A few days ago, my friend Ben called me and told me that he was going to be driving up from Florida for an Xterra race in the area. For those of you who do not know, an Xterra is a triathlon (swim, bike, run), but the bike leg of the race is on mountain bikes instead of road bikes and usually on mountain trails. The run leg, like the bike, is also on trails instead of a road like in a normal triathlon. Ben told me he this race was going to be outside Charlottesville, Virginia, at the Walnut Creek in North Garden Park.
When I woke up early the day of the race, it was raining and looked like it had rained most of the night. As I drove toward, Charlottesville the rain continued. I met Ben before the race and told him good luck. As he finished his warm-up and worked his way down to the starting point of the swim, I grabbed my camera and a rain cover for it and went down to the water.
The swim leg of the race was in Walnut Lake. There were a few buoy markers that marked the course, and the racers had to keep to their right. Once the racers finished the first lap, they all had to run down the shore to the starting point to start their second lap for a total distance of 1500m.
After the swim, the racers ran through the rain to the transition area, changed out of their swimming attire, and put on anything they needed for the bike leg of the race. Once this was done, the racers grabbed their mountain bikes and raced up the wet road out of the park only to return 14 miles later back to the transition area to drop of their bikes and swap out cleats for running shoes and anything else a racer would need for the trail run.
The run leg of the race linked muddy trails through the forest of the park to form the course. The racers had to complete two laps through flooded trails as they ran up and down the hills of the park. Six miles later, at the top of a steep muddy hill, was the finish line.
It finally stopped raining a few hours after the completion of the race. Ben, like all of the racers, was nice and muddy when he finished the race. He finished first in his age group and in the top 10 overall. Great job, Ben! Hopefully next year I will be racing with you like old times instead of cheering you on.