I have enjoyed reading other people's race reports from CTC this year so I thought I would give it a try myself. Here is my report for yesterday's XTERRA Pan American Championship race:
Amanda and Liam and I all woke up at 4:30 to get ready for the race (not a problem for Liam since he was already wide awake!) We left our hotel to drive up to Pineview reservoir to set up T1(Swim to bike) and then drove about 20 minutes up to Snowbasin resort to set up T2( bike to run) before heading back down to the reservoir where the race started.
Around 8:30 I put on the wetsuit and took a quick warm-up swim and final test of my swim tempo trainer that I was trying in a race for the first time. After some final pre-race instructions the pro men started at 9:00, then the pro women one minute later and then it was my turn to start. The swim was different this year than last, consisting of one 1500 meter loop, rather than two 750 meter laps. The leg to the first buoy seemed to take forever, but I liked having the beep of the tempo trainer to focus on, especially in the chaotic start with people grabbing my feet and bumping into each other. After rounding one more buoy it was one final leg back to shore and I felt good so I disregarded my tempo trainer and picked up the pace a little. I even started catching a few pink caps of the women's pro field. Then it was out of the water and a short run up a boat ramp to T1.
After a quick bike to run transition I was pedaling a short paved section along the reservoir to the trail that climbs up a beautiful canyon. I did quite a bit of passing in the first portion of the bike course, and also was passed by a few guys looking very strong on the bike. I felt like I was slow to warm up on the bike and it took a good 15-20 minutes before I started to find a good pace on the steadily climbing course. After awhile I settled into a good pace that I felt I could sustain and continued mostly passing until the course started a short, technical descent. I was feeling good down the descent until I got caught up behind a slower rider with no opportunities to pass. I guess I might have got a little impatient, because I thought I saw a short opportunity to pass and yelled on your right and went for it. Big mistake! The trail quickly narrowed and a tree was sticking out in front of me. I had to try to get this pass done now! I tried to swing in front of the rider, but our bars clipped and I knew I was going down. I rolled pretty well out of it and came up quickly, and saw to my horror I had taken the other rider down too and our bikes were tangled. I asked if they were ok and they said yes. After apologizing profusely for the bad pass we disentangled our bikes and jumped back on and continued. That's when I noticed my knee was hurting and saw blood running down my leg.
I was feeling pretty upset with myself for the stupid mistake and hoping the knee wasn't too bad when the course started climbing again. I went to shift down and felt a lot of resistance and pretty rough shifting. Apparently the crash had taken a toll on the bike as well. I still had enough gears to make it work and decided to just keep going and not stop to investigate. The knee eventually loosened up and the adrenaline wore off. I settled back into lots more climbing and tried to put the incident behind me. The course ended with a climb up over a high peak and a fun, smooth descent into Snowbasin ski resort.
I quickly transitioned to the run and headed out the the lodge area, directly into a nasty climb for about 3/4 mile up the ski slope. The course then got really fun, traversing around the middle of the ski slopes and eventually turning back around toward the lodge area. The last mile or so of the run is an exciting downhill plunge to the finish. I passed quite a few runners on the course and was feeling good, but the exhaustion was starting to set in and my hurt knee was starting to get sore. I was happy to see the finish line and Amanda in the finish chute. She handed Liam to me and I jogged across the line with him!
I finished in 2:57:33, about 13 minutes faster than last year and ended up 49th overall (out of over 300 racers), compared to 78th last year. I was happiest with my swim time of 26:39, compared to 31:38 last year. I was also faster on the bike, despite the crash and about a minute faster on the run. Overall I was pretty happy with the result, but I felt really bad about causing a crash. I usually have pretty good judgement about passing, and honestly thought I could pull it off. I'm just glad no one got seriously hurt. My knee is just a little scraped and stiff today, but should be fine. After examining my bike, I found out that my derailleur hanger was cracked part way through and I realized just how close it was to taking me out of the race completely. I will definitely be more cautious about passing in the future!