The 2008 Buffalo Creek Xterra was held on Saturday June 21st. The race was everything I expected and more. Let me elaborate ---->
We (my girlfriend and kids and I) left on Thursday evening for the campground around Lake Wellington. We got there just before dark and were happy to find out the we would be able to camp with the volunteers setting up the race on Friday. I had e-mailed the Race Director and found out the we would be able to help set up on Friday. He graciously paid for our camp site for the night. We got a temporary campsite for the first night and set up camp - we were tired and hit the sleeping bags early.
After a restless night's sleep - yeh, I forgot how hard the ground actually is. I awoke early and headed down to the lake to find Robert - the Race Director. I found him easily and got my first assignment - tearing the safety seals off of Gatorade bottles. That was fun "NOT" but after 2 blisters and help from Kim, my girlfriend and several other people we got all 5o0 bottles done. After that we help with a variety of projects and had everything set up by 4pm. After that I talked with several of the other athletes and got pointers for the bike course. I did get in a 1/2 mile practice swim as well. the lake was perfect. Temperature was about 65 degrees and very calm. I then worked on my bike and got everything ready for the race. I fell asleep early.
I slept better - guess the rocks got softer overnight. I woke up nervous with jitters in my stomach as usual before a race. The transition area filled up quickly. I think a major part of my anxiety came from the fact that my bike was not built for racing, downhill extremes, or any hard riding. That is what the warning on the front fork says. Everyone else out there had bikes that could survive this kind of race. I had a bike that was built to go to work and back. I was worried about folding the front fork over.
The race started on time - good thing because I don't think I could take waiting anymore. I was finally in the water and on my way. My swim was right on - I felt great..... the water was wonderful and my stroke was the best yet - my breathing was calm and rhythmic. It was a 2 loop swim with a short beach run. The Race Director offered to anyone that if after one lap you could not go on you would be able to do the short course instead. That though never occurred to me. I hit the beach ran to the next buoy and back in the water. I wanted to go the second lap - it felt good. I never thought I would be saying that about swimming.
I got into transition and felt great - I took my time and put socks on so that my mountain bike shoes would fit better. I grabbed my stuff - gave Kim a kiss and headed out. Knowing she would be there when I got back was a big drive to finish. The mountain bike course was brutal for a street triathlete. It started with the 4 mile "Buffalo Plunge" a hair raising downhill down a forest service road with washouts all over the place - I saw to athletes with severe road rash on the way down. Somehow I survived the plunge and then it was uphill out of there. I cannot begin to describe the course except to say that it was mostly on single track bike paths through the woods, over rocks, with some very steep uphills that needed to be walked, and a lot of granny-gear uphills that I survived somehow. I don't know how I made it through most of it because it is all a blur in my mind right now. The last 4 miles consisted of going back up the "Plunge". In the smallest gear that my bike had a pushed and pushed and pushed till I thought I would have no more. I was surprised at the amount of riders I passed on the uphill, many walking their bikes up the hill. I finally got to the top and headed to transition.
Kim was there waiting for me - I knew she would be. She is so good to me. I got into my running gear and with another kiss I headed out again. the run was very hilly at first - after about 1/4 mile I cramped in the quads. I was surprised it took so long. figured I would cramp a lot sooner. I walked it off for a bit and then started running again till the cramps came back. I was drinking loads of water and Gatorade. Finally as I got to the top and got some downhill in the cramps subsided some. I was then off and running finally. The run was absolutely beautiful. I ran next to a waterfall and a stream for a good bit. I finally got to a point where I could see the lake and ran down to the lakeside road. Knowing it was almost over I got into a rhythm and passed several runners that had slowed down. I got to talking with another runner and we encouraged each other and ran the last 2 miles together. Finally within shouting distance of the finish line I kicked it out and finished. And there she was again - waiting for me. I sure do Love her.......
I finished the race in good form and feel pretty good today. It was an experience that I would love to try again. with a better bike that is. It is a lot more challenging than a regular road tri. I did like it a lot. I did not place, but that is not what I expected anyway. I enjoyed myself and got the experience that I was wanting. Along with a lesson on mountain biking. I got the shit scared out of me on those downhills. God - I Love This Sport !!!!!!!!!