Xterra French River Race Recap- My 1st Xterra

June was a wild month. Tons of racing! I can’t lie by the time French River rolled around my body was pretty tired. But, I knew this was my first Xterra and I should be excited. It was touch and go race day of how the weather was going to be, but it did hold out with only a few sprinkles.The last thing I wanted was a rainy MTB and trail run. My Mom and I arrived at the race venue, I picked up my bib, and set all my stuff up. The whole morning I just felt tired and not very motivated, but I was trying to find the strength in me to perform my best….I mean come on it was my FIRST XTERRA!

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I got down to the swim start and I was too excited. The swim looked so short. And if you know me you know it means a lot when I am most excited about the swim. I was racing in the Long Course, so we had two loops of the swim (.5 miles), and a time trial start. I had a pretty good swim. It was a little rough until the 2nd buoy, but then it calmed down and I was by myself. I came out of the water in 14:59 which is about right for me. And to be honest I think the swim felt like the best part of my race…..

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Now it was time to MTB. I was unable to ride the course the day before. But, lucky for me I have good friends like Amanda who rode it and gave me some tips! I was nervous for the MTB because really I didn’t know what to expect. Would I be able to ride anything? Would I be the worst biker? How technical is technical? Well, off I went. The bike reminded me a lot of a dirt bike racing track. It was bouncy, with this tight turns with big banks, and then very punchy hills. I felt like I was never going to get into a rhythm. The 2nd half of the 12 mile bike was a little more my style compared to the first half. I felt like I managed the bike, but as I already know I have a lot of work to do. I also saw a guy get hurt right in front of me which was a little scary. I pedaled as fast as I could to find the next volunteer because this guy needed help. Neither of us had phones or knew the woods enough to get to someone quicker. I finally found a volunteer and told him the best I could where this guy was…..I never heard how he made out, so I am assuming no news is good news. I also think my panic state of needing to find a volunteer made me pedal harder. Anyways, I finished up the bike in one piece, and felt okay about it. I finished the bike in 1:24:14.

On to the run……..or should I say hike. I literally felt I was on a hike and barley running. The first mile I was feeling myself and passing a few people, I felt good. Then we started climbing. I think points I was nearly crawling up the mountain. I am not sure I could have physically run some of those hills. I knew my brother had told me that he had walked hills so I felt okay about myself that if Spencer walked some hills I could too. The downhills were no better. It was steep and a little slippery. Oh and lets not forget we had to run through a river….up to our knees. I thought the run was never going to end and all of a sudden I was out on the grass running towards the finish line. I finished the run in 55:14.

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My overall time ended up being 2:37:22. I won my age group by default….but I was not the last female. I was right in the middle of the pack at 7th out of 16. I was really happy that I had completed the race. I can say I have done on Xterra now…..and we all know I have already signed up for my second Xterra which is Xterra Skyhigh. That will be this coming Saturday and I get to race with my brother 🙂 The race was tough. Way different then road tris. I want to keep trying to get better at MTB and have a few Xterras on the calendar ever year. This race recap completes the month of June for me. I promise July and August will be much quieter as far as races go. Keep training ladies!

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Hunter Ralston