After Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, then Xterra Bonelli Park, Xterra Lake Las Vegas was just too much. Coming off two decnet race weekends, I was hoping to have another solid race, while also getting in some good training for St. George, and at the same time accumulating some Xterra Championship points.
In the end, the entire experience was a major gut check. Before the race, I was coughing and hacking up green stuff for nearly 10 days, and I just assumed (hoped), that it would be all over by Saturday morning. Nope. Anyway, here's a recap of the race.
Swim (1,500 meters, 28:19)
The swim actually ended up being closer to 1,700 meters, but this is still slower than I would like. I could tell from the swim that it was going to be a long day. I swam fine, and relatively straight, but I could tell my breathing was heavy. The swim was fairly uneventful, but since my energy seemed low, I tried to draft whenever possible. Also, after the turnaround, the wind was picking up and the water was getting a little choppy.
Out of the water, it was a short run on the dirt to the transition area. In transition, I had the hardest time getting my wetsuit off. One sleeve just didn't want to come off over my watch. This is something I need to figure out, because it not only takes time, it also causes me some unnecessary stress and frustration. This was my first transition in the dirt, so if I plan to do more Xterra races, I'm going to need to work on this new dynamic.
This is essentially a two loop course with about a mile of paved road to and from the dirt loops. The paved road was long enough to give me time to put my gloves on while riding. Since I wasn't able to pre-ride the course, my plan was to cruise the first loop and then hopefully push to a faster second loop.
The course isn't extremely technical, but the terrain was dry and loose everywhere, which made some of the climbs challenging. My gear setup wasn't the best for this course, since I have a 1x10. If I do this race next year, I'll definitely run with a smaller front chain ring. On the first loop, I had to walk a couple of the climbs. Because of tight traffic with other racers, I was forced to un-clip. Also, the climbs usually only had one good line up, which caused problems when there were too many people in a tight area. Another "fun" part of the course was about a 1/4 mile stretch of deep sand. It was a struggle to keep pedaling while trying to find some solid ground. On the second loop, I was able to get through that section a little faster after seeing some other people that knew of faster lines through and around the sand.
I had a 'soft' crash on the second loop. It was a quick downhill section, with a sharp turn towards the bottom. My front wheel slid out, and I nearly did the splits. Instantly, one of my quad muscles cramped up. I got up and back on the back quickly with other bikers not too far behind me. The next couple miles were tough, until finally it seemed like the muscle tightness went away.
The entire time on the bike, I felt like I was carrying an extra 50 pounds, and just moving around in slow motion. I was already planning ahead to racking my bike and calling it a day. The winds had really picked up, and every time the course took me along a ridge line, the wind would nearly blow me over. The heat, combined with the wind, made it impossible to keep my mouth from going dry. Finally, both loops were done, and back on the pavement to transition. This last stretch was into a strong headwind.
I decided that I'd already gone this far, so I was going to finish the race, regardless of how miserable I was. I got through the second transition, and off on the run.
Run (10k, 1:07:16)
The run course was a single loop, with the first half almost entirely uphill. There were several sections that were very steep, so running wasn't an option for me, and many others. One of the climbs was a 16-20% grade up for about 1/2 mile. I walked all the steep climbs and then I'd run the rest.
20th in my AG, out of 35 starters.
This was a rough day for me, and I probably shouldn't have raced. After coming home, I went to the doctor and she confirmed that it was bronchitis. On a day when I should have been at least in the top 10 in my age group, not only was I disappointed in the outcome, but I was disappointed in my decision to race. This race will go down as a life lesson for me and hopefully make me a better triathlete.
More pictures of my weekend and race:
|Lake Las Vegas, prior to the race|
|Expo area and transition|
|a loaded trunk for my road trip, excellent packing skills|
|Another podium for teammate Liz, 1st in AG, and 2nd female|
|Liz, Lesley Paterson and me|
|Selfie, before the suffering|
|My first "in the dirt" transition|