Monday, July 28, 2014

XTERRA Mtn Champs

I am behind again but I wasn't really sure what to say about this race. Terribly disappointing maybe...

Well, it started out with vacation back home in Winter Park for a couple weeks which was great! I was hoping this would give me ample time to get acclimated again to the altitude (at 8500 shouldn't be a problem) and some time with the family and riding some great single track. It did take a bit to breath again but about a week in was starting to feel more normal again with my training sessions. I did an Epic Single track race a week before. The start of that hurt. Those races seem to always start fast with a climb. I went out feeling good climbing with the lead girls then about 4 mins in the lung  burn was so bad! I dropped back a bit and rode the rest of the way to the top of the climb with the expert girls. As soon as we got to the top, it was a really fun course and it was just playing catch up for me! I ended up 5th, (this is CO racing :), women's turnouts for MTB is so much better!).

Anyway, I had a good week leading into Beaver Creek. I do not like this course at all but was really trying to feel positive about it and be confident in my strengths and training.

My mom and I left Ashlyn with my sister and headed to BC for the race, just the two of us. It was nice to have a night out with mom. I got there in time to get a little swim in. I thought that was important since I hadn't been in my wetsuit since Memorial Day! I got all ready to go and we had a nice dinner at our usual pre BC spot.


I look ready squinty eyes and all  :)


 Race morning came and I got all set up at T2 and then back to the hotel and getting stuff to T1. I was feeling a bit extra antsy today, but just pushed it off. I think I just had a little high hopes of doing well here. 

Swim
I felt like I started out pretty strong. I was feeling pretty good and felt like I held onto the main group a little bit longer. I was really glad that I had gotten that initial high-altitude-feel-like-your-going-to-drown swimming out of the way 2 weeks ago. However, I did get a kick to the face which caused a slow leak in one side of my goggles. I kept going and debated trying to fix it or just doing the whole thing like that. There was another girl drafting me nicely so I figured a quick re-seal of the goggles and switch spots would be good. I ended up loosing her feet though and we both swam the whole thing about the same distance apart. I didn't think my swim was anything crazy but it seemed solid despite the goggles and I was pretty happy with were I came out of the water.  Unfortunately, that turned out to be the highlight of the day. 


Bike
I had some issues coming out of transition with my helmet buckle but got ready to get into the bike. I could see the next girl, Kim,  just ahead of me and I knew that I could catch her and decided to get the legs going and real her in. But... nothing really happened. Then the next 2 girls came by looking really strong and I told myself to grab a wheel and go with them, but... no I just rode where I was. It just seemed like I had no race gear for the day. My head was saying "GO, push hard!" but my body just did nothing. Then, to make matters worse, once I came down the fun little downhill section on Corkscrew I came out on the last little fire road descent about 1/4 mile from T2 and my rear through axle came out and my wheel was coming off!! I had to stop there and spend a few minutes trying to get it back in. It took forever as I was having trouble getting it lined up right. I burnt my hand on my searing hot brake rotor in the process. Since this thing unscrewed itself somehow during the course of the ride this may well have had something to do with my lack of power possibly. Just another piece to the day.

This is where it all started going south for me.


Run
So, by this point my brain had no push and I was not looking forward to doing the run course in reverse, but I set my head to it and got to work, until it went up unrelentingly for quite a ways and I was brought to the speed walk. At this point the top two Age-group women had passed me and I gave Meagen Sheridan a good push because she still had some push in her.  I tried to run hard on the downhills and then came to the second round back up the mountain. The first part was not all that steep and I kept telling myself to keep running but kept finding myself walking. Finally, I got to the dirt road and was able to maintain a steady run up the final climb. Once I got to the single track I was ecstatic because I knew it was all down. Now, I was sure much happier to be running down this part than when we used to go up it. Made it through and I was actually a minute faster than 2 years ago. Ha! I know that I have made so much more progress than that. :)

I ended up 16th on the day. A very disappointing finish for me.  However, there were so many girls out there today that had amazing races and I was so excited for some friends! The Pro women's field was larger than the pro men's field in this race and was filled with some great ladies! Also, I believe about half of us are mom's.

