|Early stages of the Xterra West Championships|
|Kahtoola race kit with the M*A*S*H* mountain (which we raced) in the back|
The second race went a lot better for me mentally. I was able to stay engaged the entire time and actually feel like I was competing from start to finish. It may have been because I had actually done a couple long runs before this race, but more likely because I got to wear my new race kit provided by Kahtoola. I drove to the LA area the day before the race in mid-May and stayed with one of Sara's college friends. I then finished the last hour to Malibu early race morning. Again, the course was more dirt road than trail, but did have a couple sweet short technical sections, including one on top of a granite ridge with views out to the Pacific. The race started out much quicker than my car-stiffened legs were happy with, but I was able to shake them out and catch the leaders by the time we started the insanely long, grinding ascent. The race gained and lost 3430' over the 14 miles and most of it was in this one climb. I was able to pull away from second place towards the top and use the downhills to create more of a gap. Despite not being able to gap a jogger on the trail during the last climb to the finish I managed to hang on for the win before driving the 7 hours back to Flagstaff to see Sara return from a river trip. One of the neatest things about the Malibu race was getting to race through the M*A*S*H* set. I was really hoping for a helicopter to come over the hills and get me up the mountain.
|Clark Fork flowing through Missoula in early April|
|Hiking up the Slabs on Mt Elden with Jack|
Sara and I had a trip scheduled to Missoula for this last week in which we were supposed to scope out the job situation, but with the TCH job the nature of our trip changed. Owen was very generous and let us stay in his basement and borrow a couple bikes so we were able to explore the city. This was Sara's first trip up there and a great chance to make sure she likes it (and a relief when she said she does). Sara was able to go by the University and talk to someone in the PT program and I got to go on a couple long runs with some of the top local runners. Owen also took us to watch one of the Wednesday night beer league mountain bike races, which afforded us a glimpse into our future of not getting enough mid-week sleep because we will be up as late as the sun playing. For now Missoula seems like it will be a great fit for us where we can hopefully create a new home with great friends.
|Sara cold on the bike in Missoula|
We have exactly one month left in Flagstaff before we head back to the trail, and that month is going to be busy. Sara still has another river trip, and I have another race in Colorado, not to mention a Sea Level Sucks event at the Flagstaff Hullabaloo, packing for a move, and planning the remainder of a thru-hike. We also have a bucket list of things we want to do in town before leaving, mostly trails we want to run/bike, but we may have to put the list on hold for return visits to Flag.
That's all for now! Somewhat daily adventures can be found at:
Forrest and Sara