The 2016 edition of the Xterra Oak Mountain/Southeast Championships will go in the record books where I finally earned my right to punch my elite license with USAT.
However, prior to the race the signs were nowhere near that bright. The injury-season started last year for me while still back in New Zealand. I must have pushed my body too much and ended up with a torn calf muscle that took months to heal. In addition I have been having issues with my patella (tracking problems).. Took 4 months off of training between August, 2015 and December but it seems as if it did nothing. Just about a month ago, during an easy jog my calf again flared up and forced me to take a few days/week off from running. Swimming hasn't been the sport where I would've focused my attention, either. I felt I was in a pretty good shape towards the end of our stay in New Zealand thanks to former Xterra pro Craig Evans who directed my swimming workouts while down under. However, with all the traveling and distractions in the past few months I would average about 1-2 swims a week.
Now you'd think that I've had all the time to invest into my bike training but you couldn't be any farther from the truth. I have had some good rides but nothing like the treks I did while in New Zealand last year.
With all this in mind I figured my trip to Alabama I would accomplish two things. 1. Catching up with my old college mate Sergio and get an idea about where am I at.
I pre-rode the entire course once on Thursday and ran the loop around the lake once again on Friday with easy swims in the lake on both days. As far as course reckon goes I was satisfied with these. Race morning surprised us again with some rain and wet trails but this was nothing new as I raced in similar conditions in 2014 when I took the overall amateur title.
Once the gun went off I quickly found some clean water on the right side of the field so stay out of trouble. My plan was to cruise the swim and exit the water after the 1500m swim with still gas in the tank. The plan seemed to work too good as I ended up coming out of the water nearly 3 minutes behind the rest of the field so I had some room to make up on the bike. The beginning of the bike course was wet and slippery but I managed to keep rubber side down and only got stuck behind slower riders for a few minutes in total. Once the climbing started I had no one in sight and focused only on putting out as much power as possible while staying relaxed for the run to come. I again walked the dreaded blood rock section and hammered the remaining 8 miles like its a mtb race only. Ended up reeling in all the amateur athletes by the time I got off the bike feeling pretty good with 6 miles of running still ahead. The first lap of the run was controlled but even with all the water/Gatorade and gels I ingested during the race I started to cramp in my left hammies that slowed me down quite a bit. I literally walked over the logs and other obstacles with legs extended to prevent a devastating cramp that I had so many times in races like Las Vegas and Hawai'i. With less than half a mile to go I spotted two more athletes, professionals, and surged to pass them. I nearly cramped up but fought it off somehow to finish with my best overall result recorded during my Xterra racing carrier.
7th overall athlete (including the pros) and 1st amateur athlete to cross the finish line means that I've submitted my application for my elite triathlon license so I can compete with the "big boys" from here on.
In retrospect I would've done nothing differently and am extremely happy with the results!
The main goal for the rest of the season is to remain (or become?) injury-free and gain some triathlon-specific strength indispensable in this type of competitions.
A 2014-es, sikeres, ev utan nagyon vartam, hogy az XTERRA Oak Mountain versenyen vehessek reszt ujbol. Az idei valtozasoknak koszonhetoen az alabamai verseny volt az elso amerikai allomasa a pan-american bajnoksagnak. Ebben a versenysorozatban szerettem volna a 2016-os evet a dobogo legmagasabb fokan zarni. Lehet, hogy ez mar nem fog teljesulni. Az ok, amiert nem nyerhetem meg a versenysorozatot, viszont teljesiti egy masik celomat. Amiota elkezdtem triatlonozni szerettem volna az elit divizioban, a profikkal versenyezni es az alabamai eredmenyemnek koszonhetoen ez valoszinuleg sikerult is.
Sajnos az elokeszuletek nem mentek olyan siman. Meg tavaly, a 2015-os uj-zelandi tartozkodasunk alatt sikerult elszakitani a vadlimban az izmot es egy jo 4 honapos kihagyas sem segitett rajta. Futas kozben mind a mai napig faj az izom es emiatt meg most is csak konnyu futasokat tudok vegezni, rovideket es mindezt fuvon. Az uj-zelandi uszo formamat mar regen elvesztettem a sok utazas es strukturalatlan edzesek miatt. Emiatt a bringa volt az, amiben remenykedtem, hogy megadja a lehetoseget egy esetleges jo eredmenyre.
Szerencsere a verseny az ellenkezoje volt az elojeleknek. Ugyan az uszas elmaradt a varakozasoktol es majd 3 perccel a leggyorsabb uszo mogott fejeztem be az 1500m-es uszast, sikerult legalabb tulelni es nem nagyon zihalva kezdeni a mountain bike reszet a triatlonnak. A 30km-es bringan a terv az volt, hogy ugy tekintsek erre, mintha a verseny celja az a bringa vegen lenne, tehat mindent ki akartam hozni magambol, nem tartalekolva semmit sem. Majd 4 perccel sikerult gyorsabban tekernem, mint 2 evvel ezelott es ez eleg volt arra, hogy behozzam a 3 perces lemaradasomat es a futast az elso helyen kezdjem csak profikkal elottem. A futas elso kore kontrollalt iramban tortent de ez sem tudta megakadalyozni, hogy elkezdjem a combhajlitom gorcsolni a technikas terepen. 800m-rel a cel elott meglattam meg ket profi versenyzot, akikre miutan rafutottam nagy iram kulonbseggel eloztem meg, hogy ne legyen lehetoseguk tartani a lepest velem. Nem sokra ra a combhajlitom kezdte megadni magat, de valahogy sikerult kiharcolni azt, hogy ne alljon teljesen be es ne kelljen negykezlab kuszni a celszalagon at.
Az eredmennyel teljesen elegedett vagyok, pedig ez nem gyakran tortenik meg velem. Az elsojelek pedig biztatoak es ha sikerulne a seruleseket elkerulni a szezon hatralevo reszeben (ami lenyegeben csak most kezdodott meg), akkor meg sok jo eredmenyre szamithatok.
A USAT Elite triathlon licenszre jelentkeztem es ha minden jol megy akkor a legkozelebbi, kanadai, versenyemen mar a profikkal egyutt fogok versenyezni.