I am currently laying on the floor at Las Vegas airport writing this blog, as I had the grand idea of getting on one flight earlier than mine at 6.30am. The check in lady told me I could but it would cost more than 10,000 points. Without even opening my mouth the 3 other Southwest sista's chimed in and said ' oh no you ain't, there’s another flight right there girl...you only gotta wait an hour'. With that said, I decided they were right until I received a 'flight status update text', telling me my flight would be delayed until 8.20!!! That grand planned back fired so I joined the other hung over people on the carpet to lay down. One man to my right is sprawled eagle with his baseball cap over his face, the girl in front of me is propped up on a pole and 2 other girls sitting on the chairs are playing video on their phones which sounds like a big night out (lots of woohoo's)! A perfect environment for writing my blog about an Xterra race don't you think!!?
Kim & I in an old pic, good friend for sure!!
It was about a week or so ago when I decided to do Xterra Las Vegas. My friend Kim McDonald from San Diego called me and told me he was doing a story for Triathlete Magazine about a road triathlete doing an Xterra for the first time and he was that athlete! I also knew a few other people going from San Fran and thought it would be fun and give me some time on the mountain bike (for the Crocodile Trophy in October) and something different. I booked my ticket with points, put my Mountain bike in at Mike's Bike's for a service (as I stacked it on the Monday and could hear 'noises'), packed my gear and my Road ID (first time I have worn it during an event!). I arrived and discovered I had a very bent derailleur and thanks to the Specialized mechanic (yes, I do ride a Wilier mountain bike) and bent it back for me and I was good to go.
I met up with Kim Friday morning to pre ride the bike and run course and we set off laughing about how we hadn't been mountain biking much (Kim at all) and how the pavement was great. Then we hit the start of the trails and laughing turned into fear laughing. The wind was so strong it was blowing us sideways, Kim hit the dirt/rocks within the first 10mins and after what seemed like hours later we finally got back to the pavement and rode back to the transition in silence. We met up for dinner and hoped it would rain to make the trails a little tacky and contemplated doing the sprint rather than the Championship distance! Rain came down, temps dropped into the 40's and right before transition closed the sun started to peak through and it got a little warmer.
Race day morning the water was a balmy 57f and I jumped in with a few minutes before the start and was totally numb within one minute. I warmed up during the swim but could not feel my hands or feet. I had a good swim though but getting my wetsuit off proved impossible as my hands would not function so I ended up sitting down to get it off! Beth Walsh and I came out of the water together and we were dueling it to see who could have the longest transition..I then put my gloves, arm warmers, socks, shoes, and Nathan hydration pack on and finally made it out of transition...
I won that one and caught up to her on the bike and we rode the first lap back and forth with each other. I dropped my chain and she slid out on one corner but made a terrific save and it looked like a burnout! I was surprised as to how much better I was riding compared to the day before and that it didn't seem that bad...a huge relief as I really began to enjoy it and had the best time. I was keen to do a third lap but headed back to transition for the run.
The first 2.5km was predominantly uphill on sandy/rocky trails and then dirt road and we hit the bike course and ran part of that (uphill), made a left turn and it looked like a wall of dirt/rock that was too steep to run the fest section until half way or so up, but I was feeling good running today and just loving the trails and scenery. I finished up 7th and was happy to have had a truly fun race and really enjoyed myself.
These athletes can really ride bikes and are pretty courteous when wanting to pass and the whole event has a great friendly, low key vibe to it. Kim finished up well and was also happy that he stayed on the bike except for one softer section where he face planted. We had dinner again and laughed about the whole experience and were thanking our lucky stars we were still in one piece and able to continue to train and race as we were thinking we would be like the walking wounded, stranded in the desert landscape of Las Vegas, left for dead or for the coyotes to have a feast upon our open, fleshy wounds....that is a bit far fetched but you get how relieved we both were! Kim's last words...'we'll have to do this again some time...it was fun!'.
Thank you to Elle who found me a great home stay, to Wilier for providing me with my Mountain bike, Saucony, Profile Design, Rudy Project, Nathan, John Cobb Saddles, Sidi, Mikes Bikes, and Reynolds for supporting my racing both on and now..off road!!! To my coach who didn't blink an eye when I asked what he thought, he just said 'yip' do it! Jamie Whitmore for all her advice and my endless questions to her about Xterra, and her friendly energy. My friends who were pumped for me and encouraged me and Jeff who was just Jeff and supportive as always, my mum who was worried that I was going to hurt myself and my sister who gave her hard core support also, I really appreciate it all:)