Sunday, November 17, 2013

Maui recap - XTERRA World Championships '13 the unabridged version....

Wheels up in Chicago, snow on the way!
Our march across the states

The desert
LaLa Land, wheels down quick layover
Finally, wheels down OGG Maui!
Legs up, coffee in!

A little photo montage to get you in the mood for what will invariably be a long - ish read. For that I apologize, unless you like reading my ramblings.

Left for Maui on a Tuesday early morning, arrived on a Tuesday late afternoon (losing 5 hours, traveling for over 12). My body fared much better this year with the shortened journey. Last year's flight to Maui took us to 3 airports with many hours spent in airport bars. Basically all the money I thought I was saving by taking multiple layovers I poured down my gullet in the form of $10 shitty airport cocktails.

Our group secured the same condo from last year right on the golf course in Kapalua in West Maui.  I don't really care about golf but it was amusing to watch what a $300 game looks like while I sipped my morning coffee.

Al spent most of the first day's morning reassembling our bikes, tuning and tweaking so that we could get out on the course before it got really hot (this last statement is tongue in cheek).

The pre ride started as would be expected when riding with a larger group. Someone always has a mechanical. First it was Brad, then it was Stan.

*note to the reader: this course wreaked havoc on dozens upon dozens of bikes. The steep climbing combined with the loose dirt cause more than one drive train to be bustimicated (yeah that's a word).

So, losing Stan to an unfixable mechanical (at least in the field) the five of us soldiered on. We climbed, and climbed, and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and walked and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and cried and climbed. If this paragraph is annoying to the reader I'm attempting to illustrate through the power of words what ascending 1,500' in 3 miles feels like. You know what re read that paragraph again only this time sit inside of your oven with it on of course.

The ridge line, the first MAJOR climb, but what a view!
The 20 mile bike course takes you up several grueling climbs before you scream down only a couple of descents. It's not in my top 5 or really even top 10 MTB courses for XTERRA and definitely not a World Champion caliber course for a couple reasons. First, there's no technical in the sense that you have to possess steering skills. The technical in this course comes into play in the descents and ONLY if you let it go. The second reason is this course is for a specific type of rider, the small climbers. But it is what it is and that is humbling.

*note to reader, the above is not a rant, or bitching, it was a common criticism amongst some the the best riders on the circuit.

Post pre ride I learned that acclimatization to the heat better be a quick process and the "Filthy Whore" (my bikes name) needed a second water bottle cage for race day! We later did a few out and backs on the swim course at D.T. Flemming Beach and called it a day.
First of only a few descents, the island of Molokai in the distance. 
My memory is so bad....Thursday was a run in the morning with Shelby, a fellow Wattie and Shelby's friend pro triathlete Christine "Big Fish" Jeffery. We took the backwards approach to the course omitting the first 3 miles of the 10K course (same 3 miles on the bike course with all the same climbing) assuming to save Jeffery's legs from overuse. Al and I went back and ran the front half of the course after we left Shelby and Christine at the hotel.  We took a swim later that day to continue to acclimate to the salt water environment being sure to practice entering the water through the breakers. Last year was one of the most treacherous swim starts I have ever experienced most certainly due to the Tsunami warning the night before.

Friday we laid low and Saturday we decided to "give back" we volunteered at the trail 5 and 10K in the morning. What began as an easy morning outing went horribly horribly wrong when we were voluntold to work the finish line (no shade, no breeze). I was sweated on, nearly puked on twice and required to assist ALL of the runners with their tags until the VERY LAST ONE crossed the finish line. But I feel good about myself, I have Karma in the bank account now and it didn't affect my race AT ALL the following day ;)

Friday night was pretty fun. We attended the Night of Champions at the Ritz, enjoyed some tasty food, good friends and hit the hay relatively early. I had Al apply my #SpiderTech back spider before turning in.

Race day was upon us. I woke, ate some toast and coffee took a banana and #PowerBar fruit blend with me to the start with my frozen camelback, two water bottles and 4 #PowerBar energy gels taped to my top tube. I posed with some fellow Watties for a couple of pictures, slathered up with sunscreen and stuffed myself into my speed suit. Then I waited.

L-R Liz, Shelby, Al and me before the race
The waves weren't unwelcoming, but it wasn't glass either. We watched the pro send off with the bang of that really tiny cannon, how is it so loud, it's so tiny?

I kissed Al for good luck and I watched him run into the waves, then the lovely ladies were off. The swim was two out and backs with a short beach run between. The first loop was longer than the second with a total distance of 1500 meters (just under a mile). The run to T1 was pretty long and uphill. I found my bike, rinsed off my face, gloves on, helmet on, shoes on, gel in my belly and I was off.

I felt I had a pretty successful bike with no major falls, no mechanicals, enough water for the trip and I had enough #PowerBar energy gels to get me to T2 feeling ready to run.

My one requirement / expectation of myself  for the run was to enjoy the last run of my last race for 2013. I boogied man, I took off feeling great and that feeling stayed with me for the duration. I crossed the finish line so stoked. On a longer and far more challenging (in the climbing sense) course than last year I had beaten my overall time by 1 minute. I didn't place in the top of my AG for a win, BUT, I did place in the top 10. I see it like this, I am the 10th fastest 30-34 year old female XTERRA racer in ALL OF THE UNIVERSE!!!!!! As far as I know there aren't XTERRA races in other galaxies.

A happy girl! Finished strong in a tough as ballz race! 

Christopher Rodriguez, a kick ass racer!
Sunday night the Awards dinner was obviously too much for some folks ---------------------------------------->>>>>>>

The rest of our time in Hawaii was spent taking in the sites, eating lots of food, drinking lots of beer, foofoo cocktails, buying kitschy gifts and chillaxing! I even bought myself a ukulele. I plan to learn, I've strummed my first 3 chords! Gotta keep that island livin' alive and well here in the Midwest!

Big thanks go out to #Wattie Ink (Sean Watkins) and my teamies that raced their hearts out this year on and off road. Also to my team sponsors #PowerBar, #Scott, #Reynolds, #K-Swiss, #Blueseventy, #454 Tattoo, #FuelBelt, #SpiderTech, #ism, #Kask, and #Speedfil

From Diamond Head, looking to Honolulu, O'ahu

Diamond Head looking into the crater 

Pearl Harbor, Arizona Memorial

SUP, we tried it. You stand on a board......meh

What my off season eating habits have resulted in.......

See above picture.....
See caption from two pictures above
CrossFit.....? Nope, just hanging around!
Sushi night with old family friends in Oahu, tres yummy
Our final night in Maui. Love you!