Following a fantastic regular season that included major XTERRA wins in Argentina, Costa Rica, Alabama, Canada, and Mexico, Suzie Snyder entered Wednesday’s ITU Cross Tri World Championships in Penticton as one of the favorites to win it.
Instead, she finished 15th out of 18 elite women (results and story from ITU here).
“I experienced some breathing troubles which I've had in the past, but hadn’t been a problem in some time,” she said. “Unfortunately, they returned on one of the most important race days of the year and I wasn't able to race past the swim portion and settled for just finishing at a slow and controlled pace.”
That Snyder finished at all is a testament to her inner strength and determination.
“As disappointed as I am, I know I'd be even more upset if I had simply quit,” Snyder posted to her Facebook page after the race. “I view my job as an elite athlete to be far more complex than just racing for results. I strive to inspire others, set a good example for younger generations and to learn something personally from every race, which ultimately builds character and makes me a stronger person.”
A day after the race Snyder was able to put the result into proper perspective, saying “I’m happy with my season so far. I've traveled to new races and seen beautiful places, made new friends, and had some great race results.”
Snyder now turns her focus to defending her XTERRA Pan America Championship race and Pan Am Pro Series titles in Ogden, Utah on September 16. After the first nine events of the season Snyder leads the Tour with 582 points, 78 more than Kara LaPoint in second.
“My goal for the race in Utah is to secure the Pan Am Tour title, but also to perform at my physical best, whatever that comes out to on the results page, and iron out any nutrition or other issues before XTERRA Worlds,” said Snyder.
Last year in Utah Snyder swam at the front of the pack, was first onto the bike, had a five-minute lead at T2, and ultimately finished three minutes ahead of Lizzie Orchard from New Zealand for the win.
“I like the Utah course,” she said. “I like the beauty of the fall colors, the single track and the challenge of the sustained climb with some power and techy bits thrown in.”
As for her strategy for this year’s race, Snyder added “I never race on strategy, I race on heart! I go as fast as I can for as long as I can and see where the chips fall. That’s what I like about XTERRA. The courses are never easy. You can't go out there and just ride easy up a mountain, and to me, it isn't racing unless you go hard and challenge yourself all the way through. So, I go hard on the bike and then see how hard I can still go on the run, because then it turns from a physical challenge to a mental one. One where you grin and bear the physical discomfort and see what kind of inner strength you really have in pursuit of your best performance.”
Snyder will need her best performance to repeat in Utah this year as the competition will be strong. In addition to Orchard returning for another shot at the title, two-time XTERRA World Champion Lesley Paterson is on the start list, as is the surging Morgane Riou from France, and U.S. standouts Julie Baker and Kara LaPoint, among others.
Learn more at www.xterrautah.com.