Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Preparing for Tahoe

I’ve been spending a lot of time this week reading as much as I can about the course at XTERRA Nationals. I’ve also checked out the videos on XTERRA TV, which have everything from short pro tips to a full length video of last year’s race. Because I will arrive so close to the actual race there won’t be time to pre-ride the course or get a feel for the bike I’m renting. This virtual research is all I have to work with in laying out my race plan.

I’ve also been trying to identify the challenges that I will face this weekend and the mental and physical steps I can take to address them.

1. The “cold” – I’ve been trying to mentally prepare for this, but living in AZ, where it was 103 today, makes preparing for “cold” difficult. For the swim I’ve got a neoprene cap and plan on not being in the water that long. I still haven’t decided whether or not to warm up in the water the morning of the race. I’m going to try and find a new pair of full finger gloves that I like today at the LBS and wear those at the race. New gloves, new bike, why not…(yes I know this is trouble)

2. Climbing at altitude – I haven’t been able to get north of Phoenix the way I was able to before Snow Valley. The trails I’ve been able to ride and the commute I’ve been doing are all relatively flat. Mentally I’m prepared to grind and just keep pushing. Racing Snow Valley will help me here because I can expect more of the same. Equipment wise I’m not so great off because I’m riding this.

3. Altitude – I know that the best strategy for us low elevation folks is to be in the best shape possible. Well, I’m in the best shape I can be in given my experiences right now and racing Snow Valley taught me that breathing every stroke on the swim and making it through the first 15 minutes of the bike without totally blowing up is possible.

4. What is my goal? – This has been the biggest challenge of all. Making nationals was my goal this season and since I made the show I can’t help but feel I’ve eased off the throttle. It is hard with so many variables to have a goal to work for during the race, so after some research, I have one. Finish in under 3:45. I’ve never worn a watch in a race before, but I plan to in Tahoe. 3:45 – an honest and practical goal for my first year and the crazy summer I’ve had.

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