Submitted by Kim Collier
April 7, 2013
One of my Facebook friend’s Jerome Merlau had a post on Facebook today that said, “What is YOUR favorite signs to see when running a race?” This was a no brainer after today’s race…..”Finish”.
I have only felt that way on a few occasions. Kona 70.3, Orangeman 70.3, Rock & Roll Marathon-San Diego, 24 hours of Adrenaline, Senorita Century and a few other along the way when I didn’t feel up to par. Not too bad, since I have logged in over 150 races since I started doing events in 1987. You see the pattern, right? They are all extreme type races….pushing the limits of my abilities.
First off, before I whine about why my race didn’t go as well as I wanted…Let me first Thank Race Grader for the race entry. Without it, I would not have completed my first Off Road Triathlon. Also, Kudos to Xterra Renegade Off-Road TRI & Duathlon for putting on such a well organized and challenging event.
My husband and I decided to drive up the day before and picked a rather chic hotel called Aloft Hotel. It was in Ontario/Rancho Cucamonga and less than 20 minutes from Bonelli Park. A fabulously little Chic hotel that I wished we could have enjoyed more. Super friendly staff there! I have done a race once before in Bonelli Park, the Danskins Women TRI (changed to Us Women TRI series, SheRox and now EspritDeShe?), but this course was very different.
I should point out that my husband I committed to a Diet Bet that started yesterday (although we have been at it since around the first of the month). So, I have been clean of processed sugars, bread and on a lower caloric intake. Doug opted for a liquid diet or two shakes a day and one low calorie meal a day.
So, I started my morning with a Greens SuperFood smoothie for breakfast, black coffee and water. It’s all just bad timing that the diet and race happened at the same time. We got to the venue and parking was a breeze. Doug went to register for the Renegade 3 mile trail run challenge and had no issues at all. I found race packet pick up was a breeze, transition set up was nicely laid out and comfortable…not too crowded. Everyone checking you in was super friendly and engaging. The volunteers (which looked like young students) were all like cheer leaders…cheering you on and directing you along the right path. Kudos go out to the “green shirts” you all were FABULOUS!
The swim was an out and back, on a diagonal. It really did look farther than a 1/2 mile, but…I didn’t wear my GPS, so, I can’t say for sure. If I had to guess, it was a little long…maybe by .15 of a mile? I had a great swim considering I haven’t really been swimming. My last swim was a 1/2 mile of laps in the pool a week 1/2 prior to this event. I got out of the water, ran into the transition and got all my equipment on for the bike ride. Then, I was off. I hadn’t been on my mountain bike in a long time…..but I do know how to mountain bike well, when the terrain is beginning to moderate. So I thought, “How hard could it be then?” This course said beginning to moderate. This is where, I didn’t agree. I felt the course was patches of difficult, moderate, with easy at the beginning portion…because you were on roads and flat trail.
Although….it should be noted I might have felt this was because I couldn’t get my bike into my low gears and found myself attempting to ride up hills in gears that were nearly impossible. So, I had to hop off and walk up. I would have thought it was just me…but I saw several people in these same areas, walking their bikes up.
All this work had my heart pounding…and I had to take moments to let my heart “simmer down” before running up the hill with my heavy bike. All I could think of was….damn….I have to do this loop again! I was pissed that I didn’t really check my bike out before coming. I have no doubt, if I could get into my low gears, this ride…while still challenging, would not have me working so hard. Towards the end of my first loop, here came the “STUDS”…blasting past. I did not want to get in their way. It reminded me of 24 hours of Adrenaline. Nothing makes a mountain biker mad, like someone who’s in their way. So, I did my best staying way over to one side and waited for them them to pass, before making my attempt to ride again. So maybe a double loop for their sake is something they would want to change? If the event becomes more popular and you get more beginning riders; your seasoned/experienced riders are going to get frustrated trying to get by. Is a longer, one loop trail ride possible?
Right before riding into the transition, I thought…I am just going to do one loop. One of the races was just one loop, but I signed up for the whole thing. I was thinking if I saw my husband, I would just tell him to let them know I only did one loop because I was having bike problems. Then I felt like a failure…and that drive to “Finish what I Started” kicked in and I just ran through the transition and onto my second loop. When I got to the first hill, I got off my bike and forced my chain into the low gear. I got on my bike and was SO relieved it worked and figured I would just keep it low…then I accidentally moved it back and had to get off again and grab the chain and force it into the low gear. “Don’t do that again, KIM!” I said to myself. I left it there, only moving back and forth in my lower set of gears. I managed to ride every hill, except for two short hops off and back on…when it got really steep.
Along the way the “green shirts” were cheering me on. So nice of them and uplifting…because I was feeling spent! I rode into the transition and ditched my bike and went out for my run. I was thinking, “You got this now!” Ha…that lasted until I turned a corner and saw a steep long climb of a hill in front of me. I should have know. This was Xterra after all. I have done a handful of Xterra Running Races and hills are their specialty. I walked some of the steep hills and when it got flatter or downhill, I was off and running again. Finally…I could hear noise, cheers and talk at the first line. All I could think of was….”Where is that damn Finish Line?” There it was …finally. I was finished after 3 hours and 16 mins. Phew! But you know what…I almost gave up and didn’t finish…Finishing is all that matters….After all…It didn’t kill me…I feel stronger 🙂
OK….ways it would have been more enjoyable?
A working bike.
Mountain Biking is HARDER than road cycling…don’t take that for granted!
Don’t start a diet the day before.
Practice mountain biking ALOT before doing your next one.
I would not recommend this race to a beginning triathlete (I have done about 50 so far in various length & terrain) unless they are an experience mountain biker and trail runner prior to signing up. This is truly an Xterra Extreme type of event. I hope to do another one down the road and be MUCH MORE prepared. Happy Racing!