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XTERRA World Championship - Duathlon

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Kapalua, Hawaii
United States
Total Time = 3h 31m 22s
Overall Rank = 111/313
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 7/23
Pre-race routine:

My training for this race was not what I had originally hoped. I hadn't been running as much as I would have liked, and I was also a little fearful of the swim since this would be my first ocean swim and I knew past years have had some very large waves. I started swim training early, and about a month and a half before the race I crashed on my MTB and bruised my left knee. This prevented me from biking or running seriously for about 3 weeks but gave me even more time to focus on my swim training. I put in some final last efforts to get my run and biking up to par in the last month. I feel my bike came along pretty well, but I know my run fitness could have been better.

Of course the weather conditions caused the swim to be cancelled meaning the run would be an even larger part of the event as it was now a duathlon.
  • 14m 44s
  • 3 kms
  • 04m 55s  min/km

Going into the run I was a bit torn on what my strategy should be. Having pre-rode the bike course when it was dry I figured that I might get passed by fitter people on the initial climbs and then get stuck behind them on the descents. This made me want to get a good position on the first run to avoid as much of a bottleneck on the bike as possible. On the other hand I knew my run fitness was not as good as it should be and if I went too hard on the first run I might pay for it later on the second run.

As the run started I found myself next to Jason Savill and Alessandro Grattoni my fellow Texans. I knew they were both likely fitter than me and found the pace they were both running was still pretty comfortable for me. I figured this would still save energy for later and I at least knew that I probably wasn't taking the first run too slow.

Right as we were finishing the paved climb the rain started coming down. At this point in the run the rain didn't seem to make much of a difference. The trail didn't really get muddy or slippery. The first run on the beach was fairly short and we made our way back into transition.
Transition 1
  • 01m 22s

Coming into transition I quickly found my bike and switched from run to bike shoes. I wore my gloves during the first run to save time and had even practiced multiple times buckling my helmet with gloves on since I've had trouble doing that in past races. Despite my practice I still found myself fumbling around for a few seconds before I finally got my helmet buckled and was off.
  • 2h 10m 12s
  • 31 kms
  • 14.29 km/hr

The first climb up the paved golf cart paths was already making my legs scream. I'm not sure if this was punishment from my pre-ride earlier in the week or if this was from the first run, or maybe this was just race day pains. I did my best to try to keep pace with those around me because I knew I wanted to get as many people behind me as I could going into the first single track descent.

As we entered the single track descent the trail was still in pretty good shape. I'm honestly not sure when it stopped raining and maybe it never fully stopped. It was however a very light rain and I was able to keep a pretty good pace through the initial twists and turns. So far there really wasn't anyone in front of me to slow me down and I managed to catch and pass a couple of riders.

Finally I caught a group of about 4-5 riders all riding a close chain. The lead rider was being far more cautious than I would be and since there were multiple riders all stuck behind them I didn't feel I could pass. I thought maybe we were close to one of the wider climbs or maybe one of the golf path crossings which might give me an opportunity so I just continued to follow along. At one point a 25-29 female appeared behind me and she kind of caught me off guard around one the switch backs and passed me. She then muscled her way past all of the other riders in front. I really wished I could have followed her lead and was hell of impressed that she managed to blow through this blockade that I had been stuck behind. Sadly I was still stuck and stayed stuck for far too long.

Still stuck behind the group I noticed the trail conditions getting worse and worse. The trail was getting a slick mud surface and the mud was starting to stick to my tires. We hit a small rooty climb and our tires just spun out. This caused everyone to dismount including myself and I ran past everyone in front. My heart now racing I tried to break away. I suppose I succeeded but I had found my new obstacle was the muddy trail. The course was now really slippery and I crashed twice going down some of the steeper parts of the trail and having my front wheel slide out. Luckily my crashes both just dumped me into wet grass on the side and I just hopped back on my bike.

Speaking of the grass, I also found that if you rode off the mud and got your wheels even slightly in the grass, that dead grass pieces would mesh with the mud and form a blob that would just gum up your fork or rear triangle. The first time this happened to my fork I managed to reach down with my hand while riding and rip the blob out of my fork. However later I found I had pretty much ground to very slow pace as my rear tire could barely move so I had to stop for a bit to clear out my rear triangle so I could ride again.

At this point any of the muddy climbs were pretty much impossible. Your tires would just spin. Even trying to walk was hard as my shoes would just slip and my shoes have fairly aggressive tread. I had to go slowly and use my bike and brakes to get some extra traction.

Finally we made it to the golf course for the grass ride back to start of the second lap. The grass golf course was actually still pretty nice and fast and I at least knew we'd have pavement to climb again so things would be better at least for a little while. I however figured the second lap was going to be even worse than the first. I finished that first lap and got ready for that long paved climb.

The second paved climb was of course worse than the first. Some of those steep sections really made me wish I had a lower gear, but all I could do was hammer and grind them out. I pushed though the climbs and at some point the sky let loose and the rain started pouring.

