Nutri-Bay @ XTERRA MAUI Ambassadors - Race Stories and Photos Yannick Antoine: M40-44 World Vice Champion

Yannick's story

Where to start? By Kona? By my double qualification in June? Or by my third place on Maui 2016? If you like reading, it starts here, and if you only want the race summary, it's below from "Sunday 28 / 10: race day" 😉

The desire to come back here to compete in the Xterra World Championships for my last year in the M40 category was great. The holidays of Toussaint falling after the race it was the opportunity to repeat a family trip. Above all, it was necessary to qualify.
Xterra Greece, first possibility, I die and are forced to abandon after only 7km of mountain bike. A missed opportunity ...
Xterra Belgium. I leave nothing to chance, I prepare this race by going to identify the courses, and while integrating Ironman sessions (Klagenfurt drops 3 weeks later). Second in 2016, I hope as well if not better. I finish again second, and down the podium I know that the qualifying is acquired.
Ironman Klagenfurt (Austria): I'm going to beat my time on Ironman, not for a slot. Professional change is expected in the fall and it would be difficult to combine this with training and a long stay in the Pacific for two races. But in the euphoria of a good race (9h19) where I rank 5ème M40, Michèle tell me to take qualification for Kona. I then plan to return to Belgium between the two races to work a week and to advance my start date in the new job at 15 / 09 (so a month before Kona) telling me that the last weeks before the start will be difficult to combine (family, new job, training), and the performance in both races probably random. Check with my new employer, it's playable. Let's go, I do the double, more for the challenge that it represents than to aim for something specific at the ranking or chrono level.

Saturday 14 / 10 - Ironman Kona. I will not come back on the race, it was very long trooooop (this post is already long enough like that 😁). While my training after the 15 / 09 was reduced by 40-50% compared to a usual training for an Ironman, but I feel to be cooler. I have nothing to prove here, so I decide to "risk": take risks to try to do better, also agreeing to do less well. The following is known 😜. Even if the counter-performance is big I'm not looking for an excuse and I lived a new experience on Ironman, with new "sensations". I'm half-disappointed, but the optimist in me is half satisfied to have finished. Maui starts here ...

Sunday 15 / 10: recovery with dolphins 😳????. Packing the bike, Awards Ceremony and I fly again the same evening.

Monday-Tuesday: return trip with a detour to Los Angeles and Universal Studios 😎

Wednesday morning I'm at work ????. The recovery is ... correct. Fatigue of the trip (I fight in the middle of the afternoon) but I did a big part of the race in Kona in endurance and the muscular breakage following the dehydration, the marathon and the cramps is there but finally the overall fatigue is less than after an Ironman in "racing mode". Some very short and light sessions, and a good mountain bike outing on Saturday followed by a trail run with Geoffray et Stéphane Sunday reassure me. While this is not the ideal preparation, but I am able to push in the bumps and rise in intensity ...

Monday-Tuesday: work, I digested the time difference. Preparing the other bike, luggage, etc.

Wednesday is back! 3 aircraft and 12h again shift later, we arrive Wednesday night in Maui.

Thursday: tracking of the mountain bike course after a little mechanics (the lockout cable was damaged in the trip). Only the lower part of the course is open (5 first and last 7 km), the upper part is too muddy (even more than last year). It annoys me because we are at J-3 and it will be impossible to only do the top part, let alone redo the entire course at J-2 or J-1, it would be too tiring. The ribs are too steep to be able to ride them cool and we must now make juice for the race.

Friday-Saturday: beaches, waves test (they are just huge this year !!!) and last unlock. The xterraplanet site ranks me among the 5-6 favorites in my category (on 85, the 40-44 age group being the most represented), and therefore the Luxembourgish press too 😄. A little pressure, but I would be lying if I did not think that the podium and perhaps even the victory is playable, at least on paper, but a race, and even more so an Xterra, it does not run on paper!

Sunday 28 / 10: Race day. Petit dej 'pasta-ham at 6h mat' (not used but I-still-messed up my Gatosport the day before ... no comment 🤐🤣).

