Monday, April 26, 2010

Xterra Vegas race report

My first official race back on the Xterra circuit has come and gone. After a 22 month abscence from racing I was super excited get back but since I have been dealing with injuries for the past three weeks I was really unsure of what would happen and how I would feel.

I woke up feeling positive. I was honestly just so happy to be part of an Xterra event again. The people, the whole Xterra crew, the atmosphere are all things I missed tremendously while I was injured last year. Truthfully, simply starting that race was a small victory for me, which is why I think I was so positive all day. I remember thinking to myself constantly (even when it hurt) how great it was to be back. The Xterra crew was so welcoming and supportive too and I really felt like part of the "family."

As for the actual race...

I feel like I am swimming better then ever before but you wouldn't really know this based on my swim yesterday. I feel like I am struggling a bit in the open water despite my swim times being solid in the pool. I think this will just take a little more time to come around and I think in the coming weeks I will develop some good swim fitness to take into the next few races. So, swim was mediocre but I was still in the mix heading out onto the bike.

It took me about the entire first lap to get my legs firing. I rode my second lap faster and cleaner for sure. The tough thing was I wasn't able to stay on the wheel of some of the top guys as they went by. First Cody went by, and then Nico, and Brian. It would have been nice to latch onto these guys but my fitness just isn't there yet. I tried but I just couldn't do it. Typical Xterra I felt like I was in no man's land since I couldn't ride with the faster guys so I just focused on staying positive and doing my own race. Coming into transition I was told I was in 9th. Honestly, I was kind of shocked.

I went out onto the run unsure of a lot of would my left leg feel, how would I cope with running after pretty much 3 weeks off, would I run out of gas. I remembered Lesley telling me how tough the run is so I was curious to see how it would pan out. I usually race one way and that's as hard as I can go from start to finish but yesterday there were so many things up in the air. So, in all honesty I ran very controlled for just about all of it. I just kept a high turnover on the hills and let gravity help me on the downhills. When I finished I felt like I could have certainly run way harder but, like I said, there was a lot of uncertainty in my mind so I kept it controlled. Turns out I ran okay despite 3 weeks of no running, an injury, and a very conservative effort. Racing conservatively in any sense of the word is not really racing in my mind. I am the type of person that believes in full gas racing with no excuses so it kind of bugs me that I played it conservatively but I think at this stage it was the right thing to do given the injury I have been dealing with. The most important thing to me right now is that I get my leg healthy so I can prepare well for races in June.

Overall, I am happy with my performance. Was it blazing fast and flawless? No, but it is promising in my mind and I think if I can stay healthy and put in some good, hard training in the coming months I can be where I want to be. I left the weekend feeling positive and feeling like I had a lot of small victories.

It was so great having my family there too. I am glad they were there to experience my return to the sport that I love so much. Seeing there excitement made me even more pumped up to race and to enjoy the experience. I learned a lot last year and perhaps the most important thing I learned is to appreciate the WHOLE experience...I can honestly say I did this.

I really owe a lot to Jess too. She stuck with me through all the rough patches last year when I was just a pain to deal with b/c I couldn't train or even exercise. She was there screaming for me during the race and she was right there at the finish line to give me a big hug and a smile when I crossed the line. I needed her last year more then I think she knows so to have here there with me this weekend for my best Xterra performance ever really made it special. She encouraged me to stick it out and get back to racing during times when I wasn't sure I could do it. Thanks for everything Jess!

So, looking forward I am excited about Texas, Alabama and Richmond. I think my best performances are certainly to come. I look forward to banking some consistent and hard training in the coming weeks so I can work toward achieving my goals. Jim Vance has been invaluable from both a physical and mental coaching perspective. I can't lie, the past few weeks of dealing with yet another injury was really tough but Jim really coached me through it and got me to the start line excited and ready to race...thanks Jim! In my opinion, a coach that can get you from completely down in the dumps and unexcited to fired up and ready to race in a short 30 min conversation is a very good coach!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned as I gear up for my next races! Got some exciting adventures on tap!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Xterra Vegas....

