Swim course distance: 1,500-meters/1640 yards (0.93 miles) Combines two 750-meter laps (no run in-between)
Elevation at Port Ramp Marina for swim start: 4,900-feet
Water temperature: Probably around 67 degrees
Mountain bike course distance: 28-kilometers (17.7 miles)
Total climbing on bike: 3,400-feet
Elevation at highest point: 7,300-feet (where Sardine Peak Trail meets the ridgeline)
Elevation at T2/Snowbasin Resort Lodge: 6,400-feet
Trail Run course distance: 10-kilometers (6.2 miles)
Total climbing on run: 700-feet
Total climbing on course: 4,100-feet
It's that time of year again - Xterra Nationals! I love this race, look forward to it all year.
I also look forward to pre-riding the course because it's that awesome. We drove in on Tuesday but couldn't hit the trails until Friday because of . . . rain? In Ogden in September? Really? And snow??!! Yes it snowed on the high peaks, including Snowbasin, on Wednesday. This is what it looked like in Ogden when the rain sort of cleared for half an hour or so.
Thankfully we had a groovy place to stay. The host hotel no longer allowed dogs so I found some people renting out the bottom part of their house. A very interesting home. Zen Gardens I think they called it.
I kid you not. This place cost about the same as the cheapo hotel near the highway interchange when you added in all their outrageous dog fees. No dog fees at the Zen House.
Lola enjoying her fancy accommodations. Strummer was not so zen because of flies that kept getting in. He's terrified of flies. And the smoke detector. That went off every time we used the shower. The house was old and had some quirks but still so much better than a generic hotel. Because how many generic hotels have chandeliers in the living room? Or a living room?
We were in the best part of town, right next to the mountains rather than the highway. So many nice trails just a couple of blocks away that we couldn't go on due to rain.
Thankfully the rain let up on Thursday but the trails were too muddy to ride, race officials asked us to stay off and thankfully people did. So we went to Antelope Island instead. Where we saw lots of buffalo but not much antelope.
It's a great place to go when you can't pre-ride for Nationals. Wish I had thought to bring the bikes with.
Finally on Friday the trails were dry and the sun was back so we could pre-ride but I didn't want to do too much the day before the race so I only rode the Sardine Peak loop, a little over 8 miles. I went nice and easy, stopping for lots of pictures and moments of whimsy. And a gigantic bull moose. No pix of that guy.
Race day was about as perfect as it gets. Dramatic views on the drive back from dropping my stuff up at the second transition area up at Snowbasin. There are 2 transition areas about 20-25 minutes apart so it's a lot of driving on race morning.
Driving back from Snowbasin to Pineview Reservoir where the race starts
It was hat and mittens weather while waiting for race start until the sun finally hit the transition area. Other than that conditions were perfect. Water was 64 degrees and I'd guess it was low 60's for the run, maybe even high 50's? With a little breeze at times. It was perfect.
Swim went off without a hitch despite the much larger crowd than last year. Except someone snagged me with a super long, super sharp nail and put a good gash in my finger. Given the chaos I guess I'm happy that's the worst that happened. I managed to negotiate the crowds without getting too hung up except at the very start. Drafted a bit here and there. Ended up about a minute faster than last year though you never know how accurately the course is set from year to year. Garmin had it a little long at 1842 yards (should have been 1640). It's possible I swam off course but 200 yards? I felt like I swam close to the buoys and my Garmin map showed me on course as well.
Bike course was crowded. So crowded. There were 323 people compared to last year's 266 in the championship race. Not sure about the citizens' races but those seemed way more crowded as well and they were causing the most congestion and passing issues for me. Everybody was polite this year, no issues with rudeness but I feel like I lost a lot of time/energy/momentum having to slow down to either pass or let someone pass. But the course was beautiful as usual.
Photos taken during pre-ride, some by Jonny who rode the whole course
Sardine Peak photos from my pre-ride
Looking down on Pineview Reservoir where we start our swim
The run was my best and fastest at Nationals, 4 minutes faster than last year. Not bad for a trail 10K. I ran the whole thing except 2 super steep hills. Usually I end up walking a good deal of it, especially miles 4 and 5. Though I ended up saving the most time on the downhill sections. This summer I finally discovered the solution to the side cramps I get when I run downhill so I did the whole race without any cramps.
The mile splits where I ran instead of power walked were actually slightly slower (15-30 seconds) but I was going off of my Garmin and I noticed that Xterra's mile markers didn't match my Garmin so that could easily account for the discrepancy from last year. Will be interesting to wear the Garmin again next year and compare apples to apples. I've been working so hard on my running, was happy to finally see some improvement. It was cooler this year for the run so that could have played a part. I never got that overheated fatigue feeling that I think is what causes me to walk. More run practice over the winter, maybe I'll finally be a runner again.
Strummer waiting for me on the run course. He about pulled Jonny's arm off when I ran past and didn't stop.
He got plenty of snugs at the finish line though. You can watch on the video montage. Because who doesn't love a good montage?
Overall I was pleased with my race and so happy to be able to go to Nationals. I was talking to a guy in the transition area after the race and he was disappointed with his placement. He felt he'd put in a good effort but didn't get the placement he was hoping for. He was an older guy, maybe my age group or one away. And all I could think was how happy I was that I could even go and that I have the health and strength to finish such a race. Placements are nice but . . . really I'm happy enough to be strong enough to be out there competing and enjoying the day. I know so many people who struggle with health issues, chronic pain and general lack of fitness and mobility, people who struggle to get through everyday life never mind go climbing up mountains. People who would love to be able to afford to train for and attend such a race. I felt so lucky, I feel so lucky. And I hope I have the same opportunity to go next year.
Swim: 34:00 swimming time/1842 yards, 1:51/100 yards (35:07, 2:08/100 yd. last year if 1500m)
258/323 overall (188/266 last year), 58/86 women (84/110 last year), 6/11 age group
(3/7 last year)
Run Up Ramp to T1: 1:44 mins. (1:16 last year)
T1: 3:10 (4/11 age group)
Bike: 2:47:38/17.65 miles/6.32 mph (2:42:00/6.71 mph last year) 294/323 overall (240/266 last
year), 88/96 women (73/86 last year), 9/11 age group (5/7 last year)
T2: 1:53 (1:51 last year) (5/11 age group)
Run: 1:26:08 for 5.87 miles/ 13:40 min/mile per Xterra, 14:40 min/mile actual (1:30:16/14:27
min/mile last year) 290/342 overall (249/266 last year), 85/96 women (73 or 77/86 last year),
9/11 age group (6/7 last year)
Mile 1: 17:24
Mile 2: 12:47
(Miles 1 and 2: 32:26 last year, 30:11 this year)
Mile 3: 15:57 (16:30 last year)
Mile 4: 15:49 (15:16 last year)
Mile 5: 14:32 (14:17 last year)
Mile 5.87: 9:39 (12:01 last year)
Final Time: 4:54:33 (4:53:31 last year), 286/323 overall (243/266 last year), 84/96 women
(75/86 last year), 9/11 age group (6/7 last year)