Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gettin' Dirty- XTERRA Les Bois

I was first introduced to mountain biking back in June of 2005 while attending college at University of Idaho in Moscow. Learning to ride single track on Moscow Mountain (which is more like an exaggerated pitcher's mound with grass and trees on it) was not a cakewalk. Roots, downed trees, loose dirt, was not love at first ride. But my boyfriend had won a guided mountain bike tour in Utah in just two short months so we bought me a Trek 4300 and got me on single track as much as possible that summer.
A blast from the past: biking through Utah in 2005

Despite several bruises, a trip over the handlebars into a creek and a wickedly miscalculated off-trail ride that resulted in a broken helmet and severe gravel-rash, my confidence gradually improved- as did my love of riding. After moving to Boise years later, I fell in love with our incredible network of foothill trails surrounding the north and east ends of town. However, my love of triathlon (coupled with a lack of confidence due to less time on-trail) slowly pulled me away from mountain biking for the past 2 years...

...UNTIL THIS WEEKEND!!! Feeling bummed about a lackluster result at Lake Stevens and desperately needing a breath of fresh air in the tri department, I made a very logical decision: sign up for XTERRA Les Bois to shake things up a bit. I borrowed a friend's Stumpjumper and refreshed my skills with a couple pre-rides with MFMG.
First ride back. Still smiling and in one piece!

This is the second year Boise has hosted the offroad triathlon, and this time around it has been included in the XTERRA family. With Wattie Ink as a title sponsor, and my friend and Wattie teammate John Shilt at the helm, this was sure to be a premier event.

The best part about local races is that one gets the opportunity to race with friends. Several local competitors toed the line, including pros Kevin Everett, Chris Ganter, Captain Awesome and Trish Deim (who made an impressive debut on knobbies!) and at least a couple dozen people I see regularly at TriTown and the Y. I had my orders from Flanny, too: "HAVE FUN." Check!

Goofing around with Jannalyn Luttrell and
Trish Deim prior to swim start. (Photo by Kevin Schultz)
I hadn't swum in Lucky Peak since Boise 70.3 and let me tell you, the water is soooo much nicer this time of year! I came out of the swim just a few seconds behind Jannalyn and got to work on the bike. The course is pretty straightforward: a two-loop hammerfest on fire roads and singletrack with a couple pitchy climbs and one very technical gully descent toward the end of each loop. But as I learned all those years ago: "if you ain't hikin' you ain't bikin'." (friend and race supporter Walter Poly took a good shot of me navigating the rock garden). With their superior technical skills, Hortie Everett and Sara Lloyd both passed me on the second lap, but I was just happy to have made it into T2 unscathed. Now time to conquer the "groin"...twice.

No wonder it's a restricted sucks!
I had run the course on a relay team last year, so I knew what was ahead of me. Nice trail through grassy hillside, a long, gravel downhill, some pavement, some sand...and then the groin. This little gem of a climb gains around 200 feet in just .15 miles. It is a sandy, rocky slog that makes it (nearly) impossible to maintain a rhythm or even attempt to run. And once at the top, wheezing and near fainting, you get to look forward to doing it aaaaaall over again.

Adam Winspear saw an opportunity to play
MC and, boy, did he deliver!
The groin is what makes this race notorious and proves that it lives up to the name "XTERRA". The finish line is just at the base of the climb, so at least there's some "ooncha ooncha" music to help push you to the top. To go along with the beat booming from the speakers below, local triathlete Adam Winspear decided the poor souls trudging up the groin could use some encouragement. He grabbed the mic and started hollering run splits and supportive words to all of the participants. Thanks, Adam!

Fellow Watties and good friends
Sue Marston and Jay Sampsel
(who finished 6th amateur and won his AG!)
With this being my first offroad tri and only 6 short days after Lake Stevens, I was thrilled to be the first female to cross the finish line. Let's qualify this win a bit, though: I was one of only two female pros to compete, and Trish had (as I understand it) never ridden singletrack before (you go, girl!). The field was mostly local athletes, with 130 competitors registering for both the sprint and olympic distances. While it feels good to come away with a win in my first XTERRA, I have no delusions about my abilities...I have a long way to go before being able to compete with the true lady pros of XTERRA. :-)

Major kudos go out to John Shilt and all of the volunteers and staff that made this race a success! Thank you Wattie Ink for your continued support of the sport of triathlon! Blueseventy's wetsuit and goggles made for a very pleasant swim. Kswiss, thanks for making a tri shoe that can handle trail like no other. And Powerbar, your Double Latte Powergel is da bomb!

Next stop: Emmett's Most Excellent Triathlon!

1 comment:

  1. You definitely hold the title of QOM of The Groin!! Hrmmm... not sure that sounds ok at all. :)


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