After watching these races unfold from New Zealand for the last few years, I was itching to get over to race Xterra Guam and Saipan and this year, alongside Mark 'Cabin" Leishman I was able to make the trip over and experience what every one had been saying about these amazing places.
Getting to Guam from NZ is definitely an experience with a few random flights but once we were there and checked in at the Sheraton we were able to see why it is rated so highly. The organisation around the race was awesome and they embraced all the pro athletes.
Our pre-ride and run of the course both ended up being a mission...and ended up with cabin and myself riding the course backwards...
We were able to see the bike course though and that was the main thing. It had a few gradual climbs, and the rest was all over extremely loose, rocky terrain which was a bit of a challenge at race speed.
The run was awesome. Like a trek in an Xterra race. Bush bashing, running down streams and a bit of flat fast stuff made something for everyone. I was loving it and looking forward to race day.
Race day arrived and I felt good. I had got in a bit of last minute of training after getting sick but the goal for these races was to use them to build towards Xterra NZ in a few weeks. I had a good swim and came out (which including swimming above coral reefs and a lot of sea life) in 5th. After an average transition I was out in 6th chasing those ahead.
The bike starts with a long climb and I was able to get into a good rhythm and close the gap to 3rd and 4th. Once into the technical rocky stuff I closed the gap, but after 30 mins of riding (and having already gone through TWO drink bottles in the heat) I realised my main drink bottle of GU Roctane had slipped out of my bottle holder. I realised I had to slow down so I rode with 3rd and 4th until the next aid station (40 mins away). I grabbed a few bottles and then was away again coming into transition in 3rd.
I headed out onto the run trying to extend my gap so I was out of sight come the stream parts, where you can only see 15m ahead. I loved this section and running down a stream meant I was able to cool down. I had managed to extend my lead in 3rd but couldn't see 2nd so I kept my pace steady and didn't push into the red, as I had another race in the heat the following weekend.
I was stoked to come across the line in 3rd behind two South Africans Dan Hugo and Bradley Weiss and get the trip off to a good start.