Thursday, June 4, 2009

The $17,000 Triathlon--XTERRA Deuces Wild

The drive up the 60 from Phoenix to Show Low is supposed to be spectacularly scenic. I wouldn't know. Every marked scenic overlook looked into a dark abyss.

Coachubby and I did, however, see several deer. I hoped they weren't suicidal--Laree did not need any body damage in his first 24-hours in our hands.

We arrived at the KC Motel at 12:30am on Sunday. I was pleasantly suprised at how nice it was. I pictured a cold dumpy place, not a quaint place to stay filled with fellow Xterra people.

I passed out, only to be awakened at 5:15am. Time to race! I seriously contemplated sleeping through it, but coachubby would have none of that.
(Coachubby's self portrait.)
We sunscreened up, picked up our packets, and joined the other 150+ people getting ready to race. I finally saw Xterra 29er and his wife, my favorite fellow Xterra people with whom we were going to spend the weekend.

And thus God's 2nd Goal of the weekend for Erin (GoGoFoE#2) manifested itself: I can pull together a decent race on 4 hours of sleep.

I sprinted out of the swim start. I don't know why. But I never dreamed I'd actually be the first person in the swim, therefore I'd never bothered to look at the buoy placement, and had no idea where to go. After I settled into a comfortable pace, a few other women overtook me and my glorious start was put to an end. That's what I get for having a sprint-swim background.

One of these women had pink feet. I kid you not. She taped them or something, thereby making them very recognizable and easy to follow. I followed her right out of the water, then had the luck of getting a better wetsuit stripper (hell yes, wetsuit strippers! Love them!) And dashed into transition only to take a small eternity trying to get my gloves over my wet hands.

Then out onto the bike. I haven't mountain biked since the Xterra West Cup, and Qeee was ready to go. Then we hit something we'd never encountered before: mud. Tons of mud. Qeee was ecstatic; now she actually had a reason for being outfitted with fancy schmancy disc brakes.

At one point, I had to stop to clear the mud out of her vital organs. The back wheel was hardly spinning. Apparently, Xterra 29er had the same problem, only he's a better mountain bike racer and didn't want to take the time to he wound up breaking a chain and bending his deraileur into his back wheel, and running the last 2.5 miles.

I was happy to see him run out of transition while I was biking in.
"I'm coming to get you!" I shouted. I had no idea he'd already been running forever. With a bike. And an old-man back.

The run course was fun, and the "Eliminator" was a cute little hill that was actually labeled so you'd know it was the "Eliminator". There was a "mini eliminator" as well, but I'm not sure where.

Coming into the final miles, I heard water moving, and wondered who on earth wanted to jump back into the freezing lake to rinse off. Then I realized nobody wanted to--we had to run across a damed up part of the lake.

So much for new shoes.

A girl my age was running just behind me with another woman. I know because I passed her pretty early on, then heard them talking to each other for the rest of the race. I tried to keep them off of me, but the mystery woman was dead set on helping the 28-year old keep pace with me. I knew she'd go for it at some point, and knew my quads wouldn't be able to lift my soaked shoes to stay with her (shoes that were a gazillion lbs heavier with soaked massive arch supports...can I get a woot woot from my flat-footed friends?!)

The other woman led her out and at about 1/4 mile to go, she made her move. My legs didn't. Goodness only knows what would've happened had I raced the half the day before. I don't know if "running" would have been the word for my movement on the third segment of the Xterra race.

Then, just before the finish, the lady running with the 28-year old in my age group peeled off, saying she wasn't in the race, and the 28-year old crossed the finish line.

SHE USED A PACER!? I'm pretty sure using a pacer who's not in the race is illegal--in any triathlon. Quite unsportsmanlike. FOR SHAME!

In the end, coachubby and I managed to nab 2nd in our respective age groups (actually 3rd for me. You gotta count the girl who got 5th overall. The race organizers took the top 5 overall out of the age group awards...)

We scarfed down a post race bbq--delicious--of pulled chicken/pork on a bun, cole slaw, beans, chips, and soda, while attending the awards ceremony. Then it took 20 minutes to clean off Qeee and Coachubby's mountain bike (kudos to him for kicking ass with v-brakes!), load 'em up, and off we went...

In the wrong direction!

When I saw a sign that said New Mexico was 43 miles away, I knew something was wrong. We had driven 25 miles in the wrong direction right off the bat, and had to return to Show Low to try again.

We were trying to drive through Flagstaff back to LA.

Once we got the hang of it, Laree transported us smoothly across the state border. And after a low-blood sugar freak out that could not be sated by any McDonalds (they are all closed inside after 11pm and we couldn't drive through with coachubby's tri bike on top. A Pilot Wendy's frosty did the trick.) we pulled into LA just minutes before midnight, with cool little race award plaques, dirty bikes, sore quads, sunburns, and a new car.

In conclusion, an approximation of our trip:

Race fees + hotel: $700
New Car + Uhaul + rental car + repair diagnostics + gas: $16300
Racing XTERRA in Show Low: Priceless

There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's coachubby's credit card. And a learned ability to not hurl from internally freaking out at unexpected life events.

The things we do to race 2.5 hours at an Xterra event...


  1. Hilarious! I'm shocked that girl had someone pace her for the run split. Of all the dirty tricks! I'd be up in the race director's face calling for her DQ. No kidding.

  2. And what were GoGoFoE this past weekend? Learn to appreciate that you don't live in Antarctica? ;) And I'm sure your newly learned ability to "not hurl from internally freaking out at unexpected life events" was put to the test! And instead of suicidal deer there were suicidal bees, right!

  3. Oh believe me I thought about it. I figured living with the knowledge that she cheated and didn't earn the win is bad enough. Plus, it'd be fun if she googled herself someday and found this post :) The ASU tri club would be so proud.

  4. HAHAHAHA! I'll have to think about that one, Ms. Joan. It was definitely a struggle not to cry from internally freaking out at massively evil weather, and equally evil SAG drivers.

  5. That's ok - I was almost in tears on that frigid descent too! They posted results and just over a hundred people finished out of the over 175 who started and over 225 who registered.

  6. Oh yeah, baby, we are hardcore! :)

  7. HEY, I just found your website and I am so shocked and embarrased.

    That was my friend running with me, just for company. She was certainly not a pacer. I am definitely not that into racing to have a pacer!!
    I am sorry if it looked like that. Feel free to report it -I don't want to deny anyone of their place....Evelyn

  8. The technical term is a race bandit, not a pacer. Pacers are officially registered racers, bandits don't pay entry fees. Besides, ASU kids are known to do all sorts of crazy stuff.

  9. I have to say, though, that in banditing races, most people bandit pure running races, not triathlons, and certainly not to run along side an actual competitor--and CERTAINLY NOT one that is in competition for the podium. It was on you to tell her to back off and run on her own, or get called for using a pacer.