Friday, October 21, 2011

Triathlon Magazine Canada

Finally got my copy of the September/October issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada.  Took a while to get it shipped all the way to Tucson ;) Nice little article, hopefully I uploaded it with enough quality to read.

This picture was taken on the second loop of the bike at Xterra Canada in Whistler BC.  If you look at my left arm you can already see the bruising from dislocating my shoulder on the first lap!! Sometimes I just don't know when to quit ;)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How NOT to ride your MTB

I have been procrastinating writing this post for about three and a half weeks now.  Don't know if it is because writing it down will truly make it a reality that I won't be competing in Maui this coming weekend at Xterra Worlds.  It's been rather hard following everyone's FB, tweets, blogs and knowing that I am missing out, especially since this year there is actually going to be a challenging swim at Fleming's beach (surf beach)

Anyways, the story goes as follows. The morning after Xterra USA after a leisurely sleep-in and departure from Snowbasin back to Park City, Emma and I loaded up the bikes and drove up Guardsman Pass to ride the Wasatch Crest Trail.  A stunning point to point trails that was suppose to find us a couple of hours later back at the house.  The weather was beautiful and trails were in great condition.  We were rolling along casually on what would be considered a non-technical trail, mostly as the name would imply along the crestline of the mountains, occasionally dropping into the trees for some switchbacks.  After the quick stop for a photo op and another for me losing my multi-tool out of my saddle bag, Emma warned me of the upcoming section called "The Spine", an exposed section of sharped ridged rocks on a steep descent.  

Day started out picture perfect

Stunning views
I had full intentions of at least stopping at the top and making an informed decision as to how or if to ride this sections but caught a bit off guard I found myself already dropped in before realizing it.  Not just dropped in but dropped in and way off-line.  A moment of panic had me hit my brakes hard, big mistake, lock up the tires, slide uncontrollably, and finally hit the ground HARD.  Because the terrain was so jagged I didn't slide at all, good because I didn't launch myself over the edge, bad because instead of some road rash and bruises I sustained structural damage.  

"The Spine"

Why I should have gotten off and walked
A quick look at my elbow showed a seriously nasty cut already gushing blood which obviously was going to require some medical attention.  Too bad we were about as far away from any access off the mountain as we could get and without a medical kit.  Lucky for me the rider right behind me had a band-aid and handkerchief we managed to work into a tourniquet with the help of Emma's hair elastic.  We then proceed to inch our way down towards the top of The Canyons ski resort.  After the shock and adrenaline wore off a bit the pain really started and I did have a couple moments of thinking I am not going to make it down on my own.  I also was pretty sure that this much pain was not being caused solely by the cut and I had likely done much worse damage.  After some seriously sketchy downhill hike-a-bike we came across one of the resort trail builders and he graciously offered to drive us down to the top of the gondola then were met at the bottom by Emma's neighbour waiting to drive me to the Urgent Care.

The aftermath
To make a long story short, the urgent care facility took xrays but couldn't really tell whether my elbow was broken or not then proceeded to stitch up the cut with, what I found out 3 days later, rocks and dirt still lodged inside.  I drove home Monday with the help of some Vicodin and got in to see JT at Southwest Hand Orthopedic Wednesday with a fully infected elbow.  Friends in high places are always important :)  Back later that afternoon, got the cut all cleaned out, stitched up, and casted. Diagnosis - slight avulsion fracture and torn triceps tendon = no racing Xterra Worlds.

So after three weeks, the cut is pretty much all healed up and the cast is off.  I'm allowed to move my elbow to  keep it from completely locking up, though it is still pretty stiff and sore, but no pressure or resistance for a couple more weeks.  Crawled into a tub of chocolate ice cream (a couple actually) for the first two weeks but have started back running and riding the trainer to keep my sanity.  Already planning the next adventures and will be back at it in no time.   Not the way I wanted to end the season, but what can you do?

