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Vegas Recap! – XTERRA West Championships 2015

Ohh Vegas. After last years attempt in the dusty desert forced me into a triathlon sabbatical, I wasn’t really sure how I felt about returning here to start off my season and make my return to the elite triathlon world.

However, after a year’s break from the crazy balance of multisport training, travel, and working I was feeling fresh and excited to have the opportunity to race away from home again.

Mostly I was motivated by our new team and representing an awesome group of Canadian girls. We all did a great job of executing our first race of the season and the newbies were easily integrated into the XTERRA culture 🙂

Here’s the recap as told by Katherine and Britt:

Katherine:

Fun start to the season!

I wasn’t sure what to expect after spending a dark, cold winter of training in Chicago this year (thankfully I’ve moved back to mild wet Vancouver now!). But it appears that some solid strength training and time spent on the indoor trainer have setup for a good season.

The Vegas course is a cardio-buster. Not much chance to use my technical mountain bike skills, but plenty of passing opportunities and lots of gravel to rip up and down. I started with a good swim; the water was murky but not too cold (I’ve heard horror stories of past years), and our new Nineteen wetsuits helped me along well. As one of the slower swimmers I have no complaints! Everyone was well behaved in the pack, myself included, and there wasn’t as much thrashing or elbow throwing at the start as usual.

Then on to the bike – the conditions could not have been better. A bit of rain the night before had helped back down the dirt, and the weather was completely un-Vegas-like: cloudy and a cool 20deg C. There could be no excuses this year! I had a solid first lap on the bike, passing a few other girls on the climbs, and no real surprises since we had pre-rode the course twice this week already. Unfortunately my next lap was plagued by a completely avoidable setup error and I could only curse myself. I must not have tightened my seatpost enough and after bumping down some rocky gravel slopes, it slowly started to lower. I asked around for a bike tool but none was to be found. If anyone has ever tried climbing with their seat too low then you know how terribly uncomfortable it is, and alas, that second lap was not one for the books. I got passed back by a few girls and couldn’t do anything about it. That said, by the time I got to transition for the run, I had so much pent up energy and adrenaline that it was bursting out of me. I took off out of transition and laid down a great 10k run. Kept the cadence high, caught 3 girls within the first couple kms, and the course went by in a flash. I couldn’t quite make up the time to catch the top girl in my age group, but I finished strong, 2nd in my age cat and 15th woman overall.

Next time? There will be no equipment errors, and I will use up all that energy on a solid bike leg! All in all, it was a great race. Very well organized, solid competition, perfect racing weather for the desert, and a great start to the season catching up with old Xterra friends.

 Brittany:

Vegas!!! I think it goes without saying that we were all pretty excited about the debut of our COG race team. I (Brittany) picked the girls up in our slick black mini van- probably the only mini van rented in Vegas- but honestly that thing could fit so much stuff in it I was actually semi-convinced I was going to buy one myself.

The trip was a blast. One condo, 4 girls. 4 bikes, some beer and lots of guacamole= a GOOD TIME. We’d actually thought at one point that we were sick of guacamole. Is that even possible? Turns out not because it was the first thing in the cart at the store that night. Katie and Mel McQuaid were awesome at introducing me to the crew on the Xterra Scene. I didn’t know many people, but quickly found out that it’s a pretty tight knit and cool crowd. Yup, I am thinking this whole race scene is going to have lots of awesome memories to it.

I was super nervous before the start of my race. It was the first time I was going to race pro and I was pretty convinced I was going to get dropped right off the line. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised when I only got dropped 200m in. It goes without saying, swimming is quite a weak point for me. I’m a land dweller, I like to swim like a barge. Once out of the water a little “Yes! I made it!” may’ve squeaked out of me. Aah, how good the bike feels! Mel took us out to pre-ride the course, and gave us a bunch of awesome pointers which helped me tons during the race. I was really ecstatic to be catching so many girls on the ride. I think that positive energy spurred me on further, and without knowing it I was 8th in transition. The run was the part that most surprised me- I actually felt pretty strong. I have not been able to run much as my plantar fasciitis demands the patience of a saint, but to my surprise I still had legs that could turn over quite well. Aah, the finish. Could not wait to S-I-T D-O-W-N. This race was nearly 9 times longer than the race I am used to doing (20min!) so I was feeling pretty beat when I crossed the line. I had no idea where I had finished until I was given a piece of paper saying I was 5th! That made me feel a heck of a lot better- I’d never expected to do that well.

I was so proud of our team that day (Mel you are included in this!). 4th, 5th, 8th and 15th- pretty good for the first race of the season!! Post race beer and Michael Jackson concert was a must- aha, although Katharine and I needed one night of tea drinking and couch surfing before we were able to move much. Actually… I needed more like 3 days- apparently I got heat stroke, aha. It was only 19/20 degrees that day… if that. This skier body is going to need a bit of an adjustment period!

-Britt

Big thanks to Nineteen wetsuits for shipping our Rogue suits down to Vegas – they were much needed and appreciated!!

And thanks to racergirl Mel for letting us soak up all your triathloning and mtb knowledge all week long 🙂 Looks like we will have another successful generation of off-roaders!

We even managed to find some legit singletrack at Bootleg Canyon Bike Park in Boulder City. Good for us 😀

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