It has been a long season, this was my first entire Xterra season yet. 10 months ago I set a goal of getting to Maui and having some fun along the way. It wasn’t an easy season, had its ups and downs but man it was sweet. October 23rd came fast and before I knew it I was packing my gear for Maui to race against the worlds best in one of the prettiest places on earth. I have to thank Grammo and Standing Stone Brewing Company for their on going support this season because with out it there is no way I would have been able to get to half the races I did.
The night before my flight was out I still wasn’t packed for Maui. I got home from work around 12:30 am and needed to leave the house by 2 am to make my flight which was out at 8:30 am leaving from Portland. I decided I should probably check the Stan’s sealant as I hadn’t changed it in 3 months. Man was I glad I checked that . . .
It was all dried up, I added some sealant packed everything up and was on my way to the airport. I didn’t account for rush hour traffic in Portland and ended up missing my plane. The best they could do was get me out the next day. No biggie just had to kill a day in Portland. I phoned a friend and set up a place to stay. I’d like to thank Erin for that as well as Barbra for hosting me.
I made it to the airport with lots of time to spare and made it on the plane with no issues. I was headed to Maui. I had never been to Hawaii before, I was excited to see Maui and get in some warm water. Stepping of the plane and making my way towards baggage pick up I was greeted with this view . . .
My good friend and racing buddy was on his way to pick me up from the airport and head back to the condo. One stop before the condo, I managed to forget my pedals so new ones where needed. The drive to the condo was gorgeous. When we arrived we decided to set the bikes up and just take it easy for the day and go out and do a very lite pre-ride on Saturday.
The pre-ride was interesting, we hit a little single track and decided to keep it to 4 miles to make sure we didn’t burn ourselves out. The course was beautiful, however it did not play to any of my strengths. Not a technical bit on the entire course and 80% jeep road with tons of climbing. Something around 4,000 feet and then the run course had 1300 feet of climbing in just 6.2 miles. On top of all this climbing it was hot. Coming from Southern Oregon I was not ready for the humidity.
Bike Course Profile
Run Course Profile
After seeing the course and riding for just a bit in the heat I knew it was going to hurt, I just under estimated the level of pain I was about to experience. Race morning and it was crazy 675 ish of the best in the Off Road Triathlon world were toeing the line getting ready for the mass start swim. Crazy, I’ve been in some pick swims this year but nothing like this . . .
The cannon blows and nothing else matters, its time to race. The swim was insane, the entire first lap I was in a pack of what felt like 75 constantly hitting and kicking everyone around me. By the second lap we thinned out a bit but was still in a pack. The water was gorgeous and crystal clear, you could see the ocean floor the entire swim. I exited the water and was a little bit better than middle of the pack. I felt alright but as always I was exited to get on the bike.
The bike started with a climb on pavement, I decided I was going to try to pace myself for this race because of all the climbing. Up the road to the single track there must have been a pack of 50 people. A racing buddy of mine passed me and I jumped on his rear tired. Kept on it for the first 2 to 3 miles until we hit the jeep road. I just couldn’t keep his pace. Slowly I watched him disappear. This would be the case for the next 6 or so miles, people would pass I’d hang on, heart rate would spike and I would have to let them go. At mile 8 we hit the down hill. Time to catch some people back. I was passing people by the dozen, my gps read top speed of 38, I was hanging it all out there trying to catch all those that passed me. After the big decent we had a lot of small up and downs. I found myself exchanging places with a lot of people for the next 6 miles. They would catch me on the climbs ( Due to my lack of fitness) then I would reel them in on the downhill. There was this one girl in particular who hollered out as I was bombing past her on a decent ” I’ll see you on the next climb” I just smiled. And sure enough the next climb there she was. At this point of the race I was just out there to have a good time and I was. The bike was coming to and end and the run was right around the corner.
Heading into transition for the run I had a few supporters cheering me on. It was great to have a friend and riding buddy from home at the race. John just happened to be in Maui the same time as the race. My goal for the run was just to survive. That is exactly what I did. I could not believe how hot it was, the humidity was killing me. I was taking my time at the aid stations making sure to get as much fluid as possible to keep the cramping at bay. About half way thtough the run the helicpoter that was videoing the race was right above the pack I was in and this for some reason motivated me to pick up the pace a little. The run course was essentially straight up for three miles then down with one little climb at the end. I have to admit I did more walking than I have ever done before, it was painful. I wasn’t able to open it up on the downhill like I normally can. With the beach in site and the noise of the crowd I was thrilled to be on the verge of finishing. The beach run was extremely hard and I saw a age grouper just ahead and knew I wanted to catch him. And I did, I pushed and left everything I had out there.
Man was I excited to be done. That was a hard course, on a hot day. During the race I questioned what I would be doing next season, but as I cooled off after the race slightly disappointed with my results I told myself I’ll be back. It was an awesome experience and seeing Lance Armstrong race and being out there racing the same time as him was awesome.
I ended up 16th out of 27ish in my age group and 327 out of 675ish. A ways of my goal with a time of 3 hours and 42 minutes. This race left me hungry for better results. I am a little relieved that the season is over and I can go back to just having some fun for a little while before I have to start working on base training. Coach said I can take 3 weeks to do nothing. YAY . . . next season I think I am going to do the entire Oregon Super D series and 5 Xterra’s most likely making the Canadian Championship my A race. Towards the end of the season I got a little burned out, next season I am going to do my best to keep that from happening. However right now I am itching to get back to training. It has been a little over a week with nothing, I’m already putting my schedule together for next year. Man this stuff is addicting !!!
Here is a short video put together by the great people with Xterra TV reviewing the race . . .
The final race of the season, Maui