You may know that ITU World Championships was my last race. I won, and convinced myself that I was done with the competitive sport thing. I sold my road bike, my wetsuit, and I'm currently in the process of selling the bike on which I raced XTERRA NZ in April of last year.
On Sunday (October 25), the XTERRA World Championships were held in Maui, Hawaii. For most of last season, I intended completely to not only be at this event, but to win. Things took a turn for the worse when I didn't race the New Zealand qualifier, and before that, failed to do sufficient mountain bike training to prepare. So it went that the World Championships were contested without me (or Nic and Cabin, weirdly) there.
Scott Thorne, that far-off relative of mine to whom I once frequently referred to proudly, placed 13th at the event. Not bad. XTERRA Worlds attracts some of triathlon's stars: Olivier Marceau, for example - that ridiculously good-looking French-turned-Swiss guy who was first out of the swim in the inaugural Olympic triathlon, way back in Sydney 2000. Conrad Stoltz was there too, one of the more prominent figures in offroad triathlon. Add Michael Weiss, and winner Eneko Llanos and you've got something of a who's who in XTERRA land. Nelson-based Richard Ussher was 11th in the event, but perhaps more impressively, New Zealand women won four of the ten age-group titles. Our men didn't fare quite so well.
Age-grouper Benjamin Dewitt
The reason I'm writing about it? Because I totally could have won my division! I raced winner Megan Fisher at ITU Worlds and smashed her in the swim. While we came off the bike at the same time, had it not been for that poorly timed abdominal strain along with cramp, I would have smashed her on the run, too. So now that's got me thinking: once my Master's is complete, should I go back?
I want to say no. I'll be 26 in 2012, and part of the reason I quit THIS year was so that, by 2012, I will have gotten over any sort of urge to go chasing that Olympic dream again. And that XTERRA dream. I wanted to win a world title, I did, so I stopped racing, and that should have been it.
But what if...
What if, in 2012, I'm still like "yeah, XTERRA World would be sweet." Do I go for it? Or do I look at things rationally and say, "hmm, no. ITU Worlds was my swan song. Get a real job." (And since the goal for 2011/12 is to be a successful and not-surviving-on-the-bones-of-my-butt JET instructor in Japan, I should already have a real job.) I suppose one never knows, really. By then I might be so gnarled up and old that I can't even ride a bike anymore, let alone over some of Hawaii's toughest terrain.
I think for now, in the words of Tim Prendergast, it needs to go into a black box under my bed, only to be taken out and delved into once I have my Master's degree in my hand.
Buuuuut... it is Hawaii...