The 13th running of Xterra Real at Granite Bay was my kick-off for the 2015 season! This is a great race for me to go into and just shake out the cobwebs and get that first triathlon of the season. TBF Racing holds a series of Mountain Bike races out at Granite Bay through the winter and the Xterra comes after these so I have the advantage of having been on these trails a lot by this point. However, it is always interesting to get that first tri in and see how everything is coming together.
We do have a great group of ladies in this area so we always have some good competition. Also, this being an early west coast race you never know who else might show up. Going into the race I knew I would have my work cut out for me with Team Freeplay Pro, Kelsey Withrow, on the start line. I knew that she is a top swimmer and a strong triathlete. I was just hoping there would be enough mountain biking out there. Also, the usual strong competitors, including Kara LaPoint and Sian Turner were out to keep things lively.
Race day turned out to be a perfect day for racing, far from the downpour and muck we endured at last year’s race. The water was a great temp and I just got a new HUUB wetsuit which I was excited to get into! The race started and I felt confident and good in the water. My wetsuit was super comfortable without any restriction and I felt great. The swim is about 1000m and was fairly uneventful. On the long run up to transition I knew that I would have some work to catch Kelsey who put in a killer swim split and beat everyone out of the water by a significant amount! I was the 4th woman out and passed one right out of transition. I hit the bike hard to try and catch Kelsey and also hold off Kara who I saw right behind me. There is an added section of course in Xterra that the normal bike races don’t do adding a little 2-mile loop at the back of the course through sand and rocks. On my way back from this, I could see Kelsey up ahead so I knew I was getting close. I caught up not long after that and sat in on her wheel for a bit to take a breath and wait for my opportunity. I knew she would be a strong runner so I wanted to pass and be able to put in a gap right away. I also knew I didn’t want to wait too long with Kara not far behind. My new bike, the Liv Lust Advanced, is sweet!! I was having so much fun on the new bike and I felt strong. I passed about 3/4 of the way through that first lap, and put in good push on the rest of the bike to try and get as much time as I could. Kara is always a strong competitor. She is coming off a recent injury but I know she seems to come back strong, and the one thing that had suffered the least would be her running.
As I came through the last lap and then onto to run though I was confused as people told me I was the 2nd woman and to go catch her, I was about 50 sec down. I was confused by this but just kept my head in and tried to put in a good strong run. I really wanted to get a win here on this course. The past years of doing it, I was 3rd in 2013, 2nd in 2014, so I figured a win would do. I crossed the line and they announced that I was 2nd. Not gonna lie, I was disappointed. I was really happy with my race and the improvements I had made on this course breaking the 2-hr mark, but I was disappointed and confused based on all the reports of friends and spectators. Turns out there was a mistake and the other girl had in fact had a great swim (you recall I was 4th) but missed that extra 2-mile section on the first lap of the bike course. Sunday, I was declared the winner. This was actually my long sought after first overall win in Xterra!
A strong race and a win is a good way to kick off the season.
We had a great day out at Granite Bay! Drew also got to race and that is always fun when we get to toe the line together! It was so fun seeing so many friends and familiar faces out there. A few of the girls from last weekend’s Ride like a Girl clinic also climbed up on the podium!
Next up…still debating whether I will make it to Sea Otter, but my focus will be the USA Pro Series kick-off at West Championships outside of Vegas April 25.