Monday, April 24, 2017

El Viaje

At this point, we all know my triathloning is just a rouse for more South American wine and coffee. That said, performing in races means more money going to the coffee and wine fund. My decision to open the season with back to back races in Chile and Costa Rica came from a combination of the race schedule, my work schedule, and my cache of frequent flier miles.
Chile was a great experience from start to finish. There's always a bit of apprehension about a first year race, but you'd have never known it based on so much of the organization. The race organizer and my host family were beyond gracious, helping out wherever, whenever possible, like getting me to their triathlon club's gorgeous outdoor long course pool set in the Andes foothills.
Even if you don't like swimming, how can you not want to swim here?
Race day came, and it was...interesting. The start was fairly tame and not insanely fast, so I found some good feet early to follow while the superstar swimmers got rid of us mere mortals early. Within a couple hundred meters, I decided my offseason was over and GO TIME and I could bridge back to the trio just away from us. I couldn't and didn't, but, hey, I led my group out of the water, giving me a clean transition and a solid confidence boost.
4 K a day keeps the slow away. That's what I tell myself when I have to wake up at 4:15 to swim, at least.

I then rather stupidly drilled the first winding, flat 2 miles of the bike, hoping perhaps I could still bridge up to that next group before we hit the first climb on the bike. I didn't, and then it became evident that the flatlands of Virginia Beach are not apt training grounds for the desert foothills of the Andes. Go figure. The second, bigger climb was a bit more of a hemorrhaging of race position, but I seemed to finally find a bit of a groove near the end of the last climb and into the last descent. Then, to start the final 4-5 miles of flat dirt roads through vineyards, KAPOW. Broken chain. Whoops.At this point, I was maybe 400 meters from the transition/finish area if I quit, or about 4.5 miles if I ran the bike. At that point, I figured I hadn't really trained much in the past several days, and the 2017 version of the XTERRA Pan American Tour scores every race, so even finishing well down in the race could make a small difference at the end of the season. So that's exactly what I did. It sucked.
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Apparently I left the clutch off my rear derailleur, as well, based on the waviness of my chain on flat ground. To me, it makes sense that a clutch would actually make a broken chain MORE likely because it introduces more tension, so at least I can tell myself that this mistake didn't lead to the race-ruining mechanical.

The funny thing is I have no recollection why my left leg is bleeding. I guess that's XTERRA, though.
So, I set off on the run, not totally sure how to play it. I was pretty sure I couldn't make up any placings in the pro field, but after about 400m of being indecisive and thinking I might jog the run, I decided I wanted to put down a run split that made it VERY obvious that I had bike issues. So,that's what I did, and the couple of messages I got later that evening confirmed my strategy. However, my quads were not super jazzed about the unnecessary hard downhill running.
My quads hurt just from looking at this photo. The photographer had a lot of faith that I'd actually be under enough control to make the bend in the trail and not come crashing into him.
So, after the race, I got to enjoy a little bit of Santiago. It really is a great city, and I wish I'd had a bit more time there, though that's often the way this travel goes. Part of me says that some day, I'd like to go back and visit all the places I've raced, except actually see and experience the place. But there are unique little things that wouldn't come from being an ordinary tourist, so it's a mixed bag, I suppose. 
Two paths diverged in an Andean foothill desert, and I....

