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Camp Eagle Xterra 09

August 20, 2009

IMGP1210Mike Carter told me after the Dirty Xterra at Canyon Lake that I had a future in Xterra. After the race at Camp Eagle this past Sunday, I’m starting to believe him. It wasn’t quite what I’d call a “breakthrough race”, but it was close. Assuming the swim course was marked accurately, I posted a PR swim of 21:00 min flat for a 1000m swim, including a long uphill run to T1. I seem to do quite well in cooler water and with a wetsuit on! The folks I was looking to compete with this very day had exited the water in about 17 minutes. A 4 minute gap would be much easier to bridge than the 8-20 mins I have been struggling against the last few races. Especially on a course as technical as this one. I wasted no time whatsoever in getting Big Tex up to speed and plowing through this rocky, rooty, ledgy course just about as fast I could. I was damn determined to catch the leaders and confident I could duke things out in the run, my run training having received a little more attention as of late. It wasn’t just about going from 40th out of T1 to 5th into T2 either. It was about getting the fastest bike split of the day, my specialty at these kinds of Xterra races. The 46:14 bike split took the top honors I was looking for, edging out PRO female racer Shonny Vanlandingham who is back in her home state of Texas for a few days to do these hill country Xterras and visit family. Female, yes. Not able to whoop up on the all the local boys out there? Hell no! Well, all except one 😉 I should mention just for kicks that Shonny is borrowing my truck while she’s in town. The race promoters weren’t able to secure a rental car for her, so I volunteered mine. I hardly drive it anyways. Funny thing, she drives the same Mazda truck that I do back home in Durango, only with 4 wheel drive. Furthermore, Shonny and I both grew up in the DFW area. So it’s interesting to me how much I never knew I had in common with this cool person, but I digress.

So I left T2 in 5th place, but I knew one of the guys I passed near the end of the bike would surely catch me in the run. Sure enough he did, going up the ½ mile climb to the top of Texas (the name of the trail). However, two more runners up ahead revealed themselves to my line of sight. I’m not the hungry dog you want chasing you if you are a scared rabbit. As soon as I recovered from that climb, it was go time. Pretty soon I caught Mike Carter, the man who says I have a future (he’s also the race director for Xterra Austin this coming weekend!). He was a little winded for small talk and I was on the hunt for some tastier meat so he just let me on by. A few minutes later, there was 4th place.

But then a few seconds later things took a turn for the worse, literally. Right past the final aid station, I missed a crucial turn and got off course. I got maybe another quarter mile before a bike course marshal spotted me, only to break the bad news, so I turned back around, found that turn I missed and did the only thing a Caveman knows to do, I kept going. Slightly demoralized, I allowed fatigue to set in and got slopply on my stride. Those of you who familiar with my run philosophy know that I run in superlight road racing flats, no matter the conditions. Up to that point, they had done pretty well. One loose, rocky descent hurt a bit, but pain is the price I pay for more efficient stride and faster overall times. No matter what shoe you are wearing, this is not a run course where you want your stride to get sloppy, much less the minimalist, unprotected foot coverings I was sporting. Before the first creek crossing on the Duck trail, about a mile from the finish, I stubbed the left big toe hard on a rock. I’ve stubbed the right toe several a time, but nothing ever this severe. I hobbled on one leg for a while then put that left foot back down and back to work. I could tell the toenail was peeled back when I hit the water and it stung like hell. My chance for the overall podium vanished as soon as I took that wrong turn, but I still didn’t want to drop any more spots in the overall than I had to, so pushed through the pain and crossed the line strong. Despite what I estimate to be 6.5 min loss to that wrong turn, I only dropped to 7th overall (6th if you don’t count the one relay team ahead of me), and still ended up winning the age group. This was a course that definitely favored a strong biker, and I was thankful for that.

So that’s what I mean by not quite being a breakout race. The day I crest 18min for the swim and have a top 3 run split to go with that top bike split, now that will be a breakout race. With a bum toe, it’s questionable whether or not I’ll race this Sunday, much less get that breakout performance, but time will tell. If not this year, there is always next year. I feel in my soul that I am bound for greatness in this sport. With the right tools and determination, reaching Pro status is all just matter of time and patience. Thanks for reading. I’ve been working hard on a whole new comprehensive bike fit section of the site. It will be posted by week’s end. Peace out.

p.s. that little trophy next to mine belongs to Cupcake. She raced strong for a nice 3rd place finish. Way to go  babe!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. colleenquindlen permalink
    August 20, 2009 1:12 pm

    Thanks Caveman! Our trophies next to each other still remind me of how your 29er and my 26er look next to each other. You had a great race and really killed it out there. Mike is right about your potential.

    Risk more than others think is safe,
    Care more than other think is wise,
    Dream more than others think is practical,
    Expect more than others think is possible.
    (-said by someone smart, but not me :))

  2. Thomas permalink
    August 24, 2009 12:44 pm

    Great post!

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