It was time to get back to Xterra…with missing my home race at Whitewater but for good reason. I am now a USAT Certified Coach. Now I was ready to go for Panther Creek in Tennessee. As usual I headed up the day before for a pre-race brick this time with my friend Marcus. We arrived mid day Saturday and went for a lap of the course, a short run. This was a course with a lot of roots and a few tricky turns but nothing too bad. Down at the lake after for a quick swim, there was some interest in the lake where fish would try to take small bites from you…it was funny until a larger one would…then you would really feel it….
So onto Raceday, we got to transition early and got our pick of spots, got setup filled the camelback with Trifuel and went for a quick run. Then it was time to get ready for the swim. Again a quick warmup and I was ready, but there were no fish biting now. I guess we had them out numbered. The gun went and we were off, it was a 2 loop swim course, I felt fairly good through the swim and had some energy to push at the end. I ran out of the lake, into transition and jumped on the bike…but I did notice a pair of googles on my mat. So now I was on the bike for 2 loops. I quickly passed a few people on lap 1 and was feeling pretty good on lap 2. It had rained the night before and with this course having a lot of roots, it made it tricky. Back to the race now, I had seen someone up ahead now on lap 2 and was gaining on him slowly, when I finally caught him there was a turn followed by an uphill. I went into the corner hard as to get momentum to pass on the uphill quickly. Well the plan didn’t really work…I went into the turn, lost my front(the tire slipped out on roots) and I crashed HARD! At first I could not move my leg, when I got to my feet, still in agony, I dragged myself and my bike up that hill. By now my leg was starting to work again. I decided to hop on my bike and give it a go…it worked and I pushed as hard as possible through the rest of the bike. When I reached transition, I noticed the person I had crashed behind leaving…this would give me motivation to push. I quickly transitioned and was off on the run. The first part of the run was in twisty trail so I had no idea how far ahead he was…but after a 1/2 mile it opened up and I could see him not too far ahead. I passed him and was now hoping to catch others as I was feeling good(much better than Clemson). Well my not great luck came back and I miss judged a direction sign on the course and went the wrong way. That cost me a few positions and any chance of gaining more. But luckily the guy I had passed previously was still close enough that he followed me the wrong way, so I was able to pass him again. A few more hills and it was into the finish. After, a dip in the lake to say bye to the Tennessee Piranha and it was time to leave.
Final result 10th Overall and 1st AG.
Not a perfect race but I will take that result…now onto a few Road Triathlons, maybe 1 more Xterra and still unsure about Xterra Nationals…will let you know.
Thanks for reading!

BTW – those googles belonged to Marcus. He had started to use my transition area thinking it was his…didn’t slow him down much though…he got 1st Overall.

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