NOVEMBER 2015 – XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – HAWAII
Ever since I started racing Xterra it’s been my dream to be a top 10 Professional at World Champs. The race brings together over 800 athletes from 43 countries – Off Road Triathletes, Olympic Triathletes, Adventure Racers, Mountain bikers, Cross Country Skiers, Ironmen, the list goes on. It’s the most competitive, tough, gruelling competition of the year. Having made some changes and seeing better and better results over the year, it felt like if the race went well, this could be it. If it didn’t – at least I was the sexiest number out there – #69 !
The water had calmed down a lot from the 10ft dumpers showing on the lead in days, and was beautifully warm and clear by 9am Sunday morning. The 1.5km ‘M’ shaped swim course gave spectators a look at what was panning out too. Pro’s had a 5min head start on age group men, who were followed 5mins later by age group women. I found myself swimming with a couple of other girls and managed to surf into shore both times relatively well. It’s a long run up to transition where I heard I was in 7th. Great ! The ride is essentially a lollipop type of course, the stick being a technical single track making up over 1/3 the distance, the other 2/3 either being very steep up or down. There’s over 2,800 ft of climbing on the West Maui mountains. I felt good on the climbs and confident on the descents, passing a couple of girls before Carina overtook me which meant I was riding in 6th. I was expecting the stronger bikers to come by, but the miles ticked past and they just didn’t come – I couldn’t believe my luck. Had a really quick T2 and was starting the run – my favourite of the three disciplines – in 5th. The first 3.5 of the 6.5 mile run follows the bike course, weaving upwards relentlessly. Most racers were cramping pretty bad – if not on the uphill then on the nasty down through the tall elephant grass. I moved into 4th briefly but was passed by a flying Frenchwoman! Back into 5th. The last section of the run is along a soft sand beach – I was relieved to see the finish chute and so thrilled to hear the excited cheers from the kiwi supporters. Best thing about racing in Hawaii is getting Lei’d at the finish line 🙂
5th in the world will take a while to sink in. The delight and support from my Xterra family has been amazing, and I’m looking forward to celebrate with friends and family back home. Big shout out to Asics NZ, The Tooth Fairy, Leppin Sport and Robert Harris. I’ve loved the journey this year and am feeling really optimistic about the future. Bring on 2016.