Normally my recovery spins take place in industrial parks surrounding hotels. Not the case here.
Wine from Argentina, unroasted coffee beans from Maui, now wine from Chile. Something tells me I should bring back a bowl of grits or something from Alabama next month. 
I made it into Costa Rica with plenty of time to spare, giving time to really relax a bit. Perhaps even more than Chile, though, I confined myself mostly to my room watching Netflix (Archer and Last Chance U, for those who are going to ask) for most of the time during the day, though, because I was far from prepared for the daily highs in the upper 90s. Part of my race week "entertainment" was getting updates from Airbnb sharing buddies, and Virginia friends Greg and Parker, who had escapades and adventures abound where driving overnight from Lynchburg, VA to Atlanta airport to make a connecting flight was one of the more innocuous parts of the trip. I attempted multiple times to capture an iguana but never quite got one, repaired an air conditioner, troubleshot our lack of running water...so, yes. It was interesting. Previewing the course was interesting in its own right, as there were frequent encounters with cows, dogs, horses...really about whatever you can think of.
Race morning came and to just add to the comedy of errors was getting stuck in the soft sand on the beach well before dawn, then "Oh dear, there's a car coming behind us, I hope they can see us without any lights on." XTERRA events tend to have more humane start times, but when the daily high approaches 100 degrees, 6 a.m. is the humane start time.
Regardless, it was time to race! I felt very good about this course in previewing it, knowing much of the course would come down to a couple of short but selective climbs. I got off the start and tried hard to stay on Jean Phillipe Thibodeau's feet on the swim,but that plan failed shortly before the first buoy, and as usual I found myself behind Branden Rakita for the next couple hundred meters. After a few minutes behind Branden, I again decided it was go time and JP seemed human enough of a swimmer that we might be able to pull him back, and I also knew there were some strong bike-runners behind us. Right as we really started to claw back some time to start the second lap, I got a nice handful of jellyfish and came to an abrupt stop. Branden came back around and led for the rest of the second lap and we exited the water together, 12 seconds down to JP. I booked it up the beach and took off first of the three of us out of transition because I chose not to wear a swimskin after my beloved neoprene longjohn one ripped last year in Maui, and it paid off. Jean Phillipe came back around and took the lead while I adjusted my shoes and gloves on the beach, and Branden caught on before long. I inadvertently surged a bit going through the soft sand up from the beach onto the trails and found myself with a small gap, but figured I may as well push it until the first climb to give myself a safety buffer given my weak climbing. It then dawned on me..."IAN YOU ARE LEADING A PRO RACE DO NOT SCREW THIS UP!"
Who needs swimskins?

FINALLY, A MOUNTAIN BIKE COURSE I CAN PREPARE FOR IN VIRGINIA BEACH! I'm sitting second wheel here, shamelessly.
 Well, I did screw it up, of course. The first climb becomes a bit too steep to ride about halfway up, which is where Josiah managed to catch our leading trio (HOW DOES HE MAKE UP A MINUTE AND A HALF IN LESS THAN 2 FLAT MILES???), and the four of us started the first and only technical descent together. I bobbled a bit late on the descent coming out onto the fire road, and then they were gone. Eventually, Josiah pulled away from Branden and Jean Phillipe, but those two stayed glued together the rest of the ride and put about 2 minutes into me. Not too long after those guys left me, Kris Coddens caught and pretty much rode right through me. Then I rode the rest of the course singing Eric Carmen songs to myself.

The zip tie broke on my number plate on the beach section in the first 400m. It bothered me for the next hour-plus. Also I need to work on my grimace....Photo from August Teague.
Coasting down the final paved hill into transition, I saw Branden and JP trudging up the same hill to start the run, and body language said I might have a shot at getting one or both of them. A few minutes later, I realized that, no, everybody looks terrible going up that hill. Still, I knew Ryan Ignatz wasn't that far behind me and I was hoping to hold onto 5th place, but Ryan caught me around the halfway mark of the run. I hoped to go with him, but that didn't last very long. Still, XTERRA runs often can turn south very quickly, especially when it's 100 degrees in April, so I knew I had to keep the pressure on in the hopes somebody ahead of me might be struggling. That didn't happen, and I even managed to find myself scared by how close I was feeling to an epic meltdown with less than a mile to go, but I got through to the finish in easily my best every pro XTERRA finish of 6th place.

It was yet another rather quick turnaround, leaving the race the next day, but after almost two weeks living out of a suitcase and having to concentrate SO HARD to hold a conversation (my Spanish isn't what it used to be), I was grateful to get home.
I am fairly certain that driftwood is structural. I don't know how I feel about it.
Living on the east coast, I forget how magnificent west coast sunsets really can be.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Thoughts

