Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Friday, May 22, 2009

XTERRA: The Transformation

XTERRA: Get Dirty!Sweet--looks like I'm finally going to be caught up to realtime after this blog! So now starting with the week of May 11th. I had one final ows training session with Ray-Ray and Warship on Monday at Twin Lakes. This time we did 3 loops continuous to simulate race distance. I felt just fine and now felt pretty confident for XTERRA. Only thing missing was the chaos of 100 other racers splashing around in the water. Oh well--would just have to deal with that on the fly.

not awake yetTuesday and Thursday was HART training and then one final lunch swim on Friday before the weekend. Since it was on Sunday, we didnt have to leave until Saturday, but I still wanted to leave relatively early that day to get packet pickup out of the way and not have to deal with that on race day. So we drove to Austin Saturday morning and the skies looked threatening. Just great--what we need for my first XTERRA--a downpour! Since reports from Raymund indicated that the Madrone Trail at Canyon Lake was pretty technical with rocks everywhere, I wanted to preride that day, but it wasnt looking very good once we got into Austin. The skies abruptly opened up and there was no visibility! We were driving through virtual rivers just to get Pure Fitness. We eventually got there, but it really was nasty out.

slowly setting up TAWe went in to get our packets, but neither Elena or Scottie were there, just random volunteers. Im sure they were busy with the course set up. So we quickly left and scavenged for lunch. We ended up at the Hula Hut. Not necessarily a good place for food...more of a place to drink, but we figured we would try their fish tacos. It was still pouring out and there was a huge crowd--apparently this is the place to go on the weekend for lunch! We didnt have to wait too long as there was a shorter demand for the outside deck seating, considering the gloomy conditions outside. Nothing spectacular happened until Mo noticed that someone at another table looked pretty familiar...it looked like Sheila. It definitely looked like her, but we never got a good glimpse of her face. So finally I just took a stalker-ish photo of her, sent it to Facebook and tagged her, asking "is this you, sheila?!" Just as I was joking it would be hilarious if she started looking up around, thinking, "WTF?!", there she was doing that exact thing! It was friggin hilarious! She saw us giggling like schoolgirls and walked over and said hello. We shortly parted ways and that is how my stalker career started...

K-SPoT and RayRay happy for nowAfter lunch, we decided to drive over to Canyon Lake just in case the rains subsided and we would be able to preride. No such luck--still pouring buckets. We got there and there were just two other cars, possibly contemplating the same thing. We bailed on the preride, but since we were already there I wanted to scout out the TA. I ran out in the rain and checked it out. Buoys werent out yet, but TA was set up already. With all this rain, I'm sure it was playing havoc on the race director! So, thwarted by mother nature, we tucked our tails between our legs and retreated back to San Marcos where we had booked a hotel. We then headed out to scavenge for more food, this time at Carinos. Food was so-so, but the bread pudding was amazing! Afterwards, we stocked up on some Starbucks coffee for the morning and headed back to the Super 8 and called it a night.

rogue buoy didnt want to stay putNext morning we got up bright and early for the drive back to Canyon Lake. We were one of the first ones to set up our TAs. As I figured, packet pickup that morning was ridiculous and it actually would have delayed start if it wasnt for other distractions delaying the start. Yes, the buoys. Elena, Scottie, and Bobby were out there frantically setting up the swim course and just when they thought it was set up, one buoy decided to make the course a bit longer for us. They spent over an hour trying to set that buoy, but it wouldnt cooperate. So finally, Elena decided to modify the course to a straightline out and back, one loop. Now, we all were thinking to ourselves, "that's way shorter than 1500m!" But we didnt complain too much. I think everyone was just very ready to get it started after waiting for an hour and cutting our feet on beer cans in the surf--seriously, you would not believe how many cans we dredged from the shore!

donning wetsuitsJust as we thought it was finally going to be a reality, Elena yells out that we now had to do two laps of the modified course. Okay, resetting brain...ready! You could tell now that everyone just wanted to start the swim and get it over with. Just a few moments later, the horn goes off! Raymund and I stay away from the initial chaos and slowly start our swim. Amazingly I was doing alright with the initial thrashing about by everyone around me...for a moment there was even a zen-like calmness to it. Then came the first turn--chaos! Everyone was pawing and kicking at each other and rather than getting scared, I was getting pissed! I kicked back--get off my feet! Thankfully that only lasted a moment, but still I wasted a lot of energy just trying to get away from that mess.