As my brother-in-law says, I never learned anything about myself by winning all that time! So, I try to take these days and see what I can learn. Part of that is hard because it is hard to pinpoint why I was so flat. But, lesson of the day.... Never forget to check that your through axles are screwed tight! Many races are a test of perseverance, this one was no different. Now, not letting the bad day get to your head and moving on is the big thing. Just before the race, Kara Lapoint posted on twitter, "Our true measure is our worst day, not our best." Good stuff. The great thing is that at the end of the day, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be out there doing something I love, even on the bad days! I am grateful for all the great people that I know through this sport and for all of the ones that support me in the good and the bad!  A little shout out to all my sponsors!! 

Had a great time being back in Winter Park and so thankful for the support of my family. It was a little disappointing to end the trip on this note. I was so glad to have a night away with my mom, thanks to my sister for keeping Ashlyn!

Next up Downieville Classic!! 
Watch this for some great footage of all the fun last year.   See cover photo.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

XTERRA East Championships/ USAT Nationals



 I am so glad that I was able to make the trip out to Richmond for this race! I had heard good things about this race and really wanted to try another championship course out but wasn't sure how I was going to make it happen.  It was such a blessing how everything came together for this trip. I have gotten to know an amazing network of people in this area as well as Xterra friends! I was holding out hope to go and it came down to everything coming into place in the last week and even better than I could have hoped. From help through my shop, Folsom Bike, to friends that I swim with right down to my awesome massage guy, Tom, all the pieces came together and I owe it to all these people for helping me get there!

My mom was coming out for a visit and flew in on Wednesday so she was here with Ashlyn while I had a buddy pass to fly straight to Dulles on Thursday! I got to stay with great people David and Stephanie Miller who were heading down to the race on Friday. John, Steph and I got out and got a little preride in on Fri afternoon and I had a blast. It was definitely wet from all the rain in the two days prior and the humidity is not something I am used to but that course was so much fun. I got hooked up with an amazing homestay in the area and was so grateful to be staying with Chris Jeffrey. My plan on Saturday was to just do a short run. But as I heard about different parts of the course and looked at the swim in the river I ended up doing a little bit of everything. On this course I was glad I did. It was more than I had planned to do but I was feeling so much better than last time thanks to the amazing work of Dr. Vince Hoffart and my muscle man Tom Self at Massage Vudoo! I think I have found a killer combination there.


swim start--that's me bottom left.
Race morning was great the temperatures were down and the humidity was way down and it made for great race weather with our early start.

Swim
The swim was different and fun. You have to swim across current and up the river and zig zag for different bouys with a mini trail run on isle in the middle. I was so grateful that I got in a swim on Saturday and had a good idea how strong the current was and how high I had to aim to make the bouys!  A lot of people had problems, but I felt pretty good with my swim. I felt really relaxed amidst some chaos. I came out of the water right on Shonny's heels and chased up to transition. I was 8th out of the water, which is pretty good for me.




Bike
I jumped on my bike thinking maybe I could try and grab a wheel of Shonny for a minute or two, but nope, by the time I got myself situated she was gone! I pushed down the road and dove into the singletrack. Such a fun course! My first lap went fine. Despite having my share of bobbles, I rode most of my lines fairly clean. There were a few that I realized I needed to change on the next lap. However, when I came around the next lap I was mixed in the age-group race starting their first lap. The first part wasn't too bad as people were fairly willing to let me pass. I think it helped just a little having people around to push me as opposed to the first lap all alone. David Miller came up behind me and gave me a good push mentally when I really needed one! Then we got to all the technical parts that people were coming off or just walking and that was a little frustrating since I knew my lines for that lap and was forced to walk in the line of age-groupers. It also makes me feel a bit spastic on my bike because I am still trying to race but also forced to sit back and wait. I know this cost some time but I did have a blast on this course! Super fun with technical rocky sections, roots, bridges, creek crossings and riding through drainage tunnels, and of course sections lined with fans and hecklers all dressed up and noisy. Here is a link to a local article. I was 6th fastest on the bike for the pro field.
 
