2014-11-07 XTERRA USA Worlds Race Report by Debby Sullivan
2014 Season Close
It is hard to know where to start. Sometimes the disappointments are just not as much fun to write.
XTERRA US Nationals seemed to hold a bit more weight and expectation for me this year just because of the nature of my going Pro this season. I held higher hopes for that race because I was holding out hope for position in the XTERRA points series. Nationals held mixed emotions. I was disappointed because I did not race quite as well as I knew I could and therefore my placing was nowhere near where I was hoping it would be. I was 18th. However, I had decent improvements for my personal times on this course (not one that I tend to race well). Notably, I was 4 min faster on the run and had significantly decreased my swim time gaps to the leaders. I knew it would be very difficult to place where I wanted to since the women’s pro field has grown in depth and talent. The women’s field was larger than the men’s field!
I tried to keep a positive outlook and move on from this as I trained for Worlds. I felt like I had some descent training in between but not a big solid block there is just so little time in between and I got a small cold that I had to kick right away! Anyway, I really didn’t know what to expect from this race. I felt somewhat confident based on my past races here on this course. But, I also knew that this would be a whole new game racing with the best of the best.
My Mother-in-law made the trip to CA to stay with Ashlyn and Drew and I both got to get away to Maui this time!
We arrived in Maui to a downpour on Wednesday. This was the day they opened the full bike course and I came to many reports of everyone getting stuck on the course in wet muck. The course had gone quickly from wet and slippery to rivers and mud so thick that your wheels wouldn’t turn. So, the next day I chose to stay off the course and give it time to dry. However, Sian and I did try to go the next day and I probably could have just stayed off :). It was better but still so slippery that you could barely walk up the steeper climbs in bike shoes!
Drew got some great time running and SUPing and surfing and I enjoyed some downtime and just race prep 🙂
Going into the race I was feeling pretty good but also just not sure what to expect. I knew I had no target on my back having gone up to the pro ranks but that also adjusts my goals. Not having an age-group title to defend and just wanting to race hard. There was no pressure not a lot of expectation. Besides that little bit inside that just wants to have some breakout race. Sometimes that is what happens when we take off all the pressure we have our best performances. This was not that day.
Race day arrived and so did the surf. We got to the swim start with some good sized waves. The gun went off for the Pro start at a good time. I went out good and was swimming with a good pack for the first lap I felt. I even came in for my beach run successfully on top of the waves. However, that little beach run and getting back in just zapped all my energy! I was crawling as I tried to find my rhythm again. Then I kept getting pulled inside by the currents only to get swamped at the second bouy by the wave of men all packed in. The second portion, which was supposed to be shorter took my a bit longer than he first! yuck. I was eager to get on the bike but I had no idea where I was in the field.
I started riding only to find myself continually frustrated. I was packed in with a bunch of guys passing at very inopportune times and cutting me off. Then somehow I kept getting behind the people that would just fall over. 3 times it happened. This kind of took the rhythm out of the first half of my bike. Finally I found some space and had a great time once I got to the downhills. The course had dried out perfectly and the conditions were great! I could actually see as we flew down the mountain. I was able to real in about 5 women ahead of me on the bike so I didn’t think I was doing too terribly.
I got onto the run in feeling fairly good of course a little spent. I was not looking forward to the first part of the run which is about 3 miles of climbing. I tried to just keep it steady and get to the top and then try to let it all hang out. But I was passed by about 4 girls already. I just kept steady on and persevered everytime my course turned up again. At some point I just took to making it my mission to encourage Hannah Rae everytime we leap frogged, as I could see she was struggling through. Finally made it through my favorite downhill (because it is close to the finish) and tried to run it fast and then I hit the beach which just hurt. Almost to the finish and I got passed by 2 more on the grass. Made it.
Right at first I wasn’t sure what to think. My race didn’t feel that bad, there wasn’t anything that I could pinpoint that really went wrong but I was thinking it wasn’t that great. Then I saw results and realized just how slow I really went. Wow, such is life.
So, many have asked if I am glad I went Pro or if I regret doing it. I can say that I have no regrets! I feel like we have to seize the opportunities in life. I debated on the decision a lot early this season. I ultimately decided that I wanted to dive in. Sometimes the only way to keep improving is to give yourself a bigger challenge. I knew that it would be a whole new game this year and I knew that I would not be racing for the top spots. Ashlyn had still not begun school for most of the season and my time had been limited but I wanted to go for it and get that first season experience under my belt. It seemed to be good timing. Friend and fellow rookie pro Kara LaPoint recently wrote about her first season as a pro for Freeplay Magazine and I felt like she was telling my thoughts on much of it. Similarly, I felt that I had reached a high point as 2013 age group World Champion and I needed to go for it. No, I still did not have an overall amateur title nor did I win all the time, but I knew what would take me further.
I did have a moment during the run when I was getting passed by another age-group girl, when I was thinking that I used to be that age-grouper passing the back part of the Pros and this time, I was that pro getting passed the top age-groupers. At that moment, I sure liked it better the other way around. 🙂 Moving on up. I learned so much this year! While many of my races were not what I was hoping for I still had a few good ones! Now I have learned from racing alongside some very talented women and I now have more experience which can lead to more focus and getting to the next level. I am excited for next year!
Thanks for a Fun Season!
Family-First I have to thank my family. No athlete can be successful without support. For me my family is first so without their support I could not do what I a doing! I was so thankful to get to take Drew to Maui this year and have him cheering for me!
After the race I was talking to Ashlyn and she asked me how my race was. I told her about it. She said, “Well, that’s okay, Mommy, as long as we get out there and do our best!” I love that girl. If I can teach my 5-year-old the ups and downs of sport and how to work hard and all the things that go into this…it makes it worth it. She still likes to tell people I was at the World Champions. Of course the extended family too. For the Grandmas who love to make visits in October or trips to Utah and so much more!
Folsom Bike and LIV -Thank you so much for all your support this season. Special thanks to Erin Gorrell for the encouragement and support. The women who gets stuff done! This shop is amazing. Thanks for all that you guys do and for taking great care of my baby.
WTB– thanks for the great tires. I chose to go with the awesome fast rolling Nanos for Worlds. The course was perfect and the tires were perfect.
Osmo-Love this stuff! I first tried it before Worlds last year and now I am hooked. I love the Osmo for women and I don’t think I have ever had another drink that I have enjoyed so much while racing hard! A frozen camelback of Osmo in Maui is definitely the ticket.
Thanks LIV for providing an athlete ambassador program that helps me with a great ride! An outstanding company that is doing great things for women in cycling and making awesome bikes for us!
Massage Vuduu – Thank you Tom for all your support and confidence in me and your enthusiasm. These are some of the worst (read: torturous), most productive hours my week! You are awesome and I can’t thank you enough for not only torturing me but believing in me.
Vince Hoffart – Seriously great Chiropractor! Thanks so much for your patient perseverance into my issues. I am so thankful I listened to the recommendations from my fellow athletes to come to you.
Seriously, between Tom and Vince, they keep my moving!
Bolle Eyeware– Thanks to Dave and Bolle for providing me with some of the best eyewear around for the past several years. I love these!
RooEpic – Thanks for keeping me stylish especially through all my workout. More specifically, those long hot track workouts and runs. Gotta have my RooEpic
Coach Joan – Thanks for all your help in the pool and believing I can get much faster! Mostly thanks for all your support and encouragement! You are always encouraging.
Also, Calfit swimmers- You guys are awesome and you make me look forward to swimming so much more!
Coach Justin- Thank you for all your help this past year. You have been awesome. Thanks for working with me and thank you for caring so much how things go!