Tag conrad stoltz

A Somewhat Surprising Finish



Going into a race, there are many feelings that flow through my body. Some races have me nearly wetting my pants I get so excited. New races bring the excitement and anxiousness of unknown possibilities. While others have me dreading the inevitable pain I will put myself through. The XTERRA USA Championship in Ogden, UT is mostly the latter. It can be hard to get motivated when you know the suffering that is to come, but finally by Friday morning before the race, I found it.

Hitting the trails that morning for the final pre ride with CraigBoobsLuke, and Branden must have done the trick. The colors were absolutely amazing at that time of year with orange, red, yellow, and a few green leaves creating a colorful kaleidoscope surrounding the smooth single track of Snow Basin. We laughed as much as we pedaled and by the end of it, I found the mental state I needed to be in to have a good race.

 

On race morning, I was super duper mega excited to finally get to race in my BlueSeventy Helix wetsuit. So many of the races have been non wetsuit swims for the pros this year, that my speed suit saw way more action than my wettie. I figured if this suit was good enough for theCaveman, it’s good enough for me. I’ve never owned a suit quite like this and I was so excited to finally see it in action.

Despite the fact that I got absolutely pounded during the first couple hundred meters (Those Brits are rough), I kept my mind focused and had my best swim to date. How do I know it was my best? I’ll tell you. I base all of my race swims off of the lead swimmers. That way there is no wondering if the course was short or long. I was either slow or not. And that day, I was not.

As I sped through transition and hopped onto my bike, I was a little confused. “What are you doing back here?!?” I thought to myself as I surveyed my competition. Then I realized “Holy crap! They aren’t back here. I’m up there!”

I wish I could say that my bike performance made me just as happy as my swim, but it just wasn’t my day. I wasn’t slow, but I wasn’t stellar either. The legs weren’t feeling it on the bike, so I settled into a comfortable groove on the uphills and tried to absolutely rip the descents. I’m still not sure exactly how they knew, but my legs told me that they could run fast that day. With that in mind, I kept calm and collected as I was caught by a few guys and passed a few on the bike.

Then came my moment to shine. As we hit T2 and blasted through, the field was completely stacked on top of each other. 12th place through 6th exited T2 about 1 minute apart from each other. I felt comfortable and more importantly confident in my abilities as we dashed off into the woods. I started picking them off one by one and with less than 2 miles of straight downhill to go, I caught the last two guys I knew were catchable (Ryan Ignatz and Cody Waite). I surged and the smile on my face grew.

I fought off the cramps in every leg muscle I had (and a few I didn’t know about until later) and was able to keep my lead on those two and crossed the line in 7th place. I was a bit surprised I was able to do that! My coach, my girlfriend, and fellow racers had all said they knew I could do it, but I didn’t quite believe it until I did it. What an amazing feeling! And with that finish I was able to maintain my 6th place ranking in the USA Pro Points Series for 2012. Yippie!

It was time to celebrate! So what did we do? Learn to surf sounds like a fun idea!?! I’d never surfed behind a boat before, so it seemed like time to try it out.

Surfing that afternoon and a giant piece of chocolate cake that night was about the craziest celebration you can expect in Utah, but I certainly wasn’t complaining. All and all, what a great way to end the off-road season.

A huge thanks to TimexRudy ProjectPowerBarHoly Crapmix1, and my newest sponsor Peak Performance Acupuncture for all the support that helped to make the culmination of my XTERRA season a huge success!

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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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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!!!

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Strengths and Weaknesses



So if you checked out the schedule page on my site, you’ll see that I’ve already listed XTERRA World Champs as a DNS (did not start). I’m not injured, sick, or incapable of racing in any way, I’ve just decided not to race. My trip around the world really taught me one thing – Know your strengths and your weaknesses. And with this in mind, I decided not to race the world champs. Let me explain…

I love riding my mountain bike. Ripping through the forest at 20 miles an hour, coming within inches of a bone breaking tree, while hopping over a rock and skirting by a precarious drop that could possibly be career ending, puts a big smile on my face. Riding up to a new section of trail and having the confidence to dive in head first is something I look forward to every time I air up the knobby tires. The same goes for the run. The move I have to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge, the better. I like a technical challenge. I like going fast over formidable terrain. I enjoy those aspects of a race and thus they have become my strengths.

As I started the 6 races in 6 weeks in 6 countries, I only had prior experience on one of the courses (XTERRA Forest Drive in South Dakota). I had no idea what to expect at any of the other races. As the trip progressed, I raced on single track, double track, lots of climbing, primarily flat, extremely muddy, technical beyond belief, and more, during both the bike and the run. Whenever there was something technical, I moved up and my strengths shined. Anytime we were pretty much racing on a dirt road (technically thats considered off road), I was struggling to hold pace. I realized that in this point of my triathlon career, I’m not one of the fastest guy out there… on certain terrain. On dirt roads and flat trails, I still need to improve. A lot.

Guys who I could put 30 seconds into on a 2 minute downhill on the bike, could pop me like a festering zit on a flat road or smooth climb. Other guys who could smoke me on a lakeside gravel path, would just hear my goofy laugh as I hurdled a log, leaped into a gully, and monkeyed my way through a dense jungle past them.

The XTERRA USA Champs was the culmination of my revolution about my strengths and weaknesses. In the continental US, this is the biggest race of the year. All the top guys are out in top form (including Lance Armstrong). I went into the race quite excited, ready to show what I had, and improve on last years 9th place. That was until I pre rode the bike course. The city of Ogden had gone in this past summer and plowed down the trails. It went from narrow, rocky, rooty, somewhat technical single track to a “nearly paved” 3 foot wide pathway. I was devastated. Technical skills were only required on about 20% of the entire ride. That meant the area where I could really shine, was only about 15 minutes long. Bummer. I had the best race on the day that I could, but on that type of course, it just wasn’t fast enough. I worked my way up to 8th off the bike, but had pushed just to hard trying to ride like the guys in front of me. My legs were toast and I had a lackluster run, crossing the line in 11th place.

But fret not! If you know me, you know I am not one to dwell on the negative forever. I’m looking at this realization and learning from it. Race my strengths, train my weaknesses. So after a good chat with the coach, we decided that for the time being, until my weaknesses are no longer my weaknesses, I will choose my races wisely. I am a professional triathlete and thus this is my career. If I make poor business decisions, the company could fail. I’m not going to let that happen. So until I can swim 1 day a week like Craig Evans and still lead out a swim, or put out 400 watts for over an hour like Conrad Stoltz, or run like the wind like Frenchman Nico Lebrun, I’m going to pick and choose my races wisely, playing to my strengths.

So when you see me racing an XTERRA this coming season, you know its gonna be a challenging, technical, fun, knee slapping good time!

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Loads of Bikes



With Conrad Stoltz and Amber Montforte in town, we have added a few more bikes to the pile. Now with Dan’s, Courtenay’s, Shelby’s, mine and our guests, there are 10 bikes in the living room. We’ve estimated a bit over $70,000 worth of bikes.

The count is Specialized – 5, Orbea – 1, Colnago – 1, Gary Fisher – 1, Santa Cruz – 1, and Look – 1.

 

 

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