XTERRA World Championship: Local finishes fourth in age group
Sierra Sun sports editor
After an athlete turns in a performance that falls below his personal standards, the typical reaction is to train harder.
Not for Truckee XTERRA off-road competitor Conrad Snover, who vowed to take it easy after finishing seventh in his 25-29 age group at the XTERRA USA Championship at Incline Village on Sept. 26 ” his worst finish out of five points series races this season.
“I felt empty the whole race and didn’t have much power,” said the 29-year-old Snover. “At Tahoe, it was a total mess. I went through a lot of negative thoughts like, ‘Why am I doing this?’ But I also told myself, ‘Just finish and hang in there.'”
In mentally preparing for the XTERRA World Championship on Oct. 24 in Hawaii, Snover learned from his Tahoe experience that he may have worked himself too hard that time around.
“I was over-trained and under-rested,” he said. “I told myself to make sure to eat right, and make sure you’re well rested and taper off two weeks out. I was a lot more careful going into Maui, and it paid off.”
Snover’s training technique paid off with a fourth-place finish at the World Championship in his final year in the 25-29 division. It was a substantial improvement over Snover’s sixth-place finish in that age group at the 2003 XTERRA World Champion.
Snover became dehydrated during last year’s race and finished in over three hours. This year he finished in well under three hours.
It was a satisfying way for Snover to say goodbye to what he thinks is the most challenging XTERRA age groups.
“It’s typically the most competitive age group, so it will be nice to get out of that one,” he said. “It will be an unknown, different group (30-34) next year.”
Snover said he uses cross country skiing, weightlifting and backcountry skiing as alternative training regimes in the winter months. If he wants to train outside, he’ll go to either Auburn or Reno, which stay drier than the Tahoe area.
He also said his favorite part of XTERRA events is the mountain bike leg, but it’s the general attitude of XTERRA competitors and the extreme nature of the triathlons that keeps him coming back each year.
“It’s a little bit more of an adventure (compared to road triathlons),” Snover said. “Each race is a different challenge, whether the terrain is rocky, on a beach, scaling mountains or through the woods.”
Snover was the 25-29 Southwest XTERRA regional champion in 2004.
Truckee’s Zack Beekler, who did not participate in the World Championship in Hawaii, finished second in the Southwest region behind Tom Lyons of Reno in the 40-44 age division. Lyons finished first in that age group at the World Championship.
– Conrad Snover, Male 25-29 Age division
Event Date Site Overall Div. Swim Bike Run Finish
REAL Mountain Bike Triathlon Apr. 17 Folsom Lake, CA 1 1
:13:19 1:07:25 :23:44 1:44:28
XTERRA West Championship Aug. 14-15 Big Bear Lake, CA 19 2
:24:13 1:34:10 :38:06 2:36:29
Sisters High Cascade Off-Road Triathlon Aug. 21 Sisters, OR 4 3
11:40 57:14:00 43:48:00 1:52:41
XTERRA USA Championship Sept. 26 Incline Village, NV 44 7
:26:44 1:51:33 :51:19 3:09:36
XTERRA World Championship Oct. 24 Wailea, HI 43 4
:23:15 1:51:06 :43:01 2:57:22
I had a terrific race and finished fourth in my (25-29) age group this last weekend (Oct. 24) at the Xterra World Championship in Maui.
This year I had a plan (going into the race). After a miserable race in Hawaii last year and a bad race at the USA Championship in Incline Village, it was essential for me to formulate a race strategy.
My experience at tough races like this, racing against the best in the world and the fact the competition gets tougher every year, has taught me to focus on my own race. Working with my coach, I decided to focus on a few key elements: Hydration, Form, Fun and Relaxation/Focus.
1.) Hydration: During last year’s race, I suffered severe dehydration, requiring an IV at the finish. I unfortunately also experienced the misery and self-doubt that comes with low glycogen levels. I ended up walking and having a pretty awful time.
This year, I started by drinking water on the plane ride to Maui on Thursday and continuing to drink lots of water and Gatorade each day leading up to the race. During the race, I drank one complete bottle of Gatorade and one of water on the bike (along with two PowerGels), and plenty of water, sports drink, and another PowerGel on the run; stopping at the aid stations if necessary to make sure I had enough. As a result, I felt strong physically and mentally throughout the entire race.
2.) Form: During a race, it’s easy to allow your swimming form to get sloppy. I didn’t let that happen, instead focusing on the length and strength of each stroke. My shoulders and triceps were sore the next day ” so maybe I should do more of this during my workouts too. This seemed to work, as I emerged from the water 10th in my age group (slower than I could have been, but I was happy).
3.) Fun: I absolutely love riding my mountain bike and too often in these races, I get caught up in the race and forget to have fun. This time, I enjoyed every minute, from the quad-busting climbs up the steep, loose fire-roads, to the white-knuckle, rocky descents. I had a blast the entire time.
Conrad Stoltz, who was standing on the side of the course with a broken pedal when I passed him, later told me I descended well and faster than anyone else he saw go by; coming from him, that’s quite a compliment. Clearly something was working, as I finished the bike with the fourth fastest time in my age group, having passed all but three of those who beat me on the swim.
4.) Relaxation/Focus: When the going gets tough, it’s easy to lose focus and waste energy concentrating on how tough it is, how much it hurts, how hot it is and just how miserable it is.
This happened at the USA Championship in Incline Village, where I wasted a lot of energy focusing on negative thoughts. When participating in a suffer-fest like this, I have to remember that everyone out there is hurting as much as I am. I always think of Greg LeMond, who said, “Even though you get stronger, it still hurts just as bad, you just go faster.”
Therefore, I was determined not to second-guess my abilities and gauge my success on when I started to deteriorate; everyone out there is suffering along with me.
Knowing that how I dealt with it would be my advantage, my strategy was to focus on relaxing my breathing pattern. This worked and gave me a rhythm for my running stride; two strides for every breath in and three strides for every breath out. I was able to hold my position for the entire run and finished fourth in my age group, 43rd overall.
[For complete Nissan XTERRA World Championship results, visit http://www.xterraplanet.com/maui04/maui04_results.htm. Television coverage: January 6, 2005 on CBS at 1 p.m. (EST).]
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