XTERRA Mountain Championship 2014

First time on the professional podium at the XTERRA Mountain Championships; elated with the performance

First time on the professional podium at the XTERRA Mountain Championships; elated with the performance

July 19th, 2014 marked the end of a 52-week journey from top performing amateur triathlete, to long-term infirmed parasite sufferer, to unsure professional triathlete, to professional podium finisher.
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Colorado Is For Runners

Wide, flat dirt road with mountain ridges lining the sides of the valley, poofy white coulds under a regal blue sky

Runners heaven just might be Homestake Reservoir Road in Eagle County, CO

 

When I decided to make a training trip to Colorado, I was most excited about its famed mountain biking.  I soon realized it’s also a runners paradise. Sojourning in Avon, CO, I’m just a bike ride away from the perfect trail or dirt road to execute any workout my coach Josiah Middaugh can cook up.
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Hanging Lake Hike – Glenwood Canyon Colorado

Turquoise lake fed by a several waterfalls, surrounded by tall pines and flanked by several hundred foot rock walls

Hanging Lake is a rare sight to behold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve seen plenty of remarkable sights on my Colorado training trip in preparation for off-road triathlon racing in altitude. However, serious run and bike training isn’t conducive to the unhurried, contemplative mindset needed to fully appreciate such natural beauty. So, with my workouts completed this past weekend, I headed out with my roommate to Glenwood Canyon to hike from the Colorado River up Dead Horse Creek to Hanging Lake.

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XTERRA Beaver Creek: Run Course Preview

Narrow dirt singletrack weaving through a thick aspen glade, white bark of the 30 ft trees glistening in the sun

This is XTERRA

 

 

 

 

 

The XTERRA Mountain Championships takes place in mid-July each year in Avon, CO and the adjacent Beaver Creek Mountain. It was recognized by Triathlete Magazine as having one of the most breathtaking swims in the sport.  With the swim taking place at an elevation of 7,400 ft, this should be taken both literally and metaphorically. The 15 mile bike and 10k trail run segments are even more stunning; climbing, descending, and traversing the steep mountain slopes covered in pine, aspen glades, and meadows. While all off-road race courses are subject to change, here is a look at last year’s run course. Rumor has it that the 2014 race will run in the reverse direction, so be on the lookout for news from xterraplanet.com. Continue reading

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Colorado Altitude Training: Beaver Creek Mountain

Narrow dusty single track traversing a steep mountain slope, with a pine covered mountain rides in the background underneath a magnificent blue sky

A view from Allies Way trail, heading up towards Beaver Lake

A short shuttle bus ride from Avon, CO, Beaver Creek Mountain is a stunning resort with enough running and biking trails to delight nature enthusiasts and exhaust the even the fittest of endurance athletes. Continue reading

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Colorado Altitude Training: Red and White Mountain Ascent

OPEN 29er mtb resting on red rocks, blue sky with some white clouds

Near the summit of Red and White Mtn in Eagle County Colorado, Sawatch range in the distance

With some flexibility in my schedule for the summer, I decided to make a trip to Colorado to train at altitude for the first time in anticipation of the XTERRA Mountain and National Championships later this year. Continue reading

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Race Report: XTERRA East Championship 2014

Fifteen pro XTERRA athletes posing for a group photo in the XTERRA race vilage on a rainy day with RVA downtown in the skyline

Good times in RVA at the first ever XTERRA pro relay – photo by Jesse Peters

Historic and vibrant, downtown Richmond, VA is the perfect locale for XTERRA racing.  The (James) River City a hub for entrepreneurs, artists, outdoor enthusiasts, and anyone seeking authenticity and a unique sense of place and community.

The past two years at this race have been very kind to me, with an epic battle with current pro Andy Lee leading to a 11th overall finish in 2012, followed up by a 10th overall finish and overall amateur title in 2013. My good fortune ran out, however, in my first year racing Richmond as a pro. Continue reading

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Race Preview: XTERRA RVA Pro Relay Team Shoot-Out 6/12/2014

15 professional xterra racers, arranged into five teams

The line up for the first ever XTERRA pro relay this Thursday ahead of the East championship race on Sunday

The first ever XTERRA Pro Relay Team Shoot-Out presented by LuckStone is going down this Thursday at noon. In 15 tense and frenetic minutes of action, you’ll get a real sense of the spirit of XTERRA racing. Continue reading

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Book Review: Daniels’ Running Formula

daniels_running_formulaDaniels’ Running Formula stands out in a crowded field of books on running. Detailed, practical, and data-driven, it guides readers through the physiological principles of training and the full spectrum of running intensities. Daniels then proceeds with training plans for novice to elite runners as well as distance specific racing plans for 800 meters to a marathon.

Click here for my full post over at SportTracks.

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Training: East Coast Altitude – Boone NC

View from the top of High Mountain Road on Elk Mountain.  Setting sun on the left, blue and gray haze obsuring the green ridges along the NC/Tennessee border

An evening view of the Blue Ridge mountains along the NC-Tennessee border from the top of Snake Mountain

As my better half Katharine and I embarked on our move back to North Carolina, we filled the four day gap between our DC move-out date and our Durham move-in date by taking a trip to Boone.  We visited often in college and absolutely love the peace and beauty of the mountains.

The author standing atop a rock outcropping near the peak of Snake mountain, with green rolling ridges fading into the blue sky overhead

Snake Mountain and the adjacent Elk Knob are some of the few peaks over a mile high east of the Mississippi

The mountain training isn’t very specific to the upcoming XTERRA East Championship on June 14th, but served as a good initiation to the challenges I’ll face at the XTERRA mountain and national championships later this year.

Shot my OPEN 0-1.0 29er mtb at the top of Elk Mountain. Clouds can be seen in the ridges below as well as overhead

The greater Boone area offers up plenty of riding above the clouds!

The terrain makes it hard to have an easy day unless you get a shuttle uphill!

Steep climbing between 3,200 and 4,900 feet

Elevation Profile of a ride climbing up and down Meat Camp Rd, Rich Mtn Rd, and to Elk Knob State Park

My bread and butter route is up and down Rich Mountain Road, a quiet gravel road that climbs up ~1,200 ft to its crest between Snake Mountain and Rich Mountain, both from its northern terminus at US-421 as well as the south end at Meat Camp Road. It’s perfect for gravel road hill repeats, with sustained climbing that averages just under a 10% gradient. During the climbs I look forward to the adrenaline packed descents, which help hone the art of cornering on loose terrain at high speeds.

Green peak of Snake mountain looming in the twilight sky

The crest of Rich Mountain Road, looking North at Snake Mountain

On the opposite side of the road is Elk Knob

On the opposite side of the road is Rich Mountain, which tops out around 5,300 ft

An offshoot of Rich Mountain Road is a development with a paved road that climbs to the back of Elk Knob State Park.  Here’s a video of the fun part.

A little later that day, I took in the sunset at the crest of Rich Mountain Road before we had to head back to Durham.

Descend down the gravel Rich Mountain road, facing the setting sun and a yellow, orange and blue haze of the mountain ridges in the distance

Rich Mountain to the left, Snake Mtn on my right, and enjoying a sunset ride on our last day in the mountains

In less than two weeks, I’ll toe the line again at the XTERRA East Championship in Richmond, VA.  Thanks for reading.

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