Contrary to popular belief amongst aspiring pros… Vegas is not the best place to accost your sponsors. The marketing folks need to give the 411 to media and the sales guys need to sell stuff to dealers. My goal in visiting the Interbike trade show was to do some sea level workouts, shake some hands, say hello to existing and potential sponsors – and attend Woody and Maia’s 5th Anniversary Wedding at the Little White Chapel. CLASSIC!

Trying to train while fitting in the visits and the shopping and the lounging by the pool was very, very difficult. Coupled with the fact I went in the post-altitude weird inability to sleep mode (there is a rumor that the air is supplemented with oxygen in Vegas to keep gamblers awake which I find hard to believe but suspect after this past trip) I was EXHAUSTED by the time I crawled back into my comfy bed in Truckee on Friday. I waited out the weekend to decide whether it was all a bad idea but given my workout yesterday I am stoked about the plan and the shenanigans as it has all worked out fine. So, VEGAS in a nutshell….

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Two Weeks and Counting To Tahoe

I have spent this past week in Truckee, CA (at an elevation of 6000 feet) and it has been amazing. Although the evenings are very cold, down to 29 degrees F, the mid day temperatures are late 60s and comfortable with brilliant sunshine. I also have another incredible homestay and I fully enjoyed a few days with Rick before he was off to Yosemite and then Maui for his daughter’s wedding. My hosts here are Rick and Gail, friends of Kevin from Vail, and they are super cool people who live in an absolutely kickass area. They have both gone to Maui for their daughter’s wedding so now I am house sitting the abode. And what an home it is! Actually, it is kind of fun to compare Mel’s altitude training accommodation this weekend to those of Conrad and Amber which you can see here…. One is not better than the other, just very different! I feel like I may have the advantage only because I have had a couple of reconnaissance missions on the actual race course as I too love the taste of coffee on an open fire. It is nice out of an espresso machine though….

I have also been pleased with the training thus far. Honestly, I wish Maui was next week… the waiting is killing me! I feel like my form is awesome now and I am trying not to screw it up before October 26th!! So now the game is pulling the reins in… don’t rest too much… don’t train too much. Don’t want to peak yet but also, don’t want to get so tired I can’t dig out in time. This is a scary time for me because it is so easy to ruin a year’s worth of work… but you still have to work hard to make an awesome race happen so here is a little taster of the past week…

The Stephens House is pretty wicked…and you can’t even see in the GARAGE!!



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Tahoe Silent Auction For Jamie

Well it is almost "GO" time for Nationals in Lake Tahoe, NV and the female lineup is looking better than ever before. Aside from the usual North American suspects we also have some of the top European girls coming over to join the party. Should be a great show on October 5th. However, conspicuously missing at the race she has won numerous times is Jamie. It is certainly not the same to be going into the finals with my perfect 300 score looking to close the deal and having her not there to battle with. To acknowledge her absence from the race circuit the pro field is looking forward to hosting a silent auction on Friday, October 3rd at the XTERRA Expo beside the Hyatt in Incline Village. All of us are donating some of our sponsor goods to the auction to benefit Jamie and Courtenay. I will be bringing a load of stuff including a signed jersey and singlet to the party as well as some more useful items for race day . If you chose to race in the same outfit as me on Sunday I would be okay with that, however!

If you are in the area you should definitely come by and join the fun. If you have anything you would like to donate to the auction, please contact me and I will help you to get it there.

As we are approaching "Jamie’s Race" I am reminded of an article I wrote about our rivalry. I wrote this article back in 2005 just before the World Championships on Maui. Jamie was going in as defending World Champion and I was looking to regain the title. I found this in the archives and thought it was great to read again to remember how our rivalry helped to shape the sport of XTERRA for many years. Jamie is fighting a new rival now: cancer. I am sure she will be battling cancer with the same intensity she brought to the race course but certainly she can use our help. As I prepare for the National Championships in Lake Tahoe I am remembering my favorite rival of many years while facing some new challengers that have brought a fresh perspective to the sport and bring a strong arsenal that I will have to work hard to overcome. We in XTERRA are supporting Jamie to the best of our ability and I invite you all to visit her website and offer some words of encouragement:

