The Mountain Regional Championship/Xterra Beaver Creek was my first "A" race of the 2010 season. I had designed my training so that I would peak for this race. Qualification for the Xterra World Championships in Maui and the ITU offroad world championships in Spain were on the line. The race course starts at around 7000 ft and only goes up from there. The bike course has about 3600 feet of climbing, while the run has about 1500 feet of climbing.
My training leading into this race was pretty intense and very race specific, i.e. brick workouts on Mt. Falcon with lot of climbing on the bike and run.
We stayed at a friend's house in Frisco on Friday night, so the wake up call luckily wasn't as early as it could have been. Good food and good company. So far, the weekend was starting off well.
Race morning rolled around and we went to set up transition areas. This was a split transition race, so we had to drive up to the resort to set up T2, then drive back down to the lake for warm up and T1 set up.
The Swim: The swim was a two lap swim in Nottingham Lake in Avon, CO. To fit in 1500 meters in this little lake, we used just about every bit of the space. The swim was a deepwater start. I was in the 2nd wave, so I had a minute to get settled after getting in the water and then the gun went off. The swim was a pretty bad one by my standards. Because of the size of the lake and the number of people, it was full traffic for the entire swim. The worst part was that I got kicked on my wrist, which knocked my Garmin 310XT off. It must have broke where the pins on the strap meet the face of the watch. So, it is now somewhere at the bottom of that lake. So, needless to say, the race didn't start off very well.
Out onto the bike and my bad day continued. I just couldn't find my legs. I lacked snap again on the bike, similar to 4 corners. I just kept getting passed on the first stretch of singletrack climbing until we got to the part of the course that gets onto an access road at Beaver Creek. My legs finally started to come around and I started to pass some people back. The entire time I was having a hard time pacing, since I didn't have my heart rate monitor to use as a guide.
The rest of the bike was pretty uneventful, other than I kept slowly picking off some more people and bridged back up to a group that had passed me in the first half of the race.
So, at this point I have my first 3 takeaways from the race.
1. Wear the Garmin under my wetsuit.
2. I need a longer, more focused warm up on the bike and run before the race.
3. More strength and mountain bike specific training is needed, with less emphasis on super focused trainer sessions.
I came into T2 and flew through it. It was one of the best T2 times of the day. Out on the run I felt decent to start, but faded quickly on the steeper climbs. The ascents were even steeper than what I had trained on. In addition, the heat was starting to get pretty intense. I passed a few people and then got passed by a few. In net, I moved up a little bit on the run, but my time was a long way away from what I expected.
In the end I posted a time of 2:52:15 with swim, T1, bike, T2, run splits of: 25:14, 1:40, 1:35:29, :53, 48:57. That was good for 8th in my age group. Unfortunately that means no Maui or Spain. I learned more on the run though. I need more hill work. Again, I need to take the good fitness I have and make it more Xterra specific. In my next post I"ll talk about the changes I'm making, what the real key workouts will be, and the general plan for Ogden (US National Championships).