Race Report: XTERRA Tahoe City 2011
That was my goal for this race. I knew I would be in the back of the pack, but I had a shot at beating the much more experienced Dave. I looked at race splits awhile back and realized that of my experienced XTERRA racing friends, Dave and I were fairly close on final times. When I looked closer, I realized that all four of us, Dave, Meiling, Ricardo and I would finish the swim close together. They all three destroy me on the bike like I’m riding a kid’s big wheel, but on the run I’m always faster than Dave. So, if I could limit my losses to him on the bike, there was a chance I could run him down. That’s exactly what happened. Unfortunately, he admitted to being swamped at work and unable to train appropriately, so it was kind of a hollow victory. I need to beat him again when he is in shape so that I can feel good about it.
This went way better than last year, when I had the worst swim of my life. What I did differently was to swim in the lake each day leading up to the race to get used to the feel of the cold water. I realized that by just standing in the water and splashing it all over for about five minutes made it palatable. An easy breast stroke to warm up and get my face used to it, and then I was off for an easy 30 min. swim. I even used my sleeveless wetsuit, since the afternoons were warm. At the race venue, I used the same strategy. Rather than huddle together on the beach and whine about the cold water, I got in and forced myself to go through the agony of adjusting to the cold. It worked. I lopped off about seven minutes from last year. And while it wasn’t particularly fast, and I was definitely at the back of the pack, I felt mush better going into T1.
The snow that closed down Antone Meadows for last week’s races was still there, and so the course was changed. Fortunately, what a difference a week of sunny weather makes. Most of the snow was gone, and all of the snow drifts that were so difficult to ride through last week were now just muddy sections with snow on the side of the trail. I felt faster, and my bike split was definitely faster that last year, but that may be because the course was shortened due to the snow. I couldn’t find if it was, so I’ll go with my very subjective sensation of greater speed. Dave agreed. I trust Dave. What I couldn’t figure out was how when I entered T1 there were a zillion bikes, and when I entered T2, there a zillion bikes again. I wasn’t passed by a zillion people, were those all short course riders?
I hate this run course. It is a relentless climb, then a flat top section and a relentlessly steep descent, partly on pavement that really thrashes your quads. But this year I liked the course because it allowed me to pass Dave. I kept wondering if he was close up the road, and my Spidey-sense told me that the guy in the blue jersey ahead of me was Dave. I did not know what his jersey looked like, but I was right. I exchanged small talk as I passed him and turned on what leg speed I had left to the finish. He was impressed. I was impressed. Did I mention that I beat Dave?
I am really beginning to think that there is sometyhing to this Maffetone low heart rate training. I felt really quite good at the finish, Last year I was totally trashed. While I kept racing last year, it turned out to be my last triathlon. I was wrecked. This year I felt great. Dave looked wrecked. After rehydrating and partaking of the post race food and cleaning up transition, I felt great on the drive home. They stayed behind so that Meiling could collect more of her usual awards. So, at XTERRA Incline, I’ve got Dave in my sights again. If I can just limit my losses on the bike, can I run him down again?