Friday, April 1, 2011

1st Place Xterra Real Granite Bay

I've raced three Xterra triathlons now, and I've managed a first place finish in each, but this last event was like no other I had done before...

After spending a few days touring around California, I headed down to Morgan Hill to pick up my brand new S-Works Epic 29er and get a little test ride before the race. It was a rainy week, and the grounds in Cali were heavily laden with water. My test ride quickly became a road ride after I discovered how saturated the trails were... even so, the high performance aspects of the new bike were evident and my confidence was immediately bolstered for the race.

A great evening dealer visit at Kinetic Cycles in nearby Elk Grove got everyone excited for a crazy day in Granite Bay, and we all powered down coffee and rallied out to the race venue.

After getting our bikes and transitions all dialed, we hesitantly donned our wetsuits and made our way down to the swim start. I've done a few cold swims in my day, but this might have taken the cake. Water temps were 48 degrees, and a warm-up was impossible. When the cannon went off, it was just survival mode, and I did my best to stay calm as my body battled the freezing waters, capillary shock in the face, and shortness of breath. Fortunately, it was over quick, and even though my feet would remain numb for most of the race, I was just happy to be on the new bike, shredding trail as the lead male...

The first lap was just about trying to get a gap on my pursuers, and I managed to get out of sight within the first few miles. The course was a ton of fun, with some good sandy sections, muddy open fields, and swooping singletrack in the trees. I settled into a good rhythm and let the bike take care of the rest... Until the second lap. With a couple hundred riders beating up the soggy course, things quickly got interesting. Lots of "quicksand," mud bogs, and peanut butter corners meant that I crashed about 3 times. Fortunately, the soft ground saved my body from anything more than scratches, and I came into T2 with a few minutes lead.

I hit the first miles of the run hard, then eased back to enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the lakeside coves and forested hills. In the end, I was clear by a couple minutes over Andrew Young (new friend and Specialized dealer from New Zealand), and Jimmy Archer.

I really love racing Xterra, and I will be targeting a couple more races this year... Thanks to all the volunteers, race staff, and all my sponsors for making it a memorable day and the first victory of 2011! See you on the trails...

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