The XTERRA Southeast Championship was quite an adventure with heavy rain and a technical, fun bike course. It was the only current XTERRA Championship race that I had never won, until Saturday. With an improved swim and the fastest bike and run splits of the day I was able to pull of my second XTERRA victory of the season.
Days before the race the weather was starting to look grim on race day so I made a tire change the day before the race in anticipation of muddy conditions. The water temperature of the lake also dropped enough to allow us to wear wetsuits on race day. I tend to get excited when the weather conditions are adverse as long as I’m not worried about my family spectating. On race morning the rain was off and on. I set up my transition in the rain and covered my running shoes with a plastic grocery bag (thanks Ingrid for the text to remind me). On the bike I had my bottle of the First Endurance EFS Grape and a 400 calorie flask of the EFS Liquid Shot taped to the top tube. It would be a tough course to take in fluid and calories so used my pre-ride to decide where I could reach for a bottle or the flask.
Following a dismal swim in Las Vegas, I semi-redeemed myself with a solid swim, exiting the water about 1:30 off the lead. In the early stages of the mountain bike I tried to focus on riding clean. As I caught up to Bradley Weiss he took a hard spill on a wooden bridge. Then as I approached Branden Rakita, he
hooked a small tree with his handlebars and was on the ground in an instant. When I caught Craig Evans he seemed a little dazed and I learned later that he had just fallen on a concrete water bar. During those first 6-8 miles I had lost a little time to Conrad Stoltz and Dan Hugo, but I had been riding safe. I tried to focus on pedaling hard when I could and being cautious when I needed to be. Over the final 6 miles of the course I was able to pull back time and got off the bike about 1:15 behind Conrad and 1:00 behind Dan.
Onto the run I was feeling good, knowing that I was within striking distance and already had Dan in sight. I made up the time fast, catching Dan within 2 miles and Conrad before the halfway point.
At this point in the season, my fitness is feeling amazing thanks to my winter training at Dogma Athletica, but I need to be a little careful now not to get too overzealous with my training/racing and also not too complacent with a little early season success.