Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Xterra Double Header - Lory and Pagosa Springs

A bit late with the race reports because we stayed in Pagosa/Durango for the week after the race and now it's all a blur.


I left the house at around 4:45 and decided to take a highway further from the foothills to avoid hitting wildlife in the dark. And just as I was applauding myself for that decision I turned onto a road in my neighborhood and was faced with a pair of bucks who were completely unconcerned about the giant metal beast of death hurtling towards them. Thankfully I had slowed for the turn and I saw them in time. Then a few minutes after that I had an impatient jeep on my ass and soon a line of traffic behind me and I couldn't figure out where all these uptight, impatient people were going at 4:45 in the morning in my quiet neighborhood. Until I passed the road to the Rez and remembered the Half Ironman going on in Boulder. And as crazy as my double header sounded I was very grateful not to be heading to that starting line with all those wound up people.  Love the relatively chill atmosphere of the typical Xterra/off-road transition zone.

Xterra Lory went well except for my exceptionally slow time. I took it easy, tried my best to keep my heart rate in Zone 3 for the bike and run and didn't go crazy on the short swim. At times the bike felt like I was out for a casual ride in the park, other times I had to push in Zone 4 because of having to pass someone and stay ahead to avoid leap frogging on the single track. Overall an uneventful race. No cramps on the run which was good and for once I had some gas in the tank for the final mile which pushed my heart rate into Zone 5 but I really wanted to be done and was sick of farting around in Zone 3. And there was a woman running right behind me for the last couple few miles who insisted she didn't want to pass me and somehow I didn't want her sprinting by me at the finish because that happens to me all the time. In the end I put a bit of distance on her in the last 1/4 mile or so.

The bike course was awesome, mostly hero dirt where usually it's a dust bowl. There was one huge mud bog that I had to walk through but otherwise you couldn't ask for better conditions. Water was nice as well, supposedly 70 degrees though it felt a bit colder than that. Still, nice water temp. and a warm sunny morning. It was hot for the run but not as bad as I was anticipating. I threw some ice in my hat and down my sports bra and that did the trick. Carried a water bottle but didn't really need it, the ice was enough and I regretted having to carry it. Only problem was that T2 was WAY too long with farting around with the ice. Got to be a better way to work it but ice is way better than carrying a bottle.

The only serious mishap I had was on the run.  There's a steep, cliffy, rocky part just before the top of the big climb and some idiot woman came up behind and insisted very loudly, aggressively and repeatedly that she needed to pass me on the cliffy part.  I waited until I thought it was safe-ish but she still ended up running me off the cliff and I nearly fell down the side of the hill but managed to catch myself.  Just.  To add insult to injury she was a DNF due to a technical on the bike and was doing the run just because.  I managed to twist my back and shoulders pretty good but thankfully by Sunday I had forgotten about it.  I realize now that this is partly why Mile 2 was 3 1/2 minutes slower than last year.  I easily lost  a minute or two.

On an interesting note I finished Xterra Lory in 3:02:36 and Xterra Pagosa Springs in 3:02:59.  Weird that the finish times would be so close given the big differences in distance, elevation gain and terrain.

I was tired for the drive back to Boulder, not entirely sure how I made it. Took the back roads to avoid the half Ironman in Boulder and it took about the same amount of time, maybe even a couple of minutes quicker, than the highway I took on the way there, just under an hour 20 minutes. Which is only significant because then we had a 6 hour or so drive to Pagosa Springs. It's normally supposed to be 5 1/2 hours but lucky us, the highway was shut in Fairplay due to flooding so we had a detour. And even more drama because I wasn't sure there was a detour when I first saw the sign about the closure on the highway about an hour or so from the shut road. Had to pull off, call the hotel, have a panic attack, etc. until the front desk guy assured me there was a way. Thankfully Jonny drove the whole way but I was unable to sleep in the car as I thought I would. Pulled into Pagosa Springs at around 8:50 to find that the town shuts down at 9:00. Most places wouldn't let us in but we finally found a mexican food place with very mediocre food but hey, it was food and at least it didn't make me sick.

XTERRA Pagosa Springs

The Pagosa race didn't start until 10:00 a.m. so I was able to sleep in but found myself awake before 6:00 anyway. I'm learning to sleep better in hotels, I can mostly sleep through the night but still find myself waking up too early. Though I do this at home in the summer too. Should probably get a Fitbit or similar gizmo to monitor my sleep better. Hate to buy more Stuff though and the Garmin gizmo was a big enough expense.

The transition area was flooded in places, people ended up racking their bikes in the bushes or on the ground. I talked to some women who had pre-ridden the course and they said it was muddy in places, huge puddles that sometime you make it through, sometimes you don't. I so wish I could have pre-ridden the course, this was my one regret about the back to back races and did figure into my results.

