Xterra Fruita is centered around a triathlon festival so the roadies get to race on Sunday. A lot of people plan to do both races. Sprint and Olympic distances are both available for both on and off road triathlons.
We arrived the day before, as usual. It was an awesome short 4 hour drive! As we pulled into the parking area to register, we just happened to pull into a spot next to pro triathlete Branden Rakita. He was very amiable and talked about riding the course "all out". It is a fast, non-technical bike ride, but when you ride it pushing the limits, it can be exhausting and super fun, according to Rakita.
We registered and then got ready for a pre-ride. We were able to ride most of the course and fast, flow-y, twisty, is the best way to describe it. I knew I would feel comfortable pushing my fitness limits on this course.
The day of the race was beautiful and not as warm as anticipated, which is great for me because heat is not my friend! The water was warm. As we started, I reminded myself that I was going to push the limits all day, from the gun start. The swim was short and quick. I could site off of a swimmer in front of me with bright green arm bands. We were swimming the same speed, so I let him lead because he was swimming straighter than I normally do on my own. One time around, then a short beach run, and back into the water. I stayed in his draft, happy for all the help I could get.
As we headed toward shore after turning at the last bouy, I picked it up and led a group of about three that I had been drafting off. I was in the lead by about 5 seconds only to lose most of that struggling in transition,
This time, transition wasn't so bad, but still not smooth. Onto the bike course! I had to constantly remind myself to push, push, push. There wasn't a second to lose. I was hoping for a 1:04 bike split for the 13.5 miles. I knew my kids would be impressed with that. Unfortunately, I missed it by a couple of minutes. I'm pretty sure I lost most of the time in the twisty sections. There were a couple of these sections and we had two laps, so I could have lost time there.
Going onto the run I could feel that I was tired from the swim and bike effort. After a mile or so it became apparent that I'd be running most of the course with two other women. One was in a relay and one was a little older than me. (I know, surprising, right?) The older one passed me, and then we caught up to the relay runner. And there we stayed in a line of three. We were always within about 15 seconds or less. With about 1 mile to the finish I realized that I was feeling stronger than the other runners. At small hills they were stopping to walk for just a few steps. That was my opportunity to pass! I held steady as I closed the gap on the relay girl, and then focused on making up the 10 or so seconds on the older lady. As I approached, I tried to go past fast enough and strong enough to break any bands should she try to stay with me. It must have worked because she complimented me on a strong second half. I passed the last chance for water at the aid station without looking back and headed for home.
As the gap became larger, I was aware that I was at my physical limit and glad to see the finish line!
I finished in second place in my age group. Super stoked to get points toward the 2018 Xterra season. Yay!