A much overdue report about ITU Cross Worlds held on May 19th in hot humid Pelham, Alabama. After the Xterra West Championships I opted to swim more, 3 times a week, in hopes that my chicken arms would gain some strength and propel me to a solid swim in Alabama. I am very much a morning person and really didn’t know what to do with myself on race morning since we didn’t start until 1pm. The luxury of being able to read the paper and savor my coffee was a nice treat.
My goal was to have a good swim so I would be in a good position on the mostly singletrack, tight windy bike course. I focused on going out hard and not settling into a pace (ie; slowing down) as early as I usually do. I ended up exiting the water in 6th place with Emma at my side. I was very pleased that my chicken arms got the job done and was excited to get on the bike.
Let me start by saying if you are told by a physical therapist that you will need to do certain exercises for the rest of your life to avoid injury, listen to said physical therapist, they know what they are talking about. The bike course was 3 laps of a 6 mile twisty, tight singletrack that was thankfully mostly under the shade of lush vegetation. I got on the bike and was riding strong behind Emma for about ½ a lap. My back was tight from the start but after ½ a lap the spasms started. The thought of safety crossed my mind a few times as it was hard to keep myself from flailing off my bike around every turn. I kept telling myself, just get to the run and all will be well and “why don’t you make time to do your back exercises, look what’s happened now”. I got passed and passed and passed by woman and came off the bike in 13th, which was not in my “plan”.
What relief it was to get off my bike and start running. My back screamed “thank you” as soon as I got off my bike. The run was two 5K laps with small rolling hills and again mostly in the shade. I think that my custom Infinit blend kept me strong and fought off any dehydration as I entered the run wishing we were allowed a small amount of time for bathroom breaks. I passed one woman on the run and ended up 12th at the line. The field of women was spectacular…a deep field of fast, fit and fun ladies that I love seeing at races. Congratulations to winner Lesley Patterson, she is on fire this year!
In the last two weeks I have been diligent about doing my physical therapy and have already noticed fewer back issues. I also made some adjustments to my position on my Specialized Fate and this seems to have helped too. I’m looking forward to a solid month and a half of training and lots of mountain bike racing to get ready for Xterra Mountain Championships. Next up is the Teva Mountain Games Ultimate Mountain Challenge. Nothing like a kayak, mountain bike, trail run and uphill road bike time trial all in a little more than 24 hours to really take your fitness up a notch.