Monday, August 7, 2017

You're Not Racing?.....

That's the question I have been asked the last few weekends since Iron Hill....perhaps I have a raced a lot so far this year but it only works out to be 17 races.  Anyways the answer has been no I am not, it's all about getting in the training now as a couple of big events are in the Fall and they are the goal races. First up is the Shenandoah 100 MTB race on Labor Day weekend and then it's the big Kahuna in Maui at the Xterra World's.

Train, train, train......the good news is that over the past month things have been progressing well and I can begin to feel the fitness increasing. This is especially true for the swim where a few solid weeks of consistency (not volume just consistency) makes such a big difference.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Iron Hill Challenge MTB Race Report 2017....

This past weekend it was back to racing at Iron Hill Challenge in the MASS MTB Series. With the lack of Xterra races until the World Championships in October, the calendar will need to be filled with other races consisting of XC and Endurance MTB races as well as a few trail runs.  The goal for these races is to race hard and put pressure on myself to go all out.

For Iron Hill Challenge that worked out pretty well.  I didn't get to pre-ride the course so aimed to take to the front as soon as possible to give me the cleanest view of the course.  Wow was I surprised! I had no idea that the course was as rocky as it was and was a blast from start to finish. It had a good mix of everything and with the oppressive heat it was a tough day for everyone.  Although I took the lead early I surrendered it mid-way through the 1st lap before getting caught behind some riders from the earlier fields which meant we rode a slightly slower tempo pace for a couple of the singletrack climbs. After getting past them it was game on and just before hitting the 2nd lap I made the pass for 1st and just nailed it for the lap.  In the end I was able to take the win by 3mins in the Cat 2 40+ field and posted a faster 2nd lap than the 1st which was a combination of knowing the course, meeting less slower riders and just punishing myself.  Mission accomplished.

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With that result being the 2nd win in 2 races at the Cat 2 40+ field I think it is time to move on up. Next year I'll start racing the Cat 1 40+, which means longer races (one more lap) and probably a mid-pack finish but it will give me something to work on over the winter!

With the racing done as per the norm we headed off to Street, MD to visit the Falling Branch Brewery and enjoys some brews while the rain finally started to fall!

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Xterra Ex2 Race Report 2017 - It's a short one!

This past weekend was the Xterra Ex2 rce up at Rocky Gap State Park in Flintstone.  I didn't race this course last year as we were back in England but did in 2015 (see previous post for that recap).

It's a great course with a clear lake swim, a rocky but fast bike course and a technical run.  After a pre-ride which included the 2nd lap in pouring rain on Saturday afternoon I was really looking forward to battling on Sunday.

Unfortunately it wasn't to be....after a great swim and being 5th out of the water, I had moved into 3rd on the bike in the first couple of miles, feeling pretty damn good before a rock ripped the tire and ended my day!  Oh well, the perils of racing in the dirt is that mechanical issues have a much greater part to play than regular road triathlons.

At least it didn't happen at a qualifier for Worlds or even at Worlds!  Time to take a recovery week and then get back to logging the training.  It's all in for Maui at Xterra World's from here on in!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Repost: Xterra Ex2 this weekend so a race recap from 2015

With Xterra Ex2 this weekend, a good time to re-read the race report from 2015!  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Xterra Ex2 (Rocky Gap) 2015 Race Report

Since my last race at Xterra East Championships in Richmond I had gotten a pretty solid month of training done and with the added motivation of the World Championships in November, I was pretty amped for the Xterra Ex2 race at Rocky Gap.

The race was being held at the Rocky Gap State Park (adjacent to the Casino) over the distances of 1200m swim, 14 mile bike and a 5 mile run.  As you need to for Xterra (well you don't have to but it certainly is beneficial) we headed up the day before the race so that I could get a pre-ride of the course and a general lay of the land.  The lake looked great and was the central feature of the race, you start by swimming in it, you circumnavigate the lake on each lap of the bike and then also run across the dam on the run.  Pre-riding the bike course is critical as you really need to know what to expect and can save you minutes on race day.  The course was a lot of fun and as the name of the park suggests is full of rocks!  Again the riding over at Fountainhead paid dividends.

After spending the night in nearby Cumberland and reverting back to the tried and tested breakfast of granola and a muffin, we were at the race prepping for the 900am (so much more civilized than road triathlons).  As expected Daryl Weaver, the recently crowned National Champion, was present and ready for action as was Michael Welch (another recent convert to Xterra, much like myself) so it was looking like a fast day!
Bike prepped ready for the rocks

Mid July means hot lakes in Maryland and the swim was not wetsuit legal so on the horn we all jumped in and begun the first of 2 laps in the lake.  The swim felt great and coming out of the water for the short mid-swim beach run, I could see that there weren't many in front.  Ultimately I came out of the water in 12th and was just about 2mins off the front...a good start!

The bike course was a lot of fun and had a little bit of, roots, climbs and flowy singletrack along the lake. Michael was just behind me exiting the water so it was a good bit of motivation to push the first section on the bike hard.  By now I can tell how well I am riding or how well I swam by noting when Daryl comes past me on the bike. The longer it takes the better I have swum or the better I am biking.  Today was a good day, Daryl didn't come by until towards the end of the first seven mile lap, although it didn't take him long to forge on ahead.  The course also had a a couple of short sections of road that enabled nutrition to be taken safely and easily, not always ideal on the rocky sections!

The 2nd lap of the bike was a bit more challenging in that you had to make your way past slower riders, which in most areas was fine as they either yielded the trail or the track was wide enough to swing past to the left. The only real troublesome area was the final section of singletrack that was so tight that there wasn't really anywhere for riders to yield. I probably lost a minute or two on that final section but hey that's racing. My bike split was the 5th fastest overall (but still 5mins slower than Daryl's fastest split of the day)

I was off onto the run in 4th place and for the first time this year I felt really good off the bike.  The first half a mile was on the road and even as we entered the trail portion the legs were turning over well. Despite a stupid fall on a rock (and subsequent elbow wound) I was eating up the ground on 4th place and about halfway through up the climb of Ebitts Revenge, I passed into the final podium place for 3rd.  However on the technical and rocky descent Michael came flying by like a ninja and opened enough of a gap that he held till the end. I blame my longer and less nimble limbs! 

Showing the remnants of the fall

So I crossed the line in 4th place and 1st in age group, a good result that was proved the training is progressing (and I hadn't tapered). Better yet for me anyway, was that the racer who crossed the line in 1st had cut a significant portion of the bike course and with that penalty I had moved into 3rd place overall....sweet!
Overall Podium...

Onwards and upwards as the Xterra season moves on....still lots to work on but all moving in the right direction in what is a great learning season. Next race is Xterra Appalachia.