2014 XTERRA World Champs

This year at the XTERRA World Championship I took 8th place.  Top 10 at a World Championship is always good.  It is a respectable position and you earn money so some of the boxes get ticked from that effort.  Of course, I was aiming for much higher.  I think that with a few tweaks in execution I would have finished a bit higher as well but that is very often the case after a race- we learn how to be faster.

Flora Duffy, Barb Rivieros and Nicky Samuels were fantastic and they had outstanding races to sweep the podium.  However, training for and participating in the race was not only fun but very useful for me as I headed to Australia to put the cap on my season.  I also absolutely love being in Maui so I am grateful to get the time there each year.  If I ever quit racing I will still find some race to come and spend some time enjoying Maui.   I am addicted to this island.

There was a lot of rain before the race and this made the course an absolute mess for days.  As with any mountain bike event, there was endless tire talk and even rumors of the course being shortened.  In Hawaii, the dirt turns to slippery clay, and as it dries it gets really sticky.  Bike tires will cake with that clay like giant vegetation donuts and once the clearance between the tire and the frame is reached the tires stop rolling.  Hawaii does not have a good kind of mud.  Luckily, it stopped raining and by race day the course could not have been faster.  Much ado about nothing.

This is the short story of my race.  The swim swells were the largest I have experienced on this course. This is one of the big differences between this venue and the old race venue, the Makena venue was in a more protected bay with less exposure to swells so the swim was generally smoother. I had a great swim start and found myself in front of Charlotte McShane and felt that was a good place to be. I lost that group when I bungled my exit after the long loop looking back and waiting to get pounded by waves, so I ended up a few seconds down on the group into transition. I rode my way up through the group to fourth by the sixth mile with Katrin Muller hot on my heels. We rode together for the rest of the bike, with her exposing my weakness on the very steep climbs and me riding past on the flat sections.  Riding with her was a lot of fun as she is amazingly sportsmanlike and we moved out of each other’s way when we felt the other would be the better leader. Having not seen the course before the race, I let her ride all the fast descents on the second half of the course, and she let me lead all the twisting technical bits near the end. Up until I crashed at least. My strengths have changed significantly with my present time trialing focus.

 

By the time the bike was finished I found myself in 8th place. I went out onto the run behind Katrin and caught her on the first climb. I thought I would run myself into 7th but that ITU speedster McShane tracked me down on the sand in the closing meters and sprinted past to leave me 18 seconds back (I am not much of a sand sprinter) in 8th again. It wasn’t my most impressive day but it also was a strong day.  I was racing a very strong field and after multiple years of complete blowouts since 2011 I am happy to have been racing at the front.   I was strong across all three disciplines but not my fastest at any of them. It was a great reminder about how much speed and power is in XTERRA racing and it was so much fun to duke it out even if I wasn’t competing for the topmost rung. 

Please enjoy the little video I made of my time in Maui:

 

 

So now I am in Australia. I managed to get a very nasty chest infection off the plane and unfortunately missed the first race I planned in Perth. So now I am on the mend, in Melbourne, planning to race the second event, the Ballerat 70.3. Wish me luck! Thanks to the amazing partners I have. Thank you to Trek Factory Racing, Bontrager, Shimano, Powerbar, Rudy Project NA, Powertap, Blueseventy, Champion System, Frontrunners Westshore, Procity Racing, USANA and Synergy Wellness. Lets find a few more podiums before we put the lid on 2014.

2014 XTERRA Victoria

The XTERRA event in Victoria grows every year.  It started as a little sprint event at Durrance Lake and has been steadily growing and attracting interest from further abroad year after year.  This year there were many racers from out of town and even out of country.  I participated in a pre race training clinic with Brent and Danelle which saw more than 20 keen triathletes pay to go ride with us (the money went to a cancer charity!) and I was amazed at how GREAT everyone could ride!  It was very fun.  It was also my only ride on a mountain bike before the race so I was happy to take some time to learn the lines again.

spreading some powerbar love

 

The Halloween bag of Powerbar wafers is sent around the circle.  Brent is extra stoked to get some 🙂

So this is the main takeaway from this event for me.  I rode ZERO mountain bike miles leading up to this race for a variety of reasons but mostly because I have focused 100% of my attention on training for 70.3.  I will admit that having the race here in Victoria means that despite my lack of practice I do have loads of mileage in the trees here so it would not take much for me to become comfortable riding technical terrain again.  However, I rode awful in the singletrack.  I crashed no less than four times and I still rode a faster split than last year.   Fitness beats skills. 

