New to my team this year, I’ll be racing exclusively on Maxxis Tires!  Racing from deserts of Las Vegas to the forests of England has taught me (the hard way) that the right tire selection can make the difference between being in the race and on the ground.  So, I’m really looking forward to traveling with an arsenal of tires to choose from in order to maximize my chances of staying upright in all conditions.

In addition to manufacturing Automotive and ATV tires, Maxxis offers a huge selection of bicycle tires for us to choose from.  (Twenty six at last I counted!) Needless to say, there is a Maxxis mountain bike tire suitable for any condition, any wheel size, any riding style!  -Including fat bikes!

Take a quick look at their Bike Technology Page to learn about sidewall & puncture protection, Tubeless Ready Systems, and tire construction.

This year I plan to try some new tread patterns, but below are a few of the staples I will race on for the majority of my MTB and XTERRA racing.  These models and more can be found at George’s Cycles/G-Fit Studio in Boise.




“A high-volume, low-profile tread design offers minimal rolling resistance and consistent traction across the profile of the tire.Continuous side knobs keep you planted where traction is critical, and the single compound balances traction and tread wear.”




“The Ikon is for true racers looking for a true lightweight race tire. With 3C Triple Compound Technology, high-volume casing and a fast rolling tread design, the Ikon provides exemplary performance in all riding conditions. As its name suggests, the Ikon represents all that is true in racing.”




“Specially designed for racing in adverse conditions, the Beaver features a tread design ideal for wet and muddy conditions.”

Ardent Race


Ardent Race

“The Ardent Race tire from Maxxis is ideally suited for technical XC race courses and endurance-length events. With its medium-height tread, the Ardent Race bridges the gap between the XC-oriented Ikon and the trail-oriented Ardent. The center knobs are ramped to reduce rolling resistance, and the side knobs are angled and stepped to provide great biting traction in corners. Choose the Ardent Race for your next demanding XC race or epic trail ride.”


I was going to write a “season summary” blog post, but I decided to let R. Buckminster Fuller explain how it went, and how I plan to pull it together for Worlds.

en·tro·py  ˈentrəpē/  “lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.”

Of Altitude and Attitude

(An XTERRA Mountain Championships Race Report)

I have diverse interests.

I’m a scientist.  But I’m also an artist.  I like physics.  But I like to make pottery.  I like to work scientific with instruments.   But I also I like to play musical instruments.

So I have a healthy inner conflict about data.

And what makes me an artist, surfer, musician, should naturally makes me ambivalent about data.  In fact, I don’t like “paralysis by analysis”.  There are just so many things in life that can’t be boiled down to numbers.  Regardless, I generally like data.  I was trained as an Analytical Chemist.  So I’ve generated mountains of data in the lab.  I’ve used it to help make millions of dollars worth of decisions.  Data helps me come to conclusions and make important decisions.

Luckily, instead of generating “mountains of data” I now I generate “data on mountains”!

I’ll get to the data later, but this brings me to this month’s XTERRA Mountain Championships at Beaver Creek, Colorado.

Basically, I had a bad race.

I’ve bitched and moaned before about my woes of racing at higher altitudes.  But last year, I had an “outlier” performance (to use a light data term.)  In an attempt to gain some more points in the US Points Series, I trained right through the Mountain Championships and ended up walking away with my best placement of the year.  In fact, it was my first pro paycheck!  So, understandably, despite knowing that I don’t perform at my best at higher altitudes,  I was OK with going back.

This year though, I had two 3rd place finishes and a 4th coming into Colorado.  The US Points Series only takes your best 3 of 4 Regional Championship races (West, SE, East, Mountain) and the US Championship.  So from a purely points-series standpoint, I didn’t even have to race.  But, as a Professional, the real goal is to make money.  And I feel like I belong racing the guys at the front.  So I decided to race.  It wasn’t even a question.

