Okay this is my 1st RR...but my 2nd time doing Rocky Gap Xterra and my 6th (?) overall tri. Rocky Gap is my favorite, I think. I don't really train for it like I do my on road tris, so my expectations are lower (thus less pressure!), and it's the only tri (so far) that I've gone away for. This year was especially a blast, as Danny and I took the camper and camped in the RG Campground....which was an absolute blast! I remember last year, running & biking thru the campground, with people cheering us on, and thinking wow how fun would that be! And yes it was!!
We went up on Friday afternoon again...quite the ordeal just to get there, as the camper was making its virgin trip of the season and wanted to give us a challenge:) But we got there in plenty of time to get it set up...then we rolled into Cumberland for their Friday night outdoor music, food, & beer. (Another thing I would NEVER do 2 nights before a road tri!) We had a great dinner, danced outside, carbo loaded a little:), and were actually asleep by midnight.
Saturday, we got up and road the course. Again, I dont know that I would ride a race course the day before a road tri, but having only been back on my mountain bike for 3 weeks, it really helps to get to know the course. Later, we went and actually signed up...you are getting the idea that an Xterra, although VERY competitive and extremely challenging, has a much more relaxed attitude in general...so there were still spots in the tri, but not many. Later, we chilled with some fishing & a campfire, and a pre-race meal of burgers on an open fire:)
Okay, so now its race day. Xterras start later...a definite plus...and my wave wasnt until 9:03. Good thing, b/c we had 1 major problem that we realized at 11pm the night before...I'll let Danny tell it in his RR, but let's just say it was a major equipment malfunction solved by the Blue Light Specials!! Turned out to be very funny and a good story...but not at the time.
So the swim... .8 mile in a beautiful lake, where you do a 1st lap, hop out and run about 500 yards, hop back in and swim a 2nd lap. The only difference this year was we had to run along the beach for about 200 yards first, due to a changed starting area. Swimming definitely being the ugly stepsister for me, that was all I needed, was to be slightly out of breath entering the water! But the swim went as well as it can go for me, I guess...didnt veer off course, didnt swim into any buoys (yes, I did do that in my 1st Columbia tri!), and the buoys are on my right which is perfect for me and so much fairer than Columbia:) I was a little ticked when I kept seeing the girl next to me keeping pace with me...while breaststroking! Oh well, I made it, 37:47 including all the running.
Okay, onto the bike...and they dont name this area Rocky Gap for nothing! Very cool 7.5 mile course that you do 2 laps. Some XXX downhills that I did pretty well on. Very hard to make your move and pass, with all the single track and all the rocks. The good thing about coming out of the water so late is that you feel good about how many people you pass! My goal is always to let no women pass me and to pass as many men and women as possible. There is a kickazz hill called Evitts Revenge - I made it on our practice ride and was fired up, but you have to get the perfect line, which is difficult during the race b/c everyone is walking it. So I almost made it but got pushed off my line...as I walked/ran my bike up, this guy rode all the way up next to me. But when we got to the top, I hopped on my bike and was gone, while he was still trying to recover. So I decided that aside from the personal desire to kick Evitt Revenge's butt, it was energy poorly spent to ride up it! Anyway, rode the 1st lap in 48:54 which was 2nd in my AG, and the 2nd lap in 47:44 which was 1st in my AG!!
Okay, now onto the run...yeah, right, a "Run"...should be called a hike/belay/climb. Very difficult 5 mile run. As you are "running" downhill between miles 3 and 4, it isn't a question of IF you are gonna spain an ankle, but WHEN. Then your reward is a shear climb up rocks...your quads are burning. I remember being warned about it last year...I warned others this year, but that doesnt do it justice. You finally get to the top and have a mile to go on road to finish...the last half mile was brutal. I usually have a great kick at the end of a run and I went after the girl in front of me, thinking she would have nothing left. She heard me coming tho and she surprised me - she was able to outkick me to the end, by a second or 2. But it was cool b/c we could hear people cheering us on as we passed several guys on our way in. So my run ended up fairly good, at 55:32 which was 1st in my AG!
So as I said at the beginning....if only I could swim,l I had a chance to win my AG. As it was, I did get on my 1st podium...although I consider it a Participation Trophy, b/c usually events only go 3 deep, but RG had awards for Top 5. And my trophy.....very fitting for an Xterra....a Beer Glass!!
Great fun, great weekend, and I'd recommend this race to anyone...and recommend spending the weekend there!