2012 Xterra World Champs - Hawaii

08 November 2012

2012 Xterra World Champs - Hawaii
Cape Auto Centre sponsored athlete, Colleen De Oliveira had this to say regarding her 2012 Xterra World Championship Offroad Triathlon in Hawaii:

After a great week in Los Angeles we headed out to Maui. We arrived in Maui on Monday. I was feeling very emotional as my dad was with me on my last trip to Maui 2 years ago and he should have been here again this year. We went to the hotel where I stayed with my dad and my brother in 2010. I had a cocktail on my dad at the bar where we sat every day in 2010.

After being very emotional it was time to get focused and ready for the Xterra World Champs. Tuesday morning we planned to do the bike course. It was hot and humid and we only managed 20km of the bike course. Each day we did a section of the course and on Thursday I did the full course. The bike course was tough with a lot of short steep climbs and 2 long climbs. It was not too technical but it was very tricky with a lot of dust and sand that made you slip and slide everywhere.

Friday I did the run course. I loved the run course. The 1st 2km was straight up, from 2 to 5 km was up and down and twisty but once you reach the top at just over 5km, it was the best single track back down to the finish. It was technical and full of twist and turns and of course the last 600m on the beach was a killer.

Saturday I rested and hydrated for the race. My kit and bike was set out and ready to race. Thanks to Paddy from Specialized for checking my bike and making sure it was in perfect race condition.

I was ready for an early night to be well rested on race day. As I got into bed, a tsunami warming was announced on the tv. We didn’t take to much notice until the tsunami sirens went off.

We were evacuated out of our place as we stayed 50yards from the beach. So we packed the necessary stuff (my bike and race kit for race day was the only things I could think of) and we drove to a high point. When we got there, it was just people and cars everywhere. The estimated time for the tsunami to hit was at 10:28. To be honest, I was shit scared. Everything happened so fast…one minute I’m heading for bed and the next I’m waiting for a tsunami to hit. At 10:27 there was complete silence until 10:29 that 2 minutes felt like 2 days. I think I didn’t breath and my heart stopped for those 2 minutes. They announced over the radio that the roads will remain close until 4am as the tsunami was not over. I tried to sleep in the car, but who can sleep with the little voice in your head “it’s not over yet”. At 3am they opened the roads and we returned to our condo.

Sunday – Race day: After very little sleep we headed down to the race village. Kahuna Dave (race director) inspected the swim spot and after confirmation from the officials …the race was on! I got body marked, racked my bike and headed down to the beach. The waves were not as big as what I thought it would be but it was big enough and the current was super strong.

We had a wave start, pro men and women, age group men and then age group women. Before I could get really nervous we were off. We swam a 2 x 750m loop with a 50m run on the beach in between each lap. The swim was tough but I managed to survive.

Once I entered transition I was glad the swim was over and I felt more relaxed. The first 8km of the bike course is a very narrow section. I was stuck behind some of the age group men but I didn’t make an effort to pass as it was part of my race plan to not go out to hard in the first 10km. I took the first 8km easy as this was the hardest and most tiring section. Once I hit the one long climb I felt good and started pushing the pace. As we headed into the last 10km of the 30km bike course I passed a few girls and I was feeling strong for the run.

My plan for the run was to pace myself for the first 2km uphill. I passed a girl in my age group in the first km on the run and I just focused on the next girl ahead of me and tried to race them down. Once I got to the 5km mark I ran as hard as I could to the finish. The single track was technical and I had to concentrate not to make a mistake but I loved every second of it. Entering the beach run section was the best feeling ever with people everywhere cheering you on right to the finish line. Crossing the finish line was filled with emotion and happiness knowing I finished the toughest race I have ever done so far.

I finished in 10th place in my age group…not the position I was hoping for but I was happy with my race. Just the feeling of finishing a World Championship and the experience that I gained was worth the effort.

After the race we had to go pack as we had to be on the airport at 4am the Monday morning. We arrived in Los Angeles just to find out that our flight to Washington and Cape Town was cancelled due to a hurricane. They cancelled over 900 flights. The first available flight to Washington was on Thursday and from Washington to Cape Town was on Tuesday. So we were stuck in Los Angeles for another few days.

After struggling for 5hrs we eventually got a car and a place to stay. The Tuesday we decided to take the 4hrs drive to Las Vegas and stay there for one night. Vegas were so awesome. Vegas were another highlight of the entire trip. Wednesday was Halloween and to experience it in Vegas was so much fun.

We had to be on the airport Thursday morning to get our flight to Washington. We left Vegas at midnight and drove through the night back to LA. We arrived in LA at about 6pm and we took a quick nap in the car at the beach until 9am.
We arrived at the airport just to be told our flight was cancelled again. Luckily we got another flight at 10pm so we had to spend another 7hrs at the airport.

We arrived in a very cold Washington. We stayed with the Ellis family (South Africans by heart?). Thank you so much Craig and Sam for opening your doors and making us feel right at home, for feeding us, for taking us on a DC trip and taking me for a run (and loosing Riaan). We really appreciate everything.

Thank you to everyone for the support!!

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