However, the lead-up to this race was not ideal.  We had record temperatures in Boise (109F, 43C), so I took an impromptu trip to San Diego to escape.  If you know me, I don’t travel all that well and my fitness is highly dependent on my ability to put in uninterrupted training.  Also, I committed to trying to do 2 weeks at higher altitude ahead of the race, which took me up to Sun Valley at 6,000′, back to Boise at 2,700′ and out to Colorado.  When I got to Colorado, turns out I lost my housing.  So I had to scramble to find places to sleep.  First air bnb, then at a friend’s new home at almost 9,000′ above sea level (OUCH) and then at a homestay.  I developed bad altitude sickness while at 9,000′ and really never recovered until a few days after arriving home in Boise.


All in all, I took an expensive, lonely, and frustrating sight-seeing trip to Colorado and felt sick the whole time.  I did get to connect with some great people.  But I owe pretty much everyone an apology because I was feeling miserable.  My body was all kinds of confused, screwed up or feeling sick for about three weeks straight.

In the last two days before the race though, I was finally settled in at a homestay around 6,000′ elevation.  My body started to feel a bit better and even perform better.  So despite still feeling a bit sick, I was now optimistic.  On race morning, my legs felt good on my warmups.  I felt I had weathered the storm so-to-speak and was thinking I was ready mentally to “giv’er” and have a ripper of a race.

The swim at the XTERRA Mountain Championships was reversed this year, swimming counter-clockwise around Nottingham Lake at over 7,000′ elevation.  The start was cramped and I was relegated to the 2nd line.  …not where I wanted to be.  Still, I got out strong and settled into race rhythm a bit early knowing high altitude is not where you want to over-bake a swim start.  Once in rhythm, I accidentally started pulling to the right a bit, caused by putting my head low to get my hips up.  It popped me off the back of my pack and I had to correct before the 1st buoy.  I put more power into every stroke after the buoy and found myself on Chris Foster’s feet with someone just beyond him.


Copyright: XTERRA 2015

I felt like we weren’t swimming fast/hard enough so I made multiple attempts to pass, but once out of the draft I didn’t have enough sustained power to get around.  After trying to pass a few more times at buoys, I felt like the best strategy was to just keep swimming as efficiently as I could.  I sat on with these two swimmers and prepared to destroy the bike leg to get as deep into the race as possible.

After two laps, we hit the beach and I noticed it was Ryan Ignatz with Chris and I.  I was pretty stoked at this point since Ryan is from Boulder and had out-swam me by a significant margin in past years here.  Progress.  The three of us came out of T1 simultaneously.  Unfortunately for me, I forgot to secure my cycling shoes to my crank and they flopped all around erratically as I tried to mount.  With the uphill grass mounting area, I lost momentum and had to dismount and run a bit as Ryan and Chris rolled away.

I quickly got going and pushed hard with my feet out of the shoes to catch back up.  I got back to Chris and put my shoes on at full speed.  Ryan had about a 20 yard gap on us by the time we started to climb.  I remembered how last year on the early part of the climb, I felt very good.  This year I was sucking wind.  My breathing was audible as I pushed hard to get to Ryan.  I passed Chris and another athlete, and then Chris Legh.

Soon after, however, Chris Foster and the other athlete re-passed me.  The gap to Ryan was not growing, so I settled in behind these two on the early part of the climb.  According to my bike computer, the course climbs steadily for 1,900′ total, from 7,100′ to 9,000′ elevation.  So basically, it’s a big-ass climb where you get significantly less oxygen as you go. 🙂

It’s not a technical climb at all.  It’s a fitness test.   And speaking of fitness, I was impressed with Chris Foster’s preparation.  He was climbing very well.  He asked if I wanted to pass him and I just told him that if/when I can, I will.  I was struggling to get enough air.

But about 15-20 minutes into the climb, my breathing relaxed a bit and my legs started to feel better.  I passed the two riders in front of me and pulled away steadily.  I was excited that my body seemed to start working suddenly.  There was hope that I could make some headway!  Turns out, I didn’t catch anyone but Brendan Rakita, who unfortunately had suffered a flat.