Here we are! The circuit has dried, the waves are weaker, the race will be completely different from last year, that's for sure! Is it to my advantage? No idea ... I still think that my 2016 ranking is also due to a good management of the difficulty and the unusual length of the event. It had to be tough and durable, push, clean the bike regularly and avoid technical problems and falls, which I had managed to do. This year it will be fast.

Start swimming: for once I place myself inside, the shortest! I tell myself that there will be a fight but we must try and he
seems to me that the bulk of the 40-49 years (my starting wave) is more outside. I leave well, quickly, under the big waves then the sensations are good. I'm in a pack, not picking it up like sometimes. Exit at the Australian, second loop, then I go out in 25 'about, 4' better than last year and David announce me 16ème in my category. With the start in waves it ranks me 209ème scratch but there are actually 350-400 runners already out of the water (with those parties 3 'earlier) and who will be in front of me on the course ☹️.

It's gone for the mountain bike. Same strategy as 2016: push hard to swallow the big difference in altitude on the first 12 km up the peloton. Last year it was "enough" sometimes to go on the bike where others walked, but this year everyone rolls and so ... it corks. It is necessary to constantly manage the moment when to overtake and the surplus of effort because it is necessary to pass quickly before the next narrowing or technical passage. At times I stay behind a small group waiting without being able to overtake and it's frustrating. The legs respond but I'm less "sharp" than last year, I feel good. Arrived on the high part of the circuit that I did not find, I make some small errors: too much braking, bad choice of trajectory. I remember the course but it does not tell me in advance where to put the wheel. I'm losing a little time. A crossover set up with some riders in my class but I manage to take over and dig each time a gap. On the last 5 km, flying becomes essential again. It goes well if it is not a beginning of cramps adductors and ischios. I must let go back on me and then exceed my runners 2 cat in the last laces before returning to the park. The bike passed quickly and I had a lot of fun but I know that my ranking is not as good as last year (I was already 3ème after 2016).

Indeed, Michèle and David confirm that I am 6ème from the beginning of the trail, even if there are 3-4 runners to less than 2 '. At this point, I do not believe it too much, I tell myself that I can try to keep a top10, eventually get a top5 if it cracks in front. I am overtaken by 2-3 runners. I have wooden legs, the beginnings of cramps and you have to attack 350m D + (the equivalent of trail Tintigny 😉) on the first 4,5 km ... I took a bottle to run because I know it will be hot and the ravitos will arrive slowly. It allows me to hydrate often. I take advantage of the rare and short flat or descending parts to find a proper stride. After 2km, I go back guys, legs come back a little. Nobody in my category ... I continue to push to the limit of what my muscles admit. 3 km, km 4 still nobody ... finally near the top I take a Mexican who passed me on the end of the bike. I am in the top5 and the circuit becomes favorable with more moving parts where I can raise with legs a little found. On the next km 2 I will spend 4, 3 then second (according to my calculations). I now manage cramps but in the part I prefer: long technical runs, turns, raises, jump trees, stream, etc. I have behind me a 25-30ans who does not let go and push me. I do not know where the first in my category is, probably far, but I continue to push and pull runners from other categories and to avoid a possible return. In the end I will not see the first and no one comes back but I finish the race having given everything! Last meters on the beach and in the grass, David, Florence, Michele, Maëlle et Julian are there to encourage me. They either did not believe in seeing me go on the trail, but luckily for me I tried until the end without letting go and it paid off.
The first puts me 9 'ATV. He is Brazil's champion of Cross Country and Marathon MTB, and was out of reach, even if I take him 3 'on the trail.
This concludes the triathlon season on a positive note. For the anecdote, I am 10ème (on 30) in the ranking of doubled Kona-Maui and 1er (on ... 2 😄) in my category. I have the best time in Maui that the first two of the double that revolved around 9h40 in Kona.

Thank you all for the encouragement before, the follow-up during and the Congratulations after the race. Thank you very much to my family present on the spot, I think that it must have also played in the success of this second part.
See you soon on a race, to share a training, an internship or ... a Rulles. Mahalo!


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