I am riding again…

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Short Interview with Damien Gonzalez after Richmond

I did this interview shortly after the race in Richmond, VA. In it I outline some of the changes I made to win that race (BMC Fourstroke 01) and discuss the different legs of the race. Eerie is the talk about how Ross could go out riding now that he knew what happened in the race and I say "see ya in Wales"…now knowing what happened to him when he did go out riding. Yikes! Anyway… click on "Read More" to view….

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2008 XTERRA Mountain Championships – Ogden, Utah

I have to admit that the first emotion I felt when I crossed the line at Snowbasin Resort at 11:40 am in first overall position for the women was RELIEF. After the past few weeks at altitude some seeds of doubt had been sown in my mind after first Jenny Smith and next Shonny Vanlandingham took turns absolutely destroying me at regional XTERRA events. After watching hours of Olympic swimming on television I started to think about how these regional events were like the preliminary heats. Some of the favorites would hold back, saving their best swims for the final. This strategy worked well for some but also backfired for others, with Olympic favorites not making the final eight or worse, those preliminary results were better than the final effort. It is all fine to say that an event is for “training” but only if you kick some ass at the event you are training for! So to get it done on Saturday and earn a perfect 300 score going into Tahoe was awesome, especially given it was my seventh race (not including midweek racing) in seven weeks (Canmore, Squamish, Vineman, Crested Butte, Eldora, Beaver Creek and Ogden) and I was DEFINITELY nervous… and rightly so. I really appreciated the encouragement from Courtney and Jamie that week as well. Jamie is in the hospital right now so having her thinking of me while I was thinking of her was really nice. Please go to and send her some get well soon wishes! As for the exciting day of racing, read on for the story…

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The Altitude Camp – Week Two and the XTERRA Beaver Creek Event (OUCH!)

I guess if I just sat on my butt and rested physiologists say that by now I should be starting to feel better up at 8,200 feet. However, the plan was to get some work in while I am up here to prepare myself for Ogden in one week and even more importantly, for Maui later this year. The upside of being worked over by high altitude is that when you go back to sea level your body can improve in incredible ways. Or at least, that is what I have found in the past when I have done things right. The downside of the effects of altitude arise when you come to do a training camp in Colorado, where all of the main competitors for any given Championships live, and you get your butt handed to you more than once. There was some improvement from Crested Butte, as I managed to hold off Jenny Smith (although she was ill last week so I honestly thought that would be the case anyways) but Shonny Vanlandingham put a large dent in me.

Honestly, I thought Shonny would be a problem for me on this particular course this weekend. It was almost as if Mike Kloser (course designer) decided to make a course exploiting all of my weaknesses at once. The course was long, extended, steep (lots of granny gear) climbing at an elevation above 8,000 feet. Yuck. That describes both the bike and the run for the XTERRA Beaver Creek race. Last year on this particular weekend I did a NORBA in Aspen on a similar course (with the same amount of time at altitude) and finished close to Jenny but WAY behind Shonny so coming off the bike only a minute behind was not completely terrible given it was my third race in six days (TRAINING WEEK!). Messing up my transition and blowing on the run wasn’t pretty but confirmed that I had done a little too much to bag this one. So, all in all, at least a second place for a training day although it felt much more important than just a training day because there was a pile of money on the line courtesy of the crew at Beaver Creek and Team Unlimited was there to help put on the race. It was like a National stop only the swimmers didn’t show up.. ha! So anyhow… on to my crazy week (which is a lot of training but I am pretty sure the end will justify the means)…

The cool skating rink at Beaver Creek…

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Training Well At Altitude

I have my first full week of altitude behind me and I am feeling pretty good about the sessions so far. Mostly I have just raced for training. I find that being at altitude feels so bad that unless I put myself into competition I really can’t dig that deep so racing is a good option. I have been super fortunate that the weeks I am here are perfect for this kind of plan. Week one was in Gunnison/Boulder so here is the recap…

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