Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer Outdoor Retailer

Will Kelsay and I flew into Salt Lake City on Monday morning to attend the Outdoor Retailer Show with the Timex Group.

We gave a brief presentation and showed the video above to the entire sales rep team then headed to dinner at Squatters with the crew. A great introduction to fun week :)

Tuesday morning was the beginning to our 'modeling' adventure. We were supposed to run around the show advertising our beer party and let everyone see the new Timex licensed apparel by Sugoi. As you know, I don't really do pink, but I didn't have a choice. It sure did catch lots of eyes though. That, and everyone who saw me in it and knew me almost about fell over because they were laughing so hard...haha...very funny.

As always, I was told to go take my picture next to the Headsweats booth where my photo still displays proudly. Not really sure what I was thinking when I took this pic!

After running around the show all day, we went directly to the industry party where there was lots of beer and a dogdgeball tournament. Rob, Will, Jim and I were a team and totally sucked it up for the first 3 games but then we played 4 others from Timex and eventually won. I nailed Herbie to get him out which drew a big cheer from the crowd then the rest was history. We finally got our free Timberland shoes after a series of super fun and injury free games!

The day was wrapped up with a delicious family style dinner (chosen by Dave) at PF Changs! good :)

Day 2 was a little more 'hoppin' at the show. Because there were way less meetings and more play from each of the vendors, we went from booth to booth just having an absolute blast and attempting to get as many people as we could over to our side of the show for the beer party at 3pm. Since we became such good friends with the guys from Timberland (they sponsored the dodgeball tournament), we visited their booth where we got to cycle on a bike to blend our own smoothies. Of course Will and I had to have a friendly competition for the crowd. I'm pretty sure I got my butt kicked, but I swear mine had way more ice than his...haha. Good times.

We also visited the Technica booth where they were doing grafitti on everyone's calves to promote their new trail running shoes. We didn't waste any time on this one either and got all marked up to show off as we pranced around throughout the day.

Finally...BEER!!! We marketed a keg at our booth with the first 200 people receiving a free mug. It was a complete success and we had tons of traffic and got through those first 200 beers in no time. Not only was there lots of great conversation, but many great connections were made and we had an absolute blast :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Guess What Time It Is?

It's peanut butter jelly time!

XTERRA Northeast Cup Race Report - Will

As far as courses go, this is one of if not the hardest XTERRA's I've ever done. At other races, the weather has made things harder or the competition, but at this race, it was the course that was hurting everyone!

I was really excited to see my good friends Cabin and Nic this weekend. Nic is racing on the World Cup Mountain bike circuit, so she and Cabin were in the area and decided to do the race. Cabin is one of New Zealands top mountain bikers, and Nic is well on her way to that same title.

The swim was standard 1500m, 2 loop course. The water was warm enough that pros couldn't wear wetsuits, but age groupers could. As usual they swam over the top of me within a few hundred meters despite my 1 minute lead.

With the rain the day before the bike turned into a ride/run, with lots of pushing the bike because it was too slick to ride. Once we passed the hike-a-bike section, it was on! The rest of the course was a muddy hurt fest. It was very difficult riding and that's why I enjoyed it so much.

Check out the homemade fender on the down tube. It was an old soda bottle that I cut up and zip tied on. It kept my bottle from getting to muddy, but other than that it was a rather moot attempt.

In the last section of the bike I could see up the road about 4 minutes and saw no one. As I reached the top of that section I looked back and saw no one. I was sitting in 8th place and knew that unless some one from behind had a fantastic run, I would finish in that same position. So this made the run a bit easier (which was good because it was freakin hard!). I ran the flats and down hills, but just "power walked" the uphills. Crossing the line in 8th, I earned a few more points in the points series.

At the expo, I wondered into the XTERRA Footwear booth and spotted a handsome young man with a mohawk on their banner. I gotta get one of those!

