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More than 50 pros head to Tahoe for the Nissan Xterra USA Championship
A look at the 50+ strong pro field headed to Lake Tahoe, Nevada for the Nissan Xterra USA Championship on Oct. 1, a quick description on the course they'll face, we preview Saturday's Scramble and XTERRA Nevada races that anyone can enter, get results from a local race up Tunnel Creek road, and see this weekend's XTERRA TV schedule.
Sept. 30 - XTERRA Boney Mountain Scramble (Los Angeles, CA)
A downloadable version of the Nissan Xterra USA Championship press guide can be found at: http://www.xterraplanet.com/news/press_media.cfm.
More than 50 professionals - 32 men and 20 women - will line-up along the water's edge at the Hyatt Beach in Incline Village next Sunday. Among them are Olympians and some of the world's best swimmers, mountain bikers, trail runners, and triathletes. They have come to challenge Mother Nature, and each other, for the Nissan Xterra USA Championship crown and the money ($110,000 purse) and fame (national TV and major exposure in industry magazines) that go with it. Below find them listed by race number, which is determined by their position in the 2006 XTERRA U.S. Pro Series standings, then alphabetically. Subject to change.
Nevada's spectacular natural environment and the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range provide a world-class setting and challenge for the biggest race of the season. The national championship starts at the beach fronting the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe where competitors swim two laps of a 750-meter course in the spring-fed, crystal clear waters located 6,200 feet above sea level. A short run to the grassy transition area at Village Green follows the swim.
The second element is a 32-kilometer, single loop mountain bike course. Following a short, paved section past prime, lake front real estate on Incline Village's Lakeshore Blvd., competitors reach the trails at Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, where the race really begins. The first off-road section greeting riders is a 1,600-foot climb up Tunnel Creek Road to Tahoe's famed Flume Trail. The "Flume" is known for its exposed crossing of sheer rock faces and incredible sweeping vistas. Those focusing too much on the view may end up casualties of this 4.4-mile section of single track.
At the aspen-clad Marlette Lake, a second leg-burning climb on Hobart Road takes racers to the Tahoe Rim Trail. Halfway into the 6.6-mile section is the Marlette Lake Overlook at 8,700 feet above sea level (the highest point on the XTERRA course). From the top, a 2,500-foot descent to the second transition area resembles "Toad's Wild Ride" as it passes through a series of switchbacks and the waterless Twin Lakes.
The last leg of the race is a 10-kilometer forest trail run consisting of two 5-kilometer laps through some of nature's most arduous obstacles, including a dozen creek crossings. While the run course remains relatively flat, there are numerous short, steep climbs and quick descents. Splashing through glacial creeks, balancing along narrow log crossings, and skipping over boulders are just a few of the final tests of skill and endurance. The run course also passes by the crowd at the compound, who can hoot, holler, monitor, and react to the action.
The XTERRA Nevada Scramble 5k and 10k trail runs on Saturday are all about creek crossings and rock hopping on twisty turny paths through the woods. These are, in fact, the same paths that Sunday's XTERRA racers will tackle on their way to the finish line.
For a select group of runners that qualified at the Utah and Midwest Scramble Series, it's the chance to win the inaugural XTERRA Scramble National Title.
A very special prime is up for grabs for all the ladies in the race as Hawaiian Airlines is awarding roundtrip airfare to Hawaii for the women's 10k winner. Wahine holo nui! That's Hawaiian Airlines way of saying, 'run fast young lady!'
The top three competitors in each age group win awards and of course the true winner of the Scramble is the AYSO kids from Incline Village - as proceeds from the race are given to benefit the local soccer organization.
Friends and families of the racers are encouraged to join in the fun and get a taste of the XTERRA experience.
While only qualified athletes can race for the championship on Sunday, one-and-all are eligible to compete in the XTERRA Nevada open competition on Saturday. The race is comprised of a 750-meter swim, 32-kilometer mountain bike, and 5k trail run. While the swim and bike segments are half-the-distance of the championship course, the mountain bike leg is identical to that of the main event.
Participants can even create a two or three person group - where one person does the swim, another the bike, and the other the run - and enter the XTERRA Nevada relay team competition. This is a great way to have fun with family and friends, just ask five-time XTERRA USA Champion Barbara Peterson who's doing the swim while her daughters Hillary and Forest are completing the bike and run legs.
Andrew Noble, who's been acclimating and training up in Tahoe with wife Candy Angle, won the King of Tunnel Creek Road race Saturday in 20:50. Tunnel Creek is the sandy fire road that leads to the famed Flume Trail. Noble beat last year's time by 31 seconds and was nearly two minutes faster than runner-up and Incline Village local Ross McMahan (22:46). Shawn Kelly of Ogden, UT was 3rd in 23:06. Angle was the "Queen of the Hill" as the first female to the top in just under 26:00. According to McMahan, the ride was sandier then last year but most all riders improved there times.
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