It was very fun.  Highlights on the swim for me were sprinting to oblivion to the first buoy, dying completely, and rallying to catch back up to the group behind Brent.  I am fit for swimming.  There was a guy who kept stopping to swim breaststroke and I think he still stayed with my group though.  I don’t know how I feel about that.  I am feeling really great in my Blueseventy Helix wetsuit though.  Having switched to the new MS Women’s size is making an absolute world of difference for me.  I am much more comfortable and fast in it.

XTERRA Swim fern

Second highlight was doing battle with Ironman legend Tom Evans.   It appears he is getting serious about his mountain biking because he was very fast in the trails this year.  I tried my hardest to crack him on the climbs but it just wasn’t happening.  I should have known he was in awesome shape when he held Brent for the swim.  Also a highlight for me was seeing the improvement in little Kate Button on her mountain bike.  I think the last time I rode was with her and Brent (winter) and we came up to this steep little drop thing which I was like, hmmm, maybe not today and I walked down.  Shortly after I finished wrapping my purse in my spokes she plowed through it on her beat up old hard tail.  So proud of you Buttons!

Third highlight was setting the fastest run split on a super steep and technical run course.  I am sure Danelle could have run faster if she hadn’t just taken a little injury break due to a calf strain but I am still going to feel good about running fast this weekend.   I am hoping she will train more with me so I can try to run like her in Maui.  Staying within seven minutes of Brent on a technical (not my strength) and very steep (also not my strength) and long in time duration course (more time to lose time) is solid.  Looking back at where I have been in XTERRA I would regularly lose more than 10 minutes to the men on the run.  This is good.

podium xterra victoriaRacing in Victoria is legit with very fast athletes on the line.  Leis for the Mcwinners 😉

 

I really appreciate all the local volunteers and Human Powered Racing for putting on this event.  Monique you are a star!    Thanks to Sandy Wilson from Arbutus Physio for being onsite to take care of athlete’s post race niggles – including mine! Thanks to the Trek ProCity boys Bill, Troy and Mitch for being on hand to take care of anyone’s last minute mechanical stress and for feeding the hordes barbeque after the race.   Great job to Troy and Erin Glazier from Chek News for crushing the team relay in the Sprint event.  

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Woodie’s triathlon debut

Glazier has become quite the triathlete under the tutelage of Ironman legend Jasper Blake.  Thanks to Sean Cunningham and Jasper for providing the event’s entertainment.  And thanks to the event sponsors http://www.xterravictoria.ca/sponsors/ for making it all happen.  Nourish was the meeting spot where a group of us enjoyed some post race sustenance (so good!) . 

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Seriously amazing food.

Congratulations to all who earned their spots in Maui and I look forward to seeing you all there J  Thanks to all of my sponsors who indulge in my versatile schedule which has now seen a win over the half distance, Olympic distance and now XTERRA.  I would like to try to win a mountain bike race now.  That will have to wait because I don’t think it will happen if I don’t brush up on my skills a little.

A shoutout to the SCUD ambassador at the race, Rob Bourguigion.  It is nice that XTERRA remembers such a passionate proponent of XTERRA racing and the lifestyle.  Scott Scudamore touched all the lives of everyone who races XTERRA.

scud pic 

Thanks Trek, Bontrager, Shimano, Powerbar, Blueseventy, Champion System, Rudy Project, Powertap and USANA.  Also thanks so much to my Victoria supporters Synergy Health Management, Frontrunners Westshore and Wiink2.  Congrats to FR Westshore owner Nick Walker for punching his ticket to XTERRA Worlds on a fancy Trek Superfly.  Looks like I have added a training partner in September!