Two weekends ago I packed up my Mazda with mountain bike in the backseat, a bag of clothes, race gear, plenty of snacks and drove to Utah. I hadn't been on a solo road trip like that since moving back from Montana twelve years ago!
Podcasts didn't exist back then so I survived on mixed CDs and alternative radio. This time around I learned all about - positive psychology, habit forming, Tourettes and how Grimes wrote the song Kill V. Maim (which I then played on repeat for an hour).
My Aunt and Uncle live in Salt Lake City and my Mom was visiting for a few days before they all headed off on a trip. It was uplifting to spend time with them even if only for short time. Watching crime drama cuddled up on the couch with my Mom replenishes my soul.
After they left I had the house to myself and enjoyed a sort of staycation/vacation. I drove up to Park City to ride and explored the neighborhood by foot at night. Mostly, I rested, watched more crime drama and tried to finish my library books. This was a very relaxing, very low-key sort of getaway. It was just what I needed.
This triathlon season was spent recovering from..."the Mexico incident" otherwise know as a random brain hemmorage, getting strong and enjoying racing again. Mission accomplished.
I also rekindled my love of off-road, mountain bike and trail run style events this year. Wanting to focus on this more in 2019 I decided to race the sprint triathlon at the Xterra PanAm Championships in Ogden, Utah before heading back to Portland.
This race is really exceptional. I raced the championship course six years ago and entered the sprint this time around to ease myself back into the game. The challenge starts with a swim in Pineview reservoir which sits at 4900 feet elevation. A steady climb up above the Snowbasin resort brings you to 6500 feet. I didn't really feel the altitude all that much until I got on the bike after the swim and had to pedal my heart (and lungs) out to keep my position. My breathing was so loud and heavy I felt like I needed to inform nearby riders that I was not in any danger as bad as I sounded. Once hidden in the midst of the juniper and Bristilcone pine I could settle in and find a rhythm. I didn't give much thought to the run until it was inevitable. Looking at the trail straight up the mountain side I laughed out loud as my legs buckled and wobbled beneath me. The urge to walk was strong. If I saw someone start to hike it, I started to hike. If someone came by attempting to run, it inspired me to do the same. The power of persuasion! So I stuck myself to a tall lanky guy who appeared to have a will of steel and no signs of quitting. I kept repeating the words "don't give up, don't give in" OVER and OVER. I always have a mantra going while competing and today it was this and "don't quit now", "this has to go downhill at some point", "the finish line is down there - just keep moving!"
The trail did eventually turn downhill and we skipped and flew to the finish shoot. The rest is a bit of a blur, but I think I cried a bit, called home and my coach, ate a cheeseburger and an obscene amount of animal crackers. It was really good. I'm going back next year. I'll tackle the longer championship race and maybe, with some hard work this year, there's a glimmer of hope I could secure an entry to the World Championship race in Maui. So, ok, I've said it. I have a goal.