Fun section of the course lined with fans :)

Run
I came out of transition and onto the run right behind another girl. She was running at a good pace and I was trying to keep with her. I was feeling alright for about a mile and then she just opened up the gap and I could not hang. After running through some streets over railroad tracks you come to the "Myan wall" which honestly was a lot smaller than I was expecting from the way people talk about it. It is a steep scramble/climb up some railroad ties. As I was climbing I saw a girl coming right up behind me. As we ran down the tower, my head was spinning with how many circles we made and she was right on me. I determined not to lose any positions on the run and held fast. I made it through the out and back and to the river crossing and the "dry way" and was again grateful that I had come out to this the day before and knew where I was going through this rocky section. This was my favorite part of this run. Through a stream over boulders and up a little ladder. After that is just a fun section of trail and then the home stretch over the bridge and back to the finish. Through this second half of the run my stomach was NOT happy and I was a little worried. It hadn't really been feeling great the whole race, but this is where it got bad. I just kept telling myself I was almost there and I could make it without a stop! I finally opened up a gap on the girl behind me through the dry way and made it too the finish. I did not lose any spots on the run! Yay! This is a common problem for me.
Dry way


7th place!
I had no idea where I was in the field when I crossed and then Chris came up right away and told me I was 7th. I was so happy to make the last spot in the money for the pro field. This also was good enough to get back in the top 10 in the series.  

This race was truly fun XTERRA racing! All aspects of the race had fun challenges of their own and it was a great race! Definitely one to do again.

I definitely have some work to do to catch those ladies ahead of me but this was progress from my last attempt. Next up will be Beaver Creek, CO in July.


More photos here.




Oh yeah..... Ashlyn got to race on Saturday too with Nana B cheering her on.
 


 She is having fun and she got third.







 

Friday, June 06, 2014

Shasta Lemurian Classic

This is a little late being the race was the end of April. Sorry!
 
I had heard good things about this race and that it was definitely one I should do. As it got closer I actually debated whether we should actually go up there this time. Well, we did decide to go and camp (rain and all) and a have a fun family adventure. So glad we did!
 
Got up and ready and made it over to the other side of the lake where it was much colder with winds at the race start! It was chilly and then I realized I didn't even bring my arm warmers! I knew I probably wouldn't need them once going, but before the race I was downright cold. Also, we somehow managed to be running a little late even though I thought we had plenty of time. Mostly because of the racer meeting 30 minutes before start. Anyway, I didn't get much of a warmup and just got over onto the massive start. Kind of crazy, I didn't hear anybody saying anything just some clicking pedals in the front and the whole pack started going. I guess that is how we roll here!
I really didn't know much of anything of the course except that we started with a long climb and there was going to be another big climb later with a bunch of fun singletrack in between! We started the climb and teammate, Craig, told me to settle in because it went for a ways. I took his advice and got into a good climbing pace. I knew there was at least a couple girls up ahead, one I recognized from Big Sandy and another that passed and was climbing just in front of me. Soon we came down and raced on the road across the damn and onto the first singletrack, this is where it got fun! I passed the girl that was right in front of me off that first single track and then heard reports that I was the second female. I soon caught Tracie and passed around mile 9 when she bobbled and had to come off on a climb. This was right before a fun flume section of the course where my new 27.5s really shine. I was able to put in a little gap there! I love the speedy acceleration of the my Liv/giant Obsess 27.5 in the corners and punchy climbs!  Somewhere along the way, a guy I passed told me there was one more girl up ahead. I was confused but figured I needed to catch her if he was right. So I kept pushing. I have to say all the guys I was riding by were great gentlemen, even calling up to the others to let the lead female through. I have to note this because that is not always the case when passing men. Soon, the one who told me there was another girl caught me again and informed me that he gave me bad information, it was actually a guy and I already passed him :)
Then we hit the really long climb. Not knowing the course, I had no idea how long this went. I was good for a long ways pushing a good pace and then it just kept going and then finally got steeper with dry pine needles and we had to come off. I wasn't sure I wanted to use these different muscles! Soon, though we finally finished and were rewarded with a great trail that descended through the forest. There were some great little sections of trail through the end of the race.
I crossed the line as the first female by over 3 minutes.  I really enjoyed the course even though I had very little idea what to expect. The race experience was made even better by an awesome post race meal, huge burritos! We made our family kid swap and Ashlyn and I hung out for burritos and awards while Drew headed out to try and ride at least some of the course! 
 
video
We finished out the weekend enjoying the afternoon at our campsite and one more night of camping. Ashlyn worked her bike skills a bit too.  
 
I am definitely glad we didn't miss out on this one. That was some great riding and the rain the day before made the track perfect!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gotta Start Somewhere

That's my ride!
XTERRA Vegas!