XTERRA Race at the Rez

At the XTERRA Race at the Rez, I put on a clinic and then led a pre ride of the bike course. The clinic was a great success and we had 14 people for the pre ride! I had the helmet cam on, but unfortunately I forgot that the memory card was full, so I didn't get any footage. gggrrrr. Its a bummer because this course was SUPER TECHNICAL! I've done a lot of riding all around the country and this one one of the most technical courses I've ever seen. Rocks, roots, off camber sections, short little power climbs, this course has it all! Most all of it was ridable, but trust me it wasn't easy!

After the pre ride, I stuck around to help out with the kids triathlon. It was so cool to see all the little guys and girls going all out. I wish I could have got into triathlon when I was their age (8 to 12 years old). Way to go Max! Awesome T2 and run!

This was my 4th race in 4 weeks (Idaho then Richmond then Little Rock then this one), so I was a bit tired going into it. With the game plan of just have fun, it turned out to be a great day.

The swim was in a beautiful rez just outside of Essex, VT. After swimming in the some of the nastiest water I have ever swam in the past two weekends (James River in Richmond and the cesspool in Little Rock), I was over joyed to be in clean, clear, pristine water. I exited the 1200m swim in 8th place and jetted up to T1 intent on moving into 1st as soon as possible.

The bike course was a real doosey! I quickly caught up to the leaders and within 5 minutes or so I was in 1st. I pushed it pretty hard to catch those guys and I thought I would just keep pushing in order to build a big lead. About half way through the first lap I crashed and tweaked my thumb. As soon as I hopped back on the bike I decided to back it off and just ride smooth. This turned out to be a fantastic decision because the easier and smoother I went, the faster I went.

Sliding off the bike and onto the run, I decided to keep the same game plan of 'keep it easy and smooth.' This worked quite well and I cruised to the win with just under a 4 minute lead over Kristoffer Nielsen. He had finished a few minutes behind me at Richmond a couple of weeks earlier and is one of the fastest guys in the Northeast.
One of the things that I love best about doing smaller races such as this is all the cool people you get to meet. After the race, the race director Mark and his wife Robin, took me to downtown Burlington (which looks remarkably like Pearl St in Boulder), to meet up with some other racers (Paul, Sophie, and the boys) for some sweet pizza.
Now I get the 4th of July weekend to get a little R&R before flying back out to VT for the XTERRA Northeast Cup on the 12th.

XTERRA Northeast Cup Race Report - Erin

July 12th, 2009
Warren, Vermont
7th Pro Woman

The Swim - The water temps had been hovering around 69* all week but after the big rain storm the night before, it was possible the water would be a little colder allowing the pros to wear wetsuits. Nope...70* it was on race morning, so no wetsuits for us. No worries, it was actually quite refreshing! We got a 60 second head start from the age groupers but by the second buoy, I had already been caught by several fast swimmers floating along. After a good start and a good build into my race pace, I swam up to another pro woman and was able to stay on her feet for over 75% of the swim. That was one of the first times I have been able to do that so I was super excited. We came out of the water 3rd and 4th position.

The Bike - Or hike should I call it?!? The course was comprised of a technical downhill trail (meaning you get shuttled up then ride it back down for normal people), but in our case, we got to attempt to climb up it. Since it had been raining for 4 straight weeks, the course was completely submerged under water and the biggest mudpit I have ever seen. Not only is this kind of riding incredibly foreign to me, almost the entire 3000ft of climbing was completely un-ridable. The bike was basically a hiking race to see who could run with their bikes the fastest up the steep, muddy and slippery trail.

This is the 'Erin is not a happy camper' face. The hiking not only killed my knee beyond belief, but totally stressed out my lower back making the final road climb into T2 quite painful. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE playing in the mud and being dirty, but it was really frustrating that because my knee was hurting so badly and I couldn't run through that crap fast that people were passing me left and right.