In fact, despite “feeling” better, my power was the same on the first half and last half of the climb.  This is just more confirmation that the way I feel and the way I perform are two separate things.  Nevertheless, I “felt” good and was racing hard.  I came into T2 in 8th place, disappointed but ready to put in a run into the money.

That is, until I started running…


Last year, my run performance was propped up by the fact that the run was reversed.  There was a lot of running on long, shallow climbs broken up by short, steep descents.  For me, this is a recipe for fast running at altitude.  I can just get into a rhythm and suffer at a sustainable level, using my efficiency for speed.  However, like two years ago, the course was clockwise this time.  This meant brutally steep hills and shallow descents.  The shallow descents are a minor issue.  I’m not as efficient running down hill as I am on flats and moderate climbs.   But steep climbs just take lots of power and high VO2 max. Unfortunately, it proved too much for me this year.  I ran my body into such oxygen debt that I got light headed and fell.  I actually fell off the trail on a straightaway trying to “recover” from the uphill efforts.

To add insult to this, for the first time in two years I was reduced to a shuffle at points.  And it wasn’t by choice.  My body shut down.  My mind got cloudy.  Alarm bells went off.


Now, I’m a decent runner.  I also consider myself mentally tough.  E.g., I came off the bike in 7th place one month earlier at XTERRA East Championships.  There, I ran into 4th place in oppressive heat and humidity, with the fastest run of the day.

And despite not being able to stay upright or think straight, I pushed myself to run.  And when Chris Legh caught me on a downhill, my instinct was to get on his shoulder. To show him I’m not going anywhere without a fight.  But reality hit hard when we started going up a steep jeep road.  I popped again and he ran away.  It was a long and mentally painful run to the top of the 2nd climb and stumbling back down the mountain to the finish.

I’m not sure I’m happy with how I handled my poor performance.  This was the first time in a race this season that I was truly unhappy with my performance as it was happening.  I physically couldn’t run as fast as I wanted and needed to.  Unfortunately, looking back I think it showed in my attitude.  And for that I’m not proud.  At the finish line someone said “great performance!” and I said something to the effect of “No, it wasn’t”.


Which was technically true.  However, I should have just said “thanks”.  So if that was anyone reading this, I apologize.  I’m going through a learning curve.  Just like learning to finish well gracefully, I have to learn how to take a lickin’ gracefully as well.  So I’m taking away that I need to just put my emotions aside a bit and realize that we don’t always “knock it out of the park”.

I ended up getting 9th overall, 9th pro.  Results can be found here.

No paycheck.  Lots of travel bills, and three weeks of time invested, two of which at high altitudes.

When looking at my performance vs. 2015, I simply had a bad race. Compared to myself and compared to the competition, I swam about the same (maybe a bit better that the preceding year), but then I rode poorly, and then ran even worse.  Ugh!

I’ve got a lot of work to do to right that ship.  But I don’t think it was my overall fitness at play in Colorado this year.  It was a less-than-perfect preparation.  I’m going to need to stay in a good rhythm of training going into the next stop of the XTERRA US Tour when we hit the US Championship in Ogden Utah on September 19th if I want better results.

I’ve heard it mentioned a few times that this course is a good analog for the Nationals in Ogden, Utah.  I don’t completely agree.  For one, the run course at Ogden is at 6,000′.  That’s high up, but it’s lower than even the swim in Colorado.  The run has a few short pitches, but it doesn’t have two massive 2-mile steep climbs.

Also, the bike course is significantly different in a few ways.  Not only does it start and end at altitudes (4,500′ and ends at 6,000′) both lower than the lowest point on the Beaver Creek course, but it’s comprised of two distinct climbs.  The lower climb is gradual, with a technical descent afterwards.  The top climb is slightly steeper and tops out at 6,500′ before a long descent to T2.  Still lower than the swim in Beaver Creek.   So no, they’re not similar courses.  People from more moderate altitudes can actually compete with Coloradans there.  I don’t get altitude sickness in Ogden which sits at 4,000′, so that’s a start right there.  Living at high altitude is an advantage that many people can’t afford.  I’m fortunate that Boise sits at a modest altitude while having a low cost of living.   This lets me have a good quality of life, while building good fitness on awesome terrain.