I headed down to Las Vegas last week for the opening of the Xterra Pro Series, XTERRA West Championships, located at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson. I was able to arrive a couple days early and get ready for the race on Sunday. It was hot. It has been getting really warm in Sacramento, but it is Hot in Vegas. I was able to get out for a pre-ride of the not so exciting course on Friday. This was only my 3rd time out on my new Liv/giant Obsess so I was happy to get some more time on it before the race!
Yep, that's what there is to see on the course. (Photo courtesy of Danelle :))



















So, I have been on the fence this whole off-season as to whether or not I should take my pro license. I qualified but I kept going back on forth as to whether I should do it or not. There were a lot of factors going into my decision, and I finally decided a couple weeks ago that I just needed to be all in and go for it! What do I have to lose? Worst case, not much changes in my finishes, but most likely stepping up to the next level will push me harder while still keeping it fun! Decision made and paperwork sent to USAT, I still began to doubt slightly once I got there and was actually registering Pro! Yikes. To make matters worse, my neck was killing me all week! This was some of the worst it has ever been which did not help with the nerves going into my first Pro race.

So that's where I got to go
 Race morning came and amazingly my neck was feeling significantly better from the day before, thank goodness for Maia Ignatz helping me out a bit on Saturday. I could actually turn my head to the right which is really good since I generally breath to the right.  I went through the morning and was feeling pretty good, and then I went down to the water and that is when the nerves set in big time! Swimming is not my strong point so I suddenly felt I was going to get dropped right off. I got focused and calmed myself knowing that I had a plan and had been working on this swim in the pool. I thought about coach Joan's training and tips and had the plan and calmed my nerves.

Found this one. I don't look nervous or concerned about my neck at all ;)

Pro swim start

Gun went off and I started out well. I was focused on going fast and then getting on some feet. Feeling good, and then it began to happen....water....coming in the goggles. "Maybe I can do this all one eye" I thought briefly, and then the other started filling. Well, I know I cant' swim a 1500 open water blind. So that left no choice but to empty my goggles and re-seal. As I did so the rest of the field that I was ahead of surged over me and just like that I was off the back!  Ugh! Silly goggles, of course they were great during my warm-up. So, I tried to go hard but now I was off the back and had no feet or anyone to swim with the whole way. I could see the little group of pink caps not far ahead the whole time. Bummer! I was bummed because I have been working a lot on the swim and I do think I may have been able to have a much better swim than this as I did feel alright for the rest of the swim. As, I ran up to transition with one of the men, we came in and Brian, said "Well, someone had to be last right?" :) "Might as well be us." I replied. Gotta keep things upbeat :). Turns out we weren't actually last there were a couple more ladies out there.

Onto the bike, I was ready to get going and see if I could make up some ground. I could see the next female just ahead about 10 sec so I set my sights on catching her, but as I got going my legs just weren't coming around. I felt like I had no power and was just not in a good rhythm. I kept screwing everything up! As, I came around for lap 2 I was mixed in with the leading amateurs who started 45 mins after us and were just getting on the bike. I liked having the course all to ourselves the first lap but it probably helped me push a little more having people racing around me. Finally about halfway through the second lap I felt like my legs were coming a little but I still felt like I was lacking power and like my seat was too low even though I had checked and raised it the night before. Also, the wind had picked up by the second lap. So, along with that lack of push feeling I was also fighting a strong headwind on a lot of sections. 

I started the run and actually felt pretty strong, which is a new feeling for me. Another thing I have been working on this year. I was trying to tell myself that I could still catch people on the run but I am not sure I ever convinced myself. (Guess I may need to work on the mental part of this) The run course went out and then followed the bike course for about 4 miles. So, now I was running past the bikers going uphill and then getting blown by on the downhills, which was a little sketchy in sections were there was only one good route. I felt like my run was alright for me but I know that I could have run harder!

Turned out that I placed 10th and I was not last as I was thinking the whole time! It was a small pro field but I was still happy to have a top 10 (out of 12) ha ;) Both my swim and my run were vastly improved comparatively over last year!

I thought I had most of the mess-ups out of the way already before the big races but apparently not. Goggle misfortune: "SEAL!" (that's for you Elise and Steve).
Bike legs: Well, come to find when I got home, that my seat was in fact over an inch too low! Not sure how that happened since I did put it up the night before, I guess it slipped or something. Grr! It felt so much better at a local race last night being the right height! At least, that can explain some of the feeling.



