General Discussion Triathlon Talk » First Xterra Triathlon coming up Rss Feed  
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2014-05-13 3:58 PM


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Subject: First Xterra Triathlon coming up
I have done one sprint triathlon about 6 years ago. I would like to do another triathlon and have always wanted to do an Xterra triathlon (it was actually the motivation that got me into triathlon in the first place). Besides the obvious terrain difference, is there anything I should be aware of that is different at this type of race?


2014-05-13 7:38 PM
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Subject: RE: First Xterra Triathlon coming up
Do you mountain bike? I think the hardest part for me, and where I spent a lot of time training, was the bike. Handling was something I really worked on. We have some crazy, rocky descents here, and some challenging climbs. If you can get through that stuff quickly without getting hurt, you're good overall with time.

Have you watched some Xterra videos? Here's one from the one that just happened here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWc4nteCLo8

Edited by Blanda 2014-05-13 7:39 PM
2014-05-13 8:43 PM
in reply to: shepherdsflock

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Subject: RE: First Xterra Triathlon coming up
Which race???

There are a couple of things that are different. You will probably notice that the pre-race and post race are a lot more relaxed than a road tri, just because. The distances are not exact as well, you race the terrain, not necessarily a distance. I have also noticed that the pricing is much lower (typically $50-$80 around here) but the swag is nothing spectacular.

Depending on the course, do not expect your HR to ever drop. I have noticed that a typical Xterra course in the SouthEast rates closer to a hilly Olympic distance effort. The championship distance races demand a greater effort than an Oly. While there is nothing different with the Swim, the bike and run can be significantly different compared to a road tri.

Pre-ride the course if at all possible, just so you have a feeling for what the cornering and trail features are like. Going into a mountain bike leg at race pace blindly, can be scary. On the road, there isn't that big of a difference if you ride similar profile roads but for mountain biking, knowing what is around the next turn can be the difference between braking and using energy, or rolling right through.

Ditch the garmin for the run too. The distances are typically "approximate". I have been on a couple of runs where "running" is a loose term with water crossings, steep hills, running in sand, etc. Again you are racing the terrain, not the clock.

Another thing, some races are almost self supported with not a lot of water stops, so get used to riding with a camelback unless you are good at using a bottle on a mountain bike, and carry a water bottle for the run. Just make sure you check the specific race for aid stations so that you can prepare properly.
After the race, hang out and chill, sharing the crazy stories about close calls, crashes, certain tough sections, etc with the other racers, there is nothing better than that common bond regardless of the finish order or finish time. That is what brings me back time and time again.

2014-05-13 9:36 PM
in reply to: Mc Q

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Subject: RE: First Xterra Triathlon coming up
Everything that McQ said. You didn't really say how much mtb and/or trail running skills you have. If you are a good swimmer and a poor mtb rider be prepared to be passed a LOT! I know we are all racing but if someone comes up behind you hold your line and be ready for them to pass. Most people are polite and tell you they are about to pass. Typically you will get passed on the left t it is a trail and someone may yell out "on your right".
2014-05-14 7:41 AM
in reply to: csharp1171


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Subject: RE: First Xterra Triathlon coming up
Originally posted by csharp1171

Everything that McQ said. You didn't really say how much mtb and/or trail running skills you have. If you are a good swimmer and a poor mtb rider be prepared to be passed a LOT! I know we are all racing but if someone comes up behind you hold your line and be ready for them to pass. Most people are polite and tell you they are about to pass. Typically you will get passed on the left t it is a trail and someone may yell out "on your right".


Trail running is my preferred method of run training, even for regular triathlon on paved surfaces. The hills and variety of of terrain seem to make my legs stronger in general and the softer surfaces are easier on my joints. I enjoy mountain biking and have biked the race course many times. In the last two years I haven't been mountain biking as much as I used to, but for one event I can increase my mountain bike training temporarily to condition myself. The race is the Sugar Bottom Xterra in Coralville, IA.

An Xterra triathlon is kind of dream for me. It was the reason I first got involved in triathlon. I have wanted to participate in one for years but one reason or another have always missed it every year they have one around here.

Thank you for the comment about being passed. This is the kind of information I was hoping to receive. With narrow singletrack trails, I was wondering how passing happens. Is there an accepted way to pass? Do you pass on the left or the right? Does it matter? Is it just dictated by terrain and where there is open space to pass?
2014-05-14 8:20 AM
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Subject: RE: First Xterra Triathlon coming up
Originally posted by shepherdsflock

Thank you for the comment about being passed. This is the kind of information I was hoping to receive. With narrow singletrack trails, I was wondering how passing happens. Is there an accepted way to pass? Do you pass on the left or the right? Does it matter? Is it just dictated by terrain and where there is open space to pass?


You'll mostly pass on the left, but occasionally someone will yell out on your right if that works better for some reason. I did my first Xterra last year and got passed a number of times on the bike and it was never an issue, aside from hurt feelings when the 80 year old woman on a cruiser passed me.

Edited by jmcconne 2014-05-14 8:20 AM


2014-05-14 11:46 AM
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Subject: RE: First Xterra Triathlon coming up

Originally posted by shepherdsflock With narrow singletrack trails, I was wondering how passing happens. Is there an accepted way to pass? Do you pass on the left or the right? Does it matter? Is it just dictated by terrain and where there is open space to pass?

As mentioned above I generally pass on the left.  I'll let them know I'm going to pass and most of the time they move over a bit or say ok.  If I'm passing and there is a drop-off to the right my personal preference is to wait or pass on the right depending on how comfortable I feel with the rider in front of me.  The reason I like to pass on the right in that scenario is I don't want to risk pushing someone off the trail.

You will have a blast.  I love XTERRA races.



Edited by csharp1171 2014-05-14 11:47 AM
2014-05-14 2:46 PM
in reply to: shepherdsflock

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Subject: RE: First Xterra Triathlon coming up
I think it's easy to underestimate the switch to mountain bike.

if you are already used to riding a mtb on similar terrain, then great...otherwise
you need to develop skills in this before doing XTERRA style races.

scope out the course details as much as you can, and assess your skill level.

as others said, these off-road races tend to spike your HR more than a road race, so this is something to get used to.

XTERRA events are generally well run, but good idea to read the race details to see what they will provide for aid stations.

another thing they like to do is throw in water crossings. running in wet shoes kinda sucks, check the course details.

avoid light colored tri suits !
2014-06-08 12:32 PM
in reply to: metafizx

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Subject: RE: First Xterra Triathlon coming up
I would have to wholeheartedly agree with metafizx.

Be sure to incorporate high HR efforts into your training. Being able to go anaerobic, recover, repeat is very important, especially in some of the longer, more technical events.

Speaking of technical, sometimes technical riding skill is just as important as fitness. If you can, attempt to get skills training in on terrain that is similar to what you are racing.

I have a good selection of different trails within my area and I try to match them with the races I have coming up, just so I am prepared not only physically, but technically.
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