XTERRA Indian Peaks: more favorite

Yesterday was XTERRA Indian Peaks, the closest XTERRA to our home. It was a real treat to just get up on race day after sleeping in our own beds for once! The race director, Paul, was very generous in allowing us to set up our tent right near the other ones in race central. There were about 250 racers at this event, and its extra-special because the trails at Eldora mountain resort are not normally open to mountain bikes during the summer. I have xc-skied and snowshoed on many of the trails, though, so as we approached the finish area I was at least familiar with the terrain. I forgot my watch, and in the spirit of just enjoying the day and the adventure of a new course, I wasn’t sad.
The race starts with a time-trial format, each swimmer entering the water 3-5 seconds behind the last one. We had to line up by race number and wait on this tiny grassy spit going into the lake. The water was COLD, the coldest this year! That didn’t keep people from totally plowing me over. To get out, we had to navigate to an area about 4 feet wide (someone tried to climb over me there) and covered in slippery grass. However, I learned later that I reached my goal time of 20 minutes for the 1000-meter swim, so I was very happy with that, especially since I swam crooked. Then, we had a strange and muddy uphill slog of about 600 yards to the transition area to get our bikes. I stashed some old sneakers by a pole for this one. As we neared the transition area, my right ankle rolled a bit on some slippery grass. I just re-adjusted my stride, but I got some comments from the racers around me, wondering if I was okay. I was totally fine, it must have looked worse than it was.
Off on the bike quickly and up the first hill, I was so excited to check out some new trails. Several of us ladies who were riding about the same pace settled in together, constantly passing and re-passing each other on each climb. It was great and really helped me stay competitive and focused, while still having a great time and meeting new folks. There was a half mile hike-a-bike section that was really brutal. Then we hit a nice loose downhill and I passed several people, then on to a muddy singletrack sidehill with lots of roots. People started just getting strewn all over the place. Some guy in front of me hit a tree for no apparent reason. Another lady just screeched to a halt in front, I assume the slippery-ness just got to her or something. I was just cruising though, happy as could be and completely in my element – wet, skinny singletrack with technical stuff? Most. Fun. Ever. What Virginia and West Virginia are made of. Usually Colorado is completely devoid of this type of trail. I got quite a gap on the ladies I had been riding with and was now descending with the boys. I would have liked to just done another 12-mile loop of that stuff, but the bike course was also short, so after 1:25 of biking, it was time to run.
I was so thrilled with my bike, I guess, that I totally got mixed up in transition. I flip-flopped in my head where my stuff was, and I got this sickening feeling as I started having to look row by row for my stuff, like a bad pre-race nightmare. When I finally screamed “I can’t find my shoes!” I turned around and they were right there. I laughed it off and headed out for the run.
My right ankle turned a little on me again, so about halfway through the run I decided to just go conservatively, even more than usual. I had a strange feeling that one tiny rock might injure me. It turned again, but I started feeling better and forgot about it. Two of the ladies from the bike caught and passed me. When the second one was just in front of me, there was a POP and a SNAP from the ankle and I was completely on the ground, letting out a big “OOF!” as I went. It must have been loud, because the lady turned around and came over to help me. She said to stay put and she went to get help. I yelled “No, I’m getting up.” and stood up and started walking, although limping. I knew I had hurt myself badly but I also knew that all the adrenaline that courses through when you get hurt would help me get to the last 1/2 mile to the finish line.
I just stopped thinking about it and started running as best I could. I rounded the last corner and the announcer said something about the smile on my face (which was really a wince) and I finished in 2:39. The lady in front of me was so shocked to see me, and she recalled the volunteer that was on his way to get me. She said that after that hard of a fall, she thought I’d still be laying there for sure. As the adrenaline quickly wore off, the pain set in. I can best describe it as someone drilling into the side of my ankle with an old rusty bit. After an urgent care visit that afternoon, we learned it was only a bad sprain. The doctor was a triathlete (and Ironman finisher) herself and gave me some recovery and training ideas, it was such a God-send.
Overall, though, this was my favorite race yet. The course was so perfect – although short, it was technically challenging and a real joy to compete on. There is something so special about riding closed trails just for a race, too. The race promoter was so nice and even helped me get over to the Paramedics. I can’t say enough good things about the race. If you’re looking for a true grass-roots multisport race, definitely do this one.
I ended up 6 of 12 in my age group, finally meeting my “finish in the middle with a good bike split” goal. Although I had to can my Super-D debut for today, I am so thrilled that I was able to compete in this race and continue to represent GT and IMBA out there. Wes was my backbone again. He watched Abi, set up and took down the tent, cheered, talked to people, and took me for X-rays. What a guy!


2 responses to “XTERRA Indian Peaks: more favorite

  1. Wow Laura! The Lord has really shown His grace to you in the form of awesome doctors and medical blessings amidst not the most pleasant circumstances. I am so sorry to hear about your ankle but so proud of you for finishing! And glad to hear it is not broken!!

  2. Wow your spokes person looks super serious, I bet she really gets the job done! So crazy about your ankle, it’s amazing what you can push through w/ the help of adrenaline. Hope it doesn’t keep you out of action for too long…

    PS – the mine pics are awesome!

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