Writing a "reflections and thoughts" is something that has made me feel icky and entirely self-indulgent, because honestly, I'm not sure who cares that much to read it that doesn't already know the way I feel. Still, it's one of those part obligation, part catharsis exercises that I'm instead trying to add more and more pictures and "copy editor humor" that I inherited from my mother.
I may have earned my elite license halfway through 2015, but realistically, that season was a throwaway for reasons including terrible race selection, below average focus, inconsistent training, and a less than stellar personal life that influenced many of the other factors. In addition to some personal issues and a great deal of uncertainty about my ordinary career, my foray into racing elite or "professionally" was an absolute ass-kicking. It wasn't enjoyable at all, and triathlon had actually become a source of stress for the first time in almost a decade of doing it. I realized I had the most fun in Richmond, despite finishing in last place, because it was just enjoyable, so I decided to go in on off-road triathlon as much as I could, limited by where I live.
Of course, I still got crushed in 2016, though maybe a little bit less. Even my race placings may not have been awesome or what I wanted, but there were times in training and racing that I started to really realize that I'd made the right decision. Some brief thoughts on the year:
I'm very happy that I was able to race a full schedule of the inaugural edition of the XTERRA Pan American Tour and finish 7th in the men's pro standings.
Armed Forces Championship was an absolute dream scenario for me individually, where I finally got into the front group and then backed it up with a great run.
I was ECSTATIC to finally be able to race the Breezy Point Sprint Tri. I'm pretty sure it's an unwritten rule that anybody in the Navy or Coast Guard that does triathlon has to race it at least once.
This season was definitely a grind at times, where I really felt like triathlon consumed me, but in a positive way. I realized that I had finally structured my life around it appropriately. I was away from home for 53 nights between when I first left for Clermont in March until I came home from Maui in October. That's a lot, and something that will likely decrease a bit in 2017 because I learned from it, where more time at a race venue isn't always better, and so on.
All in all, it was a great first full season. I made a little bit of money doing this, though nowhere near in the net positive. By the IRS's standards, "hobby income" is still very much a thing, and reportable at that. There's also the slang term of "hobby pro" that gets thrown out there from time to time in cycling, track and field, and triathlon, that certainly has a bit of a negative connotation. It's something I'm actually embracing, because frankly, it fits me extremely well. Due to commitments I've made, it's unlikely I'll be able to leave the Coast Guard much before I'm 34 or so, but I've been able to race more or less what I want to. Honestly, there's not really much of a thing as a true full-time professional triathlete outside of a small handful of people in the world, so the fact that I have a single, steady job rather than a smattering of half-jobs to make ends meet I don't see as a negative whatsoever.
I wouldn't be able to do any of this stuff without all of them, so I'm thankful for that.
San Telmo, Buenos Aires. I've had worse 36 hour layovers.
Just off the road, outside of Snowbasin resort in Utah. Utah is pretty in late summer/early fall.
Sherando Lake became one of my absolute favorite riding locations. Yes, we have 15 minute, brake rotor-heating singletrack descents in Virginia.
Relationship goals.
For four years, I'd been dreaming of this scenario: being off the front with nobody from any of the other teams. My personal ideal scenario, now for 2017 to just keep getting a little better with a larger gap at T2 and a faster run...
It's beautiful to have the sun just ever so slightly poking out from behind the mountains at sunrise, especially when I'm used to sunrise being right on top of the water (this photo from NAS Point Mugu, California, the day before Armed Forces Triathlon Championship)
Cornering is fun. ITU racing...I could take or leave.
Jonas was my coaching guinea pig, where I learned a lot more about myself as an athlete, and got him to get some of his own goals. 

My days in Virginia Beach are likely numbered, and my focus shifting to off-road means fewer and fewer weekend rides on the Pungo loop.

Now, starting off this offseason I was in a MUCH better place than I was the previous year, really excited to get to training. That said, I was actually taking an offseason this year, as opposed to last year which was two weeks of other stressors that hardly left me with any sort of recovery. These are all out of order. Don't hold that against me.


Monster Cross 2017 on the brand new bike. Love it. So much. I truly built it from scratch. Photo: Jesse Peters.

The brand new bike, fully built, on its semi-maiden voyage. I say semi-maiden because I'd had it for about 3 months, but was gradually changing almost everything on it to be EXACTLY what I wanted, with zero compromise.

Mount Trashmore at sunrise. After a few years since my previous masters group disbanded, I FINALLY found one that worked for both what I'm looking for and my schedule with Tide. That, and views like this make the 4:15 wakeups worthwhile.

Nothing overly special about this, but again, I know I won't live in quirky Old Beach, Virginia Beach forever, so I've found myself taking more photos on easy rides and easy runs (when I'm on call for work and have to carry my phone anyway). This is the LifeguART that only exists in winter. I like to pretend to hate Virginia Beach, but there are definitely things I'll miss about it.

I mean, how could I not?

"Congratulations, you're now an adult! Also, can you go work 72 straight hours because there's a blizzard coming and we have to close the port and queue up all the inbound vessel traffic"

Virginia Beach isn't just endless subdivisions and fighter jet runways. OK, it's mostly like that.

