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Race Report - David DeSantis
I love writing that title. I'm ready to go back to Maui right now! It all started the night before the race. I couldn't get to sleep so I was clicking thru the TV channels and started watching Nacho Libre, with Jack Black. It was hysterical and really helped me relax and get to sleep. I woke up at 4:30 to pee for the 3rd time that night and couldn't get back to sleep (the race didn't start until 9am to accommodate helicopters and camera crews). So I start to go thru the check list, stretch and start eating. At about 6:30 Kathy wakes up and we head to transition at 7 to set up and then back to the room after realizing I forgot my socks. Get body marked and get in line to get blessed on the beach. The helicopters arrive and cameras are everywhere. The officials are attempting to squish 550 jacked athletes into a small section of the beach and keep everyone out of the water until the cannon goes off. Finally the cannon goes off, I sprint down the beach to my right to get away from the mob, but it seems half of the mob has the same idea.
It's just a turbulent mess of hands, feet and elbows to the first buoy. After the turn most of the mob follows each other w/o sighting and head offline to the left of the next buoy, I get a clean shot and start to pass people, the next turn is good and I get drafting help from the girl in front of me. Reach the beach and run the 150m on the beach then back in the water for the second lap. I was lucky enough to fall in behind a great guy that I drafted for the most of the second lap. T1 was nice and clean.
I get on the bike and get my shoes on and gloves adjusted on the mile of pavement before the climbing begins. I had taped a pill box to my top tube to hold my Thermotabs. I started to drink and opened the pill box to get the first 2 pills, I jumble the pills and lose a few but manage to get 2 in my mouth before the turn to begin climbing. The next 14 miles are all uphill with a few short and fast descents in between the long climbs. I make it up heartbreak hill w/o unclipping, but my heart is ready to jump out of my chest, 180bpm. I relax and remember the run is long and hot after the bike and settle into a more realistic pace. The clouds have been covering the sky for the majority of the climbing and it is about 93', I'm so happy the sun isn't out! The course isn't that technical but the traction sucks: loose lava rocks, silty loose sand and thorns everywhere off the racing line. The last major climb brings you to about 4000' and leads to the Plunge, a 1.5 mile descent that drops 3000'. It is really fast and loose. And the trail is strewn with people who have crashed, flatted or are scared and being overly cautious. I had a great tire/shock setup and passed a ton of people on the descent. After the plunge you traverse the mountain and I reopened my pill box to get the next two Thermotabs and the box was filled with dust (the bouncing had vibrated the pills to dust). I licked my finger and stuck as much pill dust as I could in my mouth, lesson learned.
T2 was smooth, but the sun was now out and the run course is totally exposed. The first 2.5 miles are all climbing, my HR is at 185 and I'm hardly moving. I'm trying to relax, drink and wait for the downhill's.
At about 3 miles you hit the highest point of the run and it turns to silty sand/dirt roads that are down hill most of the way to Makena Beach. The beach is one mile of sand and sun and it felt like a death march. After the beach I was melting and starting to get dizzy, I had been drinking all day, but the heat was overwhelming. Finally I hit the Spookey Forest and had shade for about 3-4 minutes, then on to the black sand beach which leads to about a quarter mile of lava and coral. Two days before the race I practiced running on this section of lava to see how fast I could get through it without slipping on the wet rocks and killing myself. It wasn't a big deal two days ago, but, after three and a half hours in the heat I was spent and really had to concentrate to place my feet and continue running without falling.
After the lava it's about 200 yards uphill to the finish. I passed one guy that was in my age group hear the end of the lava and just killed myself to make it stick to the finish line. I sat in chair in the shade behind the medical tent (where they had a garden hose with cold water). And started talking with Shonny about her race, she was on her 2nd IV after placing 5th with the pro women.
The best part was watching all the athletes loosen up at the costume party the night after the race. Kathy and I went as Popeye and Olive Oil. Kathy had to repeatedly beat back Melanie Mcquaid (Melanie went as one of the 7 deadly sins, you guessed it...she was lust!). The ballet ninja's won the costume prize, two guys in tu tu's doing choreographed wrestling moves and beating each other up after a morning of Xterra racing and a whole bunch of afternoon drinks. Just like Greg Welch said during the judging of the Halloween costumes "if Xterra were boring they'd probably call it Ironman!"
Check out the picture to the left and guess where Melanie's other hand is?