Tag branden rakita

USA Champs Post Race Interviews



After the XTERRA USA Championship, I caught up with the winners Josiah Middaugh and Lesley Paterson, along with several other top pros and chatted with them about the day. Huge thanks to my Timex teammate Dave Erickson for letting me play interviewer for his site SwimBikeRunVideos.com


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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!



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XTERRA USA Champs



I’ve seen, heard, and experienced time & time again how triathletes train endlessly, focus all their energy and build their lives around this sport, only to be disappointed when race day comes. So much of each of ourselves poured into these endeavours only to be disappointed when the big day rolls in and we finish up short. Frustrating to say the least! So why continue? Why sacrifice so much when the possibility of crushing disappointment lingers? I’m sure we all have numerous reasons that drive us, and I was reminded of one of my most powerful ones – the perfect race.

At the XTERRA USA Championship, I had one of the most amazing races I’ve had in long time (if not ever!).  Now I’m not saying it was perfect because if it was, I would have won, but I could not have been much happier with how the day went. Decent swim, stellar bike, and solid run. All of this put together got me across the line in 9th. I finished overjoyed and rode the high that you get when all of your efforts come together and you really crush it. If you thought I had a big smile normally, you wouldn’t believe how big it was on race day. Ear to ear is an understatement.


The trip started a little bumpy when Branden Rakita, Dan Hugo and I ran out of gas while cruising down I-80 out to Ogden, but we rolled with the punches and took it all in stride. It really didn’t seem like to big of a deal, so we just laughed about it and added a little bit of time to our final arrival in Ogden.

 


Had a couple of great prerides with all the boys. Dan, Craig, Boobs, Casey, Conrad (and his dog Bliksem), and I rode and chatted about what lines to take, tire pressure to run, and how to avoid the cows. At the end of the day, with the bike and my race strategy totally dialed in, I had the confidence to crush it race day!



The last big hiccup before race start came the night before when I realized that I had forgot my race kit. I ended up cutting the sleeves off one of my Timex branded custom Sugoi tech tee’s and buying a pair of trishorts from the venue. It ended up working just fine, other than I felt white trash. I did contemplate just drawing on a jersey with my sponsors using a sharpie the night before, but wussed out on race morning.


Come race day, it was go time! I felt ready to rock & roll and the vibwas excitement rather than nervousness. With the confidence I had coming off of the TransRockies races, I felt that I could take on the world. As the cannon fired to start the race, this feeling kept me strong and smooth while trying to lose as little time as possible in the water. It worked like a charm because when I came out of the water there were a plethora of other pros there in T1 and I realized I was much closer to the front than usual. 

With the confidenceof 1/3 of a great race in the bag fueling my engine, I hammered away at the pedals to move up through the field. With athletes coming back quicker than normal and feeling like a million bucks, I moved my way from 46th out of the water to 10th off the bike.




Then the real excitement started – THE RUN! Craig Evans stood out like a sore thumb in his red rocket race suit just a couple of hundred meters in front of me out of T2. Not far in front of him, I spotted Cody Waite. The goal was to beat both of those guys, so that I would be the 4th American across the line. I had to pooooshto catch Craig right away, and with a couple words of encouragementfrom him (“Go get Cody!”) I locked in on a top-10-type pace. I could see Cody, and I tried with all my legs had to catch him, but the foot speed just wasn’t there. Closer and closer I came, but in the end 11 seconds separated us.


 

At the end of the day, I couldn’t have been happier! I was loving life and riding high. A solid performance and I was proud of it. I wrapped up the season placing 8th in the XTERRA Pro Points Series, which has been a goal of mine for the past couple of years. This was all I needed to stay charged for the XTERRA World Champs. Maui here I come and I’m gonna crush it!


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