Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Race Report: Xterra Blackwater (Milton, FL) - April 1, 2017

Traditionally, I start my triathlon season with a race in Knoxville. This season, I decided to roll south to warmer weather (and warmer water). Xterra Blackwater in Milton, Florida looked like a great way to start the season. A sprint distance Xterra race, it consisted of a 800m lake swim, 16 mile bike and a 3.75 mile trail run. I was a bit anxious to test out my fitness and also see how my left knee would hold up ( I've been fighting with a bit of Tendenosis for the last month or so) but also excited to get the season underway.
The Florida weather was everything I hoped it would be. The morning of the race, the water temp was hovering right at 76 degrees and the ambient temperature was in the high 60s. It was a perfect morning. I opted for the full sleeve wetsuit for two reasons... first and most importantly, it's the only one I brought. Second, it's supposed to be faster and I guess, thirdly it's more comfortable. I lined up near the front. The race was a mass start from the boat launch. I lined up near the front but somewhat conservatively. Definitlely a mistake. I got held up BIG TIME on the swim start putting a sizeable gap between myself and the leaders by the time I got free. I still managed to come out of the water in the top 10 overall and 2nd in the AG.
Swim Split: 11:11 (1:24/100yrd)
After a slightly longer T1 (due mostly to the added steps of the hydration pack and the clumsiness of MTB shoes) I was off on the bike. The bike was fun and fast. Focused on keeping smooth through the corners and maintaining as much momentum as possible. There was another athlete (not in my age group) who I came up on riding at a similar pace. We would end up trading positions a couple times. Another guy came up on us quick and asked for a pass. We let him by. He rode off into the sunset never to be seen again. Turns out, he passed me for 2nd in the AG which NORMALLY I would be annoyed with, but he beat me on the day by around 8 minutes so I don't feel too bad.
Bike Split: 46:01 (15.6mph)
T2 was smooth and quick. I was out of my shoes before hitting the chute and the flying dismount was flawless. Threw the pack off, put on my shoes, grabbed my belt and was off. The run course was mostly flat but much more traditional single track with rocks and roots and some more technical trail features. Per the map it was a 3.75 mile lap but the Garmin only registered 3.4. The run felt good. I started out pushing the pace to see what I could hold. Around mile 3 or so I started to feel a bit of a pre cramp twinge in the left calf. I backed off slightly and maintained as high of a pace as I could. I knew there was someone not too far off behind me so I just tried to keep an ear out and listen to make sure they didn't get too close. I had a great run all in all and my knee didn't give me any issues during (or after) the race.
Run Split: 29:25 (7:51/mile) * Garmin registered a short course at 3.4 mi putting my pace in mid 8's which felt much more accurate.
Takeaways from the weekend:
I had a really great time at Xterra Blackwater. The race was extremely well run and all of the staff and volunteers did an exceptional job. I stuck around after the Xterra that morning and volunteered for the afternoon off road super sprint. It was great seeing all of the first time athletes in an off road triathlon setting. The family atmosphere of Xterra is something that I truly enjoy and one of the best things about the series in my opinion. I got to meet and hang out briefly with Yaro Middaugh who was an amazingly swell dude. In fact, everyone at the race from athletes to race staff were super friendly. The whole weekend was a great experience and a great way to kick off the 2017 season!  

Monday, April 10, 2017

Updates! New Team, New Sponsors and New Adventures!

Mellow greetings friends!  It's been a bit since my last post so here's a quick recap of what's been going on in my world.  

New Team and Sponsor(s)!
I made the tough call after last season to step away from the Rev3 Ambassador team.  I met some great friends during my year with the team and it was a very tough decision to leave.  In the end, the decision came down to goals.  The goals that I have at the moment revolve around Xterra and trying to earn a trip to Maui for Xterra Worlds.  With that being my focus, it would have been hard for me to continue to be what Rev3 needed me to be and devote the time and energy that position deserves. I felt it was in everyone's best interests for me to open that spot up to someone who could be of more benefit to them.  I thank Rev3 and all my teammates for the opportunity and wish them nothing but the best!

For 2017 I will be flying the colors of Podium Racing Team p/b Visit Knoxville. I'm very excited to be a member of this elite team of athletes based out of Knoxville, TN.  We have some fantastic team sponsors this year including our title sponsor, Visit Knoxville along with Harper Auto Square, Yee-Haw Brewing Co., Provision Physical Therapy, Pilot Flying J, The Feed, and Stoke Signal Socks.  Along with team sponsors I'd like to thank my returning road wheel sponsor, Orr Cycling.  If you need a great set of deep dish carbon wheels at an awesome price, check out the Orr products.  This will be my third year racing on them and I couldn't be happier to represent them on the roads this year.  This year, I also have the privilege of racing on Nox Composites wheels off road.  I will be racing their Teocalli rims on the Xterra Southeast circuit in 2017.  

New Adventures
After spending all last year focusing on Ironman Lake Placid, I have decided that long distance isn't my thing.  I will be getting back to my roots a bit this year and really putting some effort into Xterra off road triathlon.  Xterra was originally my motivation for getting into triathlon and I really love the atmosphere of off road racing.  My stretch goal is a qualification slot for the Xterra World Championship race in Maui for 2018.  This year I'm doing 6 Xterras on the Southeast tour in an effort to re-familiarize myself with the off road format and improve for my bid at Maui next year.  

My season kicked off the first weekend of April with Xterra Blackwater in Milton Florida.  You can read my race report on the Podium Racing Team Athlete Blog.  

Next up for me is the Run Disney Dark Side Half Marathon and 10k double (which isn't really a "race" as much as it is a MUCH needed vacation).  After that it's back to the tri grind with a short build to Xterra Oak Mountain in May and then Xterra Knoxville in June.  I'll follow that up with Xterra Tsali, Xterra Whitewater and then Xterra Panther Creek.  There will be a couple of street sprints intermixed with the Xterra's early then after Panther Creek my focus will shift primarily to Street in a build toward the Kiawah Island Triathlon in September.