Tips for the Trail – Preparing for Snowbasin – Xterra – 9-7-2012

By Rachel Cieslewicz

published in Xterra 9/7/2012

I’m enjoying every spare moment playing out in the gorgeous Wasatch Mountains during my favorite time of year.  I’m the luckiest girl ever to consider my late summer training time as play.  The fall is now looming as the morning sun rises with brisk coolness, and the day temperatures soften.  What a perfect set up for another fabulous XTERRA National Championship weekend! Are you ready?  Some things to think about are: ensuring your travel plans are set, training is on par, and your excitement for one of the best events for 2012 is off the charts!

Rachel C SnowbasinQuick data in case you have yet to make travel plans. Salt Lake City Airport is 40 minutes away from the start line.  Rent a car and drive to Ogden. They have many great hotels, but the Ogden Marriott is a perfect idea as it is walking distance from all of the fabulous downtown parks, café’s and restaurants.  From there, the race start is a quick 20-minute drive up Ogden Canyon.  Plan to stay a few days before and after if possible, as you won’t want to leave our gorgeous state any time soon.

As for training, you should have already completed your final big block of quality training, and these next few weeks are about staying healthy, eating and hydrating properly, and staying mentally focused. My advice is to make the most of it. There is nothing like having firsthand experience at the actual site before a big event, so I recommend making a stop at Snowbasin before the race for those of you who are nearby, even if only to get a view of what you’re getting into.  Or visit the Snowbasin Resort’s website at www.snowbasin.com and learn what this incredible mountain has to offer.

Looking ahead to 2013 for a moment, there are two events I would highly recommend. I bring them up now, as they boast spectacular courses you can use as tour guides for beautiful preparation for this year’s XTERRA National Championships. The first event is the Mt. Ogden 100K. Although a mountain bike race, it will get you super comfortable with the Snowbasin terrain. It includes 10,000 feet of climbing at altitude. It is a grand weekend of music, quality racing, and higher elevation training and play. Snowbasin Resort sport event operations director Steve Andrus designed the course. He is also the same person to create the XTERRA National Championship course.

The second event is a new race favorite of mine – the Black Diamond Store Hidden Peak Hustle. This takes place a bit further south, up Little Cottonwood Canyon. I recently won the women’s field. Linda Karz from Black Diamond Store said this about the inaugural event: “One of the things that spurred us to do this is the increased line of trail running gear we are carrying in the store. Shoes, clothing, running packs, z-poles, etc. It seemed like a good way to get the word out and do something fun at the same time. We were psyched to have almost 100 people sign up and our vendors were very generous with the swag!”

I personally thought it was a fantastic technical 10K course starting at 9,000 feet with 1,000 feet of elevation gain/loss. It is perfect training for XTERRA Nationals events. I loved staying up there the night before and running to the start line. Post race I enjoyed Snowbird’s Octoberfest.

If you are unable to make it to Utah before XTERRA Nationals, know that the course will have a perfect mix of climbing and single track, plus wide-open non-technical sections, which I suggest you bring your track legs to rally.  If you dare take your eyes from the course, you will also be treated to spectacular breathtaking views. In essence, bring your climbing legs, a great heart and set of strong lungs. The views are here waiting just for you!

As for the climate, Utah has had a very dry summer. The single track at the moment is powdery hiding some of the roots and rocks beneath.  While navigating, think of picking up your feet while taking short quick steps to stay over your center of mass.  Although it has been dry, come prepared with jackets, beanies and gloves for your pre race warm-up.  If the Gods bless us with a morning rain shower to pack down the soil, you will also be happy that you brought a light rain jacket.

I’m excited to run and hang out with the XTERRA family. See you on September 23!

Rachel Cieslewicz is an elite runner and triathlete based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a past winner of several XTERRA Trail Run events, and placed fifth at the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. She is a talented sports massage therapist, Pilates and yoga instructor and is a certified running form coach. She can be reached via e-mail atrcanyon1@gmail.com  or visit her website atwww.newageathlete.comor follow her onwww.twitter.com/newageathlete.