One thing that does seem to be working really well, is my change in nutrition strategy! I have been loving the Osmo Women's line! The Pre-load was awesome to have for this heat. I had a bottle the night before and then a bottle in the morning before the race. I had almost 2 bottles of the active hydration on the bike and a flask that I started the run with. I have been trying to go with the Osmo motto of "food in the pocket, hydration in the bottle" too. It has been a little trial and error with what works but I am getting there. As one who has never done well with gu-type things anyway this has been good. I have often struggled with cramps on the run but have not had any! Also, my stomach felt soo much better post-race! I like that.

 All in all it was a good time in Vegas! While it was not the race I was hoping to have for my Pro debut, it was not the worst I could have had, and I learned some valuable lessons. Now, I have gotten that first one under my belt. Everyone always says that is the worst one. I was encouraged to know it could have been better and I also know some things to work on.  I am glad I decided to step up and just do it. Everyone has to start somewhere!
 
 
Figured I should have a pic in here somewhere.

Thanks to everyone's support and encouragement in this process. So, many of you have encouraged me to go ahead and take that step and so many of you had my back no matter what happens! I appreciate all of the support and encouragement so much!  

Also read this the day before. :)  "But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls." Heb 10:39

Friday, April 04, 2014

Xterra REAL(ly WET)!

XTERRA season has come! It snuck in so quickly I barely knew what happened.  Saturday was my kickoff into Xterra season with the local race at Granite Bay. Xterra REAL put on by the ever great TBF Racing! We have been super dry here in Northern CA for most of the winter and have gotten very little rain to put us in severe drought conditions. This was NOT the case on Saturday. The forecast actually called for rain most of the night before so when we woke up and drove out to the race I really happy not to be setting up in the rain and I was hoping just maybe it would hold off just a little longer. No such luck, just about the time I got my wet suit on and headed down to the water it began.

The lake was cold but not nearly as cold as last year rain water is much better than runoff!  However, with the rain just starting up the wind picked up just enough to give us a little chop on the water and some waves. Despite taking in some water I felt like my swim went pretty well. I have been working a lot on the swim this off-season and am hoping the pool time will transfer over. I took coach Joan's advice on the my swim pacing and I think it went well! I was the 3rd female out of the water which is a big improvement over 13th from last year. It was hard to compare because the swim split also included our half mile run through the sand up to transition (I mentioned the drought, right!) As I came up to transition I could hear the announcer calling Kara Lapoint in ahead of me. I knew she wasn't too far up and this is about where I expected to be at this point. I also knew she has been riding that bike really well and I would have some work cut out in only 2 laps.

I got going on the 2-lap 16 mile bike course and it was still in pretty good shape. I tried to get into a good rhythm and get a little warmer on that first lap. At this point I knew Kara was about a minute up ahead of me. By the second lap in the pouring rain the bike was a mucky mess! I was hoping to get on my new Liv/giant bike for this race but once I started I was so glad that I wasn't able to get my new bike yet because by this time my bike sounded horrible! (Next race will be on Liv)! It almost felt as if it was working against me. However, I was still having fun splashing through the mud. Second lap was tough when we started spinning out in the mud! It is a gamble in these type of conditions to wear glasses or not. I went for the glasses. I would rather have some drips to see through than have mud in my eye, but I must say it was no problem! Bolle has done an awesome job making this hydrophobic treatment on the Bolt lenses, one swipe and I am usually good with no streaking! Love it!
Most of the bike I ended up feeling like I was in no man's land. I was riding solo. I think this made it a little hard for me to push that race, sometimes all alone I forget to RACE.
I did start to get a little chilly towards the end of the bike and I was ready to get running.
 
After dumping the water from my shoes before putting them on is transition I was off on the run. Hoping this would warm me up just a bit but also ready to get this thing finished.  I set off with a good pace. My run is the other main focus I have had so far this year. This has always been my weakest point in Xterra so this was a good test to see how things were going. I felt surprisingly good as I go out there and ran my first mile at a great pace! I kept pushing through the whole run and ran the sand and rocks and even the big climb up to the water tower at what felt to be much better than in the past. Turns out I ran the 3.8 mile course 3 mins faster than last year in the mud and rain. I am happy with that.
 
That finish line looked so great when I got there! Presented with a fresh lei, since the Maui tourism had come out with leis and hula dancers for the race, I was wishing it felt a little bit warmer :)  Once finished was when the cold really set in! This is a great race for us because Drew got to come out and race Xterra as well, only problem was he locked the car and didn't tell me where the keys were so I had no way of getting to the dry clothes!! BRR. Thanks to good people, friends, TBF staff and support out there I was able to get something dry while waiting and there was a little heater to try and get some heat!  Drew did come soon and I got some semi dry things to put on.

