Well the cat is out of the bag on Mel’s project.. the MelRad Racing Team. Conrad and I plan to show our teammates what it takes to win, which includes having confidence, paying attention to detail and working hard. Oh, and having kickass lineup of sponsors that support us to do that. Stay tuned for the final details on that front.
I would like to thank the judges at Triathlete Magazine for nominating me the Female Offroad Triathlete of the Year. My year was memorable and contained a few flashes of excellence. I appreciate the judges noticing that at most points in the season I was at my best ever. However, there was Worlds which, what more can I say? Another lowlight was Alabama which was memorable in how mystified I was afterwards at my performance. Those races were contrasted with Temecula (fastest bike split), Richmond (fastest bike split), Ogden (solid race at altitude) and Tahoe (course record by nearly 5 minutes). The altitude events following my first half Ironman at Vineman were good learning experiences. First, I learned it takes more than a week to recover from a half Ironman and then race at 9000 feet. Crested Butte was horrible. It got slightly better by the time we came to Beaver Creek (8000 feet and change) where my result reflected that but I was much better when I went to the Snowbasin event. This year I have placed all of the half Ironmans I plan to do AFTER the primary XTERRA season in response to this lesson. I could probably race a half Ironman 1-2 weeks after a half Ironman but I do not regain the power required to race an XTERRA that soon. I think particularly not if the XTERRA is at high altitude which could represent a weakness if I do not prepare properly.
I was very happy with the 2008 season and I know where I am going to be in 2009. I was only getting started at minimizing the weaknesses last year. I recognize that the decision on who would win XTERRA Athlete of the year must have been a tough one with Julie defending last year’s win, Shonny having a breakout season with two wins and a second overall, and Danelle going 2 for 2 World Championships with 2 silver medals at the XTERRA Worlds and the XTERRA Trail Run Worlds. I look at 2009 as a new era in XTERRA racing. The competition is fierce and the level is much higher than it has ever been.
I am excited to be named among the top of the list of athletes in the sport. You can expect more great performances this coming season and having the recognition from the media and my peers really helps me get motivated to prove that.
Not that I needed much help in the motivation department….
I am very excited to ride a Specialized bike this year. When I saw the new S-Works epic launched at the end of last season I had serious equipment envy of Conrad. I went to Specialized to sign up. I am very thankful for the time I had with BMC but given they have decided to go in another direction moving to Specialized is certainly a very happy ending for me. I am so excited that they agreed to sign me and I think it is a testament to their support of XTERRA in general. They make the perfect bike for XTERRA (uber-light dual suspension with forks and shocks DESIGNED for the bike) and they are committed to the sport. I am 100% sold on the brand and I think it will not be a tough sell to have the entire XTERRA field come onboard. I am so excited to go after my own course record on Maui with a dual suspension this coming year. Anyone care to hazard a guess on my new time? Ha!
The second exciting part of this year is my new partnership with AVIA, another company committed to XTERRA trail running. With the Avi-Stoltz shoe our team will be well equipped to handle anything the race organizers throw at us this year. I will be testing the shoe in some XTERRA trail races and Gutbuster events in the early season so watch for that on this blog. AVIA is a super cool company with really fun people. I like the anti-corporate attitude. They love triathlon and it shows.
So other than that, I can announce that I will be wearing Sundog Eyewear as will the team, riding all Shimano components (I would have it NO OTHER WAY) and wearing a sweet custom Lazer helmet (as will the team). We have Genuine Innovations onboard and Nathan and more to come.
In the meantime I have been working really hard on my running while slowly building up my cycling. I did an 8km time trial and went out at 5:44/mi pace but unfortunately came back in 6:12/mi pace. In another life I would be stoked about that but I was honestly expecting more from myself. More work still to do because I am pretty focused on being a strong runner. I don’t need to be the fastest; I just want to be fast. Riding is going well. I have my regular riding buddy Palmer committed to our training rides and now it looks like we have Brent McMahon and now Jasper Blake joining the crew. Yep, THE Jasper Blake. He is actually a pretty good rider with NO experience. I am so fortunate to have this level of athlete to train with. I have to say living in Victoria is a big boost to my training regime. Without having these guys to push me all of the time I wouldn’t be as good.
Lastly I have been swimming a LOT this year. Not as much as the kids at the NTC but a LOT for me. I did 30km last week and it nearly killed me. Both arms are falling off today after another six days in a row banging my head against the wall trying to swim BETTER. I am challenged technically and I am trying to change that. I guess it takes time. I leave next week to go to Salt Lake City and sunny San Diego so I will have a break from indoor swimming and will be treated to outdoor sessions. Yay!
OH and I have to buy a new camera battery charger. No photos recently. Lame… going shopping for it today. Happy training!