XTerra – North Vancouver!

April 24th, 2012 By Mike Murphy

Sunday was just about a perfect day to get out and do a race, and the Xterra North Shore Duathlon was my choice for the day. It’s one of the events in the Run the North Shore Series, and it took place in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR). The atmosphere was very casual and low stress, and Keith (from North Shore Athletics) had a fun race route planned out that athletes of all abilities could challenge themselves on. By the 9am start time, the temperature had already cracked into double digits and the sun had come out. A few minutes before the start, I began to think that I might even have to worry about hydration while out there.

On paper, the route was a 4-20-4 duathlon, but in reality it turned to be a bit longer….which was totally fine by me. My game plan pretty much had me putting out a hard steady effort the whole way, and not worrying about what any other competitors were doing. My legs felt light and snappy, which is a great pre-race feeling, and i went to the front right from the gun. The run course left transition (near the Gazebo) and headed out to Rice Lake for a quick loop (where there was a slight route mix-up on the first run), along the path to Lynn Headwaters, across the bridge, onto the Varley Trail, then back across the pipe bridge and up to the transition area. I felt strong the whole loop, and came in to transition ready for a hard bike ride.
The bike loop had a bit of everything on it. We did 2 laps of a figure-8: a bit of a technical section, a false flat climb up the berm, a super fast decent to twin bridges, then a grinder climb up Homestead. Do that loop twice, with hardly any break after the climb before hitting the transition. It took about 20 minutes for my legs to really come around, which was right before i got to the Homestead climb. I hammered up that hill, but as I crested the top I thought to myself that the second time up it, I would need to back it off if I had any hopes of running quick out of transition. I pretty much even split the ride, and rolled in to T2 ready to crank out a solid second run.
As I ran out of transition I knew that I had a lead, and I assumed that I wouldn’t get caught. Sometimes though, knowing/thinking that someone is just behind you is great motivation to keep the pedal to the metal. In my case, I had to keep fighting the urge to back it off a notch and cruise it in. My race plan was to push hard right to the end, and I worked hard to put out a consistent effort. With about 10 minutes to go I could feel that I was a bit light on fuel, but that was even more reason to keep mentally tough and pin it to the end.
I did win the race, but more importantly, I stuck to the plan and worked hard right to the end. Plus, my girls were at the finish line to cross with me…couldn’t be better. Keith put on a great event, and hopefully it gave a few rookies a taste of how fun the Xterra Whistler off-road Triathlon will feel in a couple months. And as a total bonus, the Icebreaker race shirt included in everyones race package, was (by far) the best race shirt i have ever received. Icebreaker sure makes a great product.
 After cheering on other finishers, and picking up some awesome Vega Recovery mix as a prize, the Murphy’s all headed over to visit some friends in East Van. 3/4 of the Steed family also came (Kim was feeling pretty sick, so he didn’t make it), and we all enjoyed some lunch and relaxing in the sun.
Without a doubt, another great Sunday.