Speaking of fitness… an interesting insight into my current fitness was an uphill time trial I did 5 days after the race in Colorado.  I climbed the aptly named “Hard Guy” trail here in Boise at TT effort. (For reference, this was my third workout of the day, so I was not at all “fresh” just as in Colorado)  But I used the exact same everything in terms of equipment and nutrition.  Unlike Utah, the Hard Guy climb is a good analogy for the climb in Beaver Creek.  They are both about 4.4 miles with 1,900′ of continuous climbing.  The biggest difference is that this one starts at 3,500′ and ends at 5,400′ elevation.  (Beaver Creek climbs from 7,100′ to 9,000′ according to my altimeter)  When you live at 2,700′, that’s significant difference.  How significant?  Well, I said I don’t mind data… so let’s look at some simple data:

Beaver Creek (July 18, 2015)

Hard Guy (July 23, 2015)

That’s a difference of 56 Watts average, and 1.2 mph on a VERY similar climb.  To put it into perspective, (ignoring that I didn’t know where the segment actually started) I was about a minute off of Nico Lebrun’s KOM and half a minute off of Michael Tobin.  Both XTERRA World Champions.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 6.12.45 PM

Now, that was when they were climbing with two other athletes.  And I wasn’t there.  So, I don’t know how hard (or not hard) they were going.  All I have to go by is the data.  And in a town of serious mountain bikers, no one has beaten those times.  On the most popular climb.  (The QOM is Kristin Armstrong, BTW)

But KOM’s and comparisons aside.  I’m as fit as I’ve ever been in my life, and climbing well in Boise.  And certainly better than I did at higher altitude five days earlier.  And I have every reason to believe I’ll go faster in Utah than I ever have.   I believe in hard work.  I’ve been putting in very hard work on a consistent basis, all year long, and steadily getting better.

If only there were a way to tell if you were getting steadily better…

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 6.32.10 PM

So Strava has it’s uses.  (Downhill it’s kinda dangerous, uphill it’s proving fairly useful!) My recent fitness on this particular test piece was over a minute faster than the preceding month.  Over three minutes faster than May, and over five minutes faster than my best effort last year.


But I’ve hit a slump in terms of results.  It happens.  I’ve watched other athletes go through the same thing for various reasons.  It could caused by anything from too much air travel, to plain bad luck.  And it will pass.

“Do what you ought, come what may”.

Right now, what has come is a slump and I’m continuing try my best to do what needs to be done, regardless.

When you hit a slump, it’s important to be thankful for those who see you through thick and thin and support what you do.  I wouldn’t be in such a great position this year (3rd Overall in the XTERRA US Pro Tour) without the guidance of my coach Paulo Sousa.  Also, I owe a HUGE thanks to my title sponsor Equal Earth.  Thanks to my sponsors and supporters: Champion System, Blue Seventy, First Endurance, G-Fit Studio Boise and TriTown Boise for putting me in the best equipment to do my job!

Up next is XTERRA Portland on August 8th.  If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, please come out and race!  In addition to an awesome XTERRA, there’s also a MTB race and trail running races!

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 10.56.58 PM

Training in Sun Valley, ID

Here’s a quick clip from my recent training week in Sun Valley, Idaho.  The higher elevation made training tough, but  it’s a beautiful place to train!  I look forward to getting a bit more camera savvy as I go along, will post as I go!

“I Don’t Know What to do with My Hands” (An XTERRA Western Championships Race Report)

Quite a lot has happened since my last blog post!  Since then, I caught a nasty flu, recovered, raced two more mountain bike races, and (most importantly) earned my first XTERRA USA Pro Tour podium spot!!!  How’s that for an executive summary?!

