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.