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Xterra Sardinia European Championships

Last weekend the best off-road triathletes raced at the Sardina Xterra event. Whilst the format of an Xterra event is fundamentally the same (swim/bike/run), that is where it stops. Instead of a road bike and lightweight racing flats, a mountain bike and trial shoes are used. So how did the ‘dirty’ race go? Well Jacqui has kindly sent her latest race report and this is what she has to say...

“The idea to swop the road kit for the mountain kit, was to get an understanding of what it took to be a serious contender on the Xterra circuit!

Well I finished 6th in my first ‘pro’ race as an Xterra athlete and was the 1st British female home.  I still can’t decide whether I enjoyed the race, but to be honest I’m chuffed to bits with the end result. I know that with some specific Xterra/MTB training, I could be pretty good maybe even get a top 10 at the World Championships in Maui, Hawaii!

 

Jacqui and Sam Gardener after the race
Me and Sam Gardener (British profession Xterra athlete) after the race and both smiling!

 

The Race

Race morning came and I found myself in transition. I was so nervous; I was completely out of my comfort zone having not done a ‘Pro’ Xterra race before.  As the race start time got closer, I wasn’t feeling all that prepared, unlike last week at the ETU race (see separate report). I haven’t done any MTB racing and knew that was going to be the hard part.

The swim was a 2 lap sea swim. The Pro athletes got a 30 meter head start on the +400 age group athletes that were also competing. This worked to my advantage being a strong swimmer getting clear water from the beginning. After the first lap I was positioned within the lead group with Marion Lorblanchet from France. We exited the water in a time of 19:38 a pretty good swim time but not enough of a gap to make much headway on chasers; Mel Mcquaid and Sibylle Matter. Both of whom are MTB world cup riders.

On the bike I tried to stay with them as they caught up and passed me but I had no chance and by the next corner they had disappeared.  I rode the first lap of the bike really badly; I fell off in stupid places and found the carry sections really difficult. I was very tense and not relaxed; which doesn’t help at all when MTBing. I told myself to get a grip relax and push on. By the time I was on the second lap, people had stopped overtaking me. I rode well for the rest of the bike portion of the race but knew I wasn’t really going fast enough to catch anyone. 

It was a scorching day, so nutrition and fluid in-take was critical. I actual started my nutrition preparation more than 5 days prior. On race day, I had Torq gel before the start of the race and one during as well as a Torq energy drink on the bike. I feel this is vital to get right, as I wanted to do well in the race but also because I would be racing the following weekend!   

Coming into T2 (transition number 2 – bike to run) I was glad to get on the run and finish the event.  I started running and my legs felt great for the first 2.5k, until we hit the sand and it felt like I was running backwards. I was terrible at holding my pace on the sand and rocky bits and really let myself down because I knew I didn’t push on. 

I am very pleased with my overall result and I know big improvements can be made by doing some specific practice offroad training in particular the MTB.

So will I be doing another one this year?  Well yes maybe towards the end of the year when I can focus specifically on the training.  Maybe the world championships in Maui will call on me so watch this space.

This is the official race organisers write up...
http://www.xterraplanet.com/news/press_article.cfm?id=2756 .

Next race is Blenheim on 6th June looking forward to racing the sprint distance, bring it on!”

Many thanks to all our sponsors who have made everything this year possible:
Bikes: Quintana Roo www.quintanarootri.com
Wheels: Fast Forward www.ffwdwheels.com
Power: Saris www.saris.com
Delicious, natural and healthy performance nutrition: www.torqfitness.co.uk

 

Jacqui