Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Xterra Buffalo Creek 2014

Xterra Buffalo Creek
1500 meter swim
22 mile bike
5 mile run
8000' elevation

Despite the ominous looking early morning fog rolling over the lake it was a perfect day for a race. 

The morning started out a bit chilly when I arrived at the race site at around 6:20 a.m. but once the sun rose above the hill in the picture shown above it warmed up nicely and stayed about as perfect as it gets.

I have more photos of the course here from last year's race and here from this year's pre-ride.

This year's race went way better than last year in part because last year I got sick from a gel very early on the bike and it took a good hour or so for my stomach to settle.  Also the training from a coach who actually knows what she's doing.  Also the new bike with the fancy suspension lockout.  Lots of non-technical climbing on this bike course and being able to lock out both front and rear suspension made a huge difference.  I cut 11:33 mins. off my bike time from last year and 3:02 mins.  off my run.  The swim was way short this year and I think it was long last year so it's not useful to compare swim times.  Overall my time was 24:02 mins. faster but again, the short swim means 14:35 better at least, maybe even faster if I'd had a relatively faster swim.  Still, a huge improvement and I was very happy.  And it was a very fun day, I felt great on the bike and was able to push myself on the run though the last few miles of the run did not feel so fabulous.  But they're not supposed to if you're doing it right.  Plus some bling, third place in my age group.

On the run I ended up running nearly the whole thing with another woman who was in her 30's and doing her second Xterra, her first race being Lory.  We ran the last few miles side by side, pacing and encouraging each other and near the finish line her boyfriend appeared with their boxer and cheered her in to the finish.  And something about this seemed awfully familiar.  Finally the memory from Xterra Lory bubbled to the surface.  As I was walking back to my car after Lory I heard a woman complaining to her boyfriend that the race had been too hard and no way was she going to do Buffalo Creek.  Now normally I would keep my trap shut but something compelled me to intervene.  Maybe because Xterra needs more women, maybe something about this particular woman, I don't know, but I piped up and told her what a beautiful, fun race Buffalo Creek is and as long as she puts in some training over the summer she'll love it, it's such a fun day.  I assured her the course wasn't technical, very fun smooth singletrack, challenging for the length of it (22 miles) and the climbing but SO much fun.  I know she can totally do it.  And as it turns out, this is the woman I was running with for the past 52 minutes.  After we cross the finish line I thank her for pulling me along and she does the same and I ask her by chance did she remember if a crazy lady tried to convince her to do the race back at Lory and oh yes, she remembers.  And yes, she had a great day and loved the race and was very glad she did it.  What are the chances of that? 

This is my last Xterra before Nationals and I'm feeling pretty good about things after this race.  There is one more off-road triathlon the week before Nationals that I might do as a rune-up race, still undecided about that.  Very happy with my season so far, can't wait for Nationals next month.

Final Stats

Swim:  1500 meters/1640 yards, 25:41 swimming (1:34/100 yards) and 25:56 official time.  Swim was definitely short. [last year about 33 mins. swimming time (2:01/100 yards)/35 secs. wading through mud and 1:46 dash up the beach for official time of 35:21]

T1: 2:31 (last year 2:32)

Mountain Bike:  22 miles, 2:23:25/9.2 mph  (last year 2:34:58/8.5 mph)

T2:  1:00 (last year 1:05)

Trail Run:  5 miles, 52:51/10:22 min./mile, (last year 55:53/11.11 min./mile)
Total:  3:45:44 (last year 4:09:46)

3/4 Age Group, 33/49 Women, 176/212 Overall
(last year 9/10 Age Group, 44/57 Women, 177/211 Overall) 

Swim:   3/4 Age Group, 21/49 Women, 128/212 Overall
              (last year 6/10 Age Group, 133/211 Overall)

T1:         1/4 Age Group, 17/49 Women, 101/212 Overall
              (last year 6/10 Age Group, 107/211 Overall)

Bike:      3/4 Age Group, 34/49 Women, 179/212 Overall
               (last year 9/10 Age Group, 198/211 Overall)

T2:         1/4 Age Group, 8/49 Women, 57/212 Overall 
              (last year 1/10 Age Group, 58/211 Overall)

Run:      3/4 Age Group, 40/49 Women, 186/212 Overall
              (last year 10/10 Age Group, 192/211 Overall) 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Strummer Days Drifting Away

It's flying by.  Was greeted by this stunning sunrise at the Rez this morning, a sure sign that summer is starting to wind down and fall will be here before we know it.

