Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Xterra Malaysia : Yet Anohter Pro's Race Report

This only gets better.

Report from Mike Vine, the Champ of the 1st Xterra Malaysia.

Taken from mikevine.athletesjournal.com

Held in the jungle beach resort area of Kuantan by the renowned Teluk
Cempedah beach, this new event is located only a stone's throw from
the equator( 200 km away ) and serving up some seriously searing
tropical heat and humidity. This race was a huge success with a sold
out field of 500 enthusiastic racers, pro organization, and big-time
media coverage with ESPN Asia filming a one-hour episode, as well as
local networks for the news.
Asides from first time visit to Malaysia, this trip was a prime
opportunity for me to have a rematch with the Brit Sam Gardner who
beat me at Saipan earlier this year. and sure enough we slugged it
out, along with the upstart Kiwi Scott Thorne who recently placed 2nd
at XTerra New Zealand.

So after torturous 33-35 C heat with brutal humidity over the days
leading up, conditions on raceday were near ideal with overcast and a
few showers along the way to cool us down to just bearable levels.
With no major hills on the bike and mainly over either pavement or
hardpack dirt roads, I was expecting the guys to bunch up and work
together on the draft-legal bike. Surprisingly though I led the swim
from the start and emerged with a hefty margin. Not unscathed
though... the stinging jellyfish had shown up and got me twice. Thos
buggers hurt , and peeing on it later I found didn't help either!
With Sam and co well in arrears at T1 I decided I would put my head
down and go for it... I was feeling good. That is until 15 km or so in
riding through a palm oil plantation I missed a pothole hidden under
the grass and took a dandy spill launching over the bars and slamming
hard on my side at 30kph. It rattled me but no serious damage luckily
although the bars were cocked at a bad angle which made cornering
tricky... and moreso when the torrential rain hit about 10 min later
and the clay surface turned to a full-on slippy ice rink. I made it
through then approaching a pavement intersection a police officer sent
me the wrong way... eventually it was sorted after a debate and going
at least 200 m the wrong way, but Scott and Sam caught me here.
The last part of this course is where it's most interesting, and a
bunch of vicious attacks ensued over the sandy beach and rooty, slick
jungle. Scott dropped off slightly while riding the tricky section of
sand by the water's edge then I gapped Sam when he chose to skirt
around a rock outcropping, while I hike-a-biked over it. That's
because the tide turned out was higher today and the water was waste
deep for Sam ! Although a few min later Sam chased back up when it was
my turn to misjudge where to hike through the soft sand from the
water's edge up to re-enter the jungle.
Sam had gapped me into T2 by 10 sec and gained another 5 when I put
socks on. the run loop was top notch... 2 loops consisting of a
jungle section loaded with monkeys and monitor lizards , followed by a
tour through the zoo, then a big jungle uphill and descent with a 1/2
mile soft sand beach section to finish the loop.

I worked to catch Sam and move into the lead on the first loop's
climb, only to have the hams twinging then locking up on the descent
to the beach. Sam caught right back up by lap point. We waded through
a small stream emptying on the beach and here i looked beside and saw
Sam dolphining through it... which he probably shouldn't have because
it smelled like monkey poo! Now I was really losing my form with jello
for legs and slipped out taking a spill on the wet boulders.
Then, as luck would have it, starting the 2nd loop the leg cramps
mysteriously cleared up and i could pick up the pace again. I surged
up the climb and bounded down the steep descent bringing it home for
the win in 2 hrs 13 min. At the finish it was a Commonwealth sweep
with Vine, Thorne who had ran well and moved to 2nd @ :42 behind, and
Gardner in 3rd at 1 min back.
In the women's race it was Renata Bucher winning it with Saipan's
Mieko Carey in 2nd. How's this for random luck - Renata has also
placed exactly the same as me in all 4 US Cup races this year as well.

This event was a huge success and the racers were all excited and
buzzing before, during, and afterwards. Many kudos to Shazly and co
for pulling this one together. There were loads of spectators,
including the Royal Prince of Pahang who was enjoying it and stayed
for the whole event. The race received major media coverage with
numerous tv networks in attendance. For example, after flying over
from Kuantan to the Kuala Lumpur Intl Airport the next day, the race
coverage was playing on the tv's in the terminal there.

Next up is Richmond Virginia, one of my favorite courses on the US Cup
Circuit, followed by a new venue in Little Rock AK the next week. Will
be a tough travel week with 2 days in vancouver now before flying out.
VA is exactly a 12 hr time difference from Malaysia which safe to say
will be unpleasant!
Many thanks to my sponsors, Intense, Fox Shox, Mizuno, Michelin,
Blue70, Maui Coupon Magazine, Vega.
Please see attached pics, courtesy of XTerra Malaysia.
Mike







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