Xterra Czech - solid working my way up to the podium
August 8, 2015
April 5, 2017
XTERRA/ EXTREM-Terra Spain?
May 26, 2014
The first big race for me this season. I was very eager to find out if all the long and plenty hours of workout brought me there where I want to be. After 6 years not racing pro this was the reality check, can the old man come back from nirvana?
Traveling from Basel to Alicante with Katherine Müller and meeting there my local friend Celia made a great start of a very fun trip.
The La Mañga Club Resort is nested in the middle of a large Golf course and with that all the cliches that go with. Our Apartment was over the top - not enough time in the 3 days there to check out all the hidden gems in the Resort.
On Friday the race course pre-ride had it all, technical descend, hard uphill, flowy single trail, autobahn and getting lost multiple times. The swim is situated in a small cove with very clear water, enjoyed that swim a lot. Not knowing that that would be my only chance.
On race day the officials took the decision to cancel the swim, due to a "dangerous current", compared to the previous days the ocean was flat as a pool and there was no visible movement in the water what so ever. So the Xterra Spain became a duathlon with a 3.6km run that took us strait up and then down the hill with not a single meter of flat running. Right from the start Ruben Ruzafa and Riart Jové set the pace. Back at T1 if was on 4th position with 45sec down on the two leaders. Trying to make it as fast as possible to the first downhill I hammered up the hill trying to keep Roger Serrano I hope that other race organizers can take the learnings from this races, that Xterra is not about hunting for extremes with crazy downhills, uphills and sketchy cliff paths, but living more behind me. In the downhill with Roger was a lot faster and caught me on the bottom of the "20 Clavicles", from there we rode together to 15km. When we reached the section before climbing glass-hill I could see Ruben in the uphill - there I clocked him with only 1min lead and Solely and Jové 30sec behind him. Shortly after I upped the pace and Roger could not follow me - for a moment I was not sure if I should go in the head wind by myself or wait, I took the decision to go solo and give more power. In the next uphill I could not see Roger anymore in the flat behind me and still 1min ahead was Jovė in sight. Walking "20 Clavicles" back up was going better then I though and I was full of energy - BUT then it all turned. The volunteers send us up a path that was initially on the map, but not planned anymore for the race. The organisation tried to go from Xterra to Extrem-terra by adding in this trail. 35min of bike carrying on a sketchy path with some 6m drops and a very narrow cliff hanger section where to your left the wall was about 150m of free fall. If this was not bad enough on the 4th hill, in this section, I overtook the guy marking the course! So question, can you go off course if you overtake the guy marking the course, or what does this fall under?!?!? I hope that other race organizers can take the learnings from this races, that Xterra is not about hunting for extremes with crazy downhills, uphills and sketchy cliff paths, but living more! Luckily I could see and hear T2 down in the valley and just went for the straight line down from this f€@&ing hill. By pure chance I landed right back on the last downhill section and found my way to T2. Here I had to realize that my nice 1-2min on Ruben grew to 5-6min and my hamstrings were done.
The run up to cannons was beautifully set in a pine forest, single trail, great sections of technical running - something I really enjoyed. Running down from the fortress took a lot of energy out of me, 44% grad and 300m down in 900m distance was tough. The following trails and the roman road were again a joy, but my energy level was close to 0. I barley made it to the last aide station to grab all I could and munch it down. Then I had again one of my paranoia moments when I though I would here steps and briefing just behind me and I was not ok in losing one more place. So I upped the speed again and ran as fast as I could to the finish. My paranoia was without any reason because the next contender came in 10min after me. I am very happy taking 4th place in the Extrem-terra Duathlon of Spain. A big thank you to the numerous volunteers and I hope that they are not discouraged because of the angry athletes due to the hike-a-bike ordeal. A big thank you to Maria, taking so well care of us - you made it a great trip! Muchas gracias!