Xterra World Champs 2013 Maui, Hawaii.

After my 2 years absence from The World Champs it was  time to go back to paradise and see if I could tackle this infamous (new) course,  held on the north side of the island, which was just as beautiful but twice as brutal,

My race this season was long,  starting in February in the Philippines,  onto Saipan, Guam, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brazil, Italy and the UK , 11 races in all. With a scattering of domestic bike racing thrown in.

The question was: Was it too much of a big ask to do well this late in the season?finish shoot

The island of Maui is hot, very hot and humid all year round, this was going to be  like no other race . Usually having to acclimatise for at least ten days before  (I’ve done the worlds three times before) but this time it was only  6 days.

Race morning it was hot and humid with no promised  forecast trade winds, 31 pro women lined up for the start and  about 40 pro men , with over 800 athletes in all, twice  as many as when I last was racing there! Hence the wave starts Pros first ,2 minutes later age group men then age group women 2 minutes behind. them.

Xterrra is growing.  And so is the competition. with a mix of Olympians, Pro Mountain bikers and the top podium chicks from Xterra-land.

The bike course is brutal, over 3,500 feet of non stop climbing,  a 2 lap rough water swim in the big surf North shore Ocean , which seriously dumped me the first day  Were we all in for a rough ride on the super  hot Xterra rollercoaster ride to oblivion…bike course.:)?

Race morning my swim went pretty smoothly, the current was strong but the surf was low and so I started way up the beach, with no ome around , the gun went off and I  managed to stay on Shonny’s  V’s toes until the second buoy, 750 m later  the age group men caught up and  engulfed us , they pretty much swam us over. It was pretty rough stuff with both of us getting hammered from all sides, 2 laps of the swim and after a short run across the beach we  ran  back in for the second shorter loop, we then were more spead out. Lap two compltete, out of the water and a long run along to transition (about 750m )  it felt hot already, this was going to be a tough day,. Onto the bike and  straight up the  first hill,  BUT I had no power,  had I bonked already? I think it was the fact that all the AG men that were 2 minutes behind that passed me left and right relentlessly for 2 hours, perhaps psychologically damaging I was feeling that I had no strength left in my legs and felt drained, Plenty of AG women passed me as well towards the  end of the 20 miles,

bike hawaii I tried to stay hydrated with my frozen camel back filled with cool Nuun and my Clif gels boosting me with caffeine. But nothing helped ,It seemed a very long day on my bike.

I finally got to T2 after a heavy  2 1/2 hours, coming into T2 with one shoe coming off  in the process, I had also realised half way around that I was also still wearing my speed suit!! I plain forgot to take it off in T1! The run  started with 3 miles along the same line as the bike course , then another  1000 feet of climbing, the heat was getting to me but I still felt relatively hydrated   the volunteers were amazing with their ice cold drink stations every 2 miles. I suddenly had  cramp in my hamstring ( I b=rrewly gert cramp) and had to stop  for a short while to stretch . That done the second half  was through twisty turns sections of wooded areas which flatteded out. The 200m sand run at the end was not as difficult as the last time I raced  which had 2 km of soft sand and  some rocks to negotiate, .  My run split was the same time as my pre- run a few days before, obviously not very satisfactory.Coming over the finish line was a struggle   That got me 24th out of 31 pros and 40 th overall female. I guess everyone has to have a bad race at some point.I felt pretty shaky at the end and sufferd from  heat exhaustion The volunteers were , keeping everyone safe and well, the attention to detail was outstanding. BUT no med tent this time for me:)

It was labelled as the toughest Xterra to date But I guess that is to be expected from a world champs race. And what makes the sport so appealing and challenging.

For me it was not a good day, but I was pleased that I had finished. There were moments I thought I couldn’t  but to never give up,, I couldn’t and wouldn’t forgive myself.

The nicest  part of the day was the massage afterwards and a lovely swim in the Ocean as a just reward, Oh and of course  the famous Halloween party and awards dinner. How we all had energy to dance until 2 am I’ll never know, but we all were united in our celebration Our  Sumo Warrior suits were made out of bubble wrap and XTERRA  tape . .sumop caroline


Unfinished business?  Maybe..









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