Monday, August 30, 2010

XTERRA Schiff Scout Race Report

Wow! That was awesome! I don't think I've ever had as much fun at a race as I did yesterday. XTERRA is by far the coolest and most adventurous triathlon I've ever done. From the great swim and a cool venue to the fast bike course to the ridiculous hills and picnic table jump on the run, the entire race experience was something that will not soon be forgotten!

It's safe to say that I was looking forward to doing this race more than any other on my schedule this season. I picked it up after deciding not to do IM Louisville in favor of Rev3 Cedar Point (which at this point doesn't seem likely either...). So after getting into this race, and seriously starting to do off-road training for the first time ever, I fell in love with the idea of competing off road. I knew I was strong on the trails (both on the bike and the run), and that my athleticism would be much more of an advantage here than on the road. I didn't quite know what to expect, but I imagined I might be good at it.

The swim started off just like any other I've done. The only difference here, knowing that it was short (3/4's of a mile I believe) was that I needed to be on it from the gun. I found the winner from last year (Ken Robbins-more on him later), and stuck to his feet like it was my job. I knew I couldn't get too far away from the "big boys" if I was going to do well, and quickly went anerobic. I managed to hold on to the lead pack heading into the end of the first loop before the beach run, and came out at that point in about 8th position. I would loose some ground on the second lap and wind up coming out of the water 9th or 10th. Still a great position to be in for someone who is a slow swimmer like myself.

On the bike things got fast quick. The course is mostly singletrack, mostly flat, and all well groomed. In hindsight I could have easily run a completely rigid setup on this course as there really weren't very many bumpy sections save for one or two. I managed to overtake a couple guys and held on good to the leaders. Then, BAM!!! I lost it in some sand and went ass over tea kettle after hitting a log on the side of the trail. The good news was I got up quick and both the bike and myself were fine. The bad news was that I lost time on over taking the 5th place guy to move into fourth position. These things happen... I managed to make up some time and catch up to him though not overtake him. Soon though, 6th place was on my tail. Then he overtook me and the guy ahead. I got off the bike somewhere around 7th place, still happy to be in the top 10.

My second transition went smoothly and I shot out of transition like a pigeon with a rocket up its ass. Immediately I passed one guy, then another, and was running up in 5th place. Despite having not run for much of the two weeks leading up to the race because of my reaccuring foot issue, I was moving well. Things seemed to start flowing so I hit the jets. The uphills were technical and loose, but running uphill is a great strength of mine. I made quick work of then and soon came up on 4th place. I passed him at around the two mile mark and held on. I almost lost it a few times during the loose and technical descents, but held on and kept my pace fast and swift. At the 3 mile mark there was a sweet water section that had us running through thigh deep water before reaching the finish. I crossed the finish line in 4th, muddy with a huge grin on my face! Even better was finding out that I was only about a minute and a half out of second place. Though 4th place is a like kissing your sister, I was still super stoked to finish just off the podium at my first XTERRA race!

The whole experience has taught me a few things. First and foremost, I've realized that off-road racing is somthing that I'm good at and should probably focus on in the future. I've always thought that I'd be faster off road, but realizing it first hand is something different. Also, to have XTERRA stud Ken Robbins (who holds multiple regional titles and just won the regional championship yet again with his win yesterday) compliment me on a good race and mention that he thought I was "built for XTERRA" means quite a lot. In the end, XTERRA is everything I could have hoped for and then some. I'm looking forward to focusing full time on it in the coming year and am excited to see where I can go with it. Again, my only regret is that I waited all season long to get into it. These things happen... :)


  1. Great race, Dave!!! Congrats. Is my eyesight failing me or were there actually a couple of old guys ahead of you?

  2. You are correct, I was beaten by some "older" athletes... And I'm glad to see that your eyesight is still good in your advancing years:)! Maybe we can get together for John Harvard's happy hour this week? Let me know-we'll be around! Hope all is well!