Tag craig evans

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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Interview with Endurance Hour



This past week I did a podcast interview with the guys over at Endurance Hour. Dave Erickson and Roger Thompson chatted with myself and fellow XTERRA pro Emma Garrard. We chatted about Lance Armstrong, on road vs off road racing, sponsors and what it means to be a professional triathlete, and much more. Click the image below to listen…





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Snake Gap Mountain Bike Time Trial



2012 started with some fun (as usual) down at the Snake Gap MTB TT in Dalton, GA. Two of my buddies, Craig Evans and Matt Schupp, and I headed down the day before to do a little spin at Raccoon Mountain along the way.


Trying to look cool at the overlook on Raccoon Mountain the day before the Snake Gap

 

Because this was the first race of the year, and quite early in the season, all of us were a little nervous about our fitness. We knew it was going to hurt and we were going to suffer, but at least we would all be hurting together.

Getting ready to throw down at the Snake Gap MTB TT

 

It was a free-for-all time trial start, which meant that whenever you got to the start line, that’s when you started. Craig and I left 10 seconds apart and I soft pedaled to wait up for him so we could ride together. We then proceed to crush it. Check out the data that I collected on my Timex GPS Global Trainer.

Data from my Timex GPS Global Trainer via Training Peaks

 

I was stoked and quite pleasantly surprised to feel very strong right from the start. Craig and I rode together until the last few miles, where I turned the throttle and put 1:40 into him to pick up the win in 2:48:55. Not a bad way to start the year!

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