Saturday, 12 March 2011

Xterra Saipan 1st

The race was over shadowed and dominated by the news of the earth quake and subsequent Tsunami in nearby Japan.

At 7:01pm the night before the race, the Tsunami was due to hit us, Hotels evacuated and everyone was phoning each other and panicing and making plans and Xterra cancelled the trail run.

Luckily the geographical features surrounding the Island took the force out of the wave and life continued pretty much as normal.

At the start of swim they changed the direction of the course due to the unusual current that morning. Having swum at that beach many times i had never seen anything like it. The sea changed each lap too, with the current totally changing direction. The spectators witnessed the sea receeding before large waves hit the shore, like mini Tsunami's which were undoubtably caused by the earthquake.

I had a reasonable swim exiting the water in 3rd place and as first male pro. Since the Philippines I have had a really bad stomach from bacteria in some dodgy ice which a few of us put in our drinks. I expected to be ill for 24hrs, but 6 days later I was in panic mode in the pharmacy trying to buy anything that might keep food in me.

With runner up for the last 2 years candian 'Mike Vine' absent, my biggest challenger was likely to be 'Oga-san' from Japan, who i have had severals battles with in the past at both Xterra Japan and Saipan.

With a lead out of the swim I tried to push home the advantage early and get 'out of sight out of mind'. I increased my lead to 3 minutes half way round the bike lap and finished the lap with a 7 minute lead. However I think i'd gone too hard, my legs were like jelly as i started the run and I knew my body wasn't absorbing the food as it should.

Halfway round the run and i was light headed and having trouble focusing on where i wanted to put my feet. Given the technical run course in Saipan, which goes through caves, down rocky gullys (you wouldn't walk down!), through dense jungle and bamboo forest and then finally finishes with a mile on a strength sapping soft sand beach, I could really do with having my faculties about me if I didn't want to end up in A and E like some of the other competitors.

I stopped at feed stations a bit longer to take on fluids and walked the trecherous sections, which wasn't much slower and gave a chance to recover. In the end I needn't have bothered as 'Oga' was having an even worse run and had been caught by the top 3 Pro women on the run. I won comfortably in the end in a slower time than last year but a win never the less.

Next week is Tagaman road triathlon, so I've got a week to get back on my Cannondale Slice Time trial bike and get used to the position and also to get back running, now my calf is totally healed.

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