Monday, May 30, 2011


Hopefully everyone is enjoying a nice long Memorial Day weekend!! I am enjoying a day off training and work and thought I would finally sit down a write up the Xterra South-East Championships race report. It was the last race in the block of 5 races in seven weekends that went Vegas, Waco, Spain, Santa Cruz, and Pelham Alabama. With all that travel and racing it wasn't a surprise that the bulk of us were suffering either from the Spanish Plague, the Santa Cruz influenza, or just plain old burn-out. After spending a couple of fun days with the Sista in Sausalito, I jumped on the red-eye Wednesday night bound for the "deep south". Unfortunately it wasn't a direct flight so I got a couple of hours of sleep into Dallas, then about another hour curled up on the mats in the kiddie play area at DFW. Got into Birmingham just before noon and headed over to the infamous homestay house. I first stayed with fellow Xterra triathlete Jerry Ryan for the race in 2008 and have since returned for the race each year and spent the winter of '09 and '10 training there as well. Now it is almost like my second home. JR single handedly hosts about half the pro field in his home and way too much fun is had by all. Unfortunately this year several of the "usual suspects" were absent, and greatly missed, but we managed to keep it full of laughs anyways. JR is the only person I know that can type in southern drawl and is never without a great saying or "Jerryism" for any occasion. Did a bit of training in the days leading up to Sunday and tried to ignore how incredibly horrible I was feeling. It was going on 3 weeks with a cough and congestion and the body was pretty much just done. I kept telling myself that I felt pretty good going into Santa Cruz the week before and didn't race all that well so maybe going into this race feeling terrible would mean a great race, hey why not!!! I was pretty happy that is was going to be a non-wetsuit swim until I got in the water race morning and felt like I was going to drown. This is a feeling that I rarely experience!! Bigfish felt more like deadfish bobbing hopelessly upside down in the water about to die. Lined up for the start next to Mel and shared a few laughs before the gun went off. Never even made close to the front of the swim as Craig was set on taking it everyone this time and followed Seth and Brandon into T1 with Conrad and Dan right in the mix. Oak Mountain has some of the best singletrack around and the trails were in perfect condition. I quickly forgot how I was feeling and simply had a great time riding. Being a bit more relaxed I guess helped me out as I was keeping it really smooth and holding off the other gals really well and much further than last year. Mel past me just before the climb up the North Trail head road and Renata got me about 2/3 of the way up. Held off Shonny until after Blood Rock then surprised myself with hanging with her on the descent!! (if you have ever seen her ride downhill you will know exactly how excited I was by this) Looking at the results after I was super happy to have taken over 7mins off my bike split from last year. The race was thankfully two weeks early this year which meant the temperature was only in the 90's!! The run was also a new course and cut out the second half of the hardest,steepest uphill/downhill combos I have ever had to suffer through. Still the run turned into a simply put one foot in front of the other suffer-fest for me and thinking just about everyone else was feeling the same way.

Finished up in fourth and overall pretty happy with the race. Enjoyed a nice evening out with the crew after the race before heading back to Tucson Monday morning. Big thanks to everyone in Bama for once again making this the favourite stop on the Xterra circuit!! Already looking forward to next year :)


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pictures :)

Been a bit busy unpacking into my new home since getting back from Alabama so race report is a tad bit late getting written. Hopefully will get around to it later tonight. For now here are a couple more pictures from the Xterra Pacific Champs in Santa Cruz.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Xterra Pacific Champs - Santa Cruz

The Xterra Pacific Championships were in Santa Cruz this past Sunday and... well... I swam, I biked, and I ran, I finished. Took 6th and held onto my 3rd spot in the series but really there is not much exciting to say about my race so I'm thinking I will just do the abbreviated version. The swim was rough and cold and three of us, Seth, Branden and myself lead out of the water. I was hoping that the conditions would give me a bigger lead than normal but it didn't. I held the lead on the bike until about half way when Lesley caught me. I hung with her for a bit then started my gradual backward progression through the field and headed into T2 in 7th. I ran strong, or as strong as I could and moved up into 6th. Some days just aren't your days and Sunday wasn't mine. Most of us came home from Spain with a wonderful cough and respiratory infection and were feeling pretty beat up. I chose to live in denial between the two races and put a good block of training in despite feeling like crap. In hindsight that probably hurt my race legs, but with so many races in a row and feeling the need to do some good training, right or wrong that is the decision I made. Hopefully that training will pay better dividends with a bit of rest in the races to come. Moving on... My sister Karen came down from Sausalito to watch the race and be race Sherpa extraordinaire:) We packed up and headed up to the Bay area after the race and got to spend a couple of days hanging out and seeing the sights. The weather didn't cooperate Monday and Tuesday but we still got out to see the regular touristy stuff, the Golden Gate Bridge from Point Bonita, drove down the super cool Lombard street, then up to Coit tower, and past the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory. We finished up the day trip with a little shopping at the Sport Basement Factory store. Wednesday the weather cleared up and we headed out onto the bay for a couple hours of paddling, checking out the sunbathing harbor seals and crazy Sausalito floating homes. I am now hanging out in the SF terminal waiting for my red-eye into Bama for the Xterra Southeast Champs. Super excited to get to spend the weekend in my previous winter training home and hanging with JR and the crew. Took the week pretty easy on the training front as well and hoping the legs will be a lot fresher this weekend. Thanks to Nils Nilsen for the great race photographs. Check out the full race gallery for more great photos!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sunny Santa Cruz...

