Xterra Snow Valley Race Report

A few years ago I watched Tim do an Xterra. It was painful even to watch. I swore I would never ever do an Xterra. Truth is I lied. I lied. So Xterra Snow Valley it was.
Mountain Oasis.

The coolest part of Xterra Snow Valley is the swim. The lake is part way up the mountain. I actually did not feel like death on the swim this time. Considering the swim was at 7,400 ft of elevation, I call it good. Tim had the "bestest" swim start ever. While most people flocked together on the shallow side of the lake. Tim figured out it was deeper on the other side. He started on the shore. When the count down began he ran and dove into the water. He had a ton of momentum and swam off the front of the pack. That was cool! My wave started 3 minutes behind so I sort of copied. Sort of, because I didn't sail through the air carrying the same momentum into the water like Tim.

In T1, I took my time in transition. I figured this race was going to require some anaerobic efforts and I would need to keep my heart rate down when I could. For the first time in my triathlon life I put on gloves in transition. I didn't want my hands to slip during rough terrain. We climbed to the top of the mountain on a sandy fire road. I spun along like it wasn't sandy feeling pretty good and smooth. Some fast girls drop me. I was nose picking and they were butt kicking or something. Ouch. Some day , no nose picking, just bitt kicking.

Once at the top it was time for a quick descent. It went directly down the fall line. No switchbacks. I didn't really appreciate the course going this way because "ANYONE CAN GO STRAIGHT DOWN A BLACK DIAMOND." It's the turns where the craft is. Oh wait, that's skiing. I'm confusing my sports again.

 I was lucky enough, to start descending behind this girl who was AWESOME. Clearly she had skill. She knew the line and was NOT afraid to pass the boys. The  boys who were white knuckling the brakes and having a rear tire skid fest. I am a chicken about passing but monkey see, monkey do. I did like she did. I dropped the boys.  A little while later we climbed and the girl climbed away from me. I guess if I'm going to go anywhere in sport I better start dropping girls. The boys are too easy and drafting men isn't legal.
 After going over a bunch of bouncy bumps. I shifted and threw, literally threw my chain off to the outside. Me...and Andy Schleck, we do those things. I had to stop and put it back on. The chain was in a precarious position and I understood how a chain could break. Early in the ride some point I noticed I lost my nutrition. I was carrying two gels. I had a hydration pack with 35 ounces of water with a ZYM Catapult tablet and that was it. I drank all of my water and I hoped for the best. I'm not sure when a good time to take in the nutrition would have been anyway, so maybe this just made things simple. I sound like such an amateur dropping my chain and nutrition, oh wait. I am an amateur.Duh!

I was excited for trail running I love trail running. The run was not at all what I imagined. It didn't have any rhythm or flow. The terrain wasn't just steep, it was rough. Many of the descents had ditches at the bottom so you couldn't carry your speed with ease. Some parts were to steep to run. I thought I was doing terrible as the run wasn't going like I had imagined it would. When I had to walk I kept questioning if it was really necessary or if I was giving up. It was all so confusing. I didn't know if I was trying too hard or not trying. I didn't know where in the world I was going. It was much easier to run when somebody was in front of me. Then I could copy. I tried to just focus on running when I could and hurdling the ditches. I was so glad I did the 300 hurdles in high school. Even if I fell a few times in high school and was made fun for falling in addition  to being a 100 pound weakling, who was short with freckles, glasses, and good grades. Who was actually cool in high school anyway?

There was a girl in green ahead of me and at some point I caught her. Then she ran faster. We started to race. A half  mile out, I decided to surge a bit. I thought I can hang tough for 800 meters. 2 laps around the track. Note to self: 800 meters on a track does not equal 800 meters at Xterra. I offed myself on the next climb. I started to make a funny noise breathing, my internal organs felt like I splashed them with icy hot. I thought I was going to pee myself. I walked for a moment. It's only acceptable to pee yourself yourself if you are winning. That's the rules right?

The green girl passed me. I started to run again. Soon it was a down hill to the finish. Not an easy downhill. One that would be easy to trip and somersault down. I saw Tim. He yelled "Get that girl, she is in first place". She was really in second but all I could think was: I should have just peed myself. I was in first place. Turns out we were really in second and third in our age, not first. I started charging, hurdling ditches left and right. I tired not to stutter step and hurdled with my non- dominant leg forward. That leap was off kilter and my leg sort of buckled. Darn it, the gap opened a bit. I regained my composure and I felt like I was flying into the finish. I really liked the downhill race to the finish. I was 3 seconds too slow but I thanks to the race into finish with Stephanie (formerly know as green girl) I went faster than I would have alone. So fast, I even chicked my husband on the run.
I'm the figure in black, 3 seconds back.

Cheers to Age 30-34 winners and my new Facebook friends.


tim said...

nice job. that was a tough race, and the course didn't seem to have any rhyme or reason to it...

beth said...

yeah! sounds like so much fun. and you positively crushed it. nice work.