Yep, crazy. So wet and muddy but so much fun! Also happy to be to the finish!

 

Kara put in a smoking race and I never did see her. I ended up second place overall first in AG with Sian Turner rounding out top three to make that the second year the three of us took the top 3. Great fun racing with these girls out here!
 

A big thanks to all the TBF staff and volunteers who where out there all day. That had to be a lot colder and more miserable just standing there and supporting us yet they were all great! Also all the spectators that came and cheered on the whole time and endured that spectacle. I saw great people out there including 9-year-old Travis (great video on this course), soon-to-be Xterra superstar! Super thankful for our neighbors too. They took Ashlyn in for the morning, so that both Drew and I could race in the rain. I don't think she would have had quite as much fun as usual at the races since it was raining so much
Sian and I on the podium


Yay, a warm heater!
 



.
 


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Beginning 2014!

Everything sneaks up on me so fast and all of a sudden March is gone and I need to make updates! 

First of all this season brings some slight changes. I will again be riding for Folsom Bike but I am on their Elite Mountain Bike team! I am excited to be able to step up to this team for the season as a female on the team. Erin Gorrel has been so great in helping me out.  Along with this comes a new bike partner. I will be riding as a Liv/Giant ambassador this season as well!


This season has come up so quickly. I start of with some great MTB races with TBF racing right here at Granite Bay. I have enjoyed these and they are a great way to get warmed up for Mountain bike racing and build into my season. This year has been especially fun since we have had some more ladies coming down from Truckee adding a bit of depth to the field. I actually had someone else to race in the women's pro category!  It has been a lot of fun. I also threw an off-road duathlon in there to test out my off-season run focus. With those finishing up I moved right into my main racing season and my first two mountain bike races I had mechanical issues!  


Cool Mtb Race
Excited to get in a good race and toe the line with Teal Stetson-Lee. Started out well keeping in sight and then flat. Only about 10 min of racing I think I had a torn sidewall so there really wasn't a way I could get that one through the race.

Big Sandy
I was excited when I heard about this race it looked like a lot of fun and I thought it would be a good addition to my race schedule!  This used to be a classic point-to-point race but this year they decided to make the already long course even longer and add an extra 15 miles! This made the course a lollipop of 38 miles with over 6000 ft of elevation.
We made a weekend of it and headed down on Fri. stay in a cabin near the race venue with friends, Sian and Dennis and Julie Young. It was a fun time in the little cabin with 5 adults a 5-year-old and 4 dogs (3 of them huskies)! The problem was I got a little too moto on my crossfit style strength workout earlier in the week and was so sore I could hardly sit on Fri. So Sat while Drew got in a ride the girls and the dogs went and found the icy lake so that I could ice my legs! Just hoping they would not feel so bad in the race.
Sunday there was a record number of Pro/Expert women for the race (at 6!) which meant equal prize money! I started out strong and took the lead very quickly on the initial climb.

 Knowing it was going to be a long ride, I tried to set a conservative but strong pace. I found that I was quickly gaining a little ground on the rest of the field. I knew that there were a couple Primes for prize money out there one of them being the first 15 mile. As I got closer I put in just a little extra to maintain my lead for that. I was hoping though, that with my sore legs, I didn't burn too much too soon. Well, a couple miles after the 15-mile feed zone we started up the major climb of the course. Julie had caught me here and we were going together when I tried to get back in my pedal only to find I lost a bolt from my cleat and it was loose. I had to stop and tighten down before I lost the whole thing! During this I moved to 3rd. I rode the loop trying to make up ground. I came through the feed zone to head back the last 15 and I could see the 2nd female just ahead. I moved to catch her and reeled her fairly quickly. I was just about to make the move and get past when we had to dismount a short section and when I tried to get back on my cleat had twisted again! I made another quick fix but she got away, I think with fire under her knowing I was right there! At this point I knew I just needed to ride without coming out!  Ha! I did make quite a ways but alas, I had to come out eventually and this time I couldn't get back into my pedals. Cleat was twisted and I had tightened it so much to get it to hold that I couldn't loosen it to straighten. Also, I was just ready to be done. So, away I went for the final long climb unclipped. Made that a lot tougher than it should have been. I rode the last 3 miles with only my right foot clipped. I did make it though and maintained the final spot on the podium.
Not quite what I was hoping for but I did have fun out there nonetheless!  The race was a ton of fun, I love these grassroots races! Laid back and great people!
 