--Lucky # 20

Right now I am in Vegas to kick off the Xterra season. It has been great so far...I had Jess to keep me company on the drive out, the house my folks got is amazing and right next to the race site, I am surrounded by family, I am running into people I haven't seen in a long time, and I have checked out the race course. This course, in my opinion, is really hard! The bike has super steep climbs, loose, rocky descents and the run course is relentless with steep ups and downs. Plus, it is going to be hot tomorrow. It should all make for a brutal day of racing, which is why I am here =)

Enjoying some coffee and breakfast now, doing a little work, and then I am heading out at 9 for a lap of the bike course and a swim. Skinfit is going to be well represented tomorrow....Lesley Paterson, Nico Lebrun, Adam Zucco, me, and several others. Excited to get some good pics for the websites and blogs!

My bike is totally dialed thanks to Gordon at B & L. Honestly, I am floored by the level of service the B & L crew is providing...there is no better shop in S.D. So many shops just want your money but at B & L you are part of the family and they bend over backwards to make sure you have everything you need. Thanks for everything guys!

So, everything is a go for tomorrow. It will be a good gauge of fitness for me as we near races in June. We will just have to see how my leg holds up on the run and how it is doing moving forward.

--Even Sophie is race ready!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sea Otter and this coming weekend

Well, the race itself at Sea Otter didn't go so well b/c of tire/air issues. I mounted some new tires before the race and managed to "burp" about all the air in my front tire about 3 min into the XC race. Okay, I am stupid b/c I didn't have air with me but I have ridden the Sea Otter trails literally hundreds of times and never have I ever flatted or lost, I took a chance. Didn't pay off so I rode the entire first lap (19 miles) on less then 10 psi. Not fun since it felt like my front tire was going to roll off the rim about every 30 seconds :) I finally got a pump at the end of the first lap so I was able to head out on the second lap. Of course, tire burped more air and I was back to no pressure. So, let's just say I didn't race but instead cruised some sweet singletrack all the while testing my handling skills. Oh well, lesson learned and I really did enjoy riding the trails. The conditions up there this year were incredible.
--The best japanese feast on the planet + awesome single-track = good times!

On to this is the start of the Xterra season out in Vegas. If you have followed this blog at all you know I have been really excited to get back to Xterra racing. Since my knee is healed and important races are upon us I figured it was time to go out and injure another body part just to keep the pain train going ;) I have been battling achillies issues and shin splints for the past 3 weeks. So, I haven't done any run training for a long while. It totally sucks and I am sure the run on Sunday is going to be tough as all hell but I will be there gutting it out. After Vegas I will be taking some time to let the leg heal so I can get back on track with my other races. I have been working with Rehab United daily and I think things will start to come around. So, not exactly how I would like to kick off my return to Xterra but such is life. I will be out there giving it my best and we will see how it goes. I wish I could say I was 100% healthy and race ready but, one thing I did learn from my knee injury, is that you just have to roll with it and make the most of the opportunities you have. Me actually starting a big race is a small victory for me given the past year. I guess sometimes small victories can lead to bigger ones if you stay patient, focused, and dedicated...I will hang my hat on this for the moment.
Have a good one out there and I will let you know how the weekend goes. I will leave you with this...

Monday, April 12, 2010


--Ice Bath in the backyard =)

Been a bit of a tough week with regards to training. Skinfit has been good but training a bit challenging. I am dealing with a leg injury...some shin splints and some other lower leg issues so running has been pretty much nonexistent. I have been doing EVERYTHING to get healthy but these issues seem to be taking a long time to heal up. I did get in some good swim and bike sessions last week, which I am happy about. Really though just been kind of bummed out b/c big races are coming up and I can't really train like I need to in order to properly prepare.
So, just trying to roll with it and hoping things turn the corner soon so I can get back to proper training. I can say that I feel like my swim and bike are coming along nicely and I am starting to see some form. I was running well prior to this set back, which came on a couple of weeks ago. So, I think if I can get healthy pretty soon I can be back on track. Honestly though I have run maybe 4 times in the last two weeks and it has been nothing more then a short 30 min test run to get a feel for how things are recovering. So, not ideal but I am doing all I can right now to get back.

--Found some new trails to play on here in S.D.!

This week I am headed up to SLO and then Monterey for Sea Otter. I love this race b/c it is on trails that I grew up on (and I get to see family and friends). It is very tough racing and great training for my up coming Xterra events. I am always completely wrecked after the nearly 3 hour XC race and I am sure this year won't be any different. On Sunday I will be doing a Skinfit event in Morgan Hill and then I will head back to S.D. to put in the final prep for Vegas, the first Xterra race of the year. So, a bit of travel on tap for the next couple of weeks.
That is about it to report from here. Have a good week out there!