The Run - Or hike should I say?!?! By the time I reached T2, I was so far back that I actually got to witness the sprint finish between Seth Wealing and Conrad Stoltz for 2nd and 3rd! I got very distracted and almost forgot I was racing...oops! I finally slipped on my shoes and set off on the very difficult 2 lap course. As expected, the first couple steps were already sending shooting pains through my knee. I hobbled through as much of it as I could but had to walk A LOT. There was over 750ft of elevation per lap of steep, soggy, muddy terrain. I even lost my shoe in one of the mud puddles because it was so deep and sticky! All I wanted to do was finish, and in one piece. Several minutes later, I did and it was a huge relief.

After thoughts - Where to start? After crossing the finish line, my first inclination was to burst out into tears as 1) I was pretty sure my knee was going to fall off and 2) I was just an emotional train wreck. Luckily, Branden was the first person there to calm me down. I knew coming into this race, along with every other race I've done this season, that I was not going to be competitive and was just there for the experience. Toeing the line to a race with that attitude is NOT easy. This race was the culmination of all those emotions and the final push to make my decision to cut the season short pretty easy. Racing unfit and in loads of pain is not enjoyable and definitely not going to get me anywhere in the future so it's time to figure things out...for real.

On a more positive note, I will be missing all the camaraderie that comes along with racing XTERRA. Pre and post race activities are always a blast and everyone on the circuit is absolutely amazing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dog Tags

Way cooler than getting a finishers medal, at the XTERRA Northeast Cup, they had XTERRA dog tags for everyone.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Will Kelsay being Will Kelsay - Version 2.0

Will is a little special...

The Arkansas Experience

The XTERRA South Central Cup was a real learning experience for me. I discovered how to NOT race in the heat. I learned the hard way what NOT to do then the water is 88 degrees and the outside air temp is pushing 104!

As we hopped into the bath water filled swimming area, I had a game plan for the swim. Start easy and stick on Erin's feet. As the gun went off, I set my plan into action and it seemed to be working splendidly until about 3/4 of the way through the swim, when I overheated and had to completely shut things down, so that I would be able to finish.

Pulling my muffin top out of the suit, I hopped on the bike and began to hammer. I knew Brian Smith was just ahead and I really wanted to ride with him. BIG MISTAKE! I went to hard, to soon in the race and had not let my body cool off from the swim (that's weird... usually I have to warm up from the swim). I immediately started to feel the affects of the heat.

As I started to fade, bad turned to worse. Finishing the first lap of the bike course, I began to see spots, my ears were ringing, and my head was pounding! I hit a little descent and BAM! Crash number one. Nothing to major, but it shook me up a bit. Jumping back on the bike I told myself 'Come on! Just keep riding!" Then BAM! Crash number two. Not one to be defeated easily, I hopped back on the bike and kept pushing. Attempting to really rail through the next corner, I burped both tires and lost most of the air in the front, and had very little in the rear.

That's when I decided to shut it down. That was the end of my race for the day. I was now just concerned with finishing. I hobbled my way to T2, sitting up along the final road section so that Erin could catch me. I figured if I wasn't going to have that great of a race, I'd still try to have some fun with it and help someone out if I could.

So out of T2, Erin and I ran side by side showing off the camaraderie of Team Timex. I carried a water bottle for us to douse ourselves with to help keep cool. Every aid station we passed it was a whirlwind of hands and cups flying everywhere trying to get as much liquid as possible.

Knowing that I would race again the next weekend (XTERRA Race at the Rez), I was content to head out for a fun run. I really liked running with Erin and helping to push her. Its so much more fun to run with someone than by yourself.

We crossed the finish line together, her coming in 6th for pro women, me 9th for pro men. It was a total eye opener, that the heat can totally destroy even the strongest of athletes. All of the top pros for the day said it was a real struggle out there, and going 100% just wasn't possible. Wish I had know that before hand! Live and learn...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

XTERRA Northeast Cup Pre Ride

Complete with commentary, here is a pre ride video of the XTERRA in Sugarbush coming up in just over a week.