Xterra South East Championship, Richmond VA, USA
9 June 2013
They were quoting flood levels from Clinton’s first term! Ninety-three was the last time flash flood levels had swelled the James River quite as much. On a personal aside I’ve never biked in as much flooding as Friday’s pre spin with Brad. Enough of a wake for a toddler to ski behind. Said to the lad that it reminded me of that Forest Gump scene in Nam where he describes the different types of rain… Needless to elaborate further, something bout a tropical storm, we were drenched and Richmond was soaked.
Too much so for a swim and instead we bolted through some city streets for 8minutes before doing the regular yet brilliant bike/run routes that have been iconic for 15years of RVA Xterra racing.
Somehow my wide elbows from childhood cross country days allowed me to control the group for a civilized start along the canal and past the double story wall art I blogged about. However as we crossed the canal and the road rose before us like a serpent ready for attack the man with the little feet and big heart kicked like he had little regard for serpents. Brad initiated and stretched out the pro-only field to a single file of heaving breathing.
Down round and over cobbles Ryan Ignatz, a friend from Boulder, stuck up his hand and said he’ll capitalize on the duathlon format. He set the tempo and assured four of us daylight as we mounted the 1km highway drag across the James. I made sure to enter the trails first. I balanced purpose vs caution since we’d not been allowed to ride them when wet. As did Brad, setting up a chance to follow my wheel. He did well to hang a little and got clear on my last visual through Forest Hill.
Once again I need to thank Specialized for their support. I ran big tires again, opting for that 2.3/2.1 Ground Control combination. I rode like it was dry with those. Had the suspension keeping me secure with a very open front and rear setting – it felt a charm. I love this course and bathed in its rewarding charms.
The active Richmond community I admire so did test me with too many locals out on the trails enjoying Sunday morning sunshine after days of rain. Gave them a fright me thinks. However, it was a brilliant experience compared to two years ago and the cluster we endured by lapping the bulk of the age group entrants. I want to thank the Xterra crew especially Chris the race director for their willingness to change the start times. Stresses the volunteer load, stretches the day out but is optimal for high performance racing. So credit where due, thanks to all.
(Brad leading a train of three just before T2)
Into T2 where the crowd had bulked up to hear 3minute after lap one, hypothesize a likely 6minute lead onto the 10km run. I sipped and savoured the moment, arguably the climatic moment of the race. Then set of running past the Friday Night Cheers Stage, where we had listened to Down In The Valley nine days before to a saluting train, appreciated the wall art one last time, and settled to rhythm.
On a lengthy out and back I stopped to cheer Brad. My training buddy was trailing Ryan by 8seconds at this stage. As much as I like Ryan, I willed Brad to stay in the fight. He looked as fatigued as Ryan looked smooth, and that’s the way it played out. Congrats to Ryan and Brad.
As for me upfront, I could enjoy an illusive moment: Not just to win my second US Xterra Championship but to do so on my favourite route in Richmond. Many share in my journey and too own a part of that joyful triumph. Brad and Antoine come to mind, coach Torbjorn in Copenhagen, my family who graciously accommodate my sleepy grumpy self, to name a few. My stable of support have all messaged to say they are proud and share in the moment. Two were present, Ethan Lindbloom – my Richmond homestay and kindred spirit who wanted the win more than I did perhaps, and my childhood mate Jarryd Botha who had driven down to watch and catch up. Super cool to have him there. Life with its twists and turns. “Happiness is only real when shared” – Christopher McCandless – is a quote I’ve used before. Sure what glad to have a few right there in noise of it all to share it with.
Perhaps not my all time performance, but solid execution to be proud of. Didn’t matter this time though, when you cross the line before all others, the shoulder devil is silenced and question choices leading in are drummed out. A blissful moment, serene and content.
On the female side the inspiring Lesley Paterson continues. Enjoyed connecting with her ambitious drive this past week. Showed her a little on the course and did a few swims together. High-level physically and even better emotional space – positive people are very attractive to be with. Congrats Lesley.
(Short interview at end worth getting to.)
Thanks to Trey Garman from Team Unlimited for the photos, but more so for the years of relentless support and belief. Hopefully the next wont take as much patience Trey…
All said, I wish I could have taken the mike at the finish line in a Ben Howard voice and say:
And then break out with Move Like You Want with the lyrics:
Baby, move like you wanna,
Baby, move like you need,
Happy days, thanks for your support and interest in getting through a lengthy report. Boulder for a week, then onward to Brazil. Ciao.