 
Next is first Xterra of the season but I think that gets its own post!  Stay tuned!




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

World Champs!

Here it is at long last!  It has taken me much longer than anticipated to get to writing this race report. We moved immediately after I returned from Maui and I have been lost in the moving twilight zone the last 2 weeks. I feel like I am finally getting settled and coming back into reality! 
So, finally, here is my race recap!

As many of you know, I had been training and hoping to go to Maui this year but financially things were not looking good for me. Then, the government shutdown so our paycheck was halted a few weeks and things REALLY weren't looking good. After nationals I knew that I had something more in there and wanted to have a good race in Maui this year so I just laid it all out there and let the need be known.  So many great people stepped up and really helped make this happen.  Everything came together to make my trip a GO! 

I had a couple great weeks of training leading up to Maui. Ashlyn had the opportunity to visit my parents and "the cousins" in Colorado so I was able to get a little bit more training time! My mom and Ashlyn flew back to Sacramento on Tuesday and I headed out to Maui Thursday. It would have been nice to go a little earlier to have more time to acclimate but that is not always how things work out. I was so
great place to stay!
happy to find the super friendly Canadian ladies who were willing to take me in as a roommate and it was almost like a girls getaway that was really quite in the days leading up to the race. Besides the sore sides from laughing! 
Friday I went on a preride and opted to do the short version and only ride the first 3 miles and the last 5 which is all the single track on the bike course. Since it was only two days out I didn't want to do too much, I wanted to save it for race day.  I was pretty 'underwhelmed' about the bike course after my preride and found myself feeling disappointed right along with a lot of the mountain bikers that the course really doesn't take much technical skill.  They did try to make it harder by making it longer.
Saturday I headed out with the girls to go for a swim and try to figure out how to manage the waves. The rest of the day was just taking it easy and relaxing. I found myself getting pretty negative about the bike course and I knew I needed to change my attitude.  I talked to a friend on the way home and he was saying " aw, whatever, I LOVE this bike course!"  I decided it was up to me to change the things I have the control to change like my attitude and perspective! Thanks Rife! And this helps to have this slogan on my bike!
Good thing to see on race day

Race Day

Race morning arrived and I made sure to get my head in the game. There are always pre race jitters and doubts of whether or not I will be able to perform to the best of my ability.  I knew I had gotten some good training in and I knew I was capable of having a good race.  Goals set high, I wanted an age group win.  That top spot has eluded me in a championship race up to this point and I really wanted that to change at World Championships! I also wanted a top five in the amateur field which I knew would be a hard one to get. There were a lot of great girls from the states racing and then because it world championships there are the wild cards that I don't know. 
I got everything together and was feeling pretty good and relaxed as a rode over to transition.  I remained relaxed despite the fact that I had no spot in transition and after meandering through all the racks I had to wait while the XTERRA staff went to find out where I was supposed to be.  No big deal, I got a spot. The morning was pretty relaxed I am apparently not a well-known top contender so I fly well under the radar on race morning no talk or expectations on the mic.  I got all ready to go and then decided to get down to the water because I was hot already! This was shaping up to be a long hot day. 

Swim 28:14  -- 4th AG
Boom! Its go time! The gun went off 4 mins after the pros and 2 minutes after all the age-group men.  I tried to stay in the pack and swim on fast feet, only problem is I have a hard time knowing where I am with the other swimmers. I was trying to think about the tips my swim coach, Joan, had been giving me. Get a fast start and then get the pace. It didn't take long before we were catching the age group men and the ocean got pretty crowded.  I found myself a little far inside and needing to swim back out a little to get around the first bouy.  I felt like my swim was pretty good but it really wasn't much improved based on my time comparatively.  I was a couple minutes down to some of my competitors, which is normal but even slightly more.  I am a little disappointed with the swim because I feel like I have been making some improvements in the pool and that really didn't show at all here. However, I know that it takes time so I am optimistic. Transition went smooth but was pretty slow! I guess I was making sure I had everything for a long hot bike ride.  As I was running out I heard the announcer calling in one of my biggest challengers, Maia, so I knew that she would be hot on my heals and I had some work to do to catch the girls ahead of me.

