Posted on May 24, 2013


Another 1600+ mi weekend (of driving that is) is in the bag. This time it was for the XTERRA Southeast Championship in Pelham, Alabama, combined with the US Cup East #5 XC mountain bike race in Conyers, GA. I’d never been to Alabama, much less Oak Mountain State Park, home to the famous Bump N Grind mountain bike race among others.

Preparing my TA, the 4th discipline.

Preparing my TA, the 4th discipline. Sporting my “Scotty P” duct tape bracelet.

Friends and fellow off-road triathletes have said numerous times that this is such a great course. They compare the Oak Mountain course to Richmond in terms of technicality of mountain bike trails, and call it a “mountain bikers course” which is right up my alley. Since XTERRA puts on such great and well organized events, this was on my “must do” list this year.

2013 XTERRA Southeat Championship course map

2013 XTERRA Southeat Championship course map

Arriving on Friday afternoon, I only had time to preview the bike section. Of course I rode the whole trail, one big 30K loop. And I rode it fast too! As it’s typically my only change to do a pre-ride, the day before a race always seems like play time for me. I can’t drive all that way to an epic trail system and then rest. I gottta go out and have some fun!

On race day I was pumped and excited…until I went down to the lake around start time. I got a little uneasy. Hum…maybe I should have spent a few minutes swimming in the lake yesterday.

Running into water (2nd to the right) for start of 2nd swim lap.

Running into water (2nd to the right) for start of 2nd swim lap.

The race was wetsuit legal and I felt like cat woman walking around in that thing. It was so tight around my neck and I debated cutting it a bit. Ugh! Was I really hyperventilating before the start??? No, but it felt that way. Living in South Florida, I’m rarely swimming in a wetsuit, but this is clearing something I need to work on. When the gun when off and I got in the water, the feeling wasn’t going away. In order to minimize it, I swam at an easy pace with a slower stroke rate. This was not ideal for a championship race, but I focused on the beauty around me and enjoyed my time in the water.

Once out, I knew I had to transition quick and hit the trails FAST! The

Passing near finish area to start 2nd half of 10K trail run.

Passing near finish to start 2nd half of 10K trail run.

bike was amazing! I enjoyed every moment. Pretty much the whole course was on flowy singletrack, with the exception of the forest road climb. I really pushed the pace hard on the bike.

I didn’t get to preview any of the run course, but my wonderful fiance Tom ran the course while I was pre-riding and claimed it was “flat.” Holy cow. That was NOT “flat!” Maybe it was to someone who lives in Boulder, but not to me, a flatlander, especially not after the bike. The run quickly changed to survival mode and I had to turn myself inside out (eww…scary!) not to slow the pace. It did help mentally to have the run as two 5K loops instead on one 10K loop.

Getting older...but faster. :)

Getting older…but faster. 🙂

All-in-all, it was a great course. I probably had my worst swim (in terms of time), I crushed the bike (fastest amateur female and faster than 5 of 11 pros), and survived the run (yeah, gotta start doing more of that), all good enough for 4th place female and 2nd in my age group. Can’t wait to do it again!

Full results at: http://www.jtltiming.com/results/x-pel.html.

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