30 Oct 2010

XTERRA World Championship, Maui

0 Comment
The Blender, I mean, the start!

The Blender, I mean, the start!

I’m writing from my Kihei condo on the tropical island of Maui, Hawaii.

XTERRA World Championships 2010 occurred a mere 48 hours ago, and yet it is already fading into a distant dream, so I better get a move on with writing my race report so I don’t forget all the pain and only recall the pleasure!

I arrived here for my 2010 “A Plus” race last Thursday, 3 days before race day, with my husband and 2 beautiful young daughters.  We met up with my mom, step-dad, and father here in Maui where we would share this amazing experience together.  (They would also take care of our girls while we raced).  My husband gallantly put our bikes together on Friday but by the time we got to Wailea, where the race was being hosted, to register in order to pre-ride a very small sample of the volcano, the trail was shut down to us and we had to wait until Saturday to test ride our bikes.  Good thing we did, my front brake just disintegrated, the piston broke and I needed a completely new set of disk brake pads and someone to reset the piston.  FYI, you really don’t want your brakes to falter when descending Haleakala half way out of control!

The Start

The Start

Race day dawned amazingly beautiful with a burning sun rising over the volcano, a slight breeze coming in off the water, and only small breakers in the great pacific for us to traverse.  I felt completely rested and ready; this is probably because this year I didn’t race my other favorite and super demanding race in September, Venture Quest, plus the fact that work pretty much enforced an 8 week long taper!   (no kidding!)

XTERRA Worlds has the following distances- 1500 meter swim, 20 mile mountain bike, and 11 km trail run.  It brings people from all over the world of all ages, but everyone had to qualify somewhere (place top 1, 2 or 3 in their age group) to get here.  In my age group, I raced 22 ladies from Alaska, Japan, France, Canada (not including me!), and from many corners of the USA.  There were a total of 130 amateur women and 20 pro-women competing.
This year I placed myself on the beach DIRECTLY in front of the buoy instead of at the edge of the crowd of 550 athletes.  A good friend of mine named Dr. Dusty assured me from her experience last year that this was the quickest path and that I would really be fine in the throng of swimmers.  SHE WAS RIGHT!   The gun went off and (after a big hug with my husband and a blessing from the Hawaiian reverend Allalani Hill) we all leaped into the crystal clear water.  I did what Dusty told me, swam straight at the buoy, and remembered what Pierre’s last words were, DON’T PANIC.  The swim for me felt superb, I enjoyed the whole thing!  All the swim lessons I received in January through March with Melissa Dalio paid off, as I didn’t veer off my path once!  I even accidentally swam beside my husband for an entire section of the swim, coming out onto the beach holding hands!

My swim time was 30 minutes.  Last year my swim time was 37 minutes (recall my story of getting lost and swimming with this big group of colorful fish!).   Not getting lost was definitely helpful!

The Bike!

The Bike!

Then started my absolutely FAVORITE part of the race, MOUNTAIN BIKING!  I appreciate so much these great lessons I learned recently from 2 very special friends of mine.  Scott Scudamore taught me and practiced with me to put my gloves on after I got on the bike in lieu of putting them on in transition.  This worked SO well, (thank you Scud!) as you ride on the road in this race for a mile before the trail begins.  Eric Sorensen, one of my best friends, counseled me to not race… aka bury myself up that first steep climb and put myself into “asthmatic proportions”, but rather to pace myself up that mountain and kick it in on the last hard climb called Ned’s Climb.  That was the BEST advice ever Eric, THANK YOU, and thus I had SUCH a great ride!

