XTERRA: The Dress Rehearsal

The first hill out of T1. It also happens to be the same hill coming out of T2.

So we made the trek out to Temecula today to revisit the scene of my very first triathlon. I decided this year to take advantage of the pre-ride the week before the race. We arrived by 8:30 a.m. Minutes after we arrived, a funky, long white limousine with painted characters and four Thule bike racks on the roof, pulled up right next to us. It was a pleasant reminder of the laid-back atmosphere that is part of XTERRA. Four guys stepped out, ready to roll. Two more of their buddies joined us. They spent a lot of time on the first hill out of the parking lot. It's a 250-ft climb for the first five or ten minutes of riding. That is if you're not forced to hike-a-bike. They made several attempts, searching for just the right line. All of them had to hike-a-bike, I'm pretty sure. That made me feel better. See I was all alone when I did it last year because I was so friggin' slow on the swim.

One of the guys commented to the Governer in all seriousness, "Man, I'm really struggling with this elevation." It was all he could do not to burst out laughing. Temecula is a hard course, but it's not Colorado. And this was only the beginning. I resisted the urge to pull out my best Don Pardo imitation, "But wait, there's more!"

This picturesque view required a lot of climbing. And just when you think you're done...

...it get's even better!!

This is the infamous Iron Kahuna Cliff. Yup, the very spot where he launched himself headfirst in last year's pre-ride!

Pardon me, could you direct me to the oxygen bar?

Here I am at the top of a plateau, pre-running the course after the ride. We averaged 15-minute miles. Not an all-out pace, but it was hard enough. On the way down, we picked up an empty case of beer left on the side of the trail. Hard to break that Trail Patrol habit I guess.

This reminds me of some of the stocks I owned around the Internet bubble.

No need to take out your reading glasses. We started at 1490 feet and topped out at 2100 feet. The biggest climb took place between mile 4 and 5 - with 600 feet of climbing. Think they neglected to map out some of the single track in the last mile and half that was there last year. I'm skeptical that the end of the race will actually be this uneventful. We shall see next week. Regardless, I'm really happy to have the pre-ride under my belt. Last year, everything felt big and intimidating – like a little kid's first trip to the city. This pre-ride was 15 mintues shorter, even with plenty of stops to capture shots for this blog – and just to catch my breath. Now, I'm really looking forward to next weekend's race. It's time for redemption!