Friday, April 22, 2011

Xterra South Central Championship Race Report

One of the great things about Xterra is they believe in appropriate start times, 9:30 am to be exact for the South Central Championships in Waco TX. It was a beautiful morning for racing with clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid-seventies and with the majority of the pros having homestays right next to the venue it was just a short ride down the hill to transition. I'm not a big believer in superstitions or jinxs (though I do paint my nails to match my bike before every race) however I maybe should have left out the last sentence of my previous post about a non-wetsuit swim. Rather shockingly the swim was announced as wetsuit legal for everyone about an hour before the race and sent the majority of us scrambling back to our homestays for our wetsuits. Admittedly I seriously questionned a sudden multiple degree drop in water temperature overnight, but after a few negative moments I put it behind me and got on with my warm-up. It was a deep water start with a one loop rectangle course and we all, as expected, completely overheated in our wetsuits. After drafting off of Seth last weekend I thought it was only fair that I take my turn this weekend and led the field out of the water. With the super steep and muddy banks it was good to be the first one out and have all the helping hands to myself. That and I like to be able to keep the boys honest at at least one race a year :) Onto the bike I knew I was going to quickly loose time to Mel and Shonny and perhaps a couple of other girls whose technical mountain biking skills far exceed my own. All I could do was ride strong and as smoothly as possible. My Fuji DSR 1.0 ran great and I definitely felt like I rode better than last year. Looking at the splits its hard to tell as they did add a short section to the course compared to last year, but I cleared a lot of sections and hills I couldn't last year and definitely spent less time off the bike hiking it. I was a bit punchy starting out, missing some lines and hitting the deck once, but got better as I settled down and really enjoyed the trails including two of the best half-pipes around. I kept the damage down to just Mel and Shonny, though kept expecting Suzie to come by me as well. The advantage or disadvantage, depending on how you look at it, of coming out of the water first is everyone who passes me gives me an update on who is right behind me. For the entire last hour of the bike Suzie was apparently "right behind you, pick it up" . I have to give a quick shout out to Xterra newbie Will Ross who not only had a stellar race but wins the most courteous passing award. The most awkward award goes to the caveman himself Conrad who clipped a pedal right as he went around me and nearly launched himself into the trees!!! I started the run in third and held onto third to the finish without seeing any of the other girls. Tried to really push the pace but wasn't taking any risks on the technical sections of rolling an ankle this early in the season. Congrats to Mel and Shonny as we finished 1-2-3 exactly the same as last weekend. I didn't get much time to enjoy the post race festivities as I had to get packed and to the airport for a 5pm flight back to Tucson. It sounded like a good idea when I was booking it but after a four hour layover in Dallas the second flight was pretty miserable. Very special thanks needs to go out to everyone in the Waco Xterra and MTB family for putting on an amazing race and to Greta and Matt for hosting Boobar and myself for the weekend. Everything from the pre-race Texas style BBQ to all the race details to the great homestays right next to the trails was amazing. This is by far the most fun, twisty, turny set of singletrack trails of any Xterra on the Championships Series. A definitely must do for all you singletrack junkies next year!!! Xterra Waco Race Gallery Just one weekend off before heading over to Spain for the inaugural ITU Cross World Championhips. I don't think any of us really know what to expect but should be lots of fun. It is going to be a girls (plus Ross) week with Mel, Emma, Sara, Katie and myself sharing a Villa. Hmmm, villa in Spain for a week :))) I have also updated race photos from the Desert Duathlon and Xterra West Champs.

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