I'll have to remember to start bringing my real camera and maybe even try some video with the GoPro.  But somehow the craptastic iPhone camera did o.k. this morning.  Some things are so amazing that even crappy iPhone can't screw them up.

I realize I've been neglecting the blog.  I post quick things over on Facebook and forget to come here.  Stupid Facebook, I like reading blogs so much better but I'm in the minority.

I love this time of year and we've been having a stellar summer, relatively cool and just enough rain to keep the fire danger down, I'm not even starting to get burnt out on the heat and sun.  Wish all summers could be like this, it's like it was when we first moved here 24 years ago before all the droughts and global warming and Too Many People driving Too Many Cars.  I've even been able to do some backyard agility training with Strummer in the afternoon if I happen to be home.  Unheard of in August. 

Strummer sez, 'Yay for summer backyard ganes'.

Lola sez, 'Yay for summer backyard naps'.  She's 13 1/2 so she can nap all she wants.

And in other news Strummer went to the Boulder Ironman to cheer on the cyclists and got some cheers of his own from the cyclists.  And some snugs off of a lady with a cowbell.

I have a lot I could write about the Ironman in general but it's long winded and not very positive so I'll keep my yap shut.  Was interesting to watch the race though.  These photos are taken with 4-6 miles left on a 112 mile bike ride all of which had been in blazing sun up until that point.  The course went way out east where you may as well be in Kansas and it was probably poke your eyes out boring and these riders were just returning to town.  Some were happy for some crowd support, others had their heads down and were on a mission.  Some looked like they had a marathon left in them and others . . . not so much.  I avoided the downtown Finish Line hoopla but I did watch a bit of the finish on the Ironman website and it seemed like it wasn't a super deep field, ie not many people finishing at the pointy end.  But I don't know, maybe there are so many races these days that that's normal. 

Despite what the media were reporting this was not Boulder's first ironman.  There was an ironman back in 2001 that lasted a couple few years then turned into a half ironman then the Ironman cartel bought the half and added a full and this is the first year the full has been an Ironman under the official Ironman brand.  Which for some reason matters to people.  There was an ironman in Grand Junction this May and only 17 people went to that one vs over 3000 for the Official Ironman Brand race in Boulder.  Registration fee for the 2015 Grand Junction race was $200 on this year's race weekend, $250 until May 19 of this year and is currently at $400.  Registration for Official Ironman Brand race for this year's Boulder Race?  $760!  And I think the one in New York is/was over $1000.  Being an Ironman vs an ironman is a spendy proposition, not for the weak of wallet.  Whole new tax bracket.  Lots of super fancy cars parked at the Rez for masters swims and races in the couple few weeks before the race.  Quite an education in Ironman Culture over the past couple few weeks.  On the plus side my masters swim group must have made a nice profit this year.

Meanwhile my race season is still in full swing.  I have Xterra Buffalo Creek in 2 1/2 weeks then Xterra Nationals in September.  And maybe a non-Xterra sactioned off-road tri the week before Nationals just so I can get in the open water before Nats.  I'm not as fussy as the Ironman folk, non-Xterra is fine with me.  I'm pretty sure I already have enough points to qualify for Nationals even without Buffalo Creek.  I'm currently sitting in 8th place (top 10 go to Nationals) and with the exception of one person I don't think anyone else below me will do another race let alone 2.  The past 2 years I've finished in 7th place, we'll see if it happens again this year.

Then there's hiking in the high country, another summer treat.  Wildflowers are epic this year due to the snowy winter and wet spring.

I know you're jealous of my loud purple shorts. 

Oh yeah, and the rattlesnake.  We saw 2 on different trails but I only got a photo of this one.  The other one was angry and rattling and there were people between me and it so I couldn't see it before it slithered into a hole right next to the trail.  Still rattling and angry and I could still see it's silhouette.  Let a few other people go past it before I went and put my bike between me and it.  A little scary but I made it past.

Still a few more weeks to squeeze out as much as I can.  Better go throw another load of laundry into the washer.