MY FAVORITE ENEMY by Melanie McQuaid

A rivalry exists when one strives to obtain something simultaneously with another – something which only one can possess. In sport, there can be only one winner, which is why sport inspires some of the greatest rivalries in history. A great rivalry is something quite special. It allows competing athletes to create a history in the sport beyond themselves. It allows their actions, their efforts, and their heart to be permanently recorded with the spirit of sportsmanship and competitiveness. I can think of some great rivalries which will forever be linked with that sport: Armstrong v. Ullrich (cycling); Evert v. Navratilova (tennis); Allan v. Scott (triathlon). The story of their competition remains vivid beyond the victories, and I feel proud that within the sport of XTERRA for the last three years I have participated in my own rivalry, McQuaid vs. Whitmore. Having close competition can be one of the greatest ways to explore your own ability as an athlete, and it can make even your losses become some of the best races of your career….


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The 2008 Canadian National Offroad Triathlon Championships (and my first helmetcam attempt)

This past weekend was my annual trip to beautiful Buntzen Lake to take part in Teri Taylor’s awesome offroad triathlon in Port Moody. This race has been on my schedule nearly every year since I first did it as XTERRA Canada in 2003 and after that event I went on to win my first XTERRA World Championships race. I often look at my results and motivation from this race to get a bit of a gauge on how I am going to feel at Worlds. It is a fairly late race date so to still be stoked in early September is a good sign and the course features some beautiful enchanted forest single track and a lot of loose, shale rock in sections which certainly remind me of the descent on Haleakala. I feel like racing well on this course is good sign you can race well in Hawaii.

That said, I think this race falls at a lower priority than Maui so it has the honor of being a “test” race for some ideas I have for the Maui race. I used the race this year to test how quick I can recover from certain swim and run efforts and I used it to test some equipment I would like to use later in the year. I also wanted to see how I felt on the bike after my super mega week last week. Some of the testing was good and some was not so good. Overall I think the race was great, I was super motivated and held off a hard charging Danelle Kabush for the win and managed to squeak a better bike split than Wendy Simms out of the deal. Now that has to be prefaced with the length of Wendy’s marination in Buntzen Lake- all of 32 minutes – so we know where she can improve, haha! But more on that later… it was a fun weekend and there are some funny details including a video of my first helmet cam foray so read on to enjoy…

The chick podium at this year’s Nationals

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Latest Article For Triathlete Magazine – August 2008

Build off-road power

Take a few tips from XTERRA’s top girl and get ready to suffer

By Melanie McQuaid

Aug. 29, 2008 — Racing a mountain bike is all about power. XTERRA racing requires big fat watts produced in short bursts, followed by lung-burning, uncomfortably long periods of grinding out the watts in between. Periodically there will be respite found in sections where the power output is interrupted by technical challenges, which gives your legs a chance to grasp at recovery while you focus on navigating the trails safely. It hurts quite a bit to race a mountain bike well because going fast off road is all about finding the fastest route from point A to point B and hoping that there will be enough left at the end to finish. Ideally, the finish line and your last reserves meet perfectly.

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Enormous Training Week To Build To Maui – Capped With Provincial Mountainbike Champs Win

This past week I decided to do a big focus on cycling to boost my endurance on the bike before we get to Maui. In the winter I do a week like this every four to five weeks to push my base higher before the season starts but generally when we get into the season devoting 20 plus hours to just cycling doesn’t happen. Since I have a solid break before I go back to Tahoe to acclimate I have time for not only a week like this past week but also another week to spend working very hard on a more balanced program with some high volume. This week I did five hours of swimming (corresponds to 19 km of swimming), 23 hours on the bike and a tiny 30 minute run (plus a 1.5h run/hike with Ross that I am not sure how to quantify so it did not go in the training log). For me, given that every swim was quality, two of the rides were HARD and I finished the week with a HARD race, this is probably the best quality volume week I have ever had. Now the key is to recover from it…

This picture is from Canmore, not Mt Washington but Ross didn’t take any photos this weekend so….

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