2009 is a wrap. A perfect series of six wins, two second places and now a third place at the Worlds to cap the season. I am not 100% happy with third honestly but given the legs I had on the day, I am happy that I did my best with what I had and took a podium spot at our biggest race of the year. It was a tough season of racing and on Sunday I did what I could. I got through without any major mishap and kept my podium stats at 100% this year.
My amazing, incredible and awesome friends who came to watch and cheer. LOVE YOU!!!
I really thought I was in better form but like all of my races since late July, I faded near the end. I had some great workouts, I was motivated and I was focused. Maui is a special event. The islands are beautiful and magical and offer an incredible venue to celebrate the end of our season. However, this particular race course would not be my first choice to represent the ultimate XTERRA-style challenge to showcase the best “off-road” athletes. Don’t get me wrong, the athletes that won the event this year were incredibly fit and talented and such deserving champions. I do think that the World Championships is a one day showcase of who is best on that day so it is anyone’s opportunity to shine. That is what makes it so special and exciting. Eneko Llanos is now a three time World Champion in this event, as is Julie Dibens. Julie, in particular, was awesome. Julie showed absolutely zero weakness with an astounding performance on Sunday.
Trying to hold it together to keep my podium streak going
However, over a season of racing with the broadest spectrum of races I have ever done I had my best year of success. I won six XTERRAs including the US Championships, won the US XTERRA Championships series, was on the podium for an Ironman 70.3 event, was on the podium for a US Cup mountain bike race and created a team to back me up. That was probably my best display of versatility and I look forward to building on that success next year.
One of my favorite training partners, Jasper Blake, who had a day that made me very grateful for my own. LOVE YOU JAZZ!
I race offroad triathlon and would hope that having great technical skills would help me win the race that I train to win. On this year’s Worlds course that was not the case but my disappointment has been mirrored in the past with some courses for mountain bike worlds as well. Organizers do what they can with the terrain they have. As they say, it is what it is. Even if it was more technical I was not my best. I showed weakness in my swim and both the bike and the run when I faded near the end of the race to be passed for second by Lesley Patterson, hence my third place. But even if I was at my strongest, with no technical challenge to exploit any weakness in Julie’s riding, this race certainly did not swing in my favor. The course has changed a lot since 2006 when I won by 8 minutes. The road was graded, now covered in gravel, smoothed and buffed and doesn’t really suit a mountain biker. I am disappointed I didn’t peak as well as I would have liked but I certainly wasn’t the only one who struggled, so I am happy I took a podium spot. Sharing the podium with Julie Dibens, Lesley Patterson, Carina Wasle and Shonny Vanlandingham is pretty incredible. All things considered, I had a great season with nothing but success.
So given the reality of this race, I will adapt. I knew the writing was on the wall for this event in 2007 but I secretly hoped a monsoon would hit on race day or something. I even brought wet conditions tires I specially cut for clay mud, but no, the weather was perfect. So for next season I will look at what I need to do for XTERRA Worlds. Mountain bike racing is not really going to help here… a strong run and swim will help. I will adapt and come back with my weaknesses buffed and smoothed like the road we ride on and my legs strengthened to handle the race up the mountain. Read more…
I am so fortunate to have the best friends in the whole world. They came all the way from Victoria and Toronto to cheer me onto the podium. And make me laugh my head off after the race. I also am so lucky to have had a team of athletes racing for my team, Mel’s Rad Racing Team that made me so proud with gutsy performances. Tom won a World Championships and the others were top age groupers making us and our sponsors look awesome. Also, I have a group of athletes I coach who can look back to the beginning of this season, compare it to their performances at the end and reflect on how far they have come in one year. I am proud of them for that.
I also have the most incredible group of sponsors on the planet. Ed and Shawn, thank you so much for putting me in AVIA shoes this year. Your support for me and the team is unprecedented and I love you. Thank you Bobby and Ian at Specialized for the most comfortable loop of the bike course I have ever had. Thanks to Maxxis for the best tire selection a girl could ask for. Thanks to Sundog Eyewear for making me and my team look so good in shades. Thank you Lazer helmets! Thank you Pactimo for cool and comfortable custom racing outfits. Thank you to Shimano for bomb proof shifting. Thank you Gu for tasty on the bike nutrition and PRO bar for the good snacks after. Thank you to Saris for getting me fit for our day on the bike in the sun. Thank to USANA for being an incredible cheering squad and for keeping me healthy through a treacherous fall flu season. Thanks to Nathan for the laces that get me in my shoes quickly and the packs to get my stuff to transition. Thank you Profile design for fast wetsuits and Bellwether for comfy gloves. To Titec for the bars and stems I trust to bomb downhills and to Genuine Innovations for Big Airs in case I choose the wrong line ;). Thanks to TYR for all my swim gear, to Albabici for the beautiful SciCon bags to get my bike here and to carry my emergency equipment on my bike. Thanks to Saltstick for some hot day electrolytes and finally, to Troy and ProCity Cycles for dialing my bike on the day. Last but not least, thank you so much MelRad Racing athletes. You guys made this year so memorable. I appreciated so much your efforts and your stories. You are awesome.
So now, Maui Mel is going to the beach, hiking in the bamboo forests and having some awesome wine with an amazing group of people. It feels good that I had a super successful year going into the offseason. I am looking forward to rolling out the new MelRad Racing program in 2010 but for now it is relaxing time. Thanks for the support and aloha!