Best of luck to everyone racing in Maui Sunday, wish I was there...... next year :)))

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Xterra USA Nationals

The Xterra USA National Championships was held for the 3rd time at Snowbasin Ski Resort, just outside Ogden Utah.  This race, on top of being the championship race, was the "must score" sixth race in the Xterra USA series.  The other 5 scoring races were your best 5 of the 6 regional championship races.  I had just squeaked onto the podium taking 5th at last years race, also finishing up the series in 5th, and was looking to better that placing and hold onto my 3rd overall ranking in the series.  Mel and Shonny with their amazing racing and consistency had put the top 2 spots in the series out of reach.  With the altitude (5,000 to 8,000ft) and lots of climbing and me being a lowlander and one of the larger athletes at 5'10 this course would not be considered one that suits me.  However I had managed to work in a 2 week training camp in Park City prior to the race to adapt and now living in Tucson had Mt Lemmon to work on the climbing skills and so was feeling pretty good going in.  I knew my running was still a little behind where I wanted it with the time off due to injury before the HyVee race but it was coming around nicely and, well, I would just have to Canada UP!!!

All smiles setting up T-1
Emma, Mel, Mical and I rented a condo Lakeside, another edition of the Villa of Fast Chicks, right near the swim start so race morning was a breeze even with two separate transition areas.  We were expecting a media frenzy with Lance Armstrong in attendance and weren't disappointed, thankfully they seemed absorbed with everything he was doing and had little effect on anyone else's pre-race rituals.  The only issued ended up being three times as many boats, kayaks, jet-skis, etc that made the already difficult buoy sighting with the sun directly in our eyes downright impossible.

Beautiful morning at the Swim Start
The weather shaped up to be beautiful, a little chilly warming up but guaranteed to be perfect racing weather once we got onto the course.

All ready to go!!! (me on the far left in pink cap)
The swim, except for the trouble finding the turn buoys was fairly uneventful.  Aussie Ben Allen killed it and got out of the water almost a minute ahead of the field and I tucked myself nicely into the first pack of guys for a nice draft.  I finally had a speedy T1 and was out of my wetsuit and onto the bike with a nice gap on the chasing women.

Into T-1 just ahead of one Lance Armstrong!!
The bike course starts out with a short section of pavement to get to the start of the dirt and climbing.  Up Wheeler Creek I swore I hit the rim on my rear tire going over one of the rocky sections and was desperately hoping I didn't have a leaky back tire.  I jumped off quickly at the first road crossing to double check and while it felt a little soft it didn't seem to be going flat.  Still in the lead I started up the singletrack climb hoping to keep Mel at bay until the top of the first descent.  No such luck, she passed me a bit before the top.  Even after checking my back tire I still couldn't shake the feeling that it was going flat and ended up babying the descent.    

The rest of the bike was pretty uneventful (and my back tire never did go flat!!)  I slowly got passed by the mountain goats and rolled into T2 in 6th with 7th through 9th right on my tail.  Emma caught me pretty quickly and we both slowly reeled in Shonny (who was amazingly racing with knee brace on due to a 90% tear of her ACL, she definitely gets the Canada Up award)  With all the twists and turns on the run course it was hard to tell exactly how close the race really was but in the end 5th through 9th ended up being separated by only 3 minutes or so.  I held onto 6th, unfortunately the first spot off the podium, but did keep my 3rd overall in the series.  Congrats to all the chicks out there, the depth in the women's race just keeps getting better and better.

Xterra USA Series podium 4th E Garrard, 2nd Shonny V, 1st M McQuaid, 3rd C Jeffrey, 5th S Snyder
I would love to say that I am putting in a great block of training leading up to Xterra Worlds in a couple of weeks, but that is a story for the next blog entry....

Thanks for reading and as always huge thanks to my friends and family, coach Gareth Thomas, and all the sponsors who support me; Fuji/Breezer Bikes, Rudy Project, Extreme Endurance, Champion Systems Canada, Nineteen Wetsuits, Maxxis Tires, Honeystinger.