Well first stop for the race season has come and gone. Officially started off the 2011 race season with the Xterra West Championships in Las Vegas, NV. I was very excited to not only get the race season started but to compete in my first race as a pro. I got my race kit about two days before the race and I think it turned out snazzy.
We drove out to Vegas and it took about 12 hours. Unfortunately it was rainy and snowy the entire way through Utah. However, once we finally got to Nevada we were greeted with some sun on Friday and a nice view of the infamous Las Vegas strip.
Saturday woke up and picked up the packet and got a good pre-ride in of the course. Luckily we were able to dodge some of the hail that came down just after we got done riding. Then we hit up some frozen yogurt for some good recovery and pre-racing snake.
Sunday I woke up very excited and ready to go. We were treated to beautiful sunny skies. The water temperature was right up my alley as well with a nice refreshing 61 degrees. Perfect temperature to try out my new Aqua SpherePhantom wetsuit.
The race started off in the usual Xterra fashion with the cannon start. Once we were off I settled into a nice groove and found some open water. But then before I knew it Seth Wealing and Branden Rakita were right next to me. They accelerated and I couldn’t match their speed. I then spent the next 1000 meters chasing their heels but didn’t quite have enough to keep up with those guys swimming like fish at this first race. Either way was content with coming out of the water in top 5. I was nervous that I would implode on my first race so this was a good place to be.
Started off well on a nice pavement segment to get the legs turning which was needed after the chilly swim. Then we hit the dirt. I was with two other guys and we basically stayed on each other’s heels swapping positions throughout the entire bike course. The course was a blast very fast, loose, and constantly up and down. There was also a couple wash segments that we got to ride through which makes life interesting to say the least. Really uneventful on the bike except for some minor cramping, but felt strong. Got caught by Adam Wirth and Nico Lebrun in the last 3 miles and stuck with them in sight to T2.
Came off the bike in top 10 with a group of 4 of us hitting the run. Was ready to rock but my cramping calves said otherwise. Spent the next 1.5 miles trying to run hard without causing more cramping but got caught by a couple more guys. Once we hit the dirt I was in total survival mode. Quads cramping on uphill, hamstrings cramping on downhill. Felt like I was in slow motion in a dream where you are being chased by a dog and can’t out run it. Either way got to see a lot of the pro as the flew by me. All in all it was probably due to going too hard on the bike and not having enough intensity under my belt of the start of the season.
Either way I had a great time and safe race and trip which is the most important. I know what I need to work on moving forward and hopefully I can get some redemption on my next race, which is coming up this weekend on April 17th in Waco, TX. This is the South Central Xterra Championships. My lovely wife is joining me so no matter what happens the trip will be more fun with her along. To cap it off we may hit up Round Rock Doughnuts….YUM!
Huge thanks to Tracy Thelen, pictured below wide awake before start, for setting me up with a homestay. Major thank you goes out to the Mitchell’s who opened their home to me to the best hospitality I have ever seen without even meeting me prior to this weekend. I look forward to going back to Vega. Thanks again to everyone for a successful weekend and start to the race season.