Standard Examiner does an Xterra write up! Click here to read it!
Friday, June 7, 2013
With the previous year behind me, My plan this year is to jump back into the world of triathlon racing in the Xterra off road series racing in the Pro division.
I got the tremendous opportunity to race the Xterra Southeast Championship race in Pelham AL. I arrived in Atlanta the day before and drove two hrs to Palham just in time to pre ride the course before the sun set. Never riding my bike east of Colorado I was super excited to explore the trails and see what mountain biking in the south was really about...Not having any expectations I set out riding the course. Trying to visualize the race remembering the sections of the course that i would eat, when i would drink, and sections that I really could do the most damage. As I rode I could not wipe the smile from my face! The riding was nothing like we have in the west. Everything was so green, the dirt was like potting soil. The course had everything from technical root and rocks to fast flowy sections. When I finished I immediately wanted to go do it again but knew I needed to save it for race day.
The next morning I woke up to pouring rain. I did my race morning rituals and headed over to the venue. I set up my transition and instead warming up in the rain as I usually do running, I immediately headed into the water to stay....wet. The race started and as usual the swim felt anything but comfortable. Getting a two min lead with the pros from the mass chaos was a nice cushion. After the first buoy on lap two I started to see white swim caps (fast amateur racers) passing me. I exited the water step for step with Pro women Shonny Vanlandingham which reassured I didn't fail completely.
With a smooth transition I set off on the bike with a fire under me. I knew if I wanted to have a good race I'd have to have a phenomenal bike ride. The rain made every root, rock, and wooden bridge 10x as gnarly..I did my best to balance caution with controlled recklessness. The first few miles I ran into those fast amateur swimmers and pro women racers. Once around them I caught good friends Cody Waite and Jason Michalak. After a few motivational words exchanged I continued my ride determined to make up as much time knowing I had to keep motoring to keep making progress. Roughly 1hr and 20 mins on the bike I caught up and rode into T2 with fellow racer and very accomplished pro Brandon Rakita. Coming in with him I knew I was sitting in a good position. Rarely does he have a bad race...I ended up out of the water in roughly 30th position and exited off the bike in 5th.
Exiting out of T2 onto the run I was in unknown territory. I was in podium contention!! My legs felt fatigued from the bike but I knew if i wanted to separate from Brandon I'd have to hit it hard right out of the gate. I went out hard waiting for my "running legs" to come...but they never did. After going out strong and completing the first of the two laps I put enough time into my pursuer that i could no longer see him...as a result my body was starting to shut down. I tried to stay in my rhythm but my legs would cramp at the slightest stray from that rhythm. Every step I would repeat to myself..."5th place=Podium, 6th does not." The thought of standing on that podium is what fueled my motivation to press through the hurt. On the final lap and with fading legs all I could do was hope I had enough gap between Brandon and myself. And possibly he was feeling as lousy as I was.
I finished in 5th place in a time of 2:27.23 putting myself on my first Pro Xterra Podium. I knew by putting a good race together I could be up there. But just as important I realized my weaknesses and what I need to work on to continue to progress. Big thanks to my support crew..For my good friends at Enve Composites who give me the tools I need to be competitive. Im looking forward to the futue and what time has in store....
Monday, October 10, 2011
Well it was hard to believe, but another Xterra season comes to a close. The 2011 Xterra national Championships were held here at Snowbasin again this year. Coming into the race I was a little apprehensive about how I would perform. My training on the bike had been strong, but my swim and run had been suffering. I'm having such a hard time getting off my bike to put my running shoes or swim cap on. I have such a great time when I go out on my bike I cant get enough! The day before the race, I had the opportunity to pre ride the course with Josiah Middaugh and Cody Waite. Two pro athletes from Colorado. Middaugh being my favorite athlete and someone I really look up to, it was awesome to ride with him!
The morning of the race I was calm and collected....Until I set up T1. I got to the lake and my nerves went through the roof. We lined up and the legendary cannon went off. Through out the whole swim I focused on staying smooth and in a rhythm. Coming through my first lap I felt SO good! I thought to myself I'm going to have such a fast time! 24 maybe 25 mins!! WRONG coming out of the water I had the slowest swim time of my triathlon career..31 minutes!
