Thursday, August 26, 2010

Xterra Indian Peaks Race Report

Xterra Indian Peaks was on August 8 at Eldora Ski Resort in the beautiful Indian Peaks Wilderness just outside of Nederland, CO. My dad came into town to visit from the Thursday before to the Tuesday after. It was great having him in town and for him to be able to come to a race.

I was going into Indian Peaks hoping for some redemption from the BC race. My training leading up tot he race had been solid and I felt like the changes I had made were starting to result in better Xterra specific fitness. I was definitely hoping to land on the podium in the 25-29 AG.

The swim is in the snow making reservoir just down the access road from the base area of the resort. Because it is just for snowmaking, there isn't a lot of real estate for the swim. This mean a shorter swim, about 1,000 meters, which I wasn't going to complain about. The race course base elevation is at 9200 feet, which is definitely the highest swim I've done. The swim was a time trial start, so it really reduced the congestion a ton. I was slotted 53rd based on projected swim time and mountain biking ability. The idea is to minimize traffic on the mountain bike course. More on that later. I started off the swim really well...a little too well. I went into the red zone early and had to really back off for a bit. I just forgot about the elevation I guess. Eventually I settled in and got back to a reasonable pace. Once we made the turn at the first buoy, there was some nice waves cracking from left to right because of the stiff wind. Luckily the distance to the 2nd buoy and the final turn back to shore was short. So, I made the return and we swam back into the wind and waves. For the 1,000 meter swim I had a time of 17:03 which was 2nd fastest in my AG, but only 66th fastest overall. The swim still needs work, but then again, I think it always will.

This race is unique in T1 as you have to run for almost 1/2 mile to transition. So, you can choose to run w/your wetsuit at your waist, or carry it. You put your shoes down by the lake, take your wetsuit off, put the shoes on and head up to T1. I managed to move up through some people on the run to T1 and was quickly out on the bike.

After a short climb up the ski slopes, the course is 2 loops on the nordic trails. This bike course is a lot of fun, with a near perfect mix of fun, rocky singletrack and wide doubletrack for passing. The course was more technical than BC, but by no means would I consider it technically challenging. There were a few greasy spots out there due to the large amount of rain in the 2 weeks leading up to the race, but otherwise, just some rocky parts to deal with.

I felt pretty good on the bike and steadily moved up through the field. The shift to a more mountain bike focused training plan really paid off I think. I felt like I had the power to really attack the climbs and power through some of the more technical sections. I ended up with a 1:14:11 bike split which was 3rd in my AG and 33 overall. There is still work to be done on the bike as far as building a bigger engine, but I felt I was much improved from the last race.

I hit transition and absolutely blew through it in 24 seconds! This was the fastest time, including the pros. I really have T2 down to a science now.

Out onto the run and back onto similar terrain as the bike. The course is a lot of short punchy climbs that will take you above lactate threshold for a bit, and recovery on the downhill side if you can keep turning your legs over. This is a really fun run with all of the ups and downs. The run also went through a little marsh section that had me knee deep at one point. Totally Xterra! The end of the run is in a wooded section that is very twisty/turny, with plenty of roots to trip you up. Oh, and the climbs are in there too.

I felt that my run was much improved from BC. I had a lot of snap on the climbs and kept moving up on the run. The hill intervals are really paying off, so i will continue to make those a key run workout in my plan. I finished the 7K (4.35 mi) run in 32:23, which was 3rd in the AG and 21st overall. That left me with an overall time of 2:09:21 which was good for 27th overall and 3rd place in my AG, so mission accomplished. This was a much better race for me, other than the swim. Overall I'm feeling good about the changes that I've made to training and I'm looking forward to the next test; Xterra Lory this Sunday August 29th.

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