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Xterra USA Championship

Last Saturday, October 25th, I participated in my second Xterra USA Championship at Snowbasin Resort in the beautiful state of Utah. I raced this event last year so I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into, but nothing can truly prepare a person for the unrelenting climbs of Snowbasin and the top-notch competitors who gather there to duke it out from all around the U.S.

The Xterra racing series is based on a culmination of points. Racers earn a specific number of points depending on how they place in any given event and those who earn the most points qualify to race at the Xterra USA Championship. This year, I earned the maximum points possible and won my age division in the Xterra Mountain Region, thus earning myself a spot to the national championship.

My boyfriend Francis, myself, and my trusty bike box flew into Salt Lake City the day before the race. We then rented a car and drove 45 minutes north to Ogden, Utah where we meet up with a few of my fellow competitors from Breckenridge. One of my friends had rented a beautiful and spacious Victorian house for our lodging, so race prep was painless and stress-free. After a quick little bike-run workout, packet pickup, bike assembly, and attendance at the Xterra “dinner of champions,” I was ready to hit the hay and get some shut-eye before the big day.

Race day morning went as smoothly as one could hope for. Before I knew it, the canon was going off and I was churning through the cold water with over 300 other athletes. I had a great swim start and found myself out ahead of the majority of the field swimming with the pros. I heard the helicopter overhead filming the event while a boat was by my side, complete with an underwater diver who held a camera and captured the swim for Xterra t.v. After two seemingly effortless laps totaling a mile in the water, I exited the swim, jumped on my Specialized, and was off for my mountain bike adventure.

The 30k mountain bike portion of this race was very tough as there was over 3000 feet of climbing on the course, leaving little chance to catch your breathe. I paced myself, watched my heart rate, and still managed to enjoy the beautiful colors of the changing leaves along the course. I was amazed by how technically easy the bike seemed this year, as last year I really struggled with some of the rocky uphills and steep terrain.

As I approached transition, I dismounted by bike, found my running shoes and took off. I’m not going to lie, the run is always the hardest part of the race. By this point, I was tired, slightly dehydrated, and my legs were screaming. I pushed through the pain, kept my eye on the trail, and thought about the countless hours of intervals I’d logged to prepare myself for this very thing. After almost 10k of running, the finish was in sight. I ran past the woman (now a pro) who won my age category last year and sprinted through the finish.

Upon finishing, I was told I placed 3rd overall for amateur females. Not too shabby. Maybe I’ll see about a pro card next year, but for now, Xterra Worlds on October 24th in Maui… thanks for checking in.

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1 Melanie { 10.01.10 at 10:57 am }

Luisa, you are my hero. After having just done my first triathlon, I cannot even imagine swimming a whole mile! Holy cow. I thought a 300 was torture. Anyhow, congrats on such a great race!

2 Mary Hall { 10.02.10 at 10:37 am }

Awesome job, Luisa! You rock!

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