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October 26, 2010

Xterra Maui

Race pictures to follow, but wanted to get a report out quickly before I head off for the 3 day trip it takes to get home from here. Yesterday was Xterra in Maui, the World Championships. I was hunting for a good day, a bit of a miracle, as my legs were pretty shattered from Kona, just 14 days prior. I had never trained straight after an Ironman and it proved to be hard and I felt the fatigue all week.

I had a bit of a nightmare the day before, as I replaced my chain as a precaution and once I did that, it turned out that other problems existed. I had to replace the cassette as well as the chainrings. Not a major issue on its own, but it turned out there were no chainrings on the entire Island. Crap!

In the end, I had to buy a new chainset at last minute, being the last guy to get his bike out of the shop. 6pm. Bit of a stress and quite a bit of walking around, which was not great.

Race morning arrived and I was excited to give it everything I had. I had heard great things about the race and was keen to give it a big go. I was still in the hunt for the overall Double title, if the two guys I was racing had a bad day or a mechanical, after the mishaps of Kona.

We had Hawaiian Warriors send us off with a traditional dance and before I knew it the gun went off and we were in the water, a mad thrashing of arms, legs and really, all bodyparts. Far rougher than the Ironman swim, I got punched in the head and kicked in the nose before the first buoy and decided to chill off the back of the pack as I saw I was quite near the front and knew the day was a long one. I survived the swim as best as I could and was out the water in a respectable time.

Loved the fact that my Forerunner was able to include swim, bike, run & transitions into the equation smoothly. Out onto the bike and man, the course was brutal. I was going well for the first 5km or so, the intensity was great and I felt great. The slow puncture (in my hip flexors) was next to arrive and was debilitating and I had really expected to feel flat at times, but this was totally not what I expected. My heart rate dropped by 8 beats and my hip flexors were super tight, without the power I have become accustomed to on the bike. The thing I had spent all year working on was now my biggest enemy. I was super on the flat parts, but everytime the road went up I went backwards. I was unstable out the saddle, something which made me laugh. My Fretten will tell you I love powering over the little hills, but yesterday I was hopeless, looking for a smaller gear and unable to get out the saddle at times, my hips were so tired.

The ride was super technical and the Morewood Zula was amazing on the technical stuff. I was loving the downhill stuff, slippery as all hell. The new tires were superb and the bike handled so well. Made up some places on the downhill but the Double title was gone, Thomas came by with a smile and I salute him for the effort he made yesterday.

Onto the run with the new Puma Haraka cross country flats, nursing toenails on the verge of falling out and wondering how I was going to lift my feet with them tired hips. True to form, the first km was flat and I was motoring. Then it went uphill for about 4km and I died, having to walk the steep stuff a few times with a soft chuckle to myself. When it was flat I could motor, but the hills were abysmal and the effort to lift my feet was excruciating, the hip flexors crying for relief. I caught 3 guys in my age group but it was in the end, not enough.

The beach was fun and the spooky forest was amazing. I cheered and jumped across the finish line with a big smile, happy that it was over. 4th and 80 odd seconds short of the podium on a day when I was really not myself is a big achievement for me and I was super happy with that awful tinge of “what could have been” but really, super happy to also have finished 2nd amateur in the world for the Double to Tommy, who has won it before and had raced 22 Ironmans and 6 Xterra Maui races.

Congrats to Conrad for winning his 4th title and to Mikey Keith for domination of the 15-19 category. He passed me on the bike like I was having a picnic at the lowest of my times, but his form picked me up and gave me a bit of vooma for the rest of the ride. The kid has a bright future indeed.

To all who dominated to the afterparty with myself and the joyous South Africans, thank you. Those who came along for the mass skinny dip, fantastic. I am awaiting the photo from Dan on the Koi I caught with my bare hands to share with you and hope nobody is sharing photos from the large gathering in the hot tubs on any social network. It was such a laugh, ALL night long, until the sun came out this morning.

Will get the pictures and the Garmin info up ASAP when I am back on my pc and have the pictures from official race photographers.

Until then, I wish you an amazing week ahead. Go out there and find something that gives you the joy a child experiences when he falls head over heels madly in love with his newest toy. Divulge in its amazepeguinballerness and squeeze every millimeter of joy out of it.

3 Comments on “Xterra Maui

Fraser McHenry
October 26, 2010 at 10:16 am

Hi there Urban Ninja

Well done on completing and achieving the results under trying conditions.

Finishing 4th by seconds and 2nd amateur in the WORLD DOUBLE…

We are proud to have been part of your inspiring journey of self discovery.

Cant wait to sink a few real beers when you return.

Proud to be a South African

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Ronel
October 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

What a journey! Fantastic Raoul.

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Lisette
October 28, 2010 at 10:58 am

Hey Raoulie – Well done! WHAT AN ACHIEVEMENT – you are truly an awesome inspiration and we are sooooooooooooooo proud of you. Only a select few ever participate and achieve as you have. Can’t wait to see the piccies. LOTSALUV Settie

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