The XTERRA US Tour kicked off this last Saturday (April 25th) in Henderson, Nevada.  This was my 4th year racing the XTERRA Western Championships.  In previous years, I had “participated” in 2012, DNF’d due to a double-mechanical in 2013, and then finished 8th in 2014.

The trip to Vegas was really enjoyable this year.  A fellow XTERRA athlete Nate Youngs (who I had met last year in Maui) happened to have family living in Henderson and they offered to put us up.  Let me tell you, it was cool living next to Chris Angel, if just for a few days.  Needless to say my Hyundai Sonata rental turned some heads in that posh neighborhood.  They see me rollin’…

Uh… anyways, after we settled into our swanky accommodations, my pre-race prep workouts were underway.   And I felt good.  Like too good.  I know from experience that how I “feel” and how I “perform” are two completely different things.   And there is good reason for my skeptisizm this time around.  Only a few short weeks earlier I caught a nasty bug.  I guess it was the flu, and it knocked me out of a week of training.

Chris West

Pre-race, feeling “almost too good.” Photo Credit: Trey Garman 2015

Before illness, my confidence was sky-high.  My numbers on the bike, my bike race results, my running, swimming, crosswords proficiency, diction, were all at an all-time high.  But after, I did not seem to be performing at the same level.  So, understandably, my confidence going into this race was a bit lower than it had been pre-illness.  However, I knew my baseline fitness was still better than the same time last year.  And as the weeks went on, the memory of the illness faded and all indicators started to trend slowly in the right direction.

Originally, this winter I trained with the intent of coming out of the water with Josiah and catching Mauricio Mendez on the bike.  I figured if I could do that regularly, I’d have good crack at the podium (top 5), at some point.  But Mau wasn’t listed in the  pre-race write up.  Also, about three other podium contenders from last year were also missing.  Basically all South Africans.  But Ben Allen and Paco Serrano were listed.  So I had the same goals, same plan but the faces just changed.

Speaking of the pre-race writeup… I had to rib my XTERRA family a bit before the race about that.  The write up basically said: Look out for racers #1, 2, 3,… 5, 6, 7, 8…etc.  I was #4.  Haha!  So funny.  We all had a good laugh about it and they told me if I made the top 5, they would “never do that again”.  ;o)

Race morning quickly came and I felt totally ready to go.  Fairly eager even.  Again, almost too ready.  It seemed too simple on race morning at the pro rack.  I found myself completely prepped, warmed up, hydrated, etc… standing there, chatting, laughing, enjoying myself and thinking “oh God, what did I forget?”.

Oh, nothing.

Ok, cool.

So, half in my new Blueseventy Helix Wetsuit, I strolled down to the swim start.  After a nice long swim warmup I found myself calmly waiting for the start.  I staked out my start position according to the beach shape with fair disregard for where the other pros seeded themselves.  More importantly, with regard for the location of the mini starter’s cannon.   I was super eager to swim.  I knew from workouts that I was strong, if maybe not what I consider “fast” quite yet.   I’ve done a LOT of swim work this winter and was genuinely curious to see how I went.

I’m about 7th blue cap from the right in the swim start pic (below)

Photo: XTERRA 2015

Photo: XTERRA 2015

Once the canon fired, I dove in and got out fast.   I had clean water for maybe 200 meters with a group to my left and a larger group moving quickly far to my right.  Once I started to feel the effort, I decided to veer left and join in.  I hip-surfed for a bit further and it became single file.  Then the swimmer in front of me veered and a gap formed.  CRAP.  I surged hard, but I was still recovering from the start effort.  The gap grew slowly.  I was unmolested around both turn buoys, which is a real treat!  Open water swimming this Winter with The Triathlon Squad and Darren Smith’s D-Squad had prepared me for an ITU style rumble.  But it didn’t come.  In fact, I looked back after the 2nd buoy and saw I was leading a group!

