It felt like take two for me this year at the US Xterra Championships. J-F, our little man Nico, and I took the same beautiful 12 hour drive south to Ogden, Utah as we did last year while Zoe stayed home with visiting Grandma. Only this year I got to race instead of drive home with a horrible flu the day of the race!
The race was on Saturday, and we started off with the swim in Pineview Resevoir at 9:00am when the water felt warmer than the air! Normally a mass start race, this year we Pros got our own wave start 30 seconds ahead of the amateur masses. The word on the boat launch was that some new Pro entering the race named Lance Armstrong requested it and I wasn’t going to complain! This new guy also brought a swarm of new spectators to the event so that part was cool too.
As for my race story, my fitness has only improved over the summer and since I hadn’t raced against many of my main Xterra competitors since my last Xterra race in the US in April, I was looking forward to testing myself against most of the best women in Xterra three weeks prior to Worlds. And I am really happy with how my day went….
The swim was wetsuit but warm enough that my hands and feet stayed toasty. Despite a good warmup I felt a little uncoordinated and feeble the first lap, but the second time round I felt I was stroking stronger and hanging on well to some age groupers cruising by. I came out of the water in 7th for the Pros.
After the swim, we road for about a mile before hitting the dirt and heading up, up and up and way above Snowbasin ski area. The climbing is never crazy steep and includes lots of rolling and rather fast, super fun descending at times. After about three amazing look out points on the new upper part of the course, the mountain bike ended with a long, super fun descent back down to the resort and T2. Thanks to our LUNA team mechanic, who came out to support Shonny and me at this race, I had fresh Maxxis rubber to ride on and my Alam 29er was working like new again!
After the bike, I had moved into 4th position, and could see Lesley Paterson about 45 seconds ahead of me up the long steep ski hill that started the 6 mile run. Unfortunately, Lesley’s best discipline is the run as well, so catching her would be very tough! However, by about halfway through the run I did catch Kelly Cullen, and moved into third where I stayed until the finish. Fellow Canuck, Melanie McQuaid won the race, Kelly Cullen held on for 4th and Emma Garrard rounded out the podium in fifth.
The hero of day though is my LUNA teammate Shonny Vanlandingham. After tearing her ACL a few weeks ago, she toughed it through the race with a knee brace for the run to complete the day in 7th and finish off the Pro series for 2nd overall. Since she is set for surgery for October 7th unfortunately last years World Champ will have to sit out Maui this year.
For the full story on the event visit: www.xterraplanet.com