XTERRA World Championship...


Well, like I said, this race was somewhat of a fluke for me.  This year, I hadn't seriously trained, had been traveling A LOT for work,  it was two weeks after a 4-day MTB self-supported race/ride (which was merely aerobic), and with a lot of other big life changes going on, I had somehow qualified, made it there (on time)...and had an incredible time.  And survived it fine.  I mean, hey, if I'm gonna be "middle-of-the-pack", WORLDS is where to do it!


The race was fantastic.
Hard as heck.
An "athlete's" course.
There was no real "fun" factor to it nor any sections where luck would give anyone any advantage -- was solidly brutal from start to finish.  Lots of heat, aggressive riders (mainly from the slower swimmers battling it out for the front positions once on the singletrack), steep hills, heat, humidity, congestion on the trails (bottlenecking - susan, i'll explain later, but it's not fun when walkers are holding up your line :-).

There was a lot of hype and press.  Mr Lance Armstrong, several Olympians (yo Frodeno!!) and other athletic gods were there to try out xterra, which is great for our sport.  (Lance was really solid, but had a pretty big spill on the bike...which you can see videos on the internet...not gonna post em here.)

Since I'd swum (swam?) 1500m straight maybe a mere two times all year -- Worlds and at Santa Cruz (which was so cold and traumatizing that I wasn't very motivated to swim much more since) -- I wasn't expecting too much on the swim.  And I was right....my time totally sucked.  But I saw a gorgeous turtle (Hanu) swimming under us, simply looking up at us, checking us out.  It turned out to be my favorite moment of the race!   Spectacular!

The bike and run portions included a lot of serious climbing, which normally I love, in a sick sorta way.  The descents were so fast/short that there wasn't a lot of time for recovery.  Of course, descending remains my weakest link when it comes to the bike.  I can pedal in the biggest ring, but somehow people (usually bigger than me) go zipping by, not even pedaling. However, Lesley Paterson and Renata Bucher blow my whole theory about little people losing time due to gravitational disadvantages.  So, that, and I guess I still rank self-preservation pretty high :-)  

Overall, it was a fun course, in a smashfest sort of way.  During the bike/run, I tried to remember to glance at the ocean, at the distant islands, every so often.  What a great way to spend the day...absolute smashfest w/700 other insane athletes...to include all the big boys and girls! :-)


Good good times.  I think I ate more, socialized more, played more, etc....than  any coach/mother ever would've recommended.  There was no propping-up-of-the-feet, no real resting, etc..  Somehow, I managed to swim, bike, run almost every day before the race...not necessarily hard efforts, rather for fun, pre-riding the course, commuting, etc..

And after the race, well, after the big championship dinner (where I promptly downed some red meat and at least two coffees), we all got a second wind and somehow ended up in Halloween costumes and shutting down the dancefloor.  (Note, as hot as tri/mtb guys are, many of them seem to have some bizarre interest in dressing up as hot women, which in itself is fine, but sorta throws off normal chicks' equilibriums.)

Then, somehow, still managed to get up the next morning at sunrise...still running off all the previous day's adrenaline I suppose.  Felt great til about 24 hrs exactly after the race....when I hit the wall pretty hard.  Somehow, laying on a Hawaiian beach w/friends experiencing the same 'crash' isn't too bad.

So, that's it in a nutshell.  Now, I think I should actually train next year:  (a) to qualify (can't miss out on Maui!), and (b) to do better than middle-of-the-pack.  Just think... 

Biking thru Pineapple groves...
Trying to relax -- great view upward!
Pre-ridingw/the girls...all fun, games and grins.
Real riding during the race...climbing...not so much outward grinning. 
(Brightroom photo)
Almost over...really?  Maybe I shoulda pushed a bit harder.  Where's that turtle?
(Brightroom Photo)

Next year, I will tear up this downhill section!

** A few of you have hit me up about training/racing XTERRA...let me know if you're still interested.... Fun!  Good times! And healthy living (except the after-parties :-)

Coconino 250


I plan to post a write-up about this epic weekend, but I'm still in withdrawals from riding and simply being outside, so for now, I'll sum it up in a few words and post some pics...and then head back outside to play.

Coconino 250 Bikepacking Race -- 250 miles of bikepacking. Self-supported.  Over 33000Ft of elevation change, to include 3 pretty significant mountain 'ranges'.

smashingly hard
too long
too short
gorgeous days
frigid nights
violent shivering
hot fire
sweet singletrack
sweet singletrack at night
grinding fireroads
more mountains
killer climbs
ecstatic climbs
fun descents
scary descents
clear river
bleach water
via coffee packs galore
burnt bike shorts
loyal bicicleta
breakfast burritos, 2 days old
more elk
bear scat
new friends
better friends
sunset full moonrise for 1000+ drop off schnebly straight home

although, after all that, home seems to be back 'out there', not 'in here'.


My trusty steed.
Phantom Pack Systems served me well.
Endo on the switchbacks.

                     Long sustained climb up Mingus. Can you see any riders ascending?

Hike-a-bike (HAB) sucks.  Doing it w/double your usual bike weight, double sucks. 
(Btw, SM&CB routiers are cruel!)

Out near the old Perkins homestead.

After a point, you don't worry too much about taste, just making sure ya get all that you need.  That's a messy mix of river water, bleach, greensuperfood, 1/2 Hammer Heed and of course CAFFEINE! :-)

Somebody was trying to be a good friend and hang the girl's shorts by the fire to dry off, but he forgot to factor in that random gusts of wind that might blow the makeshift-stick-hanger right into the fire.  Fortunately, that same friend had some spare duct-tape and voila.  Cat-eyes.  (Yep, she kept the shorts!)

Cruising w/4 YEARS of gear (thank goodness). San Francisco Peaks on the far horizon.

Photo from Cocomingus (scott & chad) from bikepacking.net....same sunset view!