Prerace: First, this is my FAVORITE race. I LOVE mountain biking and the race is so laid back. It is nothing like any other Tri you have done. I never feel pressure or nervous for this. OK, maybe a couple butterflies, but that’s because I can’t wait! I drove up with Mike Lombardo. The race doesn’t start until 9am, so it’s easy to drive there on race day and having company makes the drive nice. The temp dropped as we ascended into Western MD. It was 60 degrees at 7am… nice! It warmed up quickly and was mid 80s by finish. There are only about 270 racers doing the Tri. There is also a Duathlon. The racks are first come first serve, but every rack is fair because of the entry in and exit out.
Swim (29:22) – It was in in-water start this year for a 0.75 mile swim. However it’s two loops with a 100M run in between each loop, then a 300M run to T-1, included in your swim time. Water temp was 82, warmer than usual; always no wetsuit in this race. I was able to find a decent draft in the first loop, but not so much in the second loop. The water is so nice and clear with great visibility.
Bike (1:29:28) – includes T-1. A 15 mile mountain bike course (1 mile longer than years before, slight change in course). Two 7.5 mile loops. After the first loop, you dismount and run your bike through transition. Different than a normal tri but that’s how XTERRA is and I love it. First loop is tough because passing is so difficult on single track. There is not a lot of room for passing. The course has many roots and rocks and tight turns with trees to wind around… ahh I LOVE it. There is a climb called Evitt’s Revenge which is steep and has loose rock. I was able to climb this section and go around all the other riders who were walking their bikes on both loops (a feel-good accomplishment). I had a couple riders complimented me on making it up that section. For this race, I use a 70 ounce CamelBak. It’s difficult to grab a water bottle on trails. They have water stops, but very difficult to grab cups of water on the go.
Run (55:32) – includes T-2. A 5-mile trail run. This is where I finally had a great day! The run is ridiculous. The first couple miles are OK, but then you go up that same Evitt’s Revenge climb, then it goes down this trail not allowed for mountain biking. You need to watch every step and hold on to trees on the way down. Then on the way up, you are using your hands to climb up the rocks. I’m at HR threshold just walking up. Then finally up and you have just road and grass for the final mile. I was happy that during the run I was able to push away all the negative thoughts that creep into my mind and slow me down. Hoping this is a breakthrough with my mental toughness which I have not been able to overcome in a while.
Finish was great. I had a PR by over 12 minutes! (Fourth time doing this race). Great to see a bunch of MMTC out there: Mike Lombardo, Mike D’Angelo, Deb Taylor, Dan Mooney, and Mike Matney). Mike L. placed fifth in his AG after being on the podium the day before at DITR! How about them apples!
There better be a Jellyfish in this race next year! ;-)