Except for one minor detail.  Half way up the first climb I came upon a fallen female biker literally screaming in pain with blood pouring out of the inside of her elbow.  I have to admit there were a few brain cells that yelled at me to keep going with so many other bikers that passed her by.  But of course, don’t worry, I didn’t.  I hope that was a natural instinct because I feel guilty for having had that greedy thought.   Another young lady had already stopped to help and had generously started running down the volcano to send for help but hadn’t really done anything directly for this poor woman.  I jumped off my bike, grabbed her arm and was instantly relieved it wasn’t an arterial bleed or dislocated elbow.  Blood was slowly pooling in her elbow so I took off my camel back, took off my tri-shirt, tied it on her upper arm as a tourniquet, and then had to yell down a rider to take off his shirt to push down on the gaping wound.  As it turned out, the lady fell over onto her brake lever which punctured her elbow and pierced through her skin between her bicep and tricep.  No, I have never heard of or seen such a thing.  That just had to hurt so much, and she was so brave.  I looked her directly in the face and she didn’t seem like she was going to pass out, so I yelled that I would carry on up for help in case the girl going down had far to go.  I left this lady and hated doing it, but sitting there was hopeless.  As it turned out, there was an XTERRA-guy 5 minutes up and by the time I talked to him he already knew of the situation, help was on the way.

And then 5 minutes later along my ride a poor guy popped his tire while he was fixing a flat, aka his last tube was a goner.  And for some reason I gave him my tube….my only spare tube.  And then I thought I was in big trouble because I now had no tube and perhaps I was in for it for leaving that lady lying there even though I knew I had to get help.   But thankfully, I didn’t pop my tire nor did I crash while rapidly descending down that volcano on the flip side, so I hope all that energy left on that mountain was a positive one.

My bike time was 2 hours, last year it was 2 hours 5 minutes.

The run on "Big Beach" in Makena

The run on "Big Beach" in Makena

And then came the run.  What was revealed to me was the benefit I had gotten out of running so many hill repeats and track workouts with my awesome training partner and husband, Pierre.  The first and second huge climbs running up the volcano were hard.  But it was harder on the other women that I passed.  I wasn’t trying to pass them; I couldn’t have gone any harder, I was just able to keep moving with a pretty good tempo.  There was one lady however, that kept 200 yards ahead of me for miles.  I slowly, inch by inch was creeping up on her by sheer luck.  With only a half mile to go, I knew that a technical section of lava rocks was awaiting us between the last beach that we were running down and the last sprint home.  I know I have 2 strengths, technical riding, and technical running.  She didn’t seem like a techy-runner.  So I went for it folks, and sprinted my butt past her with all that I had left.  Then with 200 yards left, my step-dad handed me my daughter Valerie to run in with me.  I was actually worried that Valerie would really slow me down.   BOY was I wrong!  Valerie was so prepped for her moment that she took off like a rocket ship and I could barely keep up with her!!!  What a proud moment that was for me, running with my baby across the finish line of XTERRA World Championships!  Technically she beat me too!

My run time was 1 hour 1 minute, last year it was 1 hour 7 minutes.

Finish Line Helper!

Finish Line Helper!

I still can’t believe how good I felt during the entire race although the fallen racer was heavy on my mind.  Personally I hit all my goals for this race- I wanted to PR by 15 minutes and place top 5 in my age group.  I PR’ed by 19 minutes and won my age group and placed 5th overall amateur women.  YAY!!!!

So, please know how thankful I am for all the support I have received from so many awesome friends, patients, coaches, baby sitters and Ree Ree, family, and most importantly my husband.  You just can’t hit huge goals alone, impossible.  Even an individual racer needs a team behind her to win.  And, of course, a huge thank you to Anne and the crew at The Bike Lane in Burke for taking care of multiple bike melt-downs that both Pierre and I experienced in the week leading up to the race!  Broken spokes, completely rebuilt wheel, shredded tire… no problem.  Bike Lane totally hooked us up with all our last minute needs.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now, I must go back to my huge task of enjoying Maui with my family.  The sun isn’t letting us down and the water is as blue as you could ever imagine.  You are all here with me in spirit.

Let’s all start thinking about new goals and dreams, for without them we go nowhere, right!

ALOHA!

Podium at the Awards Ceremony

Podium at the Awards Ceremony

[top]

Leave a Reply