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Stoltz, Whitmore Win Richmond
RICHMOND, VA (June 17, 2007) – For the third straight year Conrad Stoltz and Jamie Whitmore won their respective pro divisions at the XTERRA East Championship in Richmond, and once again it was hot with temperatures reaching into the 90’s.
In classic Richmond tradition the race started in concert with the rumbling sound of a CSX freight train rolling on the tracks overhead but there is seemingly nothing speeding trains, Mother Nature, nor any competitor can do to slow Stoltz down this year, and today was no exception. Despite a couple of wrong turns on the swim “because he couldn’t hear the race briefing with that darn train noise” and a couple of wrong turns on the bike “because he knows the course so well he doesn’t really need to look at the arrows” Stoltz still had time to walk down the finish line stretch giving high-five’s to the fans.
“Richmond is my favorite race and I always enjoy this course,” said Stoltz. “The forest trails are very technical and makes you feel like you’re out in the middle of nowhere but you’re in the middle of a big city and that’s really quite amazing. Plus, everywhere on the course there are crowds of people watching certain obstacles and cheering and encouraging you on, and that’s what makes this race so special.”
It’s a reciprocal feeling as the spectators think Stoltz is what makes this race so special. As audible proof, they let out a deafening roar when “the Caveman” came out of the tunnel by Reedy Creek, rounded the corner and scaled up a near-impossible, steep, rocky, muddy bank on his way to the twisting track in Forest Hill Park.
For the second straight week Craig Evans was first out of the water and strong on the bike, holding off the hard charging Stoltz for the first several miles. Andrew Noble was sitting in third and riding fast but a hard-to-change flat tire derailed his hopes for another top 3 finish. Noble dropped a dozen spots with the mechanical but fought back to finish 9th (his first trip outside the top 5 at an XTERRA America Tour race since 2005).
In the last third of the bike at a spot called Hodson ramp Stoltz had 1:30 on Evans, two minutes on Josiah Middaugh, Tyler Johnson, and Mike Vine and three minutes on Seth Wealing. At the bike-to-run transition Stoltz was 2:30 up on Middaugh and Vine (who won this race back in 2001), with Johnson, Evans, and Wealing not too far behind.
Out on the run while Stoltz was striding to victory, Wealing was getting his mojo back. The reigning XTERRA U.S. Pro Series champ picked off Evans early on; passed Johnson a mile later, caught Josiah in the woods about halfway, and reeled in Vine less than a mile from the finish. From 6th to 2nd, Wealing’s 36:11 10k was exactly what he needed “to get back in the game”.
“I just ran even and steady, got on a pace and ran it,” said Wealing, who finished 12th in Temecula and 6th in Alabama. “My place wasn’t a concern, it was getting back on track and getting my run back on track. Just trying to slowly work it back up and get my mind back into it, I was losing my mojo a little bit.”
Vine was solid all around to finish in third, and Middaugh (who finished 4th) flirted with a top 3 boosted by a blistering bike that was just 13 seconds off the standard set by Stoltz.
“I felt pretty strong and held it together for the first half of the run but then I just lost it,” said Middaugh, who pointed out that he was the first dad to cross the finish line (it’s Father’s Day so that counts for something).
Tyler Johnson had the third fastest bike and placed 5th for his best finish since 2003 (the same year he took a lava rock home from Maui after the World Championship … coincidence?)
Evans held on for 6th, Jimmy Archer had his best finish in years in 7th, and Ryan Ignatz placed 8th in his first race back from injuries that kept him sidelined for the first two. Rookie pro Luke Way from Canada rounded out the top 10, and Brian Smith did not finish after a race-ending double flat.
WHITMORE ON A ROLL…
Jamie Whitmore was chasing three-time XTERRA World Champion Melanie McQuaid for more than two hours before finally catching her somewhere around the mid-point in the run.
“She’s a really strong biker and I was crashing all over the place but I realize when I don’t bike too hard I have a great run and that’s been working for me,” said Whitmore, who also passed McQuaid midway through the run at last week’s XTERRA Southeast Championship in Pelham, AL. “Just want to say Happy Father’s day to my dad, he’s out there suffering on the course right now at 60-years-old and this win is his Father’s Day present.”
It’s the fourth time Whitmore has won here in Richmond (she also won here in 2003). McQuaid once again had the fastest bike – a minute quicker than Jennifer Smith and Whitmore, but it wasn’t enough.
