After a good block of training, some rest and four mountain bike rides I was headed to Maui for my first Xterra in two years. Due to National Team and Olympic qualifying I have had to take a miss on all the Xterra fun over the last two years. So I had hung my bike up and said I wouldn't ride till after the Olympics.
So I dusted it off and madly tried to get my mountain skills back by riding with fellow Blue Comp Bikes ride Danial Sessford. He is a top Canada Cup circuit rider and he smacked me around for a ride to sharpen me up.
I went to Maui a week early to "get used to the heat" and also hang out with my awesome friend Aaron who lives there and always has a room for me. You rock Aaron!
I felt good and rested and hoped that the little mountain biking I had done was going to be enough and hopefully I could keep my skin from being shredded on the lava rock.
Again, good swim, fastest swim actually but then I had one of the slower transitions (yes I know, I am usually fast) as I am rusty at the whole mtn shoes, camel back, gloves etc etc. I got out onto the road in 5th or 6th and held that for a while, passed a couple and got passed and headed onto the main part in 6th with a group of 5 storming ahead. I then worked my way through the bike but lacking some fire, aggression, something and that something comes from riding my mtn bike lots and racing Xterra's. So as it turns out the 4 rides weren't enough but I did what I could and came off the bike in 10th almost 5min's down from 3rd.
I know I consistently have the fastest runs in Xterra but 5min would have seemed to be a lot to overcome. Thankfully though, Aaron didn't tell me I was 5min down from 3rd, he told me a mere 3min. So I thought to myself as he yelled this to me, "hmm, 3min, that is doable, maybe...well...lets see what we can do." So off I went on hunting as many guys down as possible.
I quickly picked off 2007 World Champ Conrad Stoltz (unfortunately he had a flat near the end of the ride) and then picked up another spot shortly after that. So 2km or so in I was in 8th and feeling strong. I was then in no mans land for a while but as I crested the main climb and started the decent I could see heads popping up out of the lava and grass down the trail. I am wicked good at running downhill on technical terrain and this includes large piles of lava rock and loose gravel and grass. So I ran full tilt downhill skidding through corners and picked off two more and hit the beginning of the last 2mile beach section in 5th place.
It was at this point that Aaron again gave some splits and heading onto the beach I was still 1:30 down on 3rd and 30 down on 4th.
I ran straight for the water and ran just in the shallow water where the sand is the hardest and within the 800m of beach I had pulled in 4th and couldn't quite see 3rd. We then run through a twisty sandy forest section before popping back out onto the final 600m beach section. It was when I came to the beach that I could see 3rd and I put my head down and stormed forward. It took me the whole 600m to catch but then there was another narrow technical trail section to go before the finish line. I passed without a glance and then put the hammer down skimming the tops of the boulders and opening a 40sec gap in the final 800m to finish 3rd.
I had the fastest swim and the fastest run by over 2 1/2 minutes.
I was stoked with this performance considering the lack of specific training and I look forward to having a go at the win in 2009