Jacqui Slack has been forging a formidable reputation for herself on both the national and International scene for some years now. Jacqui enjoyed a breakthrough Xterra season, finishing second overall in the Xterra European Championships and finishing fifth at the recent World Championships in Maui. We caught up with her to get a perspective on her race.
How did you feel race morning?
A mixture of nerves and excitement. I knew my form was good so I was looking forward to seeing what I had during the race.
How did you view your competition?
This was the strongest women’s field I have ever seen at a World Championship Xterra race 24 women from 12 different countries. We had Lesley Patterson current Xterra World Champion, current world number 2 and 3 obviously wanting to defend their titles. ITU World number 3 and Olympian Barb Riveros, 2 x Olympian Marie Rabie, Current world number 3 at the 70.3 world champs Heather Jackson. There we lots of girls coming from different back grounds in the sport the Luna Chix team are amazing mountain bikers and there are always super strong in Xterra. I have great respect for all of these athletes. Individually they are all champions and this was the world Xterra Champs so everyone was going to be at the top of their game for this race.
What was your race morning preparation?
Same as always a bagel with Jam. Some extra hydration in the morning so plenty of water with a little sea salt. My kit and nutrition is always prepared the day before. I have 2 power bar gels taped to my bike and a 750ml bottle of power bar energy drink. I always take a gel at the start of the run section too.
What was your race strategy?
To have the best swim I could. In Xterra the swim is my strength so if I can be ahead of the good mountain bikers then its much harder for them to chase me down. I new I had to ride as hard as I could and take some risks on the technical sections then just give it everything I had on the run.
What was your objective?
To learn from the experience this year and come back to make the podium next year and find out what it takes to be an Xterra world champion.
How was the weather?
Perfect conditions for the race. There was a little cloud cover during the race and a sprinkling of mist on top of the mountain.
What was the atmosphere like?
Phenomenal this was the world champs and team unlimited and xterra delivered a wonderful event. The films crews were so professional and the crowds were awesome.
What was your nutrition plan?
It’s always the same and I don’t tend to get many problems, I eat really healthy leading up to the race I just keep a balanced diet, hydration is most important a week before. I take 2 power bar gels on the bike. One half way and the other before entering T2. I have power bar energy in my sports bottle and collect water from the aid stations when necessary. I always take a power bar gel on the run sometimes I use it and sometimes not.
How did the swim go?
I could have had a better start but loved every minute of the swim. It was more challenging than usual as there were a few waves and 2 in and out sections with a run along the beach. Ben and I had done loads of practice and I made up lots of time catching a couple of waves into the shore.
How did you feel getting out of the water?
It’s a pretty long run up to t2 but I was feeling ok and pleased with my swim. My new Rocket Science speed suit helped for a speedy swim and transition.
How was transition?
Yeah it was fast. I was well practiced before the race because I wanted everything to go perfect. Practice makes perfect and the extra time spent paid off.
How long did it take you to get into the flow of the bike?
Almost immediately I was in the flow. I passed Chrissy Jeffery AKA the bike fish in the first 2 miles so I knew I was on a role.
How was T2?
I was certainly feeling the heavy legs after a tough bike leg but it was fast and I put the hammer down to chase Marie Rabie who was just 40 seconds ahead.
How was the run?
The run was the hardest part those hills are steep and after my hard ride I was feeling a couple of the steep climbs. I couldn’t have put in any more effort but I think next year knowing the course and being more prepared for the steep climbs I can certainly shave some time off my run leg. My On cloud races and greeper laces meant my light weight race shoes we super stable on the technical accents and descents loved them.
How did you feel after you crossed the finish line?
I was full of mixed emotions obviously over the moon with my result I came here to learn about the race and now I know what needs to be done to come back stronger next year, however I was absolutely gutted for my boyfriend Ben Allen whos race didn’t go to plan. At mile 5 his brand NEW chain broke, whilst in 2nd position. He tried to fix it but the chain was un-repairable, so he RAN the remaining 15 miles with it and finished the 6 mile trail run as well. He managed to finish in 2hr 54mins and in 39th position overall. His never say die attitude and Xterra spirit drove him to the finish line. Ben was in the best shape of his life and just 4 weeks before had finished 2nd at the USA champs. I’m confident he would have challenged Gomez for the win. Myself and all of his family are very proud that he finished the race he’s a special guy and a true champion.
What’s next for you?
A week of rest and recovery and Bens sister wedding which I’m super excited about. Then Ben and I both have Shepparton 70.3 on the 18th November.
I would like to thank all of my sponsors especially internet central without their support I wouldn’t have been able to get to Maui. Also thank you to Royles, On, Power Bar, Schwalbe. Rocket Science and Greepers.