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XTERRA world turns its attention to the South
THIS WEEK: The XTERRA world turns its attention to the South and Shelby County in Pelham, Alabama where the second annual XTERRA Southeast Championship unfolds at Oak Mountain State Park this weekend.
6/9 – XTERRA Northfield Mountain Trail Run (Northfield, MA)
6/9 – XTERRA Eureka Springs (Eureka Springs, AR)
6/8 – XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Run (Pelham, AL)
6/10 – XTERRA Trimax (Miffinburg, PA)
6/10 – XTERRA Southeast Championship (Pelham, AL)
6/16 – XTERRA James River Scramble (Richmond, VA)
6/16 – XTERRA Buffalo Creek (Buffalo Creek, CO)
6/17 – XTERRA Presidio Challenge Trail Run (San Francisco, CA)
6/17 – XTERRA East Championship (Richmond, VA)
PRO RACE PREVIEW:
Dave “Kahuna” Nicholas - the managing director of the XTERRA Global Tour, has seen more XTERRA races than anyone on the planet, and here’s how he’s stacking the field for this Sunday’s XTERRA Southeast Championship race in Alabama:
The 2007 season has begun and Conrad Stoltz and Melanie McQuaid have fired some big guns at the rest of the field. The second race of the series here at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, AL is the total opposite of the first race in the deserts of California. Tight, twisty single track; much of it under cover of tall hardwoods rather than the open, sandy widetracks at Temecula.
But regardless of the ballpark, a big hitter can still put the ball in the stands and it is difficult to go against a repeat of the podium in Alabama. Stoltz has been on a mission for the past 3 years but has had the most improbable luck in injuring himself. McQuaid seems to have cleared a hurdle in 2006 by winning the USA champs at Tahoe and has a quiet confidence not seen before. They are a formidable duo and will be difficult to beat this season.
Last years men's USA Champ Seth Wealing has the talent and skills to challenge Stoltz but his working career is taking up more and more of his training time. "It's going to be hard to train during the week to stay with Conrad, and work 40+ hours" says Wealing. Mike Vine is a multiple time winner as is Josiah Middaugh. Vine was second in California and Middaugh 4th. Josiah is returning to the place where he crashed last year keeping him out of competition until September. We're sure he wants his measure of revenge against the Double Oak trail that bit him in 2006. Vine's history is in mountain bike racing and the technical aspects of this race will play into his strong suit on the bike and he is running better than ever. They will also be a plus for Brian Smith, a pure mountain biker for team Trek. Smith swims like a rock, but 'Bama is his kind of course. Andy Noble is as solid a performer as we have. At 41 he may not have the pure speed of the younger crew, but sneeze or bobble once and the Old Man is past you. His third at Temecula will not be his last podium of 2007. Here we add local favorite Craig Evans in his second year as a pro and a guy who knows these trails better than anyone. But in the end, Conrad is still the man to beat.
McQuaid won at Pelham last year and is the strongest biker in the woman's field. Jamie Whitmore, her constant nemesis, has changed her training regimen to peak later in the year but Jamie is a racer and this is her kind of course and she will be working hard to stay in touch with Mel on the bike and run her down. Candy Angle, who like her husband Andy Noble, is Mrs. Consistency. Always in the hunt, always on the podium we are sure she is working hard to get off that 3rd place step and go higher. Jen Smith is coming on strong and is not far from stepping up as well.
The women's field is pretty predictable, but so what? We know that Peyton Manning is gonna throw the ball to Marvin Harrison, Roger Clements is gonna bring heat inside to any batter and Jeff Gordon will win more NASCAR races. That's predictable, but it's also lots of fun to watch.
# - Name - Age, Hometown
1 - Conrad Stoltz - 33, Stellenbosch, South Africa
2 - Mike Vine - 34, Victoria, B.C., Canada
3 - Andrew Noble - 41, Gold Coast, Australia
4 - Josiah Middaugh - 28, Vail, Colorado
5 - Brian Smith - 31, Gunnison, Colorado
6 - Dan Hugo - 22, Stellenbosch, South Africa
7 - Tyler Johnson - 27, Chester, Connecticut
8 - Brian Astell - 26, Gualala, California
9 - Seth Wealing - 28, Boulder, Colorado
10 - Jimmy Archer - 34, Boulder, Colorado
11 - Will Kelsay - 25, Boulder, Colorado
12 - Cody Waite - 28, Denver, Colorado
14 - Jamie Cleveland - Fredericton, TX
15 - Craig Evans - 29, Nashville, Tennessee
16 - Dominic Gillen - 29, Washington, Connecticut
17 - Ryan Ignatz - 28, Boulder, Colorado
18 - John Koenig - 37, Glenview, Illinois
19 - Mark Leishman - 27, Palmerston North, New Zealand
20 - Brandon Marsh - 32, Austin, Texas
21 - Luke Way - 25, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Women’s Pro Start List
# - Women - Age, Hometown
61 - Melanie McQuaid - 34, Victoria, B.C., Canada
62 - Jamie Whitmore - 31, Somerset, California
63 - Candy Angle - 37, Weymouth, Massachusetts
64 - Jenny Smith - 34, Westport, New Zealand
65 - Amber Monforte - 29, Reno, Nevada
XTERRA has added one more reason to join in the action as participants 21 and over from Friday's XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Run and Sunday's XTERRA Sport, XTERRA Southeast Championship and XTERRA Duathlon will receive a free Pacifico Beer at the XTERRA Pacifico after parties following each event. Pelham's "Margarita Grill" will host the parties with live music from the band "Undercovers" 5-9pm on Friday and 6-10pm on Sunday.
XTERRA SMITH LAKE REVIEW:
Smith Lake near Fort Bragg, NC – Brandon Jessup continued his streak of dominating performances by winning the first-ever XTERRA race at Smith Lake. The race got underway as swimmers did two laps in ale-tinted waters of Smith Lake. Marty Gaal and Alicia Markey led the pack out of the lake and up a nice climb from the beach to transition.
Once on their bikes, the XTERRA athletes put in some brief road riding before hitting the challenging singletrack. As evidenced by the sand on their clothing, some riders “hit” the singletrack more than they wanted to. Certainly the occasional sand and bridges kept everyone honest. Jessop led the pack back into transition with the day’s fastest bike split.
Like all XTERRA’s, nothing is made too easy and the first portion of the run certainly wasn’t. The horse trails delivered deep, loose sand but that didn’t slow Jessop who surprised everyone with a lightning quick 30:39 run. That hot split sealed his top finish.
North Carolina’s own Allison Hardy was the first woman with more than a ten minute lead over her nearest competitor. Her impressive victory was the result of consistency (2nd fastest swim, fastest bike, 2nd fastest run.)
Overall the race was a huge success. A big thanks goes to MWR for strongly supporting this unique XTERRA event in a unique setting. Special thanks also goes to race director Jonathan, wife Caroline, and their entire support crew for making this first-time race such a big hit.
Race report by Todd Scott.
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