Grit: Wheeler Canyon XDURO

I just returned from another great weekend of racing. Long, but good. I came home to a wonderful family and even a clean house, so what could be better?
I mistakenly took videos with our camera all weekend, when I thought I was getting pictures. So, I will add better pictures to this post once I get some from Anna. Check back soon.

Friday morning I said goodbye to Abi and Wes, and Anna and I hit the road at 10am. It was 50 degrees and pouring here when we left – we both thought it was more like Virginia weather than Colorado weather! We left at 10am and rolled into Ogden around 6:30 pm. What a drive. Turns out that all of I-80 looks just like Elko, NV. Ogden is a cool little town and after picking up our race numbers and finding out about aid stations, we went to a local restaurant that was pretty good.
We continued driving another 50 minutes to stay with the Kellys, some good friends of ours from Elko who now live in Magna. I got to see how much their two kids have grown (now 2.5 and 4.5) and meet thier new pup. I wish we would have gotten to visit more, but they treated us to some wonderful hospitality.

The next morning we got up and made our way to Snowbasin – our finishing spot! We had to grab a shuttle after about 10 bathroom breaks and get down to the race start (and I mean DOWN) at Pineview Reservoir.
The day was pretty warm and we had to wait until 10am for our race start to get all of the XTERRA people off on their bikes. We had a pre-race briefing, and it was announced that the course was somewhat shortened to 11.6 (instead of 13.1) miles. There was a loud, collective YESSS! from everyone (off-road peeps are far less uptight than the typical triathletes) and then the race announcer said we had 45 seconds until the start. How’s that for prep time? Kahuna Dave (XTERRA pioneer) started us off personally with our own very loud cannon.
We had about a mile on the road to start with and I saw lots of girls going really hard. I decided to take it easy and warm up. Once we hit the trail I was feeling great, and we headed straight uphill (did I mention the 3000 foot gain?). I started passing back lots of girls that went out too hard. I saw Anna stopping and stretching out her knee, she took off, and I never saw her again!
I got a good rhythm going and took walk breaks whenever it got really stinkin’ steep. I was having a great time out there, enjoying the scenery and the sunshine and the bits of shade when I could get them. The first 6 miles and 2 aid stations just flew by and even though I won’t race with the Forerunner any more, I could tell it was my best uphill trail run of the season.
I can’t say enough good things about the way this race was run. The volunteers were awesome – and very well-briefed. They knew exactly where we were on the course – amazing! I didn’t miss the Forerunner at all.
Around mile 7.5 we started downhill – fast and steep. Then we started climbing again, this time steeper, and more rocky & narrow. We caught some mountain bikers and I caught some more girls. Then the new arch supports we just added on Tuesday caught up with me. Dr. Ken said they would, but they protected my knee. Everything ached from my hips down. I had to buckle down mentally and just keep moving to get finished. I got passed back by two very strong ladies that were champs at pacing themselves. I learned a lot from them.
I could finally hear all the fanfare at the finish line and got sent down the finishing chute by Kahuna himself again. Anna was there and we recap’ed the race together while cooling down. I took my shoes off right away. It was great checking out the XTERRA expo and turning Anna over to the dark side of off-road. She wants to do an XTERRA now. The off-roaders are such a fun, laid-back bunch and we were really enjoying our lunch when we heard our names called over the loudspeaker. We got medals! Anna won our age group and was the 4th overall woman. I was 3rd in our age group and 11th overall, of 28.
After coach Anna’s mandatory hydrating and stretching session we got back in the car and headed east, this time on route 40. Middle of nowhere.
After 3 long and painful hours of whining in the car, and a half-hour grocery store stop, we decided to camp in Dinosaur National Monument. The campground we chose was in the park, far off the highway, and beautiful! After admiring the views and the sounds of the Green River below, we set up camp and Anna built her very first fire (with only a tiny bit of instruction). We had the BEST s’mores, I think because of all the calories we burned, they were that much better.
Today we spent 6 more hours in the car and had all kinds of shenanigans to deal with. By the last hour, we were both so tired we were giddy and I laughed until I cried. I had such a good time hanging out with Anna. We have all kinds of silly catch phrases from spending so much time in the car together.

Wes handled Abi’s teething tyrade very well, and I was so glad to see those two when we got back. Wes treated us to some grilled pizza, and I treated him to a cool XTERRA t-shirt. It was another great racing weekend, and I have been so blessed this summer with some great race experiences!


6 responses to “Grit: Wheeler Canyon XDURO

  1. Awesome job. It’s cool to see your photos b/c that’s where Snowshoe Nationals were this year, but it was all white, not green. Great job on your race, you totally killed it hard core. I bet you are hooked!

  2. Way to go Laura & Anna… glad to hear you did so well.. you really are an inspiration!


  3. Great job, Laura! I can hardly wait to hear all the “nitty gritty” live on the phone!
    Congratulations on your medals!

  4. Sounds like a great weekend! Good job at the race! Can’t wait to see more pictures.

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