2011 XTERRA World Championships Preview
After seeing the new XTERRA Maui course the week before the race I can definitely say I’m excited about the race. Here’s why:
The Swim - It’s a real ocean swim complete with waves, chop and currents which should be a lot of fun. How often do you get to practice body surfing for a race?
Bike - I’m still formulating my opinion on the bike and how it compares to the previous course. Overall I’d say it’s easier and will take a significantly less time to complete it. It’s smoother, the climbs aren’t as steep (no hike-a-bikes) or as long, as they’re broken up with more descending. It’s definitely smoother, but not as smooth as I was lead to believe or looks in the XTERRA.TV preview, this is a good thing if you’re riding a fully. It also means flats can happen on this course, although I doubt as frequently as in Makena. And crashes too, as we’ll be riding a lot faster on this course and I’m sure a lot of the turns will be washed out.
There is, although not a lot of it, some singletrack, most of which is freshly cut, and I expect to be super dusty by Sunday with the amount of people preriding. That being said, cornering plays more of a role in this course than Makena’s it seems like at the bottom of each descent there’s a near 180 degree turn so being aware of gears is key too. Preriding it took me just over 2 hours including a lot of stops and bike adjustments.
Overall, I’m not in love with the bike course, but it has potential and the climbing should suit me. And hey, it still beats the best road tri course any day!
Run - I’m super excited about the run, and glad I’ve pretty much been running nothing but techy uphill trails in Park City the past month. As the runs seem to be going these days in XTERRA, way more technical and interesting than the bike. It’s pretty much straight uphill for three miles, with a couple downhills to break it up.
Primarily on a soft grass surface, which, most of the time as uneven, off-camber footing. It’s constantly twisting and turning, again on newly cut trail. Once you run past the lake at the top you’ll run through a forest which had me thinking, “Am I really in Maui?”
After hitting the ‘summit’ you’ll descend for a mile or so on some pretty fun trails but don’t expect the uphills to be old news. On top of the twists and turns there’s tons of logs to jump over, crawl under – in typical XTERRA fashion.
After some fun times jumping over stuff and smelling flowers and lilikoi, the fun comes to a grinding halt as you make a sharp and easy to miss right hand turn up this:
And then that turns into a steep paved uphill road, but not for too long, and then there’s perhaps the best piece of singletrack on the island – too bad you can’t take bikes down here.
The last mile will be pretty brutal, tricky footing through a river bed, weaving through trees and roots, then directly across Flemming’s Beach.
Lastly a quarter mile straight uphill to the finish.
I chose not to partake in this ‘race’
Not a bad finish view! The run took us just under 1 hour, with a couple of stops, but running at a decent pace. GPS says it’s a hair under 6 miles with 1020 ft of elevation gain. As for heat acclimatization, the elevation gain on the run should pay us a favor there. As you get higher, there’s more breeze, so I expect the run to not be the scorcher Makena Beach was.
Lastly and if I’m not in last, I’ll cheer on the rest of the racers from here as I sip on a lava flow.