One of these days I will learn to throw a whip. Until then I'll settle for poorly timed bunny hops. Heaps of fun at Rustbucket Cross race in Norfolk.

I guess I have to go back to Cleveland every November now to close out my off-season.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

XTERRA World Championships

I would say that racing my first elite world championship was an eye opener, but I got so much mud in my eyes that I have been unable to open them completely for the past week.
Anyway.
A lot of people get their “itch” to race a triathlon by seeing the broadcast on NBC of the Ironman World Championships and find themselves inspired to go out and do one themselves, even if they’ll likely never actually race there and also may never do an Ironman-distance event (which, by the way, is FINE!). For me, it was something of a natural growth out of being a high school swimmer and cross country runner, but a memory sticks in my head of people running their bikes across golf course-like grass in a tropical setting on television from years before I ever signed up for my first race. I now realize that I probably saw the XTERRA World Championships in its relative infancy.
I chose to race Maui this year with a long-term interest. Even though the course makes some tweaks from year to year, and even moved venues entirely a few years ago, I figured I would be able to get a good feel for the race, with my primary focus being on the Pan American Tour and, by extension, the Pan American Championships in Utah a month earlier. However, after seeing the signs of a potentially great race in Utah derailed by things outside of my control, I really wanted to hit Maui hard. In between the two races, I got the pleasantries of yet another hurricane hitting over a federal holiday, this time leaving some actual impact, forcing me to do a lot more trainer/road riding in the last week before leaving with all of the local trail systems flooded and completely unrideable. Nevertheless, I felt great heading into Maui, and was very fortunate to have my parents and brother there, as the trip literally wouldn't have happened without them.
Casual West Maui sunset picture from dinner earlier in the week.
Previewing the course was difficult enough on its own, as it truly is an absolute bear of a course. While XTERRA Beaver Creek and Utah might both have more climbing per mile, it all seems to come in one shot, and is rarely ever insanely steep. Maui never seems to allow a groove, and many of the flat and downhill sections are very slow-rolling, so it's just a very exhausting course. With ever-changing conditions, my tire selection felt like a college sophomore trying to choose a major.



The day before our race, this stream crossing had about a foot of water running through it, only about 400m from the finish on the run course. I was actually looking forward to it, but it actually dried back up before our race. But this is just how much water there was on the course.
With race morning came the largest ocean swell we'd seen all week, and I smiled. I properly found the best rip current I could, away from many of the faster swimmers on the start line, but managed to slot right into the back of the front group within the first 300m. Ultimately, the elastic snapped and the leaders got about 2 minutes on my group, but I found myself leading a group the majority of the way, save my accidental body surfing on top of somebody into shore. Whoops! We gradually pulled back some time to some stragglers who'd held onto the front group for a bit longer, and I felt like I put myself in a pretty good spot coming out of the water, taking the very long, uphill transition in stride, careful not to light my whole matchbook on fire a mere 20 minutes into the race.
On the golf cart paths and road out of transition, I settled in, allowing the insanity of that first part to sort itself out, though I ever-so-briefly sat on Sebastian Kienle's wheel (#lifegoals). Nevermind the fact that he was just putting on his gloves and shoes and then took off as soon as the road pitched upward. Somewhere there is a picture of me calmly sitting on his wheel. Through the early twisty climbs, I felt good, until we started to hit the really slippery stuff. At that point, Josiah caught me, then another #lifegoals when I rode a section he bobbled. Then he took off on the next climb, just like Kienle. But I did not know Josiah was human, so that made me feel better.
Not too muddy. Yet. Photo: Jesse Peters
Then we hit the upper part of the "bike" course, better known as the hiking section. It was just SO hard. It's really hard to explain to anybody who wasn't there, but it was simply unrelenting. Those steep climbs I mentioned earlier that are difficult even previewing the course? Impossible to ride without traction, and even difficult to push the bike up. At one point, I found myself sliding out on a descent, and just opted to slide on my butt, holding bike above my head, for the rest of the way. It seemed the best option. I'd tell you about the 300 different mechanical issues I had, but I don't think anybody was safe from that. Burped tires, hit-or-miss shifting, broken chains, sheared derailleurs, seized bearings were the name of the game. I was just glad to finally make it off the bike without any catastrophic issues or crashes. Then I remembered I had to run.
It's hard to appreciate just how muddy EVERYTHING was. It's taken almost two weeks to get my bike back and sorted. It was a constant "glasses on to protect from mud flying off the front wheel. Nope, now they're covered in mud and I can't see anything." Look for my water bottle and gels taped on the top tube, too. I had no choice but to eat mud. Photo: Jesse Peters 

