Catch-up week! Post 3 of 4: XTERRA Races!

Kevin Krol and Bruce MacDonald both competed in XTerra events recently.  Kevin’s race was a cross-country half marathon that he did as part of a grueling weekend of intense training in preparation for the American Zofingen, which is a ridiculous off-road duathlon in New York.  He took 10th overall, and wrote a great report on the weekend that makes you tired just thinking it.

Bruce competed in the XTerra Triathlon at Ellicotville, NY.  The XTerra M2xtreme was on the 17th, and Bruce ended up 4th overall.

Olivia MacDonald finishes the 1-mile trail run!

Olivia MacDonald finishes the 1-mile trail run!

Bruce loves the Ellicotville race… the whole family does a nice vacation there (while Bruce suffers).  This year, his daughter Olivia did the 1-mile trail run.  Check out her face! She’s so excited.

Headed to Holiday Valley for the second year in a row.  Great race, one of the most challenging courses I have done. They decided to make the bike course more difficult this year.  They succeeded, and even though I felt a lot faster this year, I was a half hour slower than prior race.  Future SSSMST member Olivia MacDonald did a great job on the 1 mile trail run.

Here’s Krol’s writeup of his monster weekend:

Leave it to American Zofingen race director John McGovern to create a half marathon (modified to 13.5mi) just as brutal as his duathlon.  3000 feet of ascending.  Opening mile was cross country, second and third mile were up a crag line where I led about 4 people off course, but only lost a minute before we realized there were no trail blazes.  Scamper down the backside into the woods and do a bit of reverse loop to the direction we run for Zofingen.  Also used a ski trail that I’ve never been on and the first two (of four) aid stations were at 4mi and 5.75.  Started catching a few people who took off too fast and finished up the upper part of the course at 8.5, crossed the road and hit aid station three and started into the Undivided Lot.  This is where it gets more fun.  Cross some planks and start going uphill for 2k, then actually hike up another half km (it was that steep)  get to the top and run across the ridge were you could see out into the Catskill Mts.  Nice break from running uphill at this point as the trail takes you across flat tops along the powerlines back down.  Admittedly I could not run very well with the brakes on anymore, but caught the two girls ahead of me as they were wandering in the woods claiming they had already run this section twice and didn’t know if they were on course.  Ended up running with them all the way in, but all three of us hit the deck at some point because it was tough to pick your feet up to clear tree roots.  2:13 for me (race winner was in at 1:40), good for 10th overall.

For those of you wanting to know what the rest of the weekend was like….It took me almost two hours to get myself ready to ride a loop of the Zofingen bike course after the half.  I rode the 28.5 mile loop myself, and really tried to ride it easy, knowing I would be doing the full three laps of the duathlon course on Sunday morning.  Because I was on no particular schedule I was able to stop at a couple of the million dollar view overlooks on the climb and decent on Minnewaska’s 5 mile climb.  Because I have only ever ridden this course during a race, it was kind of cool to chill for a while, watching mtb’s and climbers doing their thing.  The weather started to change as I hit the decent of Minnewaska – dark clouds looming, and I thought if I upped the tempo, I might make it back to the car.  With 5k to go, the sky opened up.  Figures.  Reminded me of the 2005 du out there, except that instead of 40 degrees it was 80.
Recharged for the next morning downing pizza, steak and several pints with McGovern.

OK, this is bigger for me than the half marathon the previous morning.  Full three lap bike course of American Zofingen – 85 miles, 9000+ feet of climbing.  The “group ride” ended up being 7 guys and two girls and  it really sorted itself out as soon as we left the parking lot.  There were the elite guys and girls, then there was carnage.  Two mile climb right from the gun with the second mile at between 12-15 percent (think of a combo of Rockcliff and Stinchcomb/Hogsback…..about 12 times as long).  I was sweating profusely (obviously not recovered from the previous day, or week, or weeks), and rode my own pace up while watching everyone move away.  At the top, they regrouped, but then decending at 50mph is not something I do every day, so by the time we hit the bottom, I am again a minute or more behind.  It wasn’t until I hit the slopes of Minnewaska that I picked up a few people and luckily the decent of this one is a lot more gradual – wider roads, etc.  I ended up pulling the two girls along the last 15k of the first loop at 30mph, and when we got to the cars, I had to reload on liquids, but they kept going. First lap time 1:40.  When I got going I could see them way ahead but wasn’t gaining time on them up the steep climb, down the backside, again all the way to Minnewaska.  Caught them again at that climb and we rode together all the way back to the cars again. Second lap time of 1:50. Ouch.   Now, when we get back, more than half the cars that were there when we started are gone and race director McGovern is even abandoning after two laps!  Of course when he rode those two laps a total of 25-30 mins faster than I did, I guess it hurts more.  5 minutes of stretching time and pounding gatorade and I have no chance of riding with the one gal who kept onto the third lap.  I wanted to negative split this last lap, so I was doing my best to hammer on the flats, and while I was a little delusional the last time going up Minnewaska, i still had enough to crank at 33mph for a few miles at a time on the run in.  Final lap of 1:43.
Went back along the bike course a couple miles to a swimming hole that we ride past and jumped into 60 degree water to chill my legs off while a few old Russian guys sat there drinking beers.

All told, 4 hours of workouts/races on Saturday, 5:13 on sunday for the entire Zofingen bike course.  Two months until race day.

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