Tuesday, June 05, 2007

ACE Big Canyon Race XTERRA Style

On Saturday I went to West “by God” Virginia for XTERRA race #2 on my schedule. The Big Canyon (and it is a big Canyon) is one of the original XTERRA races and is unique in that it’s (a) swim Run bike and (b) a long swim at 1.5 miles, albeit downstream (whew).

The race is hosted at the ACE Adventure Center in Oak Hill WV and got started at 9am on Sunday. The race begins far away from the second transition and finish area. The competitors are bussed off of the mountain and to the swim-run transition where we set up our gear. Then it was back on the bus for the final leg up the river to the start. After a few quick words from the race director we headed downstream in the New River with a few sprinkles coming from the clouds. In the first rapid section I made it through unscathed but not on the second set of ripples. Here my left thigh made sudden contact with a rock and I was reminded of this meeting the rest of day. A short 27 minutes after starting in the river I made my way to transition to peel off the wetsuit and pull on the “go fasts”. Bill Swann gave me good advice before the race to start easy and not go anaerobic before the ascent starts. Not long into the flattish first section the trail turned decidedly UP. After about 20 minutes or so it was onto a fireroad that while going up wasn’t too painful. I caught up with the leading women and after chatting a bit moved pass them before the race dropped into single track. One woman came around me before the second transition but I made it out on the bike before she did. (mental note: if it looks like rain make sure the e-caps are in a plastic bag and not out in the rain) Not really sure of the distance on the run, anywhere from 7 to 8 miles with a 1000 feet of climbing. The bike is billed at 11 miles on “oh so sweet” West Virginia trails.

I took it easy the first ten minutes of the bike to let the legs get used to turning circles. I rolled where I needed to and hammered where I could. I did dab a few times and got off the bike to walk the “rigor mortis” section. The thought was I can make up more time on the flats and uphills then bombing a short section of nastiness and running the risk of crashing out of the race. My calves did cramp a bit on the bike but I’ll take care of this by heeding the mental note above and drinking a stronger concentration of HEED.

My run felt strong and the bike skills are improving. The ti Deluxe was stellar with no issues. The IF got a lot of positive comments. Thanks to Les at East Coast Bicycle Academy for hooking me up with some mud tires. It’s West Virginia so there’s always mud. I rolled across the finish line in 10th overall and was awarded a paddle medal for 3rd place in Age Group. That's it above.

A big thanks to ACE Adventure Center for hosting a great race and for having hot showers available at the finish. That’s enough to earn a repeat visit.


Blogger tchaka owen said...

2 mins and 51 seconds? I can do that.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Jeffro Herriachi said...

is that a frat boy paddle...?

7:23 PM  

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