Well its been a nice week since returning home from Maui, settling in back home in Australia and starting my new job as a paramedic in my home town Geelong. Time to reflect on the Xterra World Championships for 2014 and let you know how the big day unfolded. The Xterra World Championships is the most prestigious event for off road triathlons. Staged in the arid western coast of the island Maui, the Xterra World Championships consists of a 1.5km rough ocean water swim, a 32km mountain bike and a 10km trail run. Quite simply, the dirtiest, hottest and most memorable ass kicking you can possibly imagine. I had the benefit of training a month in Maui prior to the race, swimming in the ocean, biking and running the trails and most of all acclimatising to the brutal heat that athletes must contend with on race day. A few of my Aloha Racing Team mates and an amazing support crew made the journey from Switzerland and Australia, so it was fantastic to have some training partners and fun times leading into race week. Race day came around and I was feeling very happy with the preparation I had done, fit, injury free and super keen to get out there and leave nothing out on the course. I had also taken some great experience from my European Xterra races earlier in July, these races truly set the bar on the hard work that is required to race Xterra at the elite level.
The swim was rough and choppy, perfect conditions for me and I thrived on the huge surf that pounded us as we entered and exited the water. Amazing sights of carnage for the spectators but very challenging for the athletes, one pro female in our swim pack had dislocated her shoulder in the rough conditions. Happy with a great swim it was then uphill into transition and onto the bike to take on the hot and tough trails. The course was not super technical but very demanding due to the heat, the fast downhill sections and punchy twists, turns and undulations. Each climb inflicted plenty of pain and it seemed some of the climbs were relentless and never ending in the searing heat. My bike legs and strength on the bike improved during the race and although the mountain bike is an area I am still working hard to improve I was happy with my ride and very much looking forward to the run ahead. Out of transition with generous crowd support I racked my bike relieved to have survived the course without any crashes or mechanical issues. I found my run legs instantly and powered onto the run course with great anticipation. The first 5km of the run was another vertical challenge of uphill running that tested the physical strength of running on tired, sore legs, burning calves that felt like exploding and the mental strength that would not allow me to walk a single step of this run course. I reached the 5km mark of the run, the most painful sections now behind me. Nothing left now but to let it rip on the technical downhill all the way to the finish line, the moment you push so hard that you know the fuel tank will be completely empty when they put the finishers medal around your neck. Its this feeling alone that continued to inspire me towards racing a personal best time here in Maui and to put all of the hard training over the past 12 months on the line. Approacing the finish involved one final tough run along the soft sand for 400m and then only metres away from the uphill dash to the finish line. I was so focused on finishing strong and then there was the Swiss, my training partner for the last month, giving me a final cheer on the beach that would inspire me to chase down a female pro just up ahead. I remembered the many hard training sessions we had done together over the past month and found one more gear up the finish chute to chase down some of the athletes ahead of me to cross the line in a personal best time of 3.35hrs, a huge 45minute improvement on my time last year at the Xterra World Champs in Maui.
I was elated with my effort and result, finishing 29th pro female and in close contention with the other pro females in the field closing some big gaps since I last raced some of these great athletes. I could not have asked for a better day and as an athlete your best wish is to have the day you have trained for. I can honestly say I had a special day in Maui and also attribute that to the amazing support and guidance from my coaches Ross and Renata and family and friends who are forever my biggest cheer squad, so thank you.
Later that night I dressed up as Superwoman and made my way to the raging halloween party, and endurance event in itself. Endorphins and great life memories are the sweet reward for all!