Now, I’m happy about this since only a few short years ago I was ecstatic to have ANYONE behind me.  However, I am also disappointed in myself.  It means that I was the one to blame for creating the 3rd pack in the first place.  Eh, oh well.

After the first 750m lap, there was a short beach run before diving in for the second swim lap.  I saw that there was a solid gap to the next pack, so no chance to run back on.  And I also saw that there was a steady stream of athletes right behind me.  Going out to the buoys, I noticed a swimmer surge to my left.  I drag-raced them to the buoy, knowing that I had inside position.  However, they went a bit wide and then accelerated well out of the turn.  It turned out to be Josiah Middaugh.  He really picked the pace up on that last stretch.   I got right on his feet and drafted as best I could to the beach.

I have to hand it to Blueseventy, that Helix is sweet.  It swims like a sleeveless, I had no “wetsuit hickies” on my neck, and no water got in.  It also came off quickly in T1.  Just awesome.  The Nero tinted racing goggles felt great, were crystal clear, and didn’t fog.  Their products let me just swim, focus on the effort, and the task at hand.  When things just work well, you almost don’t notice or appreciate good equipment until you reflect on a race.  But I definitely appreciate it!

After the swim, there was a long run up the beach, through a tunnel and then up a steep golf-cart path to transition.  On the way up I saw I was with Josiah and Ryan Ignatz.  (we all had the exact same swim time, haha)  And word was we were about 2:30 down on the leader Ben Allen.  “Ok, that’s not bad.” I thought.  And I was with Josiah.  And that’s actually good.

Swim: 22:11 (19th) 

I had a pretty quick transition, but as I grabbed my bike I noticed Josiah was putting his shoes on.   Mine were clipped to my pedals.  So I knew I needed to get my shoes on before he caught up with me on the road if I wanted to stick with him.  This did not happen.  I got one shoe on and he rumbled past.  I got into his draft and went for my 2nd shoe.  A gap opened up.  I got the shoe on and sprinted back to his wheel.

Here’s where I think I should have been smarter.

History shows that Josiah goes to the front of the race.  So, the longer you stay with Josiah, the closer you get to the front of the race.  Easier said than done, but it’s the truth.  I wanted to stay with him.  But I reached down to tighten my right shoe.  And a gap opened up.  I pushed to get closer to him, and then reached down and tightened my 2nd shoe.  A bigger gap opened up.

And it happens that fast.  I was gapped.

Note to self: Get velcro shoes.  -Noted.  That small gap grew.  Albeit, slowly.  But it grew steadily nonetheless.  He’s the man on the bike.  Very impressive!  Now it was time to ride my own race.  My Niner Jet 9 RDO full suspension performed beautifully on this rugged Mars-scape of a desert course.  I was able to remain confident on some seriously gnarly terrain.  I started off in 14th, then steadily passed 10 athletes on the bike.

Now wait Chris…  14 minus 10 is 4, right?  Just checking, because that’s kind of a big deal.

Hell yeah it is!  I was in FOURTH!

Photo: XTERRA 2015

Photo: XTERRA 2015

Bike: 1:13:14 (3rd)

As I came down to the transition I saw the leader “Paco” Serrano running the opposite direction out of T2 and Josiah close behind.  Allis had told me how far ahead 3rd place was but I didn’t hear it well.  I was running out of transition when Kevin Everett (who had unfortunately DNF’d with a sidewall blowout) told me that 3rd was “just ahead”.   I wasn’t sure what that meant, but after about a mile, I could see someone well up the road.  From his kit it was Ben Allen.  From his form, he looked solid early.

The gap was very slowly coming down though, so I internalized and focused on a strong effort.  I felt like I was running one of our 10 mile tempo runs at Lake Miramar again with shoulder-to-shoulder with Trevor Wurtele.  XTERRA running is funny like that.  The effort is definitely 10K.  But the pace ends up slower than your half marathon.  And the fatigue is like the back half of a full marathon.  In deep sand.  Up loose, steep climbs.  Down loose, steep descents.  It’s just brutal.  I think that’s why you see such erratic numbers in XTERRA run results.  The fatigue magnifies small differences in otherwise very evenly matched athletes.

