We are Xterra Warriors, part of the Xterra family. This is truly the impact participating in the World Champs in Hawaii had for me.
From the sunrise Hawaiian 'cleanse and rejuvenation' Ceremony, the Night of Champions dinner, Art of Xterra clinics presented by the pros, the race and the awards dinner afterwards, it is an amazing event from start to finish.
Come race day my mum and I arrive at the Ritz-Carlton at 7am when transition opens. The first thing we do is head down to DT Fleming beach to see how big the surf is. We've already lost our goggles a few days previously practising the swim course.
This beach is renowned for crashing shore break and sweeping ocean currents, and today doesn’t look any different, but with added the fear of onlooking triathletes.
The race starts at 9am with the pros setting off first. I like the fact that there's no separate pro race, we're all in this together.
Age-group men are up next, the cannon goes off just as huge waves roll in, you can hear the cries, and there’s a mass of yellow swim caps being thrown around like in a washing machine.
A minute later the final boom of the cannon – luckily it's pretty calm for the age-group women – and my race is underway. Once out at sea the waves are so big you lose sight of the buoys! I love swimming in these conditions and exit the water feeling good.
The bike is relentless. Climb after climb, contending with the heat, the trail and other riders, everyone fighting for their spot on the singletrack. After around 6km everyone seems to settle into their rhythm, and I no longer feel so pressured by guys wanting to get past me.
The last 11km is fun singletrack though the trees. Staying focused is key and even the easier parts of the course now feel like an effort. You can see the ocean and hear race commentary in the distance but you keep getting sent back up the mountain, testing you not only physically but mentally too.
Never have I been so relieved to see transition and get off my bike. I take my time – I had previously been concerned about getting cramp, but my race nutrition seems to have gone well. I drink some Coke and head out onto the final leg. The first 5km are uphill following the same route as the bike course, we all know exactly what’s in store for us.
I’m glad of the sugar hit from the Coke, and am not feeling too bad. A run/walk seems to be most people's strategy, rewarded with an enjoyable 5km downhill trail run leading you onto the beach where it all began.
Any ounce of energy you may have soon vanishes trying to run along the sand, knowing the finish line is just round the corner is all the incentive I need to shimmy me on. I cross the line in 3:55:58, placing me 12th in my division (F30-34).
I loved the challenge Xterra presented, changing the focus of my training and competing in different races has definitely given me a fresh approach to triathlon this year. My 2014 race season is complete. Mahalo!
Did you race in Hawaii last weekend? Let us know in the comments below!