Xterra USA Nationals was made super exciting this year by the appearance of Lance. The hype was a little much at times but the crowds were amazing! Never in an Xterra have I seen spectators at so many places on the bike and run. Thanks Lance for making our sport a little more known! Also, thanks to all my great sponsors for the support throughout the year: Native, Specialized, Infinit, Avia, No Tubes, Honey Stinger and Squadra!
Doug's good childhood friend was getting married last weekend so he was partying on the East Coast, leaving me without my favorite travel partner or mechanic. Congrats Fran and Candice! Sorry I couldn't be there! After a long solo drive on Thursday I rode the new part of the course and had to stop several times to enjoy the spectacular views. Friday was spent relaxing and doing some light pre-race workouts.
The Xterra Nationals course should be perfect for me as there is so much climbing. Turns out for the last 3 years the trails around Snowbasin and I don't get along as well as we should. I finished the day in 8th with the 5th place podium spot I was gunning for only about 2 minutes ahead of me. Here's a quick break down of the day:
For the first time the pros got our own wave and started 30 seconds before the amateurs. I started the swim next to many women and just a few places down from Lance. It seemed like we would have a direct line to the first bouy but the blinding sun led us astray way to the right. Or maybe it was the excessive number of kayaks and boats that caused us to get lost. Anyways, I managed to get back on course and had a good swim hanging with a small group of pro men. I came out of the water in 6th, which is great for me! I'm sure it's against all coaching beliefs but it seems the less I swim the faster I race.
This is where I should shine on this course based on my skills. Not so, this year though. Don't get me wrong I was still fast but somehow I just didn't have the power in my legs that was there a few weeks ago. I passed Suzy about 3 miles into the bike and knew there were woman chasing me and probably not too far ahead of me. I was trying to pick up the pace but kept finding myself feeling "off". After being passed by Danelle, I held my 5th place spot on the bike until the top of the Sardine climb, when Shonny (aka the toughest woman out there racing with a torn ACL) passed me. I knew Emma was right behind me and we ended up riding into transition together. I must say Emma and I look good in our almost matching kits!
I had a less than speedy transition because of the obnoxious buckles on my bike shoes. I'm hoping to get a pair of the Specialized TriVent Terra shoes to help me speed out of transition like a bolt of lightening. Out of transition I could see Shonny, Christine and Emma all right in front of me. Once we were up the super steep hill and to the singletrack they pulled away and my legs would not respond when I tried to pick up the pace. And I can't believe that I ate it not once but twice on the run again. The first time was a minor spill about 1.5 miles in and the second was a little more painful at about 3 miles. I jammed my big toe on a rock and thought I might have broken my toenail off. Then, I started to feel what I assumed was blood in my shoe. As always, whether it's a good day or bad day I did my best and made my way to the finish, coming across the line in 8th. I took my shoe off to see a very bloody foot. The medical staff thought a few stitches would be a good idea but I suggest a little glue instead. Thankfully, they agreed this would be adequate.
Not my best day but it is pretty amazing how fast all of us ladies are and the races are getting more exciting because we are so close. Congrats to Specialized teammates Mel for taking the win and Emma for getting on the podium in 5th. See all you speedy ladies in Maui!