James Walker Triathlon – Professional Xterra Triathlete Race Report – Xterra European Series – Xterra Greece

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“The third Xterra Race of the year returned to Greece to the region of Kardistsa and Lake Plastira. This would be the third time I have competed in the race and also the third year of the race itself. Lake Plastira is a four hour drive from Athens, and the motorway meanders up the coast and then dives into the Northern Greek Region. With green mountains and the lake serving as the dam for the local area.

Preparation in the run up to the race had gone well and I was aiming for a solid result to get over the disappointment of the DNF in Xterra Spain. After Spain the biggest goal was to get in the points and start racing as well as I know I can.

I decided to fly in the day before the race and travel straight up to the venue. This all went smoothly and I arrived stress free at around 5pm, but a tad tired from being up at 4am. Xterra Greece is one of my favourite races on the circuit and encompasses a 2 lap swim, 2 x 15km bike, with an even amount of up and down hill with some single track thrown in, and a fast 2 x 5km trail run that weaves around the bay of the lake.

The start kicked off at 11am and the Pro start had 20m on the main age group field, before a mass start into the lake. Heading into the swim I was feeling good and got to the first buoy at 300m in a good position. After around 600m I was beginning to lag and I became tired, overly tired. I am not sure whether this was down to the travelling or the consecutive weeks racing. I pushed on with the second lap knowing that I was going to have to find my rhythm quickly on the bike.

Out onto the bike, with the first 3km weaving through fields and rough bush, I concentrated on getting into a steady rhythm to try and claw back time lost on the swim. As I climbed I was feeling good, but my legs felt heavy, and kicking out of the corners was draining my legs. By the end of the first lap I had gained a good bit of time and was starting to get back into the field and feeling better.

By the time the second lap arrived and I was climbing the main 4-5km hill, the heavens opened and the race quickly changed for me. It’s amazing how hail and rain can lift your mood, the temperature dropped and the dusty trails turned into a mud bath. This was racing how I liked it. The fire trails became rivers from the heavy down pour and made cornering more difficult. So for the last two thirds of the second lap I pushed on and the down hills allowed me to claw back a bit more time.

Coming into T2 I was in a positive attacking mood leading onto the run. Out onto the run, I attacked the first bit of road section and felt good as my legs had a bit of bounce in them. Pushing on through the weaving trail I felt good as I had the speed on flat and held my position throughout. By the end of the 2nd lap I crossed the line in 2 hours 43 minutes and 15th Pro Male.

I am pleased to get the improvement from Portugal and eventually get some points on the Xterra Tour Series; time to keep building. Travelling may have taken the edge of a bit better performance that I could have had but an improvement on the last race I did and I am looking forward to the ETU Cross Champs.

I had a good result and got points on the board in the European Series, with my next race in 2 weeks time at xterra Sweden.

Many thanks to Vitus Bikes, Vittoria UK, SAM Race Wear, Huub Design, Suunto, Miiego UK, NJD Sports Injury, Bonk Triathlon, Kurio, G4 Physiotherapy.

 

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