If I plan on racing mostly off-road in the future, I'll make sure NOT to have a mostly-white kit. It's never getting clean.
The run course is gorgeous, but it hurts like hell at race speed. It's just a long, long, long uphill, followed by a downhill, but I was just in no shape to let anything loose by that point. Chris Ganter caught me near the top and tried to give a little motivation, which was nice as he's become my surrogate big brother this season it seems, but otherwise, it was simply a test of finishing, which is not a goal I've had in triathlon in a very long time. I came to the realization that I am still a long way away from truly "racing" the run portion of an XTERRA event, but that will come with time.
SO glad to be done.
Panda face paint or mud splatter?
The semi-interview in which I allowed the guy to call me "Mark" without correcting him, and I made my plans for a coffee-nap known to the world.
Strava Ride
Strava Run

Right after "what is your favorite race," people will commonly ask "what's the hardest race you've ever done?" For the latter, I've never had a particularly great answer, as I've struggled to compare an ultra-intense 40 minute Rev3 Rush with a 4 hour half with a very intense/deep field in an ITU race. 2016 XTERRA Worlds easily has become the answer to that question now, for me, and anything I've read or heard from long-time veterans of the race, including those who have done far longer, traditionally "tougher" events like Ironman, Race Across America, multiple-week stage races, ultramarathons, and so on...pretty much all of them are saying the same thing. Having now understood that, it puts my own performance into a bit of perspective, especially as I am still generally just trying to learn how to truly "race" a cross triathlon in the first place.

So that puts me into my "off-season" now. A week-plus into things, I'm enjoying the lack of focus, but I've so far spent most of my time just fixing my bike! Still, I'll have some time to enjoy having some sort of free time, just playing around on a bike, on a surfboard, whatever else for some time. Although I started racing in the elite division halfway through 2015, I've looked at this year as the first season I really tried to approach racing in a more professional manner, so I'll likely write something up on a reflection of that if I feel inclined to at some point. For a better way of following how I spend my time, some of the best ways to go about following, in rough order of probably the "best" way to find out what "Ian the triathlete is up to" are:

Strava: Ian King (Probably pretty boring the next week or two, still)
Instagram: @idking90 (#IoverusehashtagsandI'mnotashamed)
Snapchat: ik9064 (I promise my Instagram story and Snapchat story are not the same. Often similar, but not the same)
Facebook: Ian King (as long as you promise not to try to sell me fake Ray-Bans)

Really glad I got to share this race with my family, though. I wouldn't be able to do this stuff without them. All three of  them have always been so supportive of this crazy little sport, and getting to see me in this race I think really helped them realize that I've really found my "home" in cross triathlon. Plus, mom and dad's genes didn't hurt, either.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

So close! XTERRA Pan American Championship

I had what I am willing to call my best block of preparation ever leading into this race. I felt like I had done virtually everything right, even down to some great management of a flexible schedule over Labor Day Weekend when Hurricane Hermine was looking like it would at least disrupt my ability to train outside, if not be cause for me to be working for 4-5 days, 12-15 hours a day.
Gale force flags out at the Old Coast Guard Station! No, I didn't purposely choose my apartment to be three blocks from the Old Coast Guard Station, but it's kinda cool nonetheless that I walk by it all the time, and that they actually update the small craft/gale flags.

I chose to go to Utah a week out from the race after my disaster with altitude in Beaver Creek. While Utah "isn't that high" according to most people, when you live at 5 feet, a course ranging from 4,900 to 7,300 is pretty high. Previewing the course was amazing. It was a pretty conscious effort on my part not to overdo it, and the leaves were right in the middle of changing, so riding each day got prettier and prettier!
Pre-riding the course, I took a lot of photos. There was a wedding nearby, so this geofilter showed up on Snapchat, and I couldn't resist myself.
I'm not a huge fan of open water swimming except in races, but Pineview Reservoir makes an exception for that.

One day I got stuck on the road for my ride because it was too wet to ride the trails. Even then, Utah had this to offer.

