Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tips from the Pro's

I have been helping with the Paul Mitchell Xterra University Clinics at the XTERRA's this year. Along with MelanieMcQuaid, Seth Wealing, Conrad Stolz and Jimmy Archer. They are always a blast and full of useful tips on 'the Art of XTERRA'.
I have to laugh though as there is often an incongruency between the PRO tips I give and what actually happens on race day. So here are a few of the 'shoulda- woulda- coulda ' and the 'not really PRO but it works' moments from the past several XTERRA Triathlons.
Shoulda-Woulda- Coulda:
Bike stuff

1. Always carry a Shimano crankset tool. I found this in NZ too ( but didn't learn) as its such a small piece of equipment and you never know when you might need to remove the crank from your bike. (not so pro option - vice grips did work to tighten my Bottom bracket in a pinch).

2. Checked to see that the hand pump selected from three at home wasn't the broken one.

3. Checked tire pressure between the plane and riding in Alabama ( 18lbs and flatted ).

4. Not ridden over the rebar during the Richmond race?

Clothing stuff

1. After advising in AL why its such a good idea to wear gloves when MTBing - in the humid/woods. I decided not to (time saving) but crashed and scraped up my palm. Note to self - you use your palm all the time and it really hurts when it's missing layers of skin. I wore Gloves in Richmond.

2. But I didn't wear socks on the run in Richmond. A first for tri geek J'Smith. and it was aok. Blisters of course but no more than usual. Just use heaps of Baby powder.

3. Transistioning w/ shoes. Its very pro to be able to take undo your shoes while coming into transition and then graciously slip out your feet and run daintly into transition and into your running shoes. The J'Smith move. 'Undo shoes, forget they are undone, unclip, then realise you have an undone shoe on your foot which you have to run w/ into transition - not so dainty!

Swim Stuff
Know the course. We/I had to turn half way across the river in Richmond and swim upstream to buoy I didn't know we had to swim to.

Style points
When you want to feel proud of having the fastest bike split - ride the 'blood rock' if someone is watching!

I rode 90% of it honestly it was just the last little bit! ( Ha-ha)

Anyway. Heres the balance. The things we did right.

The swim. It works- tip. Leech off of feet, sucker on and stay put as long as possible. You can even use the person for much of your sighting. " I have to thank Amber in Richmond as I suckered on her like a limpit!. If you do get dropped, start sighting and swim in a straight line.

The Bike.

Ride w/ Melanie beforehand - and follow her lines. She's done this race 6 times and knows more than me. Or -Listen to Melanie at the XT university. She is very analytical about the course and gives good pointers.

Don't wear socks - do wear gloves.

Check your tire pressure.

Go as fast as you can. Brian - 2nd fastest bike and run in AL. Jenny - fastest bike in AL and 2nd fastest to Mel in Richmond.

The run.

Listen to Melanies run tips in the XT university and proceed to implement them.

Tell yourself whatever you need to know. That you're great, tough, strong bla bla... about to win lots of money if you hold it together! Ha ha. I am pretty proud of improving my run recently and its more mental than physical at that point.

Brian flatted in Richmond. So he's currently 8th in the series and super motivated for the next stop in Ogden, Utah.

I improved to 3rd place which felt good so I am super motivated for Ogden, Utah.

Links to Media re: the Richmond and Alabama XT's

Inside Tri article: "Women's Race"

On the women's side Candy Angle assumed her customary lead out of the swim but would not be able to find her strong bike of the previous week and would relinquish three positions to Melanie McQuaid, Jaime Whitmore, and Jennifer Smith. McQuaid used here powerful bike to produce the fastest split of the day but was only able to put a minute into Whitmore and Smith into T2.
With the top three women within several minutes of each other out of T2 the race would come down to the run. McQuaid held strong over the early stages of the run but would wilt in the heat just past the infamous Myna Ruins, a massive former railroad grade that makes the Escape from Alcatraz' sand ladder look like an escalator.
In the end Whitmore's superior run would trump McQuaid's bike and Angle's swim to bring home her third straight XTERRA Richmond title and with it, the XTERRA Pro Series points lead. However, the unusual news of the day was the rise of Jennifer Smith, into the third place position so dominated by Candy Angle for the past four years. Perhaps this is the beginning of an upheaval of the status quo XTERRRA women's standings.



Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sweet Home Alabama

Well its certainly hot, down here in Shelby County, Alabama. But its great too, relaxed, laid back and some tight racing to boot.

The Xterra held today was fun, really hard especially the run, but I felt good and was psyched to be improving ( I think in the swim and finally on the bike ( I had the fastest time today) plus I felt good on the run, can't ask for more than that.) I was a solid fourth in the womens field and Brian had the 2nd fastest bike (despite a flat ) and 2nd fastest run to finish 7th in the mens field. As Kahuna Dave say's... what if he didn't swim like a rock?? ( it should be noted brians rock is faster than mine!)

Lisa Styling in her Mafia racing suit.

B'mans stepping it up on the usual #2.
The Womens Podium. ( this is a first two Trek women on the podium at one time... right on!)Jamie put together a stellar run to take the win from a consistent Melanie and even more consistent Candy Angle. I was 4th and my Texas Trek Teamate Shae Rainer was 5th.
Our Southern Down home BBQ : Biscuits, corn on the cob, blackeyed peas ( with Ham knuckles), beef and bean casserole, and good ole BBQ chicken. It was not for the faint hearted diner or Vegetarian for that matter.