Starting out on the bike I felt great! I was super excited that Xterra changed the bike course to climb up the Sardine Peak trail. Which was more climbing on Snowbasin's finest single track! My plan on the bike was to stay conservative until the top of East fork which was about 30 min into the course then hit it hard up the Sardine peak trail. My plan seemed to pay off. I went from 136th place coming out of the swim, to 16th place coming off the bike passing 120 fellow racers.
I was nervous coming off the bike into the run because of last years cramp fest! But surprisingly I felt great! I motored up the first steep hill with Melanie McQuaid and another pro guy who I didn't recognize. When I got to the top of the hill I felt i could bump the pace up a notch and left those two. I soon caught my good friend and former amateur national champion Jason Michalak who went pro this year. Catching him I knew I was cruising because he is a phenomenal runner. I finished the race in 14th place overall, 2nd amateur to Ryan Ignatz...Again.(dude is fast) and National Champion in the 25-29 age group by 16 minutes. Overall I was happy with my race, my run and bike splits were right on par with the top pro men! All I need to do is learn how to swim and I'll be up there!:) Thanks so much for those who help me with my racing!! Mainly Roosters/Bikers edge for the amazing support and ENVE Composites for the bomb proof wheel sets that rocket me to the top spots on the bike! There's nothing like them!
Photos courtesy of Jordan Sessions
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
My last race was right here in my back yard up at Snowbasin. It was the last stop of the intermountain cup series. I haven't really raced any races in the series, but i figured it was so close it was a no brainer. All the regular heavy hitters (Day,Pantone, Hintze, Holly, Swensen and many more) were there to end the season with a bang!! The gun went off and Keegan took off leaving the rest of us to form a group of 5 or 6. As we climbed up to GreenPond I was sitting in the third position. I knew our pace was very slow and if I wanted any chance to get on the podium I had to move.
I accelerated hard in hopes that no one would follow and it worked. After a good long pull on front i looked back and saw no one. I continued as hard as I could and saw Keegan just head. I worked hard and caught onto his wheel. I was super stoked to be riding with keegan knowing how strong he is. We rode together for a few miles until Keegan started playing with my mind. He would accelerate leaving me but then i would real him back in. We yo yo'd like that for awhile until the last lap. I think we were both done but I held Keegan's wheel up the last steep climb until we reach the single track. He shifted down and slowed almost to a snails pace. After following him for awhile i knew he wanted it to come down to a sprint. I was super nervous knowing what kind of sprinter he was. As we hit the last two hundred meters the trail opened up to a double track and I hit it as hard as I could passing Keegan. I kept my head down until the tape and then realized he wasn't there. I crossed the line as the first pro which absolutely blew my mind!! It was so awesome riding with Keegan!! He is such an amazing rider and anyone who rides a bike in Utah knows who he is and what he is capable of!! He someone i defiantly look up to, and someone I hope to ride with again in the future!!!!
Sunday, July 17, 2011
This past weekend Lynnsey and myself were lucky enough to pack up the van and head to Beaver Creek CO for the Xterra Mtn Champs. After racing here last year and having such a great time I was super stoked to head back. Especially to bring my wife and show her the beautiful Colorado Mountains. Going into this race I was a little nervous, it felt as though it had been an eternity since racing Xterra Moab and really had butterflies for the swim. The race started with what looked likea larger than normal field. And it prove to be just that. I felt there was a lot of battling going on for positions. I held it in my mind to stay strong, not letting anyone disrupt my strid
e. I felt good my first lap but then soon felt my arms and form starting to fade as i got fatigued. I distracted myself like I do every race by telling myself over and over again "JUST GET YOUR ASS ON YOUR BIKE!!".
