This past weekend was the Xterra East Championship in Richmond Virginia. I had marked this as one of my key races for the season. I brought my Mom with me on this one as she is visiting from Canada and thought it would be a great road trip(5hrs each way). We arrived a little later than planned due to flight delays the night before and a later start Saturday morning. The Xterra village was setup and I quickly picked up my race packet and went out to preview the course while my mom went to the hotel. The bike course looked great so I decided to check out the river with a quick swim…yes this race has a river swim. Well let’s just say the current wasn’t weak. Should be interesting tomorrow I thought and called it a day. Upon arriving the next morning, I racked my bike in transition and got everything setup. Then it was down the river to check out the pro start. Well let’s just say that the course was a surprise…crossing the river 3 times with 2 upstream sections.
With a quick warmup, it was time for my start. I positioned myself a few feet upstream with some others, the Cannon went sounded and off we went. I had never swam in a river before and the current here was significant…without too many details, we had to run some shallow parts, negotiate rocks and swim on a 45 degree angle to go straight. Anyway, when the swim was done, I wasn’t sad. A quick run up to transition, mount the bike and I was riding. I was moving along very well on the bike course, passing everyone in sight and making over all obstacles that felt difficult the previous year. Then it hit about 7 miles in…a flat. I quickly used my quickfix but it didn’t hold. Then I had to go with my backup, a tube, but I had to wait for someone with an inflator. I finally got one after watching competitor after competitor ride by. I installed the tube and off I went. I thought I could salvage something from this race. My Mom handed me a bottle on the start to my next lap, I took the opportunity to tell her quickly I had flatted. Then about 3 miles into lap 2 another flat. At this point I had nothing left to fix it.
I began walking with my bike until I came upon the crazy spectator section where they attempted to fix my tire but it didn’t work. At this point I had been walking for 2 miles and I was hoping the fix would allow me to ride back instead of walk. It didn’t and 4 more miles of walking and a 2 mile drive from a volunteer got me back to transition. Where my Mom had been waiting for 2hrs. Everyone I compete with had finished sometime ago and was packing up their transition area, so I decided to packup and head out. There was another race the following weekend and I thought it would be better to save myself for that rather than go run the course just to finish.
So it was a DNF for me, not what I had hoped for. Live to fight another day.