The swim went well, water was 65 degrees and another sunny warm morning. I clicked the wrong button on my Garmin and never started it for the swim so I have no data and the race didn't provide splits in the results. Best I can work out is 24 minutes for swim, T1 and a bit of bike before I realized the Garmin wasn't on. The swim started in deep water but I hung onto the pier until the starting horn so as not to waste energy treading water. I'm not sure this put me in a great position but the first buoy was so far away and the course was a bit confusing so I followed the crowd and didn't worry about it. I did an open water swim race a week later with a deep water start and it turns out its no problem treading water if you have a wetsuit, you practically float in that thing so next time I'll put myself in a better position and not worry about treading water. Swim was short and sweet (750 m/820 yards) and went down without a hitch, I even had some feet to follow. The only problem was that it somehow took 2 guys to haul my carcass out of the water and back onto the pier. You would think my parkour skills would have kicked in but no I just flailed stupidly until the second guy came to the rescue. In retrospect I probably could have gotten out on my own more easily using both arms and no help from the guys.

I forgot my Camelbak in T1 and had to run back for it wasting some time.

The bike course was beautiful. Wonderful flowy singletrack through the woods, loads of wildflowers. I think the only spots I had to walk were some of the mud bogs. And there were lots and lots of mud bogs. Apparently the rainpocalypse was not restricted to the Front Range. The course was a big loop and unfortunately the directional signs at the start of the loop were confusing and there was no volunteer directing people. Many people went off course including me. I can't remember if I followed the line of people off course or if I misinterpreted the signs for the turn but either way I had about a half mile of climbing before some guys came back down the trail saying we were going the wrong way. And at that point I had the dilemma of 'do I trust those guys?' I went with my gut and trusted them and was glad I did. Lost just over 9 minutes and went an extra 1.15 miles but at least I ended up going the right way and unlike agility, an off course in Xterra is not an elimination as long as you fix it. One poor woman ended up seriously lost for a couple of hours and several people came down the course the opposite way. Not sure what they did about those folks completing the loop in the wrong direction in the results.

T2 was quick. The transition area was not neutral, meaning some spots gave you an advantage with the ins/outs and I had a great spot near the bike out/bike in/run out gate.

The run was ridiculous, not a run at all. My Garmin was giving grades of 30-40%. This was a hike, not a run. In addition it was an out and back on narrow single track so you had to stop and step out of the single track to let the person in the opposite direction go by or to pass. Which was super annoying. And once again the course markings led me astray and I missed a turn, going down a wrong trail that eventually got faint so I knew I was wrong. I looked up and saw people on the correct trail yelling down to me. This was the stupidest 'run' course I've ever done. At least it was short, 2.88 miles, which nonetheless took me over 46 minutes. Oh well, at least the bike was worth it.

Covered in mud.

Overall I did well juggling 2 races in 2 days. Don't think I'd ever intentionally do it again though I know if the situation came up again, ie a race gets postponed or something, that I can do it. I didn't try to keep to a heart rate for Pagosa, just went as fast as I could which was diminished of course but I don't think by a whole lot. I wasn't super stiff or sore Sunday morning for Pagosa and I felt o.k. on Monday. The key was to keep to a reasonable pace for Lory but still push myself. It's weird though and a little frustrating to hold back during a race but a good mental management lesson and I felt I did well with that part. But the whole weekend was a blur and it was hard to savor the races with them being so close together.  

Final Stats


Swim:  880 yards (I swam 869 yards), water temp. 70 degrees, 16:35 swimming (1:55/100 yards)/1:00 dash up the beach for official time 17:35

T1: 2:45  Wore gloves, slow T1 for some reason

Mountain Bike:  12.2 miles (12.54 by my Garmin, similar to last year), 794' elevation gain, 1:24:05/9.2 mph (13 mins./1.1 mph slower than last year)

T2:  2:15 (last year, 1:02)   Lost time messing around with the ice but shouldn't be that slow.

Trail Run:  4.8 miles (5.03 per Garmin), 623' elevation gain, 1:15:57/15:06 min./mile (per Garmin)

               Mile Splits:
               Mile 1:  15:07  (all uphill) (14:07 last year)
               Mile 2:  18:51  (all uphill) (15:13 last year)
               Mile 3:  16:27  (mix of uphill, flat and downhill) (13:11 last year)
               Mile 4:  12:49  (all downhill) (12:48 last year)
               Mile 4.8:  11:57  (mostly downhill, some slight uphill and flat-ish) (11:25 last year)

Total:  3:02:36  (last year, 2:39:20)

177/204 Overall
52/66 Women
3/5 Age Group

Swim:  2/5

T1:  1/5

Bike:  2/5

T2:  3/5

Run:  4/5 

(Placements include DNF's)



 Swim + T1 + a little biking:  750 meters/820 yards, 65 degrees, 24 minutes

Bike:  17.04 miles (was supposed to be 14.6), 945' elevation gain, 1:53:54/9.2 mph 

T2:  ?

Run:   2.88 miles, 479' elevation gain, 45:23/16:03 min./mile

Total:  3:02:59

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