beautiful day about to get crazyWe finished the first loop and walked around the buoy to start the 2nd. I was feeling fine, but my goggles were all fogged up and mud was kicked up from the lake bottom, so visibility was a lot worse this time around. I am sure I zigzagged alot the 2nd time around. Nothing different this time, though--more relaxed as I knew what to expect and like that the swim was done. Exiting the water, I slowly peeled off my wetsuit. My legs were not tired, just felt weird. That was one of my longest transitions and I was barking to myself, "get out of there already!" Finally I get all my bike gear on and head out for the treacherous bike. Since I was a slow swimmer I got caught behind these not so seasoned mountain bikers. I knew I had to get in front or risk some kind of injury caused by them. Right off the bat, people were stopping abruptly and blocking the trail. I just was done with all that, so I just hopped off and started running around them. I didnt get back on until I had cleared most of the barney train.

chaos!Finally I got a little respite and my legs had warmed up properly--I was now cruising pretty well. I was still passing riders and never got passed up. We were about to finish up the first loop when disaster struck. I was riding up on this one guy and was about to pass when he just stopped and blocked any of the semi-good lines (I say semi because every line had a slippery boulder or two that you had to negotiate). So I took a terrible line and thats when it happened. I started rolling away from the chaos when I heard "hissssssss"! No! I got off to inspect the leak and I thought it was a slow one so I tried to keep going. No go. Tire was too flat to ride through that crap. So I tried for a quick tube change. No go either. Of course this is the one time the tire will not easily come off the rim. It was so caked with mud it was hard for me to get a good grip. Finally I get it off, switch the tube and start airing up with the CO2. Unfortunately, Ive been having problems with this particular CO2 gun and it would continue that day. Not all the CO2 was going in the tube for some reason and after two cartridges the tire was still barely inflated. Frick!

sketchy rocksFunny how the first several good riders who just passed me asked if I needed anything and at that time I didnt. Now I did and I was now asking the sprint coursers for CO2 (mind you, they were pretty much done with their bike) and amazingly none of them had anything to spare. Assholes. So I just ran the bike out there, hoping I would find something at the road. It was about another half mile until I got to the road and thankfully I was able to get some air. I was so pissed at this time that I went balls out on the 2nd lap. I knew Id be able to make up some time, but I would then suffer on the run. Didnt matter--had to try anyway. So I zoomed pass about 5 or 10 riders along the way. This time I was not so nice. I just took the track. Then, again, just as I was about to finish the bike leg, a girl just stops in the middle of the trail! WTF?! She admitted her fault, so it was okay, I guess. I tried to mash hard along the road back to TA, but my legs were now toast from the catching up.

agony!I transitioned quickly and actually I think I was 2nd fastest in my age group for T2. I was running pretty well at first--I think my legs were glad to be off those rocks. But I started to tighten up a bit. That girl who just stopped in front of me just breezed by--obviously she was a runner! I slowed down a little to get my legs back. The first part of the trail was flat, but once we got to the hills my legs were screaming for mercy. I gave them none--I knew I couldnt stop now. I was getting passed by two or so runners, but I knew if I could just keep a steady pace I would still have a good time. My second run lap was definitely slower than the first, but I kept moving, never stopping once. Then I could hear the finish coming up, so I put out whatever I had left, which wasnt much. It was a sufferfest the last 10th of a mile, but I knew I would be happy that I did push it. Up the hill and there was the finishing straight! I was so relieved that I put my hands up and actually smiled for once. Done.

DONE!I think I wasted a whole 10mins with the tire incident and probably wouldnt have slowed down so much on the run if I wasnt playing catchup, but still I felt good to finish my first open water swim tri! Woohoo! Me and my bike were battered and bruised, but I was so happy. Raymund had a little incident with some cacti on the bike, so that slowed him down quite a bit, but still he stuck with it too and finished what he started. Considering a month ago XTERRA was not even a smidgen of thought in my mind, to have now completed it has transformed my thought process. I'm about to do the Combat Triathlon this coming weekend and now I think a pool swim just wont cut it for me. Amazingly, now I'm seeking out open water swims...well, with wetsuits allowed, that is...for now.

XTERRA, bitches!We stayed a bit for the post-race festivities, but I was ready to go after I had finished my celebratory beer. We headed back to Houston through Luling, hoping to get some barbecue, but apparently all stores are closed on Sundays there--it was 3pm in the afternoon! So we settled on a DQ on the way, which was still good since we were able to have blizzards. Yum! So that was my XTERRA experience...so who's up for an Ironman?! ;)


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