A few miles later, heading into a long and agonizingly sandy gulch, Ben was only 10 meters in front of me.   I ran the same lines as him, letting him do the thinking. That way I could just focus on running faster than him.   It worked.  Coming back onto solid ground, I made it to his heels. I decided quickly that I felt great and it was best to go by immediately.  I ran hard and worked to make the pass stick.  He didn’t respond.  Allis told me that Josiah was 4 more minutes up.  I so I didn’t really see the need to run any harder than needed to solidify my current position.  I haven’t been focusing on my run (yet?) this season, but I was pleased with my strength.  I felt like I had more in me if needed, and a kick seemed there if I needed it.

Run: 37:01 (7th) 


Photo Credit: Kevin Everett 2015

I finished in 3rd!  About 7 minutes off of Serrano and 5 minutes behind Josiah.  Hats off to those guys.  That’s one aspect I love about Xterra: The strongest person on the day wins.  We (typically) don’t have to point fingers at officials or drafting rule violations.  For the most part, you hammer, you suffer, and you push, push, push to the finish.  Simple.

Final Result: 2:13:48 (3rd Overall!)  Link: Here


West Podium

You also “survive” Xterra.

So I have respect not only for my fellow professionals, but for everyone out there.  I definitely felt for Ben, since he was obviously very human on the day after some serious travel.  Also, he seemed to have rather nasty, bloody blisters on his feet after the race.  He must have really been in pain out there!  Regardless, he’s a class guy and it was awesome to race him and get to meet him after the race.

I’m so pumped for my first ever XTERRA podium finish, I’m beside myself happy.  The feeling is like:


My previous best placement in an XTERRA Pro Tour race was 7th at the Mountain Championships last year.  It’s validating to get a result when you put in hard work, and that work is mostly work done in a vacuum.

I know for a fact that my competition all work hard as well.  But I can’t speak to exactly what they go through.  We all have our unique challenges.  But I know exactly what I’ve been through.  I know how many days I’ve been cranky from fatigue, or not felt like getting up, or getting into the pool, or out in the snow, or rain, or cold wind.  But you keep going with the belief that hard work pays off.  And it does.  This year saw a pretty sweet high early on, followed by a deep low with that sickness.  As my good friend aptly put it: “The struggle is real”.   Coincidentally, coach Paulo says we have to “operate in the struggle”.  -So true.

Putting in a performance you are proud of is something to be enjoyed.  But as great as it is to get a result, for me it’s more motivating than validating.  It makes me hungry to move forward and do the work required to be better.  A small gap opened up and I couldn’t close it.  I saw what it took to get to the front of a race and it was so close I could touch it.  I want to get my biking to a competitive level and then put some “icing on the cake”.  That’s motivating.  That’s exciting.

The struggle to be better is real and the process is continuous.

I have to thank Allis for her support.  She’s the one that has to deal with my seemingly singular focus and crankiness when the struggle gets real.  A huge thank you goes to Paulo Sousa for laying out a clear path for continual improvement.  Thanks for my “career day“.  ;o)  Thanks to my sponsors: Equal Earth, Blue Seventy, Champion System, First Endurance, G-Fit Studio Boise/Niner Bikes, TriTown Boise.  You all allow me to do my job to my best ability every day.  I’m honored to represent a fantastic group of companies and people who believe in me as much as I believe in them.  Thanks to my squad mates at The Triathlon Squad in San Diego.  Great friends that inspire/motivate me during camp and even when I’m training solo in Boise.

I truly meant what I said in my 5am pre-race Instagram post:  “I do my very best to make you all proud every day.  And today is no different.”

One race down, and another comes in three short weeks at XTERRA Southeast Championships (May 16) in Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham Alabama!  Can’t wait!  Operation: “Not a Fluke” starts… now!  :o)

Chris Allis West