I raced my first triathlon of 2012 on April 14 outside Las Vegas. After racing one super fun small Xterra last year, and after spending more and more time on my mountain bike to the point of justifying a gorgeous upgrade, I decided to race the Xterra USA championship series this year! Las Vegas was the first stop.

The swim was pretty normal, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to make an off-road triathlon’s swim more “rugged” than an on-road triathlon’s. It was a little bit cold though. My swim was OK, I started out on a girl’s feet and after a couple hundred meters I realized hey wait a minute, this girl is SLOWER than me! And so’s this one! But the rest of the group was gone so I swam on my own, until guys started passing me. Next time I need to suss out who in my field is a touch faster than I am so I don’t get on the wrong set of feet again.


The bike was pretty not-normal. In fact T1 brought me back to my beginner days, I put my shoes on in transition! The bike course itself was kind of hard, and unlike in road tri’s, I felt tentative and even had to get off a couple of times. There were a lot of steep rollers, nothing sustained, just lots of power climbs, lots of sand, and really cool desert views, including this one snapped by Nils Nilsen.

The run was my favorite part. It went along part of the bike course, so there were some really steep uphill drags, and this time they sure did feel sustained! But it was awesome, and I felt happy to be running. I wore my new Pearl Izumi Iso Transition race shoes. In fact it was their maiden run, which I know it is not generally considered a good idea to do something new on race day but after trying them on and inspecting the care and technology behind the shoe design, I was confident about my decision to race in them. They did not disappoint, what a great shoe!

I finished 12th of the pro women. It was a fun day for sure, but I’ve delayed reporting on it for one good reason and one bad reason.

The good reason is that school has been full-gas in a really exciting way. On the Monday after the race I successfully defended my master’s “thesis”. That’s in quotes because it’s less a thesis and more an illustration of why I am worthy of continuing on towards the PhD, but in the meanwhile I am earning my master’s degree.

The bad reason is that I wasn’t super happy with how I raced, and it’s hard to write home about moments I wish I were more proud of. At the same time, being driven to do better is a big motivator for me in this sport, so it’s helpful to acknowledge what needs bettering. In this case it’s my swimming and my mountain biking. I got discouraged out there, because biking is not supposed to be a liability for me, but that’s all the more reason to keep practicing and keep building confidence.

Next up: Rev3 Knoxville in just over a week!!

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