When you start training with a new coach, one of the questionnaires you usually have to complete is what your short term and long term goals are…winning Xterra Grabouw was definitely on that list, short term or long term on any terms, I wanted to win Xterra Grabouw really badly since the first year I raced there in 2006.
Going into this race I was quite nervous, I had a good race at Xterra Buffelspoort, but Grabouw was almost a mind-block for me, coming close to a win a few times but just not being strong enough for the win, so being nervous would be normal. But I had the company of an awesome crowd of people for a few days prior to the race, which calmed my nerves and honestly have been the best few build up days to a race I have had in a while.
Usually I plan things a bit too close for comfort leading up to race day and end up running around trying to get everything done just before the race like packing bags/bike bags for traveling, last minute training, traveling, pre-riding, all while worrying about eating properly and resting as well. But this year I did a few things a bit differently and hopefully have learnt a few good lessons out of it and can go and apply it in other races…
ONE: I had my bike checked and serviced at Hatfield Cycles well in advance before the race
TWO: I booked a flight to arrive quite a few days early and not have to rush around (not always possible, but preferable)
THREE: I PRE-RODE the course at least twice and did the last technical section twice the day before the race as a pre-race warm up. So I was pretty confident about the little technical bits that could waste time if I had to stop or hesitate.
FOUR: I stayed with great people, who didn’t give me much time to stress or get stressed outJ
FIVE: I made sure to keep hydrated and even added extra electrolytes to my usual 32Gi drink, when I felt I had been in the sun too long (don’t think it was necessary but if it eased my mind it was worth it.)
SIX: I RESTED enough, taking a complete rest day on Thursday and very light training on Friday and Saturday, except the bike course that I did on Friday…even when going easy it’s a hard routeJ
SEVEN: I cut my hair shortJ ok it might have been an irrational/ de-stressing/lets go crazy moment, when I told my friend Natia to cut my hair after she had only been briefed shortly by her Italian boyfriend Angelo how to cut hair, and no Angelo is not a hairdresser he is a chef, but claimed to have done it beforeJ Thanx Natia the cut worked like a dream to keep me cool!
EIGHT: SCOTT SCALE 29 PRO – enough said!!
NINE: SAILFISH ONE wetsuit- the CORRECT SIZE after a year of racing in a too small suit (my fault)
TEN: For the first time ever, I froze my race drink the night before! I have always heard people do it and had just never remembered to do it or bothered, and WOW did it make a huge difference! Drinking ice cold water on the bike was sooo refreshing and really helped in the heat!
ELEVEN: On race day, I made sure I had something solid to eat on the bike. I usually only have chews or gels but and it is usually OK for the bike leg to go with only that, but once I hit the run I feel I needed something more solid, so this time I strapped a bar to my top tube, and even though I only ate a bit of it and kept some of it on my mouth for a few km’s (just being digested there) because my drink was finished and I couldn’t swallow it down, I’m sure it workedJ
TWELVE: I kept POSITIVE throughout the race, telling myself over and over that I have done the training needed to swim/ride/run this course well!
I hope to remember all these little things and apply them more often.
Xterrra Grabouw 2012 will always stay a highlight of my Xterra career. The crowd, the support and the RESULT!!
Little about the race itself>> BRUTAL but FUN! I had a good race start, swam behind the like of The Blighnaut and Dan Hugo for maybe a 100m and luckily got pulled along, but even then I was really comfortable in my Sailfish One and just thinking of cadence, cadence, and cadence!
Through the transition and onto the bike I had confident urgency, knowing that Carina might be closing in on me, but trying to keep a gap open till we hit the downhill and technical sections where I might be a bit stronger. So I kept pushing and never looked back…ok maybe a few nervous glancesJ
The run section was great fun, just enough climbing, single trace and downhill to keep me interested and focused on body positioning, cadence and “popping” as Bobby McGee described it!!
All in all a wonderful experience and encouragement to keep on pushing forward!
Thank you to all my sponsors for the great support! Up next>>> a few DU’s and SASOL CROSS TRI’s!!