XTERRA East Champs

In the words of Dave “Kahuna” Nicholas – “It only took you 10 years to become an over night sensation.”

On June 10th, I had my best finish ever at an XTERRA regional race. These are the big races in the states where all the fastest guys come together and I couldn’t have been happier to be in the mix of it and finish on the podium.

One of the most exciting things for me, was showing that what happened at the ITU Cross Triathlon World Champs wasn’t a fluke.  I was able to ride and run my way up to the front of the race again, and if I can ever learn how to swim faster (maybe this could help http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS589zKAlnY) I could be in contention for the win.

The race started out with the usual “few minutes back” swim for me. But just like Cross Worlds, I didn’t let that deter me. I grabbed my GPS tracking chip that Luck Stone had set up for all the pros, and took off like a rocket out of T1. These GPS chips allowed anyone with computer access or at the venue to watch the pro race unfold live! Pretty cool stuff and I really see this as a key way to grow the sport.

On the bike, I put my mountain bike skillz (yes skillz with a “z”) to use and worked my way up. At one point, I passed Branden Rakita and moved into 3rd. 3rd place! I’ve never been in 3rd at a big race like this. It wasn’t long lasting though as Josiah Middaugh blasted by us throwing down some insane power. I was able to hold onto him (after he backed off a little) and we cruised into T2 together in 3rd and 4th.

My legs weren’t quite as sharp as the last race, but they still had some get up and go. Josiah took off and eventually ran down Criag Evans for 2nd place. I plugged along for the first half of the run, with Branden gaining on me. Once we hit the wooded singletrack and river crossing though, I got my second wind. I picked up the pace to open up a bit of a gap on Branden and cross the finish line in 4th. That’s right, 4th!

After the race, my face hurt more than my legs. I couldn’t wipe the ear-to-ear grin from my sweaty mug. The IV helped me bounce back so that I could rally and celebrate with a few beers with everyone later that evening.

I was stoked to be able to tell my sponsors – Timex, Rudy Project, PowerBar, Holy Crap, LifeSport Chiro – that I did them proud again and they could expect a lot more of the same.

This now moves me up to 7th in the XTERRA USA Pro Points Series. So come July 14th, I’ll be toeing the line in Beaver Creek, CO for the XTERRA Mountain Championship. I can’t wait!



Rev3 Quassy – What a Show!

Not much to recap as far as my race went. I had a rough swim and unfortunately my hips completely cramped up on me on the bike. I was unable to finish the race and had to mark down a painful 7th DNF in my triathlon career. One thing that did have me smiling though, was my fitness. I was very pleased how things were going on the bike before the issues started. That kept me excited with the XTERRA East Champs in Richmond, VA one week away.

The thing that is note worthy of this race is the organization – Rev3. Wow! I cannot say enough good things about this race and the impressive organization behind it. These guys put on the type of show that I love to see in the world of triathlon. There was something for everyone! As pros, we were treated like rock stars. And it was almost the same for the age groupers! For example – as the athletes approached the finish line, they ran over a timing mat that instantly gave their name to the announcer and popped a picture of them up onto the big screen over the venue. Immediately everyone knew who was coming down the finish shoot, even before they were there! Wow!

They produced a fantastic video about the pro race. I’m hoping to make it into the video for Rev3 Portland next month.



ITU Cross Triathlon Worlds

What exactly was the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship down in Birmingham, AL back in May? It was the 2nd off-road triathlon world championship put on by the ITU.  It’s multi-lap triathlon racing that is, what I believe to be, the future of off-road tri. Spectator friendly, sponsor friendly, TV friendly, excitement filled racing. It is XTERRA and ITU working together to create a true off-road world series, with the potential of being in the Olympics (hopefully).

On May 19th, I got to take part in my first Cross Tri World Champs (I missed qualifying for the 2011 race by 11 seconds). I was really excited, but for the first time in a long time, I was also quite nervous. I have been working with my new coach, Grant Holicky,  for just over a year and a half now and it’s starting to show. I knew what I was now capable of, and to be quite frank, it scared me a little that I was ready to do it. I had nailed down all the details (pre and during race), so the only thing left to do, was get my head in the game. And boy did I!

I took off in the swim, treating it like a time trial (rather than a tri swim were I would normally conserve some). I knew I was towards the back of the field, but didn’t care. I was going as hard as I could as if the race was over when I exited the water. Which, if I had a different attitude, it would have been. I exited the water 23rd out of 24. It was my bike and 1 other in transition.

Right away I told myself  “Forget about that and just follow the race plan that we (Grant and I) had created.” Good thing I did because it took me from 23rd into T1 to 8th into T2. That’s right, I rode through more than 50% of the field during the 3 lap, 30k  mountain bike. I want to give a huge shout out to my sunglasses sponsor Rudy Project because if it wasn’t for their photochromatic lenses, I would have had a hard time seeing in the ever changing light conditions. The lenses in my Genetyks would shift from light to dark rapidly as I dipped in and out of the sun along the tree covered course. If you are ever riding in conditions like these, you should really get some Rudys with these lenses. I mention all of this because it was so nice that I never had to think about it, they just worked perfectly at keeping my eyes comfortable and adjusted properly.

Coming into and out of T2, I was right behind Josiah Middaugh. Was I excited? Was I scared? HELL YES! Josiah is one of the fastest runners on the XTERRA circuit, but I told myself “I just rode like a beast, time to run like one!” Though I wasn’t able to hang with him, I wasn’t far behind (30 seconds). I moved up 2 more spots to 6th and had to battle Kelly Guest for it on the 2nd 5k lap of the 10k trail run. I eventually gapped him and was approaching Richard Stannard in 5th as I crossed the line. Click here for complete results.

It was one  hell of a fast race and I was stoked to be in the mix of it – 6th overall, 3rd American.  A huge shout out goes to my buddy Craig Evans on an absolutely stellar performance to finish 2nd behind the now 6x world champ Conrad Stoltz. And a big thanks to Timex, my title sponsor, who has helped to make the dream come true. I can’t wait for the next one!!!