As always it was a relief to reach dry ground and head out on the bike. Beaver Creek is the perfect bike course for me!! Theres about 1/2 mile of paved road to get situated, grab a drink, and then its up up up 3,600 ft!! I knew if I had any chance i had to hammer on the bike. I felt good once my legs warmed up to the bike, but struggled on the single track to pass the groups of people ahead of me. After the first 5 or so miles the course turned into a steep paved road and i was able to hit it and get away from everyone. About half way through the bike I passed Luna rider, and Xterra World Champion Shonny Vanlandingham who is the coolest lady in Xterra!! She's super fast on the bike, and is someone I really look up to. She always some encouraging words to say as I ride by. Its always one of the highlights of my race to catch up to her and watch her ride!! As I kept riding and about 3 miles to go, I caught "EX" Pro Ryan Ignatz the 1st place amateur and rode into T2 with him. (let me tell you..Ryan is anything but amateur! That dude is quick!!)
Me and World Champ Shonny V >>>>>>
After quickly exchanging my helmet for my running shoes I exited T2 with Ryan and knew it was going to be tough to hang with him. Our pace was quick and i knew with how steep the run was if I i tried to stay with him I would die toward the end. I backed off and let him go which ill admit really hurt my pride. I knew my run wasn't up to par going into the race, but he was on fire and there was nothing i could do to stay with him. I didn't see anyone the rest of the race and just focused on putting one foot infront of the other. One good note I didn't cramp on my run. The last few races I've really had trouble with cramping, I ate a hardy-er breakfast which is something i usually dont do, which I think made
a big difference!! I finished about 1 min down from Ryan, barely missing the top ten- placing 11th overall. My best placing at a Regional Championship. I was happy with my race and how things played out. I defiantly learned a lot of things I can do to improve my race. I look forward to racing in Ogden at Nationals in two months!! I hope I can stay healthy and keep improving!!
A few fun notes: Leaving T1 my right bike shoe felt
A few fun notes: Leaving T1 my right bike shoe felt
VERY awkward!! It felt as though the tongue of my shoe was folded over. The whole race as I kept hitting my shoe hoping to dislodge whatever was putting pressure on my toes. As I finished the bike and ripped my shoe off to my surprise a pack of clif shot bloks fell out! I Rode the whole way with them in my shoe!! I
felt like an idiot!! I was wondering where those went!!:) Also: My wife ran her first 10k this weekend!! She did AWESOME placing 4th overall, 1st in her age group. It was great to watch and yell at her for a change!!
Heading into T2...
The chase begins...
Friday, June 24, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
What a great weekend!! This past weekend a good friend of mind and I packed up my new race mobile (aka mini van) and headed 4 hrs down to Moab for the 2011 Xterra Moab. At first I was bummed that I was racing Moab because I really wanted to race the Xterra Santa Cruz, but lack of funds prevented me from traveling that far. Moab proved to be just as challenging and rewarding. The morning of the race I was feeling good. It was super cold until the sun came up, but soon warmed to the perfect temp for racing. I was feeling confident warming up in the freezing waters of Kens Lake with how much Ive been in the pool prior to the race (thanks for the workouts coach Stromberg:) But when the race started I struggled to feel smooth and efficient. I couldn't get in a rhythm and struggled with my breathing. My second lap I was able to find someones feet and follow them in. My transition went smooth and I was off on my bike.
The bike course really was something to be feared!! I know now why they call it the steel bender. It was the most physically demanding mtn bike ride I have EVER done!! At the first major ledge I had to climb my rear flatted, but i was able to quickly fix it and jump back on with some passing riders. It was an out and back course, and knowing the leaders were just head I was pushing it pretty hard to catch them. As a result I made a huge mistake misjudging a 3 ft drop and endo'ed over the bars. Shaken up i got back up and kept riding. The only real damage from the crash was I lost my Flask of EFS that I knew would effect me later. I caught the leader at the turn around and rode with him for a few minutes. I was able to choose good lines up the steep ledgey climbs and was able to separate from him. I knew he was a good runner so tried to keep a nice tempo trying to find the fine line of pushing it as hard as I could without taking away from my run.
The run went well, it was a 2 lap course running up to and awesome waterfall and back down around Kens Lake. I was hurting pretty bad and was hoping Brad Zoller (2nd place) was feeling the same. I was able to push it has hard as i could up hill and coast on the down holding everyone off to take the win. It felt SO good to win, but felt even better to be done!!!! I finished with a time of 2 hrs 51 min. I was super excited to PR in my swim 25:29!! And have the fastest overall bike and run splits as well!!! I was happy with how I raced and how my fitness is coming along.