Snow Valley XTERRA Trail Race weekend with our pig!

We planned to camp in the middle of Big Bear Mountains/Snow Valley in an off-season ski resort, so we finally were able to bring our pet Juliana miniature Pig “Milo” with us on a weekend adventure!DCIM100MEDIA

Although It’s hard to keep a pig with a full bladder quiet anywhere, after a 4hr drive, walking in the pitch black woods, he was tired enough to not squeal.  No patience for tents, we just folded down the seats on Honda Civic Hatchback, let Milo root around for his perfect spot, then passed out.

SnowDCIM100MEDIA Valley Trail Triathlon on Saturday started at 9:00… so there was way too much pre-race time for what we’re used to in the city.  You should be done with your race by 9am! Roger decided to sleep in until 6:30, then followed his nose to the fresh coffee at the lodge. We’re loving this coffee at transition at the mountain races!  Milo was a hit.

I volunteered at transition, but I took the trek up to watch the race start. We make it a point to pray and kiss before parting for the swim start; but it would take 20 minutes to walk up the mountain with their bikes to the lake from transition… important detail they hadn’t mentioned.

This race report explains the terrain & pains from Trail Triathlon that Roger experienced in his first off-road triathlon.

After Roger crosses the finish line my heart starts beating again. It took a lot of strength and will to finish the rest of the race after a bunch of discouraging & painful downhill flips after his bike brakes broke on the first lap.  Roger needed a few hours to just be alone in the Lounge couches. I took Milo for an exploratory trail run along the bike course for the triathlon in the meantime.

The disappointing post race BBQ was burgers. To support the local businesses, we rode our bikes down the mountain to a nearby local mountain-style restaurant.  Roger riding his broken bike around those skinny steep hills was scary.   To fuel me for the trail race the next day: Sat night (steak, broccoli, 2 large orders of mashed potatoes with butter). Sunday morning (water, 2 bananas, 3 apples, few nuts, and a 16oz bottle of Gatorade/ZipFizz).

Then we finally got to relax and hang out with some San Diegan racers also camping to volunteer the next day. Our kind of crowd!  All the Tri participants got a discount to run the next day and they let Roger pass it onto me for Sunday.

In order for me to do the race with out worries of Milo, roger set up the tent in a shady spot, with the screens open. We have to cross the interstate from the campsite to the Half marathon race start, which felt like the frantic running at an airport runway trying to dodge planes since there were turns at either side.

The XTERRA Trail Half Marathon was 1k loop, then 2 of a 10k course, which really helped adjust strategy for 2nd loop. One aspect I liked a lot of their course design was that at each water station, there were walkie talkies communicating with the announcer at the start/finish to update friends and family how the race was going. More importantly, I was able to know how far ahead I was and who was behind me. Last thing I want to do is look back on a trail. I’d much rather run after whoever is in front of me, than worry about who’s behind.

DCIM100MEDIAI took 2 pieces of gum for mile 2 and mile 8. At the start of the 2nd loop I had my one GU.  My chest begins to hurt since I’m finding it hard to breathe, maybe the altitude is finally hitting me.

At the top of the trail where it flats out to concrete for a short time, I hear the volunteer on the walkie talkie: “#, 2nd female”, I continue jogging and drinking my water. Then 10 seconds later, I hear “#, 3rd female”. I’m just thinking, oh it’s not going to be that easy to pass me! So for the next 1 mile, me and this teenage girl are side by side just running steady, breathing, and knowing the race is not over until it’s over.  I take the lead, and suddenly pass this woman who’s soaking in sweat and walking… could this be 1st female? I tell her she’s doing great, and pass.  The 10k is happening now so there’s many jogging/walkers on the course to through you off and make you dodge people.

DCIM100MEDIAThe next 3 miles are skinny trail paths, that we are pushing to stay in front of each other. I use my planned strategy since I now memorized the course, pushing forward taking the lead right before the 2 mile downhill and fly. The last mile is mostly winding uphill trail and the turn makes me see 3rd female running close behind!  I’m too close to let her pass me, so I just pick it up using more jumps than running. I pass the walkers doing the 10k and remind them this is so fun!  Through the trees you can hear the announcer, people cheering and dogs, but you can’t see any hope. It’s so unclear how far away you are. The course just has arrows, no mileage markers.. as if saying, “You’ll get to the finish line, why don’t you walk for a bit?” I look up and see Roger with his camera jumping up and down saying, “Bessy go take it!! You are so close!! It’s strong downhill!” It really was already over, and I cross to hear I’m 2nd female overall.  A few seconds later, 3rd female overall crosses, and we high 5 in the water tent.  I go to the board to see, if I did it in 1:59, what in the world did the 1st overall do? 1:46!  She was a pro athlete sponsored by TIMEX.

Then the torturing drive back to San Diego on a Sunday afternoon, with construction on I-15! Really fun weekend getaway to enjoy SoCal’s many gems.

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