Monday, August 22, 2016

Xterra Winter Park - Snow Mountain Ranch

This race was supposed to take place 2 weeks ago but was postponed due to heavy rain/flooded trails.  But this new race day turned out to be perfect.  Started out a bit cloudy like last year.

The drive over Berthoud Pass was spectacular as low clouds hung in the valley below the pass.  It's always a weird feeling driving above the clouds.  Have some video on my dashboard cam, maybe I'll get around to downloading it before I erase it.

Anyway the swim went well for me despite the cool cloudy conditions and cold-ish water temps.  I never heard an official temperature but 2 weeks ago it was 63 degrees so I'm guessing somewhere between 61-63.  According to Garmin, air temp. was 36 degrees which I seriously doubt.  I think my phone said 42 degrees when I arrived at around 6:35 a.m.  Felt more like mid to upper 40's by race start at 8:00.  But who knows.  All I can say for sure is that I was fine, no worry or hypothermia or terrible head rush of my brain is freezing when I put my head in the water though it was for sure cold.

Swim was short this year at 767 yards (supposed to be 1100), even shorter than last year, but nobody was complaining including me.  I swam harder this year, wasn't so concerned about panic or the altitude, but not as hard as I can.  Pace was 2:05/100 yd. compared to my typical triathlon pace of 1:50 or so but this included a run out of the water, across a short bit of beach and back in again for the second lap and I took a few seconds on the beach to catch my breath a bit before starting the second lap.  Last year's pace was 2:15/100 yd. so that was a big improvement.

T1 was pretty fast despite wearing swim socks and neoprene cap.  Those regular shoes for flat pedals are so much faster to put on than bike shoes w/ cleats.

Bike went well but was slower this year, 7.0 mph compared to 7.3 mph.  My knee was bothering me a bit on the steeper climbs and I felt my mind wandering a bit.  I didn't have as many people to ride with this year somehow so I found myself losing focus more easily.  Course was a half mile shorter than last year and descended Coyote Tooth on a different trail that I walked in a few places so that may account in part for the slower time but the sections were so short I can imagine it was a huge factor.  I did ride down the steep section into the gully that I walked last year, just made sure to control my speed going into it and it was no problem.  Some guys at the front of the race spotted a couple of moose but I never saw them.  And a woman was held up for 20 minutes by a bear on the trail.  You never know what might happen during an Xterra.  Though I do remember the one year that a woman hit a bear on her bike during the Boulder Peak Triathlon.  No wildlife sightings for me this time, darn it.

Run went really well, over 2 minutes faster than last year and my knee didn't bother me too much.  And I held off someone coming from behind at the finish line which is always a mental challenge for me so I was happy about that.  Sun came out for the run but it was still plenty cool.  So much better than Mountain Champs. where it was so hot.

Overall a great race day for me, had fun and some improvements over last year.  Finished in 3:06:56 compared to 3:14:10 last year though swim and bike were a bit shorter this year.

And you gotta love the finish area.

Plus some unexpected bling for me.

There was someone in my age group who finished ahead of me but she finished in the top 3 women overall so I got bumped up a spot for 1st in the age group.  Sort of a weird thing but that's how most races do it.


Swim:   767 yards (861 yards last year) (per Garmin), 15:57 (19:30 mins.) 2:05/100 yards (2:15/100 yards) 26 strokes/min.

T1:  2:32 (3:42 last year)

Mountain Bike:  13.4 miles (13.9 miles last year), 1834' elevation gain (1788'),  1:56:07, 7.0 mph (1:56:28, 7.3 mph)

T2:  0:51 secs. (54 secs. last year)

Trail Run:  4.0 miles, 500' elevation gain, 51:21 (53:36 last year), 12:57 min./mile (13:28 min/mile)

Finish:  3:06:56, (3:14:10 last year)


  1. Nice bling! It looks good, gotta feel good. Congratulations on the time improvements, too!

    1. Thanks! It was a good day.