Walter's Airbnb had this older-than-us arcade game, and we got some descending practice on it. We figured that it worked for Gwen Jorgensen to spend time on a motorcycle in real life, so this obviously had some benefit to us.

Race morning came nice and chilly, still somewhere in the 40s, with the water a LOT warmer than that. A few minutes before the swim, I made sure to try and line up near Karsten Madsen and Branden Rakita, both of whom I've swam with before, and I expected this to be a faster than usual swim because of just how deep the 33-man field was. By probably 600 meters, we did end up letting a gap open up, but there was no way I had any ability to close it, so I was content to stay with Karsten, Branden, Matt Lieto, Alex Modestou, and a few others. We ended up spotting about a minute to the leaders, probably more than most of us wanted to, but still a manageable gap in XTERRA.
You can almost see that I had almost a beard after not shaving for a week. Photo: Unleashed Coaching
The first few minutes of the bike were absolutely insane, not unlike an ITU race where you're sprinting to find wheels to hold while still trying to get situated on the bike. A short description of the course is: short stretch of flat trail and road leading to first trailhead and major climb, then shorter technical descent, then longer climb, then longer but easier descent into some final rollers into transition.
Click to expand it, but the elevation profile is pretty clear. If you care enough, red is heart rate, pink is power, and green is speed. The entire ride is on Strava.
Riding with Alex in the little rhythm-breakers rolling section near the top of the first climb. Photo: XTERRA
Making a 29er look like a 26er since 2011. Photo: Jesse Peters/XTERRA
I felt amazing riding up the first climb, holding my own better than I really felt I ever have, especially considering the depth of the field and some of the guys I knew would be coming behind me. I bobbled a bit on the first descent, but nothing major to rattle the confidence significantly or cost much time, again still feeling great and ready to make a move on the riders around me to start the second climb. That's when I felt my rear tire wash out and realized I had a flat. I don't carry a full spare because the amount of time it would take to stop and fully repair it like that would make my race a complete waste, as there's not much incentive to finish outside the or top 15 for series points. I jammed my emergency sealant and some CO2 in the tire, but it kept hissing and I hoped that just maybe the sealant would hit it and it would manage to hold a little bit of air. In that time, several of the guys that I was hoping not to see all day came by me. Still, I got back on with my partially deflated and still-leaking tire and chased HARD up that second climb. I started to even pull back some time on the last few guys to pass me, but my tire kept leaking until I had no air in it right near the top of the climb. At that point, I figured I had to get down anyway, so I just started going down without any air in the tire, fishtailing every switchback, rattling over every rock. I couldn't lean into any of the turns, and I know I gave up TONS of time on that descent, as some guys I'd never seen in races, including some of the front of the amateur field had caught up at that point. Then we hit the rollers and I kept just trashing my legs to stay in some sort of contact. I managed to get some good cheers from spectators out on the course impressed (or perhaps shocked at my stupidity to do something like that).
Getting off the bike, my legs said they were done and that running was not on today's list of activities anymore. Semi-fortunately, the first kilometer of the run is pretty much straight up a ski slope, so "run" was a very loose definition of what I did. I started to find my legs once it flattened out, making some passes here and there and just trying to hold on until we could absolutely bomb downhill for the final mile. My run split was far from exciting or braggable, but considering the shellacking I gave my legs trying to climb on a bare rim, I'll take it as a positive. I'm not positive on this either, but I think this might have been the first time I've ever improved my position in an elite field on the run, so that's a huge step in the right direction. Here's the file for that one.
Letting it go downhill. Photo: Unleashed Coaching
There's no sugar coating that it sucks to feel like I really had the skill and fitness to have a great race, but it got derailed by something mostly out of my control. I'll admit I played a little bit of the game of "well, I could have at least had this bike split, which puts me at T2 here, and with the same run I'm here....or maybe my run is a little better from not wrecking my legs and that puts me here...." It's agonizing, to say the least, but this is just a part of racing. It's inevitably part of any sort of triathlon, but certainly off-road racing introduces far more challenges and chances for things to go wrong.
As far as what's next, I'm now turning my focus towards the XTERRA World Championship in Maui at the end of October. I'm excited to take this same fitness and skill and put it out there on an even bigger stage to see where I truly fall.
For those keeping track: fries, a chocolate shake, a large Coke (that I refilled at least twice while waiting for my food to come), a double-double, and a single. No, I don't like animal style, now stop bothering me about the secret menu. I'm from the east coast.