After a few weeks of restful time with the family, with amazing weather and super fun training days on Hornby Island, it was time to head over to Whistler for the Xterra Canada Championship.
It was a completely new course from last year, which was a fabulously fun skill-testing challenge for anyone! With two days to practice finding all the right lines to navigate through the dips, roots, and too many bridges and planks to count, my upper body was fatigued from so much bike pumping but it was worth it to get to know the course better! Plus it was so much fun to ride!
Race morning was yet another sunny and warm day. With the number of competitors way up from last year, it was a chaotic swim start. And I didn’t think I could ever say this but I got lost in the swim! The first and tiny buoy was straight out from shore and the sun was shining straight at us blinding our vision. I didn’t sight a whole lot on the way out to the first buoy because I couldn’t see it anyway! When I finally did see it I realized myself and half the field were way too far right of the buoy so I had to back track to get around it with people swimming straight at me after rounding the buoy. After that mess I found my rhythm and was happy to see where I was going. You can see how bad it was in the photo below…
Otherwise, the water was a great temperature and I was well warmed up to head out onto the bike. I came out of the water as the 4th Pro and 10th women overall. By about half way through the lap I’d moved up to 2nd place behind Melanie McQuaid and knew I’d have to work hard to hold off two top Canadian Pro mountain bikers both entering their first ever Xterra race, local rider Brandi Heisterman (also a mom of two – go moms!) and Mical Dyck. By the River Runs through it trail Brandi had caught me and half way through the second lap Mical caught me. I rode technically well for me and was cleaning everything better each lap but I had a lot of work cut out for the run after a long bike with roughly a 9 minute deficit on Brandi and 2 min deficit on Mical going into the run.
And ohhhh, that run! It was truly as my coach had described it would be, a “billy goat’s run”. It was more technical than the mountain bike and all straight up and down. It was jumping down over rocks and roots or running straight up not knowing where the next turn would take you. It was epic and tough, and not really anywhere to open up the leg speed until the final pounding down the pavement to the finish. I’d caught Mical and narrowed the gap to 2 minutes on Brandi by the end to finish 3rd after nearly an hour of running or should I say scrambling, ha! It was truly an epic day with one of the longest mountain bikes and definitely longest run time wise of any Xterra race I’ve ever done. Mical ended her solid day in 4th and Emma Garrard from Utah rounded out the top 5 for the Pro women. Congrats to everyone who killed it, conquered, or survived their day at Xterra Canada and still finished with a smile on their face – there is nothing more challenging in Xterra anywhere!!!