Round 2 in the Xterra Championship series landed us literally in the middle of Texas. The event was held in Cameron Park which is a beautiful 410 acre park right the middle of downtown Waco. Liz and I drove down from Colorado Springsin the trustyElement and covered just over 800 miles in 12 hours to make the trip to the race. Usually that drive is pretty boring but on the way down we were greeted with 60+ mph winds and driving right through the middle of wild fires that were taking place all over the state. Either way we were excited to get to take a road trip and meet up with my brother Sean, his wife Jenny, and there beautiful baby girl Eve.
CTS Coach Blog: Patrick Valentine at Xterra South Central Championships – Waco, TX
We kicked off our fun in Texas in the right style and visited the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Museum. Although we did see some Chuck Norris memorabilia I was bummed not to see a life size wax statute of him. Either way it was great to learn about some history and see some priceless artifacts from the past.
Next we went to the local Mammoth site. Basically 30 some odd years ago some locals found bones from mammoths that lived tens of thousands of years ago. Back in 2009 the city of Waco and Baylor University had a building built around some of the bones to help preserve them. They have over 24 found mammoths at this site,which iscrazy. The most insane thing is how long their tusks are, they can grow to be 16 feet!
Alright enough with the chit chat. Race day started off beautifully with a nice 55 degree race start. I also must say that I feel spoiled because Xterra saves spots on the bike racks for all pros. Which means I can sleep in longer and show up later and still have a spot for my bike!
Got everything all set up and ready to go and things were feeling good. It is always fun to have family and friends around to help cheer and route you on. Just about ready to head down to the water with my trusty Aqua Sphere goggles ready to help me sight those buoys better than everyone else.
But wait there is more just as we were getting ready to head to the swim start Dave the race director announced that the water temperature was 68 degrees making it wetsuit legal. Luckily I keep my wetsuit in the bottom of my transition bag, but some of the other pros were scrambling to go back to hotels, or borrow some from other people. So I got my awesome Aqua Sphere Phantom wetsuit on, okay, now I was ready to do this race.
Headed down to the water and snapped a quick shot before jumping in with fellow Colorado Spring racers, CTS athlete Tracy Thelen and bike fit guru Branden Rakita.
Now time to tread some water before the start.
Oh yeah I forgot to mention. They start the race by shooting off a canon! How cool is that?
Alright so once we were up and going I settled into a good rhythym and just tried to stay relaxed during the entirety of the swim. Worked out well as Christine Jeffrey, Seth Wealing, Branden Rakita, Craig Evans, and myself all came out of the water together as a group.
Off to the bike course, which was awesome! The course was 15 miles long and twisted, turned, and threw you around all over the place. If you didn’t stay 100% sharp the entire time you would miss a turn and hit a tree for sure. Overall I had a great bike. Was riding together with the lead group for the first couple of miles before I crashed,the first of may…haha! All of my crashes were basically from washing my tire out through a turn so silly mistakes but definitely added up over the race. Either way had a great split and came out into T2 in 7th place right behind Nico Lebrun. Below is a good little video of Josiah Middaugh (CTS Athlete) and myself flying down the trail know as the vortex.
The run course started out with Jacob’s Ladder, a 140 stepping stone to get the legs nice and warmed up.
Below is my niece cheering me on hard for the race. Actually looks like she if pretty bored at this point. Heck I would be to if I was watching people ride their mountain bikes without me!
After the ladder I settled into a good run form and reminded myself that I needed to run much faster than last week in Vegas. So I was on a mission to hold my form together and have a great race. All in all the course was a blast as you winded around twisty trails and up and down constantly. I was looking and feeling good with a couple of miles to go. Unfortunately the last couple of miles was on the River Trail which was a moderately straight section where a couple of my opponents could see me in the distance. They were able to bride up to me and caught me around a quarter mile to go. We all surged as hard as we could and I had nothing left in the tank. So just like that I went form top 7 in the prize money to ninth place. That was a bummer but I left it all out on the course and I can’t complain about that. Not to mention a top 10 finish in my second pro race is a huge accomplishment and step in the right direction. Afterwards caught up with Josiah Middaugh a little bit and he filled me in on his similar situation only he got out sprinted for the win.
Well next stop is Pelham, AL for round 3 of the Xterra Championship tour. Until then….