While it was snowing back home in Calgary this past Saturday (yes, even in June it can happen!) my family and I were just a 7.5h drive south in ideal race temperatures for the Xterra Northwest Cup in Farragut State Park just north of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.
With a noon start to the race, I enjoyed having plenty of time to wake up with a little jogging, spinning on the bike, and lots of oatmeal, bananas, toast and coffee!
Having an aversion to cold water and bad circulation that often leaves my fingers and toes white and numb as soon as I get even a little bit chilled, I was determined to stay warm in the deep and chilly Lake Pend Oreille. Armed with a neoprene skull cap, ear plugs, our team Blue Seventy wetsuit and tight booties for my feet - a bad idea in the end as the booties were a real “drag” in the water although they did save my feet a bit on the rocky run between laps and up to transition – I plunged into the very choppy water and struggled to get into a quick, strong stroke and felt tossed in the surf. Twenty-nine minutes and change later, I was in transition a whopping 7 minutes down on Christine Jefferey, 3 minutes down on Melanie, and about a minute of most of the rest of the Pro field, ouch!
However, I after a few minutes on the bike I was feeling good and finding my rhythmn on the fast and furious course. A course that seemed so non-technical on the pre-ride was a whole lot more fun at race pace, full of swooping turns, rolling ups and downs over rocks and roots, and fast “just hammer” in the big ring sections….pedal, pedal, pedal. After finally being out on my mountain bike at home the past few weeks I felt like I was finally finding my race gear on my feather light Orbea Alma and moved quickly into third place near the end of the first lap.
Heading onto the run, I had narrowed the deficit to Christine down to one minute and was 6min + behind race leader and eventual winner, Melanie. Having not seen the 6.5 mile run course, I really enjoyed the first few miles of single track right along the lake. Then we climbed into the woods where I caught Christine before beginning a nice long 800m climb. As tough as it was, the loamy trails through the woods were beautiful and I found myself really enjoying the rhythm of the run and looking forward to what was around each corner. I kept a fast cadence all the way home with the fastest run split of the day but it wasn’t quite enough to catch Melanie who finished 1min 40 in front. Christine Jeffery held onto 3rd, with Jenny Tobin in 4th and Emma Gerrard rounding out the podium in 5th.
Calgary was also represented well with my coach, Cal Zaryski winning the men’s overall amateur title, and my training partners from Critical Speed, Rosemarie Gerspacher and Sheila Gillis taking 1st and 3rd overall amateur women in their first ever Xterra race!
Now it is back home for a short few days before I’m off to the east for the Xterra Atlantic Cup in Richmond, Virginia this coming Sunday. I will be heading to my first Xterra race solo since the birth of Zoe while JF and Zoe head west to Vancouver (JF for work, and Zoe to have fun hanging out with her grandparents).
Thanks for reading!