3 seconds over 3 days. That was the cumulative time difference between myself and second place overall, Roger Smith, at the end of a 3000m swim, 40km mountain bike, and 20km trail run over the weekend in Canmore. The Xterra Enduro is a new format and unique on the Xterra Canada calendar this season. With the options of doing it solo, entering single days, or doing it as a relay, it is a different challenge from your average one day Xterra race. Although I had just barely recovered from the half ironman in Calgary the weekend before, and had come down with a small head cold, I decided to do it anyway, as long as my cold didn’t get worse each day or go south into my chest. It was a fun “training race” to push a little bit and refamiliarize myself with the course for next weekend’s Alberta Xterra race. Anyway, here is the story….
Day 1: 3000m swim at Quarry Lake. On a blustery but warm Friday evening at Quarry Lake, a nice crowd of swimmers showed up for a swim race start at 7:00pm of 6 times a 500m lap with a short beach run in between each lap. After freezing in Ghost lake last weekend I thoroughly enjoyed the balmy 20 degree water temperature! Once we got going I stuck on my Coach Cal’s feet for a little bit before deciding he was swimming a little too crooked 🙂 After that I was trying to make gains on wetsuit-less Steve up in front of me but the naked arms only seemed to get a fraction closer by the end of the race. Superstar junior Madi Serpico, who was just out for swim portion out 10 seconds in front of me so after 48 minutes in the water I was second female for the night and glad that I’d felt okay being a little under the weather.
Day 2: 40km mountain bike at the Nordic Centre. For day two of perfect summer racing weather, race director Tony Smith gave us no mercy when it came to including plenty of climbing in the 10km mountain loop we were to do four times. We covered most of the vertical within the Nordic centre from near “the oven” at the top to the bottom of the coal chutes (watch out for big mama bear and cubs here) and plenty of up and down in between. 2h49min later I finished 7 minutes behind first place in second overall for the day. I felt alright during the race but my fatigue level felt doubled afterwards due to my cold. Luckily a fun night out with fellow racers and Calgary training partners at Kyle and Carrie’s place for a BBQ revived me a bit and Zoe thoroughly enjoyed the playmates and treehouse!
Day 3: 20km trail run at the Nordic Centre. By day three I was feeling really tired and was struggling to get myself up to run, let alone keep a good pace through 20km of steep up and down Nordic centre trails where most mortals never feel like they’re going anywhere fast. I learned I had a 17 minute lead on the overall going into the run so figured I would just have to run a good steady tempo to maintain it, but boy was I wrong and my body was not even up to much “tempo” pacing to finish things off! The race began and my body felt like a sack of bricks, oh well, one foot in front of the other let’s go and get it done! The front men’s pack took off like rockets and for most of the first lap I was going back and forth with strong running Cindy Koo. I finally got away on the last hill, and then was on my own for the next hour before finishing for a final sore legged plod of 1h57. Roger Smith of Golden, BC, finished off the weekend with a super strong run and brought my overall lead down to just 3 seconds, whew!!! Gotta keep it exciting I guess! Now I think I’ll just sleep for a few days – oh wait, I have kids!