Victoria, B.C. is such a cool place! Traveling there can be difficult because it’s an island, but once you’re there, you’ll love it. The people are friendly and relaxed, the weather was mild with perfect temperature and humidity and the trails were so much fun. The single track was fun and somewhat challenging until you learn the lines.
The race venue was perfect; not too big but big enough for the almost 200 racers.
Transition was set up in the little parking lot beside the lake, the run course went around the lake twice and the bike course was a lollipop with 2 laps around the singletrack. The lake temperature was a little cool, but perfectly comfortable as a non wetsuit race for the pros, but still wetsuit legal for the amateurs. The race started with the men and women pros going off together, with the amateurs starting after we finished the first lap. I felt pretty strong in the water, unable to stay with the front pack of the men but was faster than the second pack of men so I went the entire way solo. I took off on the bike wanting to ride hard on the short road section to the trail, and on the first climb on the regional trail and then I dialed back the speed a little on the single track in order to prevent making silly mistakes since I’d only previewed the course once. The first lap went smoothly, and then I began catching amateurs. Even though it was a little frustrating to have to wait to pass other riders, I remained patient, knowing everyone was in the same boat and the slower riders were very good about letting me pass pretty quickly. The single track was wicked fun; there was a switchback descent, lots of rocks and roots, some steep climbs, some giant rock features and some flowy descents on well built trail. I rode technically well and transitioned to the run with the lead. I had no idea what kind of time gap I had, but was worried that Katie Button would not be far behind because she would surely have ridden those trails extremely well and fast. The run course started on a single track trail that went around the edge of the lake. It was really rooty and rocky so running fast was difficult and I wanted to be conservative since I had an ankle/foot injury and had not been able to run for the past few weeks and was nervous about hurting it again. When I was on the other side of the lake from transition, I heard the announcement of Katie beginning the run course, 3:20 behind me. I felt confident that I could maintain the lead, but knew there were other faster runners in the field like Morgane Riou from France who would be chasing us both. The loop section of the run course was also tough; big climbs and big descents on single track with lots of rocks and loose dirt which was a little slippery in places. I lapped through and when I was again on the other side of the lake, I heard them announce Morgan coming through in seconds place, with Katie just behind. I started to feel a bit nervous that I was losing time and picked up the effort just a little, but was still pretty confident that I had enough gap that I didn’t have to run all out…which was good because I didn’t want to go any harder than I had to, knowing that I’d be racing at Beaver Creek in just 6 days. I came through the finish just over two minutes ahead of Morgane in second, and Katie two minutes behind her. With Beaver Creek being a Gold point level race, it was important that I perform well there so I was pleased with my hard efforts on the swim and bike so that I could run at tempo effort and save some energy for the mountain a week later.
If you have the opportunity to race Xterra Victoria next year, I highly encourage it. The venue is beautiful, the organization fantastic, and the race course super fun!
Check out the highlight video!
AND the local media gave the event some great coverage too!