My last Xterra of the 2010 season was Xterra Lory. I had to make a decision to either go to my buddy Brian's wedding, or go to nationals. I figured that (hopefully) I'll be able to go to nationals every year, but he will only get married once (again, hopefully). So, no nationals this year. I'm a little disappointed to be sure, because I really think I had/have a chance of getting on the podium in the 25-29 age group.
With this being my last Xterra, I took a bit of a taper into it to make sure I was fresh. I did this race last year when it was the Fat Tire Tri. Without Limits Productions puts on great races, so this year with the loss of the Buffalo Creek Xterra, this race was added to the Xterra America Tour. This is a shorter race with about 1/2 mile swim, 11 mile mountain bike and 5 mile trails run. This means you can really open up the throttle the entire race, which means you really get to burn right from the gun.
The swim was in waves that were really spread out to alleviate congestion on the bike course. I had a really good swim, and since I was in the first wave, I was somewhere in the top 15. My split was 13:14 with was 49th overall and 4th in my AG.
I breezed through T1 in 50 seconds which was the 6th fastest time of the day, and immediately started hammering the bike. They changed the bike course from last year, so instead of 2 laps of smooth, rolling singletrack, we started off on some singletrack for maybe 1/4 mile, then hit some dirt roads for about 1/2 mile, then up the singletrack climb on the mountain that we eventually climb up and down for the run. After the climb and descent, then we do one lap on the rolling singletrack. The climb up the mountain, and descent back down are fairly technical with some tricky switchbacks and lots of rocks. I'd say that this roughly 4 mile section is the most technical of all of the Xterras I've done this year. This type of course is welcomed by us offroad junkies as we can put some time on the really fit roadies that cross over. Generally speaking, their technical riding isn't quite as good as their fitness. I finished the bike in 5th place overall, with a split of 49:15, which was 10th fastest overall and 2nd fastest in my AG.
Again I flew through T2 in 34 seconds (fastest time of the day for the 2nd race in a row) and got out onto the run. I quickly found out that my legs were a little cooked from the bike and so I had to just try to hang on. I really love this run. It is totally Xterra both in the fact that you run up and down a 1,000 ft mountain, and that the terrain is really rocky. You really are flying down on the descent and hoping that you don't trip on a rock because you will definitely go for quite a tumble if you do. I gave up some spots on the run, but managed to finish the race stil in 10th place overall. The finish was great with a 40 foot slip'n'slide to cool off on. Without Limits does it right!. My run split was 38:40, which was only 21st overall and a full 1:50 slower than last year.
My total time was 1:42:32, which was 10th overall and 1st place in the AG - Woot! Woot! I snagged a sweet gold belt buckle in the awards for the effort, so it was a good day!
With the points from the 1st place I accumulated enough points on the season to qualify 1st in the mountain region 25-29 age group. To be fair, there are guys behind me in those standings that whipped me in some races, so the rankings aren't truly representative of who is the fastest. It is a function of how many times you raced, and who you raced against, and some luck that really determines how it all sorts itself out. Either way though, you get some cool props and swag at the pre race dinner before nationals. So, again, I'm bummed that I can't be there, but I am looking forward to the wedding and seeing some friends I haven't seen for awhile.
So, without nationals, I needed another big race to end the year with. I decided to sign up for the Harvest Moon Long Course Triathlon - half ironman and qualifier for the Halfmax USAT National Championships in 2010 and 2011. A few of my friends did 1/2 ironmans this year, so I was inspired to try one out. Don't worry, I'm definitely not going to become a big roadie. The Harvest Moon race report will be coming out soon.