>> Monday, April 16, 2012
This was not one of my goals of the season, but sh!tballs it was fun!
Xterra is one of those races people tell you "You must do", and for a long time I had not quite got around to it. This year was going to be different, with a "little" "Very little" swimming behind me and getting back to my grass roots of running, I decided it was time.
The drive up was interesting with Ed-Winner (Fatest Man) keeping me company. The Elite nature of this race and all I had a steak, we decided to stop for a healthy meal in Bulls. Yip, you got it, quality control of the plastic food variety.
To start off I was excited to have no expectations on me for this race. No one in this race knew who I was or what I had been up to earlier in the season. That was until I found out that Cabin had a page spread in the local news paper, talking about the Xterra race and Black Dirt Racing. Reading through I realized he had dumped me in it, naming me as the "Current Masters New Zealand Bike Champ". Thanks Cabin!
Anyway sandbagging aside, its time to get down to race talk. A perfect day dawned and I was ready for what ever Xterra was going to throw at me. I had heard rumors that it was always a perfect sunny day, and I was not to be disappointed. As you drive over the hill and get your first glimpse of the lake, it becomes apparent you made the right decision to enter. There were sponsors tents up everywhere, a huge stage for the finishing chute and people milling around generally enjoying the atmosphere. Xterra is not just an event for the Multi Sporters, but also individual Runners, Mountain Bikers and Walkers alike. By 11am they had already had a run, walk and mountain bike race.
Big ups to a Rae Rae who won the Women's MTB race earlier in the morning. Nice work Rae Rae, I don't REALLY have trophy envy... much!
So with preparation out of the way and my family there to cheer me on, I was ready to go, Or was I... nothing can prepare you for the onslaught that is the start of the Xterra swim. Trying to explain it is not going to help, so I will let these pics do the talking.
For those of you out there that want to know if the water was warm (Mainly you soft feet JAFA's). I can confirm the water was actually of a nice temperature. After 15mins sluggishly trying to hold my own in the water, it was onto the main event of the day, the Mountain Bike. I really do love this part, and I feel soo much more at home. Up the first few hills (and there were a lot of up hills). I was chatting away to the odd person who would return my conversation with a grunt, sometimes more. Struan Robertson, thanks for keeping me company on the first climb, was good to have someone to talk to. And fcuking nice result to buddy.
Into the first single track "Frontal Lobotomy" aptly named, as some might say they wish they were having a Frontal rather than climbing this grueling trail, that pinched more and more the closer you go to the top. It was about now I was starting to get into the grove. The first downhill of "Billy T" was ahead and it was time to open up the taps. I could feel the roadies just falling off at this point **. Now this is where the fun begins, take a look at the below link to a video from Xterra a few years back. You will understand the mildly amusing phrase of TRI-Podding.
Xterror TRI style
**(No roadies were harmed during the making this blog post, some maybe in the race though FTR, Some of my best mates are roadies, "Good Roadies" even, aye Angry Clive Bennett ;)
So the rest of the ride went something like this Uphill hurt, Downhill grin, Uphill hurt, Downhill laugh, Uphill laugh deliriously, Downhill finish.
Transition 2 or T2 for you T-Geeks out there. I was making good ground, just a little 11km trot around the scenic Blue Lake, can't be all that hard... Wrong! Lap 1 of 2 and I was hurting really bad, I'll even admit to walking 5 of the 22 steps. Focus I thought, you're being stupid. Back to thinking about a good relaxed running style. I could feel my rhythm come back. I may even have enjoyed part of the 2nd lap. Chugged on home for a 2nd place in my age category, 22nd over all and even qualified for Xterra Worlds in Maui, Hawaii. Unfortunately I will not be going this year, bit bloody expensive :) But I have been assured, well maybe not assured, more teased. That if we saved well enough and I "actually train properly" (Quoted by wife) next year, we might be able to go. Obviously I would have to qualify again :(
Anyway I AM STOKED with the result and race in general.
It was off to the Brew pub for some much needed Crouchers (Yes shameless punt for the sponsors) and a feed of... you got it, Sausage fest. Has Dave Aldred written all over it.
Thanks to all those supporters out there who cheered or abuse me along. I'll be back next year, with some more swim and run training behind me :)
Oh sh!t for got to mention, thanks to Cabin's camera magic I made it into the Xterra Official video. 5mins 55secs in, Orange Bikes (Tang Niner Air 9 Carbon, perfect for Xterra type races, light and nimble) and black kit (Black Dirt Racing)
P.S Props to my Mountain Bike technique trainer, Travis The Cat (Ease off on the catnip though buddy, that sh!t does your brain cells in)