Thursday, 26 February 2009


First time racing on my mountain bike since the race where I literally ran into a tree face first…so this was bound to be an interesting affair. I didn't have any cat scans after this race so that was nice, and I stayed on my feet (or wheels) the entire time, but did have some rust in both my technique and my navigational skills. The race was an Xterra like MTB duathlon set in the hills of Surrey County on a beautiful sunny day (hard to believe but true) over a nicely technical up and down course. The run was a 10km first leg, followed by a bike leg of 15km, then followed by the final run leg of 5km, and on each run lap there were 8 hills if I remember…which really left their mark.
After the first leg I was in about 4th place and proceed to get through T1 quickly and onto the bike course where I pretty quickly overshot a few turns and then went completely off course into no mans land. Once I found the race course again, I notice that I had been caught and passed by two riders who were some 500-700meters in front of me. Things didn't get better on that lap as I found myself looking straight down at the terrain immediately in front of my wheel (classic beginners mistake) and because of that I missed several more turns. By the end of the first lap I began to get my MTB feelings back and was looking down the trail farther and entering turns better, but overall the course markings made it tough. As I began the second lap, my calves started to cramp up and I could not believe it and decided that my mind might be involved as much as fatigue was and I decided to not ease up and force the muscles to continue to work (ouch!) and only relaxed them on the short descents. By the end of the second lap on the bike, I was definitely pretty tired and had not caught the riders in front of me, but had hope that I might be able to run them down on the final 5km run. I got through T2 pretty quickly but nearly ran off with my bike helmet still firmly on my head (doh!) …got into a nice running rhthym and began to close the gap, although I really started to struggle running down the steep hills as my quads were pretty shot. I cut the gap to about 400meters when I looked down for a moment and missed a sign for a turn and ran off course. I did not realise it for about 30-45 seconds and then it hit me that something was wrong and I turned around and ran back until I saw the sign and then got back on course. That was the end of my chances to get on the podium and I finished the lap with only one thought and that was to race it like it meant something, so I put down a very hard effort to the finish.
Overall, it was a fun race, and it reaffirmed my love of racing my MTB and Xterra racing in general. I can't wait until that type of riding and racing is a big part of my life again...

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