History Made at XTERRA Tahoe City

On June 24th, history was made at XTERRA Tahoe City when Amy Dixon and Christy Fritts became the first female blind athlete and guide team to attempt an XTERRA race.

“Not only did we attempt it,” said Dixon. “We crushed it! It was so much fun and being there was just breathtaking.”

Fritts, a successful amateur on the XTERRA circuit, said that Dixon wanted to see Lake Tahoe before she loses the rest of her sight.

Because this was their first XTERRA, they entered the XTERRA Tahoe City Sprint, which consisted of a 750 m swim, a 13-mile ride, and a 3 mile run. Their goal was to be safe, have fun, and finish. Dixon, who is a regular on the ITU circuit, has a world championship race in a few weeks and wanted to be conservative.

At the start of the swim, Fritts and Dixon started a minute behind the lead pack, but they had such a strong effort, they passed many athletes, despite their 60-second handicap. In fact, Dixon had the second-fastest swim of the sprint race, overall, including the men.

Their first transition was a challenge because of all the gear they had to put on.

“We had Camelbaks and then vests over the Camelbaks that said ‘Blind’ and ‘Guide.’ There were mountain bike shoes. I never wear socks in a race and I wore socks, which was a really good idea because I got pummeled with rocks kicked up from the front tire.”

The two were riding a Fandango tandem bike, which is almost nine feet long.

“I trusted Christy completely,” said Dixon. “She is a great bike handler. And we had so much encouragement from all of our competitors. Everyone was so supportive.”

The run may have been the toughest leg. “The plan was to run untethered,” said Dixon, “But the forest was so shaded, I couldn’t really see Christy. In hindsight, we should have put bright socks on her feet. On the descents, I had to hold onto her shoulder. I am sure there are claw marks there now!”

After the race, Dixon admitted she was more sore than she usually is after a road triathlon. “I’m laughing at how sore and destroyed I am today,” she admitted. “Even my toes hurt.”

The best news is that while this was the team’s first XTERRA, it won’t be their last.

“It was the best day,” said Dixon. “Todd Jackson and his crew put together a phenomenal race. I’ll be back next year for sure, hopefully with some more blind chicks out there with me.”

Dixon and Fritts competed the XTERRA Tahoe City Sprint. For complete results please visit www.bigblueadventure.com.

Photos Courtesy of Harry Lafrak