Saturday, August 13, 2005


Sunday, Aug 14

Race Day!! This is one of the toughest races on the Xterra circuit (especially when you look at the field of top racers out in CO/CA who are racing). I am excited…and can’t get over how cool it is to race in the Mountain Championship race in Keystone. I feel pretty good, and am fairly well rested. After setting up transition, I bump into a couple racers I met earlier in the week and wish them luck. This sure is going to be a fun race, even though it is so tough with the altitude and biggest climb I know of for a mountain biking section of an Xterra.

The swim is in a small lake, with 2 laps of 500 meters each. I am in the third wave, so I get a cool view of the pros as they take their first lap. I start to get really excited, and then BOOM goes the gun and I am off. I round the first lap at a pretty decent pace, although I went out a little too fast early in the swim, feel pretty good (somewhat cold with water around 62 degrees – man, I need a long wetsuit!). On the second lap, rounding an area where you can touch the bottom, I took about 5 steps in some deep mud, and felt something sharp slice into my foot…OUCH! Geez, it is really hurting as I start swimming again, and I am pretty sure my foot is bleeding. I think about grabbing the edge of a dock and checking my foot to see that it is ok…but decide in my mind that I am probably going to keep racing either way, so who cares if it is cut? Maybe I will check when I get out of the water. I finish up my second lap, jump out of the water…and my feet are so cold, the foot doesn’t hurt that much anymore. I shoot out of transition pretty fast on my bike, and start hammering up the 8 mile climb. I make some good passes on the double track section, but my heart rate is really blowing up so I pull back a little bit. I start pushing pretty hard again after about 15 min of climbing and pass a bunch more riders. I keep working my way up, and after about 70 minutes of climbing, I reach the summit! Phew! Now the fun (but scary) descent. I let the bike really start rolling, barely braking, and bomb through the top few sections. Then survive through the crazy wild section (called Wild Thing). I dismount three times on the downhill…but clean the rest of the sections. I can barely feel my hands and wrists by the bottom b/c they are so fatigued (after ~22 miles of mountain biking). After a quick transition, I start out on my slow technical trail run section of 6.2 miles (compliments on my knee tendonitis).

Time 3 hours, 4 min
18th place in age group (0 points)
Happy b/c the race was awesome, and although my age group place wasn’t very good (the competition was stiff)…I was closer to the pros than the other Championship races. I was happy with my time.

I head to Golden CO for dinner with my Uncle, Aunt, and cousins. We have a great time hanging out.

Saturday, Aug 13

My friends Roger and Teri finally arrived, as well as their friend Linda who is a pro Xterra and mountain bike racer. Roger, Linda and I decided to grab lift tickets to practice the downhill section one last time before the race. We were all just bombing down the mountain, I am just thinking “man, this is tough, I sure hope I don’t crash today…OR race day.” The downhill had many long sections of steep down grade with washboard dirt that just abuses your forearms and hands with a vicous pounding…the whole time trying to dodge tons of babyhead rocks (2”-6” rocks) while hitting 20 mph with some big drops off the side, and technical rock gardens looming around hairpin turns. It was truly awesome, but I was on edge the entire way down holding the pace with the others…wild.
I took Roger up on his lodging offer to stay up at a condo in Vail, so Hotel Xterra would be empty tonight. We all grabbed a huge pasta dinner, and rested up for the tough race tomorrow.

Friday, Aug 12

Woke up, grabbed breakfast and checked e-mail. Then I headed over to the race venue, cleaned my bike and replaced a few worn out parts. I took off for a pre-ride of the course, which I was taking very easy b/c it is a tough 8 mile climb, then a gnarly downhill section that had 2 spots where I think everyone will dismount (maybe the top pro men will be able to navigate about 10 huge boulders and ride it…who knows!). The course was really awesome, but quite tough on the legs/lungs. Hopefully my body will respond better to the altitude then it did at the Crested Butte race. I am certainly more acclimated at this point, but the competition for this Championship level race is going to be intense! Lot’s of very strong riders out pre-riding the course.

Thursday, Aug 11

I decide to give my legs a break from biking in preparation from a tough race this weekend. Wayne and a bunch of his buddies go on a hike every Thursday morning, so I joined them. We had a great time, about a 2.5 hour hike. I then checked out the town of Glenwood Springs. They had hot springs and vapor caves, but after looking at both of them, didn’t think it was worth the money (entrance was a little pricey). So I just decided to hit I-70 and head to Keystone. As I was pulling onto the interstate, I saw this normal guy sitting on the guardrail, looking for a ride east. An article I read in Durango flashed through my mind (written by some hitchhiking hippies…I think I was brainwashed)…so I decide to give the guy a chance and give him a lift. Hitchhiker Patrick ended up being a very normal guy, who just did not have a car. He told me all about the history of each town as we passed through. After about an hour, we had reached his hometown, and I dropped him off. I think the risk was worth the entertainment value of having him tell me about some of the CO history!

I got to Keystone, caught a movie, and found a campsite…where I was appalled at a $13 fee for a place to camp, with NO showers. What a ripoff considering I was staying in a hostel for only $9 in Moab. I decided it was time for Hotel Xterra to make a return. I found a great, remote, ski-lift parking lot that would serve as a great home!


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