The Mountain Triathlon (Olympic distance) has always been on my radar but I've been unable to get out there for the event due to other conflicts, this year there was no conflict so I made a family trip of it with Seb & Kaale. The event was semi-important because while my season thus far has been pretty good I've had training markers that indicated it could be even better. At the same time I've had a couple of sub-par performances in events I hoped to do better at.
I've felt like if I could control for everything really well: Sleep, equipment prep, being in the right frame of mind, then I'd race really well, or at least to my highest standard. Fortunately I was able race with all of that mostly taken care of.
The race unfolded the way they normally do: So-so swim followed by proper bike and good run. I've chatted with folks who've raced out there coming from sea-level and they reported having a rough swim but decent bike/run which was my experience. My swim fitness has been fine the last couple of seasons, meaning I can race full-out buoy to buoy (whilst still getting gapped) but I'm not endurance limited anymore.
In McCall I found that my chest was tight and shoulders were loaded up with fatigue that I only get in an anaerobic state. In any case the bike did go well. And since the course was hilly I opted to use the race wheels sans power meter, not a bad idea except that the wheel magnet and the chain stay pickup decided not to sync on race day so perceived effort triangulated with speed which is a great metric for me wasn't on the table. I don't like "racing blind" but had to, and like Alu last fall I just focused on counting the number of folks in front and tracking them all down.
By the end of the ride I was sure I'd nearly got everyone but once on the run I was mildly confused since there were lots of athletes out on the course from the sprint triathlon. The run course is, near as I can tell, also the same for the Xterra event just held this past weekend and, even better, was marked in kilometers which I have hardwired from running days.
In any sequence of events, those Nordies (nordic skiers) are darn tough and fit!
First kilometer= 3.24.. hmm, well, the course was on a flat-ish trail to start so I knew it was probably accurate. My PE was low and I thought well if I can click off those I'll do well and maybe catch some folks. I got to the 2.5k mark (turn around for the sprint) hearing that only one male was up the road! I figured waaaay up given my swim time. then got to 4.5k-ish and saw how close I was, which was very close. 5k in 16.58. I thought this was off given the earlier 3.30 kilo splits; the next couple of Ks were on very hilly trails and then we headed back along the same road we ran out on; I figured if I could ever get on the flats and spot the next runner I'd close the gap then.
8k in 30min flat.. Well that squared with the K splits. I chased hard but couldn't quite bridge up and that was that. Then I hear my name announced as the third overall male, 10k in 37min, next closest was 43min). Ugh, turns out first overall I'd somehow missed or mistook for a sprint athlete but fact is my swim was so slow I would have needed a miracle to get him. FWIW, only a handful of folks have ever been under 40min out there and I'm fairly certain that's the run course record; I'll check to be sure and report back. :)
Quick note: checked and nope, XTERRA Wild Ride was entirely in Ponderosa State Park, maybe next year I do the double!
Bike was good enough for third fastest, I could have given more but riding blind was less then ideal. Swim= Meh. I'm happy with the race to be sure as it validated my fitness.
Enjoyed the open kegs post-race (& got a cool bag of gift certs as a podium finisher too) and was fully wiped from the drive back early last week.
That takes us to Crater Lake Century.. Damn. 8kft of climbing but most of it in a 40mile stretch with wind to boot. I'm currently two days removed from it and a little foggy. The middle stretch with the climbing I went on alone at my own pace which I needed but it tore me down pretty good by the end. That ride is very much on par with STP one-day (200mi) in terms of difficulty.
I've lots of racing still in front of me and I'm looking forward to it, though at this point I'm back to building/training again which is great, I love the bread & butter day to day of getting after it!