The heavy rain was actually fantastic. It felt great, and it washed away the slippery sticky mud. The course was actually much grippier now probably because you could see my tire treads again and there was still fairly hard-packed dirt underneath. There obviously was still a lot of dirty puddles but that second lap was heaven. No more crashing and I could ride faster and just enjoy the rain.
Transition 2
  • 01m 16s

As I entered transition Hans Ryham was there cheering for me. I'm not sure exactly why he was in the transition since he raced pro and had finished his race. Maybe he was already collecting his gear. In any case his encouragement was welcome as I quickly swapped shoes, and left my gloves on since I figured they might be good to have on that second run.
  • 1h 03m 50s
  • 10.5 kms
  • 06m 05s  min/km

Back up the paved path I ran. The rain was still coming down pretty hard and would continue this way for pretty much the rest of the day. While the paved climb was steep I managed to do alright until we hit the single track. There were more dirt climbs on the run course and boy those climbs hurt. At one point I watched the guy in front of me walk the climb at the same pace that I was running. This caused me to try walking which was a little easier and about the same pace. I could feel my legs were about to start cramping. I'll admit I walked quite a few climbs.

Around mile three I remembered that I had a energy gel in my pocket that I was supposed to eat at the start of the run. I quickly scarfed it down and wished I had remembered it earlier. I think this is also the point that the trail started trending downhill, or maybe that energy gel just kicked in real fast but I finally was able to pick up the pace. At times I felt like I was flying, splashing through puddles and letting my legs float down the trail. Several times I clearly was going too fast as my legs slipped right out from under me. Luckily again I just landed in soft mud or grass and continued on my way. Getting up from one of my slips did cause my leg to cramp but I knew I was close to the finish so I just pushed on.

As I came to the creek crossing it was now full of muddy water and there were volunteers telling everyone to slow down and cross safely. I knew what it had looked like when dry, and the bottom is full of head sized boulders. I slowly walked across the creek to ensure I didn't break an ankle or fall on my face. I couldn't see the person behind me but it sounded like they came through that creek at full running pace splashing the whole way as the volunteers told them to take it slow. I'm pretty sure they made it through safely since I didn't hear anything but man that had to have been dangerous.

The final beach run was about as tough as it gets. Every step you'd sink about 6 inches and my legs just had nothing left. I ran as fast as I could which was probably not much faster than a walk. On to the grass my legs were cramping and I just sucked it up and pushed through to the finish.
What would you do differently?:

Eat an energy gel at the start of the run instead of in the middle. More run training both longer distances and hill training.
Post race
Warm down:

I just stood in the rain and slowly stretched my cramped legs.

Event comments:

This is great race and was the best that it could be given the weather and my current fitness levels. I would have loved a beautiful ocean swim and a dry course but that isn't what nature provided on race day. I appreciate the race directors and life guards making a good call and canceling the swim for everyone's safety. I also actually really enjoyed the heavier rain for the second lap of the bike and the run. It felt great and kept a smile on my face. I hope to make it back to this race again some day to give it another shot.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2021-12-11 12:00 AM
00:14:44 | 03 kms | 04m 55s  min/km
Age Group: 13/23
Overall: 132/313
Performance: Good
Course: This was supposed to be the World Championship XTERRA Triathlon, but predicted rain and huge predicted waves breaking in shallow shores caused them to cancel the swim and have a duathlon instead. The first run consisted of a brief run through the grass from the start and then it was onto the paved golf cart path for the remainder of the climb up the mountain. The run course then finally enters the some dirt single track for the decent following the same route as the normal run course and finished with a shorter run along the beach before entering transition.
Keeping cool Drinking
Time: 01:22
Overall: Good
Run with bike? Good
Jump on bike? Good
Getting up to speed and into shoes:
02:10:12 | 31 kms | 14.29 km/hr
Age Group: 6/23
Overall: 106/313
Performance: Average
Course: The two loop bike course starts with a long climb up the mountain on a paved golf cart path. Parts of this path are pretty steep. Once you enter the single track the trail descends with flowy twists and turns, and the occasional longer straight climb before entering more twisty descents. The course is pretty much non-technical and only has a couple of places with some small exposed roots on some short climbs. Once through the single track you do a brief stretch through the grass of the golf course making your way back to the start of the second loop or transition.
Road:  Wet Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 01:16
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:03:50 | 10.5 kms | 06m 05s  min/km
Age Group: 9/23
Overall: 138/313
Performance: Below average
Course: A single loop run course starts sharing the part of the same paved golf cart path climb as the bike but enters the single track sooner. Once in the single track there are plenty of twists and turns and more climbs and descents. Toward the end you have to duck under and jump over some fallen trees and cross a creek before a final long run on a soft sandy beach. Once off the beach it is a short run through the grass to the finish line.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2021-12-11 10:01 PM

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Austin, Texas
Subject: XTERRA World Championship

2021-12-12 7:39 AM
in reply to: #5279012

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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: XTERRA World Championship
Well done! Those Xterra races have always looked brutal to me; take your normal tri training but add trail running and mountain bikes. It's hard enough already!
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