Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Xterra World Championships--The Arrival

Xterra Worlds

I don’t know what I expected when I boarded the plane to Maui with my coachancé on Friday to get to the Xterra World Championships. To be honest, I really wasn’t thinking much about the race—my thoughts were more on the “I want to go snorkeling!”, vacationey side of things. I was just getting over the worst saddle sore in the history of female kind, and the fever and sickness that came with the toxic antibiotic I had to down for a week. If anything, I was praying my crotch was up for the bike ride and didn’t give the rest of me much thought.

We left LA at a very reasonable 9am and touched down in Maui around 11am. I love getting time back. The warm breeze that swept through the open airport made me instantly happy (I love hot weather!) as did the lei the Pleasant Holidays people gave us on our way to baggage claim. I only checked my liquid stuff (sunscreen…chamois butt’r) and kept my helmet and all other tri-related stuff with me on the plane. I could make due wearing the same thing for 4 days, but could not race without my lucky flower to mark my transition area or mountain bike shoes.

Coachancé upgraded the car to a minivan so we could shove the bikes we were going to rent in the back without much effort. Turns out everyone else rented a minivan, too. I’ve never seen so many Dodge minivans in my life as there were driving around Maui.

First, we picked up coachancé’s rental bike. A full-suspension Kona something. I laughed at the granny seat they put on it. “Last full-suspension on the island, I’ll bet!” said the owner. I didn’t tell him we were about to drive to Haiku to get mine.

Renting a bike didn’t bother me one bit, as:

1. It cost just as much to fly with a bike and

2. I don’t own a mountain bike anyway! I’d have been borrowing somebody’s foreign-to-me bike no matter what.

The bike emerged from the back of the shop: a Gary Fischer. It must’ve weighed 35 lbs. It had a bald spot on the back tire, and looked like it had never ever been washed. It was a beast. Also adorned with a cushy seat, this bike looked like it had been thrown down the mountain, or seen some gnarly crashes. This bike had seen so much more of the island’s trails than I ever would in one weekend. It would show me how it’s done. The Beast and I clicked.

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