“I’m just not fit enough to deal with the heat. I don’t have that great of form so I’m totally detonating on the run. I’ve done that two races in a row and I did that last year at this time,” said McQuaid. “When you’re really fit your body tolerates the high temperatures better but I’m not quite there yet.”
With three races in the books Whitmore has a 10-point lead in the Pro Series (290-to-McQuaid’s 280) with two determining races to go.
“Jamie has better form right now and she was faster. I’m ok with her having these wins, I just don’t want to let her have any more,” laughed McQuaid.
Smith snapped Candy Angle’s four-year string of third place finishes in Richmond. Angle placed 4th, Amber Monforte had her best showing as a pro in 5th, and Kristy Lanier finished 6th.
The race consisted of a 1k (0.62 mile) swim in the James River, followed by a 27k (16.7 mile) mountain bike course through Richmond’s award-winning James River Park System trails and a 10k (6.2 mile) trail run.
2007 XTERRA East Championship Pro Results (Total Purse = $20,000)
Fastest 1k Swim (0.62 Miles): Craig Evans (16:02), Candy Angle (18:31)
Fastest 27k Bike (16.8 Miles): Conrad Stoltz (1:10:39), Melanie McQuaid (1:18:55)
Fastest 10k Run (6.2 Miles): Seth Wealing (36:11), Jamie Whitmore (43:45)
XTERRA PRO RACING:
Today’s race was the third of five stops in the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series. The top 15 at each event are awarded points. Pros can drop one of their scores from the first four events, but must count the points they get (or don't get) at the USA Championship in Nevada. Thus, the final point total combines an athletes best three scores in the first four races, plus the USA Championship race points. He/she with most points in the end is declared Series Champ. The U.S. Series will dish out $190,000 in prize money. $20,000 in Temecula, Alabama, Richmond, and Utah, $40,000 in Nevada, plus $70,000 will be distributed to the top points scorers in the Series. The XTERRA World Championship Oct. 28 in Makena, Maui is a stand-alone event worth a $125,000. Next stop is the XTERRA Mountain Championship in Ogden, UT on Aug. 18, followed by the USA Championship in Lake Tahoe, Nevada on Sept. 30.
Matt Boobar, the reigning XTERRA USA Champion, won the men’s amateur competition in a time of 2:19:25. He finished 14th overall. Marion Summerer of Honolulu, Hawaii (via Germany) won the women’s amateur division in 2:36:46 and was the 6th female overall. The top Virginian was Eric Sorensen from Falls Church who finished 15th overall, and 2nd in the 35-39 division in 2:21:50. The top Richmonder was Karl Kahsar (28th overall and first in the 15-19 age group) with a time of 2:27:41.
XTERRA EAST CHAMPS (FEMALE BY DIV.)
15 - 19 Becca Finley 3:12:21 Johnston, IA
20 - 24 Sara Hanson 3:09:53 Blacksburg, VA
25 - 29 Marion Summerer 2:36:46 Honolulu, HI
30 - 34 Allison Hardy 2:55:17 Arden, NC
35 - 39 Kate Lucas 3:04:25 Richmond, VA
40 - 44 Mara Fronhofer 3:08:31 Argyle, NY
45 - 49 Andrea Wagner 3:21:51 Richmond, VA
50 - 54 Annette Macniven 3:31:22 Wainscott, NY
55 - 59 Vicky Carter 5:05:25 Satellite Beach, FL
15 - 19 Karl Kahsar 2:27:41 Richmond, VA
20 - 24 Ian Sullivan 2:25:17 Jericho, VT
25 - 29 Trevor Glavin 2:22:56 Salinas, CA
30 - 34 Anthony Snoble 2:26:49 Selden, NY
35 - 39 Matt Boobar 2:19:25 Plymouth, NH
40 - 44 Mark Junkermann 2:28:17 Richmond, VA
45 - 49 Jim James 2:25:46 Ann Arbor, MI
50 - 54 Scott Ewing 2:34:05 Destin, FL
55 - 59 Don Morrison 3:18:32 W. Brandywine, PA
60 - 64 Peter Lilley 3:40:53 Charlotte, NC
65+ John Deeter 4:56:14 Richmond, VA
PC Willie Stewart 3:06:15 Redlands, CA
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