Green Member: Jason Ross
Event: Dirty Rock Off-Road Sprint
Class (yours): M 35-39
Results: 59:01, tied for 3rd Overall, and slid into 1st Age Group (thanks to Greg Diamond lighting it up and winning the overall title). This was hands-down the MOST FUN RACE I've done in a long time. I highly recommend this race. In addition to fun, this race is USAT sanctioned and counts just like any other Sprint for team points…which means we racked up a boatload of points for the team, with 1st overall male, female, Clydesdale, and several 1st AGs.
Local Knowledge and Conditions: Conditions were perfect. Moving this race to June from April was a good move for trail conditions. The trial is fully built, so this year's race should be the pattern for future years.
Pre-Race Strategy & Warm Up: Go have fun. Don't hit the trees. And pray that Lexie wouldn't pass me…MTB is her thing!
Psychology: I haven't raced a Sprint in a long time, so I knew this was gonna hurt! This race is so short you have to go all-out, but keep your wits and focus so you don't pull a George-of-the-Jungle on the trail. I haven't done really any "speed" training in nearly a year, due to Leadville-Arizona-St George, so I didn't really know what to expect in terms of splits.
Race break down:
The swim itself is so short, it is almost irrelevant. However, being seeded well is extremely important for the bike. The higher seed you get, the less traffic you will face on the trail. The run feels long to everyone, but I'm confident it is 2 miles (I GPS'd this last year when we created this race). I've always suspected that some races actually have shorter than advertised run courses, which means we all feel better about our run-splits. This course is not one of those races.
Lessons Learned (Or Re-Learned): Definitely practice the trail as much as you can before the race. It will pay dividends. And I should have practiced transitions with MTB gear a bit.
Future Goals (include skills executed well and skills needing improvement): I rode my 26inch carbon hardtail MTB. I plan to get a 29r mountain bike later this year and do this race again next year with a 29r. I had two guys pull away from me on the paved trail to/from Squabble Creek (the 2d place guy and the guy I tied for 3d), they were both riding 29r carbon-hardtail MTBs, and get so much better speed on flats and paved surfaces. It wouldn't have mattered for beating G Diamond, though…he's a beast in the trees and absolutely flies on short runs like this!
Fitness (endurance, nutrition, hydration): I've got endurance, but that does no good here! Time for speed work!!!
Something funny that happened: This race attracts a lot of first-timers (as it was designed to do). Nothing "funny" happened, but it was sure enjoyable to see how much fun everyone had—whether new to tri or seasoned vet. As for seasoned vets, I think we can get sucked into the seriousness of training and racing, and this event is a very welcome reminder of how to go have fun and do something a little different. When's the next MTB-tri, G Diamond, Hartley, and Lexie?