XTERRA goes Duathlon

Posted on June 14, 2013


A view from my road ride. Still beautiful…and having fun!

…but it definitely was not by choice. Tropical Storm Andrea saturated the race course for days before the XTERRA East Championship. I flew in early Friday morning, with intentions of biking and swimming the course, but the non-stop rain had started on Thursday and the trail system was officially closed. I decided to go shopping for an inflatable raft for some Saturday adventure, but was unsuccessful. This probably wasn’t a bad thing as the James River rose several feet to a dangerous level by morning. I believe it crested at 12′, way above the normal level of 5′.

The sun finally peeked through the clouds on Saturday afternoon and we were fortunate it dried up the trails enough to be race-able with minimal damage to Richmond’s amazing trail system. However, the XTERRA crew still had no choice but to cancel the swim and add a run in

1st run section. Feeling great. Mentally preparing for a quick transition.

1st run section. Feeling great. Mentally preparing for a quick transition.

its place. Athletes were bummed, but it was surely the best thing to do as this wasn’t just a swift moving river. Big whitewater was carrying huge logs, branches, and debris at a scary fast pace downriver.

Once the gun went off Sunday morning, athletes went out at a blazing pace for our short 1.6 mi run that was replacing the swim. I was astonished when looked down at my Garmin and saw a pace of 6:40/mi. Even though I had a few people passing me, I was feeling great.  As much as I wanted to fly, I knew that pacing, as usual, was going to be key.

Heading across the Lee Bridge, another dude and I were pushing eachother super hard and passing riders in attempt to get a good position going into the trails. Once in however, the speed slowed drastically and we had to stop a few times for obstacles others were not able to ride (Richmond has one of the most technical mountain bike courses of the XTERRA race series…one of the reasons I love it so much). Once we got past the first couple riders, everything started to flow

Quick run out of the tunnel and into Forest Hills.

Quick run out of the tunnel and into Forest Hills.

and come together. Actually, anytime we came up behind someone, we never even had to asked to pass, riders just fell. We came up on another, AND they fell. And another! That went on for about six riders. They were dropping like flies. The trails were fast, but damp and pretty slick in spots, so you not only did you need to have good trail riding skills, but you also needed a little bit of luck on your side to get through that course unscathed.

The bike course is a true jem, and after an exhilarating and solid ride, I had to get ready for another quick transition…it was time to find my running legs. Due to to the flooding, the later part of the run course was re-routed from the “dry way” across a dry river bed and now to a pedestrian bridge that went over the river. This resulted in less “techy”

The "dry" way, not so dry.

The “dry” way, not so dry.

trails. Since I’m not one of the stronger runners, I feel I benefit more from the technical run sections rather than long stretches of open trail and roads. For me, the alternate course meant, more so than before, I really needed keep focus on my form and breathing, and keep my leg turnover high, and that’s exactly what I did. Pacing myself properly, I was able to finish just as strong as I started, yet leaving everything I had in me out on the course. Thrilled at having such a great race, I was even more happy to find out my finish time resulted in 2nd place overall female (non-pro). Woohoo!

Regardless of course changes and inclement weather, the James River Park is truly a jem in the big city of Richmond, no matter how the course gets routed, you’re sure to have a blast! I’ll be back again in 2014!


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

Posted in: Racing