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Stuart Lumb: XTERRA Maui 2010
Posted by: jetsetsupervet
Posted on: Tuesday 9th November 2010


Tags  Jet Set Super Vet  |  JetSetSuperVet  |  Maui  |  Stuart Lumb  |  Xterra Maui


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If you are going to finish your season off in style, what better place to do it than the beautiful island of Maui? Stuart Lumb, aka Jet Set Super Vet (JSSV) took on the XTERRA World Championships for the second time, but could he better his performance from 2008?


I like to leave my readers in suspense and so don't flag up my race programme, unlike many other contributors. I like an element of surprise... On a more serious note though, as the years go by you never know what tomorrow may bring. Hence I still travel the world working, not that it pays much and travel to race – and that definitely doesn't pay. Maybe I might hook a kind sponsor, although I don't have the ability – or good looks - of Julie Dibens or Daz Parker !

I was lucky enough to win a place to race XTERRA Worlds back in May in Sardinia. On a whim I decided to accept my place as I had saved up my Air Miles, although travel is just one of a host of costs, plus Maui isn't the cheapest of places in the world to stay. You've stacks of time for contemplation when flying to Maui and it was then that I remembered with a sinking feeling that a) there was a cut-off 4hours into the race, at T2. plus b) I was two years older than when I'd previously raced. Ah well, not to worry I thought - and had another beer...

Maui 2010My modus operandi is to arrive a week before the race to get over the 24 hours of travel and to get used to the 28-30°C temperatures. I love hot weather so soon adapt plus I turn the air con. off, much to Mrs JSSV's annoyance. It was dark when I picked up our hire car and I nearly put her light out as I proceeded to drive away on the wrong (left) side of the road! Anyway we escaped unscathed and I blamed it on jet lag. In 2008 I hired a hard tail but this time I lugged my Giant Anthem X1, bought very reasonably courtesy of Paul Drinkwater www.pdsportsmanagement.co.uk and Cycle Sense of Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, halfway across the planet. Suffice to say that my Giant is far better than its rider! I raced the GB Durty Off Road Champs with flats, but made it my goal to be confident enough to race with clip-ins in Maui. I'd bought some new Shimano clip-ins but even on maximum slackness they were still too tight. Then I had a (very rare) brainwave – I rang my good Barracuda club mate and mentor Simon Pickering to see if he had any old/broken in pedals. Lo and behold he had a pair gathering dust in his garage so we did a deal and I got on much better with them. Suffice to say I felt confident enough to race on the older Shimanos.

The race itself is a 1.5km non wetsuit (ugh) swim, 32km bike split and an 11km trail/beach run, with the bike split involving 640m of climbing (2500 feet sounds much tougher though...). The bike split – which involves negotiating a lot of vicious volcanic rock chunks - is off limits until race day although there's a tame piece – part of the run split - that competitors can practice on. I went round it on three separate days and felt ok with my clip-ins, much to my relief. The run involves a lot of climbing and descending plus a beach section of sand and nasty small rocks. I had planned to do some pre-race beach runs, to get used to the heat, but about 10 days before leaving Blighty I tweaked my ankle. I don't tempt providence so my runs became very slow jogs and consequently I swam much more than before the race than I did in 2008, seeing as my running was curtailed.

Maui Transition

There were not that many Brits competing – hardly surprising – several elites and a handful of age groupers. I met up with ex- pat Sian Turner who I'd raced with at the ETU and GB cross tri events. Sian' s family had made the long trip from the UK to support her which was great stuff. I also renewed acquaintances with Peter Lilly and his wife Brenda. They are now residents of N.Carolina after emigrating from Lancashire a while back. Peter's in my AG so it was the War of the Roses all over again !

Maui 2010The race base is at the Makena Beach and Golf Resort which is practically at the southern most tip of Maui, with transition being located in the resort's spacious grounds. Everything's well organised even down to the staff using purpose made stamps for numbering – none of this freehand stuff for XTERRA! Whilst racking my bike I got chatting to Charlotte Mahan from N.Carolina. She was in the 65-69 AG and had raced three times before, but had always missed the cut off. I told her she had a lot of guts to keep persevering and told her that 2010 would be her lucky year! The race doesn't start until 9am so it's pretty warm by the time the swim starts. There's a ceremonial blessing and prayers by the native Maui islanders, which helps calm things down and then it was into the clear blue Pacific for two laps of the swim course.

This year the beach section between laps was shortened which I was delighted about. Whilst being a non-wetsuit swim, speedsuits / speedskins are legal, although I don't have one . Maybe should have one on my Xmas wish list! My swim went OK but about 200m from the finish something brushed my legs and I nearly freaked out, but it just turned out to be a turtle! Then it was into T1 and off on my bike.

The first 13km is practically all climbing so it was hard work, given it was about 28°C by now. Along the way I passed a girl getting medical aid for what looked like a broken elbow, a salutory lesson not to overcook it. Then came a lot of switchbacks on cattle trails which were great fun. The tough bits are the downhills with the lava lumps, tackled best by keeping upright and a minimum use of brakes. High on the mountain riding was tricky as the wind came in vicious gusts but I managed not to come off, unlike in 2008. The clock was counting down so I pressed on and just hoped I'd beat the cut off, which I did this time with 14 minutes to spare.

Maui 2010I did most of the run with a local guy called Jerry and it's amazing how it helps not to be running by yourself. The beach section is hard and then is followed by a nasty twisty section through a wood with plenty of branches for weary legs to trip over. Just before the finish you have to negotiate a rocky foreshore which after nearly six hours racing was pretty taxing. Then it was back on the paths and across the line where everyone gets the traditional lei garland and the "survivor " finisher medal.

My swim time was two minutes slower than 2008 but my bike split improved by eight minutes, which was fantastic. Much of that undoubtedly due to me riding a class soft tail, with clip-ins fitted as opposed to flats. Overall I was chuffed to beat my 2008 time by just under six minutes plus there were still several other finishers behind me this time, not that there's any disgrace in coming last. I'd seen Charlotte approach T2 as I started my run and was delighted that she finally beat the cut off as she finished shortly after me, claiming the World Champion's slot for the 65-69 women. Sian Turner came a solid 10th in her 25-29 AG despite having a bad tumble off her bike, picking up some nasty grazes which needed some post race attention from the very efficient and well equipped medical team .

So, another box ticked and another medal to hang off the mantle piece.

There were 501 starters with sadly 17 DNFs – it's a long way to go to Maui and not to finish, but c'est la vie….

So all in all JSSV has had a pretty good season. I'm shortlisted for two Barracuda Club awards which is very pleasing, given we have around 180 members in the club.. The "bash" is on Nov 20th so all will be revealed then . Well, it'll soon be Spring and we'll have to see what 2011 will bring!!

Stuart with his survivor medal


Stuart Lumb About the Author

Stuart Lumb lives in God's County - Yorkshire, where else.. took up triathlon when most of his peers were packing in. Works abroad a lot hence christened "Jet Set Super Vet" by a Barracuda club mate. Also enjoys competing in cross tri / XTERRA events - did I hear "Crazy JSSV"? But, you only live once...


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