Monday, 24 September 2007

Xterra UK

Not quite the race i'd hoped for, but at least i started and made some impression on it. I ended up driving down at 6am on the day of the race, in the back of my mind i knew i shouldn't be doing it. I had tried to run the previous night and again it ended in pain after a few minutes. The plan was to turn up, do the swim, get the quickest bike and not run, but it didn't quite work like that...
I had a reasonable swim, exiting only 3 mins down on the leaders. On the bike i felt great, very fresh from a nice easy week beforehand. Unfortunately in my haste to catch up the leaders i crashed really heavily on the first descent, landing hard on my left quad. I could feel this all the way round the race, gradually seizing up. I wasn't helped either by a slow puncture at the end, which i rode to finish, ending up riding on the rim! How I manged to get the quickest bike split was pure adrenaline.
Instead of being sensible I decided to do the run, to try to defend my 6th place overall in the series and my 6th place on the day where i started the run. Unfortunately as i knew would happen, my knee gave way again. I could barely walk the descents and hobbled to my slowest ever 10km. I dropped to 7th overall and 9th on the day, exactly the same as last year amazingly.
A very turbulent week of lots of extra work shifts, intense physio, the unfortunate break up with my girl friend of 6 years has left me exhausted mentally and physically. One more day of training and hten i fly to Tahoe for the US champs. I am going to do as well as i can here, but with the main aim of getting ready for Hawaii in a months time.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Bad timing!!

Two weeks ago i helped out my very kind sponsors Fatface at a PGL holiday camp they were helping promote. I had a great time trying all the activities, meeting fab new people and guiding beginners around a simple off-road course. It was here, with my low boredom threshold i decided to practice some technical riding, jumping from one set of roots to another. After a few goes i must have lost concentration and ended up smashing into a tree with the right side of my body. I finished the ride, feeling very bruised, shorts ripped and with a very sore knee and back.
The following day i trained but only gently and felt very stiff, but things seemed to get better during the next week.
In Germany last weekend the knee injury was aggravated with the long, fast, rooty, off camber descents on the run course. So much so that i was limping the following day. I first tryed to run this Wednesday and couldn't even manage 400 metres, before again limping home in agony. That evening it swelled up worse and i could barely walk. Thursday it hurt all day, even when pushing off the wall at the swimming pool. Today I have been pummeled by the physio, popping ibuprofen and Maximuscle ache-free like they're going out of fashion. Sitting here now with ice pack on.
I had been looking forward to UK Xterra for months, travelled down to Wales twice, ridden 3 laps of the course, checking lines... I'd even trained through Germany a bit and planned to rest this week. I am absolutely flying on the bike, but now can't even run 400m!! Still got 36hrs, will try to run tomorrow afternoon, to decide whether to travel down. Please if there is a god....

Monday, 10 September 2007

Xterra Germany

Not the best result of my season (14th overall), but another solid race and part of the never ending learning curve as an athlete.

In the swim i exited in about 30th place again (21minutes, but it was slightly short), which is a major improvement from last year and certainly heading in the right direction. However with a water temperature of 14 degrees and a similar air temperature i suffered really badly with the cold once i got on the bike. Being very lean naturaly and especially so at this point in the season, I do lose heat very easily.

On the bike I struggled to catch anyone for the first half a lap, even though the major climbs should have suited me. I finished the first lap of the bike 8 minutes down on the leaders and then completed the 2nd lap in the same time as the leaders. Given that I have won the bike leg in every triathlon this year including 3 global tour races, 10th place on the bike was a major disappointment.

The run went ok, but i felt a little flat, possibly due to the hard training i have put in since Austria. I lost 2 places right near the end which was very annoying, putting me in 14th overall in a very strong elite field, where Ironman world champion Faris El Sultan struggled to make the top 20.

This week is major recovery week before one of my seasons big goals, Xterra UK in Wales on Sunday. Sam