Last weekend kicked off with rain. Lots of rain. Rain for 5 hours. This is generally an O.K. thing, but when it stops raining only a few hours before an off-road triathlon - this is not an O.K. thing. I was already sleeping out in a tent out at Branched Oak with ear plugs and an eye cover on so there's no skipping on the race due to weather.
Of course it did bring the temps low enough to allow the use of wetsuits, and it wasn't an issue on the run.
Cycling on water saturated trails is a big no no in my book. The first 5 mile section was fine, but as soon as we hit the inner two 5 mile loops, it was no doubt the most muddy conditions I had ever ridden in.
I was sitting 4th, switching leads with two guys from CO. Upon entering the loops, they cut part of the course and I dropped quite a ways back. We were all sliding about and it didn't take long for me to catch them, then lose them, then pass them, then get passed. With the trails as muddy as they were, there was no real descending. I felt like I was climbing the entire time and it was tough work. Must be carrying about an extra 6 pounds of weight in mud on my bike.
As I know others did, I fell countless times, but I would pop right back up. It felt like riding in snow - something I have gotten used to, but it was nice to have the gear options. The Trek Top Fuel once again excelled in a situation and after the first lap, during a lower key part of the course the three of us were rolling together through grass paths. Before reentering the slop trough, we had to slow down and get marked for our lap completion and I sped past the other two at this point.
This would be the last time I see the two until turning around on the run. The second mud lap of the bike was no better, but it felt more comfortable. Lapping the other competitors was a chore, but not as bad as I figured.
transitioned and started running. I was told that I was over 4 minutes behind the leader. Struggling to find a rhythm I took it easy for awhile. By the grace of some littering SOB, I found an unopened water bottle - I think this ended up being a life saver. I kept up a good pace, pushed the hills, and ended up under a minute behind the leader crossing the finish line. I never once saw him, so I had no idea how close I was to him. Oh well.
I have some gripes about how the race was finished up, but I will skip that shit because it's not that important. I will say that entering a race for 75 bucks, and it being a big name like XTerra, you'd expect a little more than nothing for second place. I had fun though, that's what is important and got a good chance to really make myself suffer.
On Sunday I finally had the opportunity to climb at the Silos. 90 feet of straight vertical. After not climbing for many months, I am really looking forward to getting back into it after switching my concentration during the summer.