Xterra 4 Corners was held on June 5, which was 6 days after the Bolder Boulder. So, this week was a pretty solid week of training. This was the first week of a build period, so the training was pretty high in volume and intensity. Essentially I was planning to train through this race.
I did this race last year and really enjoyed it. The race actually goes swim, run, bike, which adds a little twist to things. The run course is pretty tough with a bunch of shorter, punchy climbs, and sandy the whole way. The bike course is similar; no serious climbs, but a bunch of shorter climbs in the 1-2 minute variety. This is a fun race to drive to also, even though it is a solid 8-9 hours away. The drive is just beautiful, as you go over 3 serious passes.
So, on to the race. The swim was one of my best swims in a race yet. The swim is 1500 meters, 2 laps. The water was perfect for a wetsuit swim. I managed to be out of the water and T1 in 27:51 which was the best swim time in my age group. The time seems long because after you get out of the water you have to scramble about 50 yards up a hill before you get into transition, so T1 is actually pretty long if they timed it.
Onto the run, I started out well, but quickly faded in the small hills. I just didn't have the running strength to attack the hills hard. I really think that I was feeling the effects of the Bolder Boulder, and a long 10 mile hilly trail run earlier in the week. My run time was 2nd best in the age group, but the minute lead I had coming out of T1 turned into a 2:30 deficit to the leader in our age group by the time we left T2.
On the bike my legs continued to fade. It was a similar story to the run. I didn't have the snap and power to be strong on the short climbs. Essentially, I think my training just hasn't been Xterra specific enough. I have been focused on increasing my threshold power, and ignoring my VO2 max and anaerobic power. I lost another 11 minutes on the bike to the eventual winner of our age group, but managed to hang on for 2nd.
I had fun at this one, but realized my focus had to change to focus on these gaps in my fitness. Solid motivation to keep on plugging away.