XTERRA Charlottesville Race Report

First post in almost a year. Changes to numerous to count in my life personally and professionally. All of them awesome! I’ve been able to maintain a modicum of fitness. At times, I feel great. Others, I definitely can tell I don’t train nearly as much as I used to. So I try to focus on the times when I am going well.

Like this past Sunday. ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t get back to Charlottesville very often, but it’s always fun to see what has changed and what has not since I graduated from UVa in 1992. After a short pre-ride on Saturday afternoon, we pitched camp, had dinner on the Downtown Mall, listened to the Smashing Pumpkins concert outside the gate of the pavilion at the end of the mall, watched Michael Phelps win his 8th gold medal in the Medley Relay, and then headed back to the campsite to catch some z’s.

Race morning was cool and overcast. Perfect day to race. After getting everything set, and a short warm-up run, I looked up to see my old UVa cross country teammate, Rob Cook. Rob had been an All-America and made the finals of the ’96 Olympic trials in the steeplechase. Hadn’t seen him in almost 15 years so I was psyched. It was also good to know that he would be doing the bike and run leg of relay, so at least I wouldn’t worry to much if he came blazing by me on the run. ๐Ÿ™‚

Swim
I, along with friends Frank, Pierre, Dr. Kathy, Chad and Lauris were all in the 2nd of 3 waves of the 2 loop, 1200m swim. I got out to a good start, 3rd at the turn buoy and worked my way up to the lead in my wave by the end of the first loop. Lead the wave until the last 50m when a guy who had been sitting my my feet passed me to be first out of the water. No worries. I gave him an “atta-boy” on the run up to T1 and was off to start the bike.

Bike

Best part about getting having a good swim in XTERRA is minimizing how many people one has to pass on the narrow trails. As it turned out, even with the 2 minute deficit, I only had 3 people to pass before being in the overall lead. That was fun for about 15 minutes until a rocket-on-rails passed me at about the 30 minute mark. He had been in the first wave, so I knew I had a 2 minute cushion, but he was fast enough, I knew I was going to have to work to maintain it.

I rode all the most technical terrain great, but botched several little things that come from not knowing the course 100%. Frustrating at times, but the course at Walnut Creek is still my favorite MTB course of the XTERRAs I have done. It’s a blast! Got off the bike in 2nd place on the course, but knew that Frank would have been catching me and I couldn’t get a straight answer as to where Mr.-1st-Place was, so I knew I was just going to have to run hard.

Run
After a summer of interrupted run training, it was great to feel strong and run fast again. No pain other than that of working hard. Every time the trail would open up, I would look to see if I could spot #1, but never could. With about a 1/2 mile to go, the course does a hairpin turn onto the park road that runs parallel to the trail. Through the trees I spotted him running the other way, checked my watch and when I hit the turnaround, it had only been 40 seconds. I knew I was inside that 2 minute cushion and was closing. I also knew that Frank would not be far behind me, so I had to push the pace all the way in.

I would end up winning by 1:07. Frank would finish 3rd overall 1:20 back of me (and only 13 seconds back of 2nd — argh!). Pierre would place 4th overall. My buddy Rob finished between Frank and Pierre, so Pierre was much pleased to find out he was a relay!

Much kudos to Dr. Kathy for winning the women’s race overall, beating even pro Alisha Lion, who had bested her by 13 minutes just a month before. Dr. Kathy is back!!

Congrats also to Lauris (2nd in AG), Chad for overcoming some swim demons, Tucker, Stacey (who beat Tucker out of the water!), and Darma and Amanda for their relay.

This was my last XTERRA of the season, so it felt great to end it on a high note. Will be doing the Day of Endurance and VentureQuest race from EX2 Adventures and the Nations Triathlon before the end of the season.

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