Bike 2:07.54 -- 1st AG
The beginning of the bike is all about controlling myself and going steady. Since we started 2 minutes behind the men that puts me behind a lot of people in the bike. The first 3 miles of the bike course follow the run course and it pretty much just starts climbing and is mostly single track. There are opportunities to pass but I always have to decide whether it is worth it to start burning that much energy that soon. I find it a little better to ride the "train" and give my legs time to get going and then when the course opens I can hit it harder.  That is pretty much what I tried to do. When we got to the top and to the one technical descent on the whole course, everyone was walking when I started coming down! So I had to weave my way through. These are the places where I really start wishing I was a lot better swimmer!  When we popped out onto the road a girl that followed behind me exclaimed "what was that! Must have been all the road bikers!" LOL.  I was able to really let it go on the open descents after that and take some passes on the inside corners.  Finally, I made it to the last section of single track which was about 5 miles. I confess, I found myself actually enjoying this part of the ride a lot more than I expected! The fact that the bike was longer and this single track was at the end played in my favor just a little because I was actually able to catch a few girls toward the end and put some time in on the ones behind.  It had been a long HOT ride and I was really happy that I made the decision to take my Camelbak which I had frozen the night before. Having that icy cold water the whole way was clutch!

Run 57:24 -- 5th AG
This is always the leg I struggle with the most.  However, I kept remembering two years ago here when I had a really good run for me and I was really hoping it would feel like that again!  I started out of transition feeling good, as always, for about 3 minutes and then the legs started cramping. No! I had a flask of EFS that I grabbed and started taking it in to fight off the cramps.  I finally made it to the first water station and grabbed some icy water. At this point the course actually has a little downhill before it continues the 3 mile climb and I had gotten the cramps to go away but I feared they would return as soon as I started to climb again like they did in Ogden.  Thankfully I kept going up and no cramps!  I was running scared as I came to some steep climbs in the middle of the course! This is about halfway through the run and seems to be the "sweet spot" where I always get passed! I just kept telling myself to run hard. "You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one runner gets the prize. So run like that. Run to win!" 1Cor 9:24. Duh :)   I made it to the top and began running down and I just tried to really push on and not relent. I knew I had to lay it all out there to hold on even though I had no idea who was ahead or behind.  I finally made it to the final brutal climb that they put in to demoralize everyone and could see another female ahead. I pushed on and ran the final descent as hard as I could muster. Nearing the bottom I passed a couple of pros just before I hit the beach. This hurt bad!  I kept running scared all the way down the beach and across the sand I was still convinced I was going to get passed before the finish. The race photos of my face tell it all! :) (sorry no photos, $$). 

I finally crossed and they escorted me away to make sure that I could continue to walk.  I was done in many ways! I was pretty out of it and completely spent and then someone told me to go get my time card to see how I did. Oh, yeah, braindead... 
Well, I just about burst into tears and exploded when I got this!!
Pretty excited to see this! This is the text that went to Drew.

Finish 3:37.46 -- 1st Age Group, 8th overall amateur,  29th female.

In my excitement I finally was able to notice my splitting headache and made my way to the med tent. The medical staff where awesome and laid me down and got my temps back down and replenished fluids. After some time there I felt much better! 

I finally did it! I finally got the top spot on the podium at World Championships! 



I am so incredibly thankful to all the people who helped me this whole season and all the people who helped me get here!! I could not have done this without the help of some super people.  I have to mention a few!  Justin Hurd helping me out so much and I think the run will be coming along soon.
Vanessa Carmean and Sian Turner are awesome peeps!!  Joan Marenger super optimistic, encouraging and supportive, thank you and all my CalFit swimming friends! Bayside Adventure Sports, you guys are awesome! Also, many friends and family who made contributions to help me out. I am blessed to know some really great people!

Thank you to my sponsors Folsom Bike helping me get here and keeping my bike running great throughout my spastic last weeks! 
Tom and Monsters of Massage for helping me out and keeping my body running right!
Bolle Eyewear for continuing to keep me seeing clear with awesome shades!
RooEpic keeping me styling through all my hard training sessions.

Thanks to anyone who has read this far! It has a been a great note to end my season on. Now I am happy to have some time to reboot and start thinking about next season!

Goodbye Maui! Until next time...

But, I come home to this! Even better than Maui. Always keep perspective