It’s always a great feeling when a race comes together as planned.
I’ve been having a successful season this year, racing stronger than ever, so I decided to take a shot at the podium for the XTERRA in Tahoe City.
I started putting in some long mountain bike rides with a lot of climbing, followed by tough runs with a lot of climbing. I put in some time in the cold water at high altitude (the altitude makes a bigger difference in the swim than on the bike or run).
The race got off to a good start with a solid swim that kept me in a good position in the field. Off on the bike, it took most of the first climb before the legs loosened up and I hit my groove. Then, I let the bike take over. It was a perfect course for the way that my Toa handles, and it was a lot of fun. I ended up taking about 12 minutes off my bike split from the year before (not bad for a 22 mile course).
Throughout the bike, I had been dueling it out with another guy in my age group. He’d pass me and get a little gap, then I’d hit a section where I could fly through and I’d pass him back. Each time, one of us would get that little gap and think that we had dropped the other only to relax for a second and get passed.
I came in to the transition area first, but he was a little quicker getting out. The run for this race is a hard 2.5 miles up, with a little loop at the top and then a fast 2.5 mile descent. At this point, neither of us was sure exactly where we stood with our placing, but we were certainly having a good race on our own. He pulled away towards the top of the climb, but I caught him again as we started to head downhill. In my lead up to this race, I spent a lot of time working on improving my downhill running skills and it paid off. This time, the gap opened and I kept it. I came in to the finish line knowing that I put in a very solid race that I could be happy with.