In 2012, after having a better swim I had my chain stuck in the rear deralleiur and couldn't get it moving for a good 4 minutes. I my second place right there. I was also just recovering from my knee surgery. I then promised to come back and win the race in 2013.
Well.. Months before the race it was clear that Will Kelsay, Boulder, Colorado based XTERRA pro would return to defend his title. I thought him and the other XTERRA pros are just a different breed as they not only swim fast but bike like I ride my road bike. It wasn't until I came back from Tennessee when I realized that I might have something to do in this sport if I put some more effort in it. I started working with a coach and only after a few weeks I can say I notice the difference. For now it's only psychological and perhaps I also rest for my races a little more. In the long run though I expect huge improvements in my physical abilities to endure the pain and handle the torture. I'm already faster in my running shoes than I was a year ago. I only run 20-30miles a week but then I make those miles worth it.
So the race itself was like I expected. We didn't drive out to Jamestown until the morning of the race as it predicted heavy rain over the night and we just didn't want to get all soaked while camping. Therefore my pre-ride was a mental/visual one. Having biked on the course it wasn't too difficult to imagine and re-live the critical spots. The water was balmy 67 degrees. Wetsuit legal, of course. Perfect. My new De Soto Concept 5 wetsuit is super fast and that sure helps me stay with the leaders. I co-lead the first lap of the 1000m swim but then I was taken over by Will and 2 more. I stayed on their heels but got some time from them while trying to pull my shoes on out of the water. My heart was racing on the first few miles on the bike. I'm not sure if everyone experiences something like that and it'd been really cool to have my heart rate strap with me so I could show you what it felt like 200 bpm. The roller coaster of flying down to the creek then climbing back up didn't help me get into a good rhythm either. Will was long gone- I thought- and Luke Nelson went by like I was just standing next to him. That dude is fast! I then passed a relay and another fast biker from Wisconsin, Matthew Riley. I just put my bottle back in the cage and was about to start the second outer loop when race director Steven Aesoph yielded me back to T2. I was like whaat? I just made the same mistake again. I saved my legs thinking I had another 3 miles to go although I always knew it was only a 13 mile/21k bike course.
Maybe the short bike course was what helped me fly on the run course. I ran 2:40 minutes faster than a year before and passed Luke Nelson back who had a 5 minute lead on me after T2! He wasn't just jogging either but I really had a good day on the race course. If the course was about 2 miles longer I think I would've had a chance catching eventual race-winner Will Kelsay as well.
I was super happy with my performance and that I finally broke 2 hours on the course. 1:58 was only one minute slower than the winning time that is more than promising before the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in The Hague, The Netherlands.
As always, Steven and his volunteers created the best race that one can expect for his/her money. Food and drink was more than enough and the post-race talk under the tent is about the best part of the race! Thank you again and can't wait to come back in 2014! This time I'm winning it- unless Steven gets Javier Gomez come out and fire up the trails in front of everyone!