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XTERRA Southeast Champs


photo credit: Trey Garman

After spending my winter learning how to manage my fatigue and figuring out what food I can tolerate, I realized this season would be another one focusing on gaining experience and mileage while trying not to worry about the numbers on the clock. Still working on the basics.

Even though it can be frustrating to remain a long ways from the top girls, I’m motivated by how much I can learn in less than 3 hours of racing.

I finished 9th and 24 minutes behind Lesley-I’mOnFire-Paterson.

Despite a few mishaps, I’m happy how my day went and very happy I made it down south for some racing.

Here are a few highlights of my learning experience from the XTERRA Southeast Championships at Oak Mountain State Park:

  • Always bring your wetsuit. Fail for about ¾ of the pro field.
  • Swim in the wetsuit before you race in it! Fail on my part. Turns out open water swimming is slightly different than a swimming pool…much more uncomfortable.
  • Ohhh that’s how you keep your elbow high in the water?! Thanks for Mel for the sweet swimming lessons Thursday before the race. Nothing like a breakthrough 2 days before your first race….must have been her simple and effective feedback: “just f#$&ing stab your hand into the water and pull back”. Easy peasy.
  • Mountain biking is much more difficult after swimming. I have sea legs and arms for the first 20-40min of the bike and need to start out more conservatively to avoid costly mishaps.
  • Early athletic exposure has a remarkable impact on how successful you can be at new endeavours. I’ve realized I ride my bike very similarly to how I skied: taking a straight line because its faster…until you have to slam on the brakes or fly off course; I move around (or into) trees like they are gates; and I crash a lot. The latter seem to be related. Once again I learned the hard way that hitting the dirt hurts a lot more than sliding down a snowy hill. But thank you skiing for making it somewhat easy to adapt to mountain bike racing. And thanks for making my body sturdy enough to handle all this crashing. In regards to my endurance capacity…thanks for nothing.
Bar end meets tree --> ankle, knee, elbow, head meets ground

Bar end meets tree –> ankle, knee, elbow, head meets ground

  • The run. Oh running, how are we ever going to get along? A few basic things I have learned about running off the bike:
    • The more bike miles you accumulate, the less fatigued you are coming off the bike, the better you feel on the run. I accumulated significantly more miles on the bike this past winter living in Victoria and training with the Pacific Cycling Centre and I did indeed feel significantly better on the run – and ran 4 minutes faster than last year.
    • However, if you have been running very little, don’t expect your legs to move quickly. So although I didn’t feel the need to sit on the side of the trail and cry, Lesley still managed to lap me. The good news – I can easily make improvements in my running ability!
    • Continuing on that subject…Lesley is +/- 40lbs lighter than I am. Maybe she’s not that much faster than me? To a certain extent that’s not fitness, that’s physics
  • I got mom-ed. And I’m sure it will be a usual occurrence. Brandi, mom of 2 (3rd), Emma, mom of a 5 month old (6th), Danelle, mom of 2 (7th). NBD.
  • I love being around this group of people. We are a bunch of has-beens (ex-runners, cyclists, swimmers, track&field, XC-skier, DH-skier, whatever) turned off-road-triathlete. We are truly a remarkable bunch. It is so uplifting to see everyone and remember why we put ourselves through the pain, suffering, and sacrifice of training.
Mels bday + moms-day-out prerace pedis

Mels bday + moms-day-out prerace pedis

Thanks to the XTERRA crew for another great race despite the unusual conditions.

Big thanks to Mark and Diane for the roof over our heads. I love coming down to Alabama just to catch up! And to Mel for putting up with me as usual – sad I missed the b-day festivities back in Vic!

As always, many thanks to Russ Hays, Specialized Canada, Synergy Health Centre, and the Pacific Cycling Centre for the support.

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  1. XTERRA East Champs | Katie Button

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