June 10, 2008

California Multisport - Vail Lake Race Report

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of being a part of the first ever California Multisport event out at Vail Lake in Temecula. It was the same place that the 12 hours of Temecula (next weekend) and the Xterra West races are held but had a totally different approach to the race venue and vibe. We would be racing through parts of the area I never knew existed and with the pack in pack out philosophy of the Multisport Crew we would keep the area looking just as natural as when we got there. This would be a race for everyone from first time racers like my buddy Nick from work to the professionals who have raced around the world. Let the fun begin!

(the multisports race directors)

The race started at 10am so we had plenty of time to drink up all the fluids we could as we staged our boats and setup our transition area. The heat was present but not a threat. It was going to be a fast day of racing and we wouldn’t have the same “heat issues” that the Xterra competitors faced with near 100+ degree temps just weeks before. The course would start with a 10K trail run, transition to a paddle of 5.5 miles around the lake and finish with the single track loops that the “12 hours of Temecula” series is well known for (ie SUPER FUN!).

The 10K Trial Run –

As the timing clock worked its way to zero we were off to start the madness… Sprinting!! We made a left out onto a road that would lead us towards the entrance and behind the lake and we were at full speed right out of the gate. I tried to stay close to the lead pack but I want to start slow…I guess I was missing the swim of a triathlon to warm me up! Looking back I was not warmed up enough and did not expect a jump like that at the go but after a few minutes I settled into a good pace. I saw Darren up ahead and passed him by but I thought I would see him again on the bike. Little did I know he would set the fastest paddle time for the day and I would need any advantage on the run I could get. As we made our way onto the next road Sully had just about disappeared into the winding trail up ahead…He was waaayyy out in front and we were less than 10min into the race! Obviously, he was in a class of his own and would go on to have the fastest run and bike splits of the day winning the race overall by a large gap.

(Nick charging the water gaps)

The river crossing on the way out and back was a welcomed surprise but as good as it felt to have a splash in the water it made for some heavy water soaked shoes… The run turned into some super fun single track, river crossings, weaving back and forth through the trees and overgrown foliage all around. Jungle run? A true high speed adventure! I settled into a pace behind Tessa who was leading the girls and decided to pace myself out to save something for later in the race. Looking back, I think I was just trying to keep up with her ;-) As we hit the road she took off and put some distance on me…I as so stoked to have the run behind us and get into the water.

The Paddle around the lake –
The transition into the boats felt pretty natural…Actually, it felt great to sit and get some carbs and water into my body while I sat but the race was still on. We started out with a bit of head wind and I paddled past a few racers trying to draft a bit from the wind as we headed out. Daren Clarke came powering by me and I tried to get behind him for a bit but I could not hold that pace even if I was going to be drafting. He was flying!!

Now, I have to admit that I have been getting back on my surf ski the last few weeks and it was a big help but I took a “lesson learned” from the race that I need to get out to some rough water paddling on it. I have only paddled it in the ocean one time with Marius and ended up swimming a ton... The water at Vail lake was calm with a slight wind but nothing bad at all. The wake boarders, however, posed a bit of a threat for me and I found myself swimming at the smallest of waves… The headwind on the way out was now pushing in perfect timing on the paddle back and the 5.5 miles went by faster that I thought that it would.

(paddle time!)

I have become pretty use to the feeling of “funny legs” after the bike to run transition on a triathlon but the paddle exit and run up to transition after the paddle was something extraordinary!! What was going on here?? Not only my legs but my arms and chest felt void of blood. Where did it all go? So strange. . . hard to describe and I have never experienced anything like it.

Running into transition, I had Karen giving me encouraging words and Paul on the speakers doing the same. Inspiration with critical timing! All I remember was Paul saying “he is a triathlete and knows how to do fast transitions” . . . I thought I better make this look good and then managed to fumble with my helmet strap over and over trying to get it buckled. Hehehe!! Leaving transition I heard Paul say I was 2min from the podium. Two Minutes!! I told myself that it was going to hurt but I promised to make it go by as fast as I could and started hammering.

The infinite singletrack-
I had been waiting for this..dreaming of those fast singletrack loops and I felt surprisingly fresh on the bike. With a new found motivation to get a good placing and feeling more comfortable on the bike than anything else I was ready to push it for the 15 miles ahead. The low HR on the paddle probably helped and I was able to suck down about 20something oz of water and half a gel flask. . . Mentally, I was also feeling much better knowing that I didn’t have to run after the bike and this was the last leg of the race. PUSH!!!

I passed two riders on my first lap and didn’t look back. I kept thinking they were right on my back tire and that the next rider was just ahead and out of sight. Pain. Pleasure. Push, push, push... Little did I know I was almost 15 minutes behind the next rider and even more of a surprise was that it was Eric Sully who took first overall. Unfortunately, Daren missed a turn and dropped from the race... so I moved up to second place overall. Stoked!

Such a great experience and again the Multisport crew went above and beyond. Tons of swag, awards, cash and cheer given out at the finish line. Amazing that for such a low entry fee you really get so much and the series is in its infancy. . . Looking forward to MUCH more California Muiltisport myself.

Here are some pictures from the day that Monique took

And here are some from a Pro WesleyKong

along with a little video clip he put together


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