Xterra Skyhigh Race Report

As always, better late than never…..

Back on July 14th my brother, Jacob (his good friend), and I all made the trek up to Albany, New York. We left after I got out of work, so it was later than we all wanted to leave, but that’s life. On our way up we stopped at Panera and spent more money than you could imagine on dinner. I think we all got at least two meals, plus drinks, plus dessert. We made it to the hotel around 10pm and made a scene with our 3 mountain bikes. We got asked if we were doing a marathon and if we were going hiking…..close but not quite haha. We settled in quickly knowing we had an early start and still about a 45 minute drive to the race the next morning. 

July 15th……Race morning went pretty smooth. Like Amanda’s last blog said Xterra is so laid back. We were like the second people there to set up in transition. It was good my brother is crazy and we got there early because there was a small amount of transition spots on dry grass. The other options were sand and mud. My brother couldn’t find his wallet with his USAT card (per usual), and I had to save the day to find it. Other than that the morning was uneventful. Spencer and I went on a short ride. Then I did my swim warm up by myself which went well. It was a nice calm lake. I was anxious to see what the course was like. I had not pre-ridden it and my brother sometimes has a distorted sense of how hard or how easy courses really are…..therefore I don’t always trust him. Anyways, after what seemed like endless announcements for the pre-race meeting it was finally time to race!

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Swim:

The swim was very unique. We started off running along a beach, swam a lap, ran the beach again, and then swam a second lap. Let me just tell you that sprinting down the beach into the water then swimming is a little tougher than you may think. It took me about 100 yards to get my breathing under control, but then I felt good. I had a decent swim. Was not too crowded and I was able to stay close to the buoys. There is always one or two people that you kind of kick and touch the whole time, but other than that nothing crazy.

Bike:

The bike was an interesting ride. It started off pretty easy with some good climbs. Then it got into some serious root sections. It felt like your arms were getting a massage the whole time haha. There was one section of the trail we did two loops of which was nice because I knew more of what to expect the second time. On the bike I felt more comfortable than I did at French River, but still slow around some of the tight corners. I rode through the roots pretty well. There were a couple rocky garden sections that were intimidating to me that I walked. There was also this big step up on a hill that I walked. Overall, I liked the course better than French River, maybe it is more of what I am used to riding around here. But, still the common theme is I need to keep practicing my speed through the corners. 

Run:

The run brought out the weaknesses in us road runners. Majority of the run was very rocky, any wrong step and you would have fallen real quick. There was one serious climb (with minimal rocks). I was going back and forth with a couple of men. The would pass me at the technical sections, and I would pass them on the hills or the less technical sections. It went back and forth like this until there end. One guy was right behind me and he finally said “You keep doing your thing, I am not going to pass you, you are pulling me to the end.” And just like that I ran across the beach for the final time to the finish (with some very muddy sneakers).

 

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Overall:

I ended up finishing as the 4th overall female and 1st in my age group. This was only my second Xterra so I am really looking forward to next year. After my on road tri season comes to an end I will switch my focus to mountain biking and cross. I am ready to work on my skills and see if I can improve for some Xterra’s next year! I had a blast hanging out with my brother and Jacob. We did a GoPro race recap and I dragged them to a brewery…naturally 🙂

 

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One more race report left to write and I am just 2 weeks away from Ironman Maine 70.3!!! Happy training to all my ladies….I am enjoying my taper, don’t be jealous! 

 

Hunter Ralston