For now anyways!! The weather reports show 70% rain for tonight and 40% chance for race day tomorrow. Locals say the trails at Wilder Ranch turn into quite the mucky mess when wet so fingers crossed we only get a dusting to tack things down. Flew into San Jose thursday am and made the quick drive down to Santa Cruz. I've never been to this strange California seaside town and well... Once again I am very fortunate to have a great race homestay and quickly made myself at home. The Xterra family is so welcoming and I literally have the house to myself as Susan arrived in from Sedona after me and left early Friday morning on her way to Tahoe to officiate the Tour of California!!! Friday morning Emma and I got a leisurely start to the day and headed out to preview the bike course. The swim is right downtown next to the wharf which makes for a 5+miles ride on the roads to get out to the trails at Wilder Ranch Park. Once in the park the course is packed with tons of climbing and very little techical riding and will definitely favour the super fit athletes. The fire roads are only broken up by two short but very fun singletracks sections through the redwoods. The views are however are spectacular.

Today my sister made the drive down from Sausalito to watch the race, whoo-hoo a cheering section!! Then we get to hang out in SF for a couple of days. Off to do final race prep and get a good nights sleep before and early start tomorrow.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Worlds Pics

Big thanks to ITU Photographer Janos M Schmidt for the great photos!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

ITU Cross World Championships

Last Saturday was the first ever ITU Cross World Championships in Extremadura Spain and in hindsight it was pretty special to be apart of. While there were certainly some wrinkles I think everyone who participated came away feeling that it was a great experience. Hopefully this is just the start of the International Triathlon Union's foray into the Off-Road Triathlon world and there will be many more great events to come. One of the most overheard comments was about the lap style format and how exciting the racing was for both the spectators and the racers out on the course. Having raced ITU World Cups for many years it was certainly exciting for me to once again enjoy the added energy boost of cheers from all the great spectators and age group athletes that stood along the bike and run course in the pouring rain to cheer the elite fields on. The day started with a leisurely sleep-in as the elite women had a 4:15pm start time. Jo and Katie were up early for their race and both rocked it with Jo taking the win in her age group and 2nd overall amateur and Katie 4th. Look out for both of these fast chicks in the years to come. Sara, Emma and I headed out to the race site with plenty of time to spare as Sara's bike still hadn't arrived and she needed to hook up with Jo to get her bike cleaned up and ready to go again. Warm-up even with the extra ITU details went smoothly and soon enough we were all lined up ready to start. Without an official world ranking yet the race numbers were randomly drawned and I luckily got number 9 and an early pick on the start pontoon. I truly tried not to chuckle watching the eight girls in front of me, who had obviously not had much or any experience with an ITU pontoon start, try to pick out their spot and was really happy when my favourite one was still open. (far outside on the inside line to the first buoy) I was even more excited when no one else jumped all over the spots next to me and Mel got the spot two down from me with Carina sandwiched between us. Mel's smart enough to know that we both swim faster if she jumps on my feet rather than trying to swim all over me the first couple of meters. The start was clean and I was off the front easily with nothing but clear water for the whole swim, NICE!!! I pushed the pace hard and felt great putting over 30secs on the field and a couple of minutes to the main contenders. I didn't have the fastest transition onto the bike, in fact I was slow enough that I actually had time to think "wow, I'm still in transition" not good. The bike was four 5km laps and even with the rain and mud was running really fast. The thing about non-technical courses is that there are no breaks, if you weren't pedalling hard and continuously you were loosing ground to everyone behind you. I was riding well and held the lead until the 2nd lap when Mel caught me. We had a good gap on everyone and was looking good for a 1-2 Canuck finish. Unfortunately the American duo of Shonny and Emma had a different idea and caught me on the last lap of the bike and put enough time on me to be about a minute up going out onto the run. I ran strong but couldn't pull back any time on the leaders and had a good gap back to Marion in 5th place. No one ever likes to have the first spot off the podium but I didn't leave anything out on the course. Huge congrats to Mel for overcoming less than ideal pre-race conditions and taking the win and Emma for stepping it up and getting herself on the podium. Sara toughed it out and got through it and will undoubtedly come back even stronger for the experience. In all, as Mel put it, "the villa of fast chicks" totally rocked!!! The weekend wrapped up with some fun times at the post post-race party (photos will not ever be available) and a bit of sightseeing in Avila and Madrid before hopping back across the pond. Just one weekend off racing before back to back Xterra races in Santa Cruz and the one of my favourites ALABAMA!!!!