Press and Media Center
XTERRA National Championship in Lake Tahoe, Nevada
THIS WEEK: The XTERRA National Championship on Sunday (Sept. 30) graces the north shore of Lake Tahoe at Incline Village, Nevada for the seventh straight year. This year’s title race, the final stop on the XTERRA America Tour, is the culmination of 53 qualifying events in 32 states. The concept of the Series, dreamt up by race director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas and initiated in 2001, was to provide amateur athletes with a bona-fide championship to compete for. First qualify by finishing as one of the top points scorers in the region, then race against the top performers from every other region in the country. The idea worked. As proof, more than 350 XTERRA racers from 46 of the 50 states across the nation have qualified and traveled to Nevada in search of the national championship.
In this edition we’ll sample Sunday’s field to see who they are, where they’re from, and what they do. We’ll also look further into the pro race to see who’s hot and what’s at stake, and see how the locals can join in the action.
9/29 – XTERRA Nevada (Incline Village, NV)
9/29 - XTERRA National Trail Running Championships (Incline Village, NV)
9/30 – XTERRA USA Championship (Incline Village, NV)
PRESS GUIDE: A downloadable version of the XTERRA USA Championship press guide can be found at: http://www.xterraplanet.com/news/press_media.cfm
XTERRA USA PRO RACE PREVIEW: As the last of five races in the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series the showdown in Tahoe carries extra weight because how a pro finishes here counts towards their final point total regardless of where they place. A flat tire or mechanical could mean the difference in thousands of dollars, as was the case last year when Brent McMahon – who only had to finish 7th or better to win the Series – suffered several flats, finished 11th in the race, and dropped to second in the overall (a $7,000 difference).
This year Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz – who broke his back and wrist in a bike crash while pre-riding the course the day before last year’s race – has returned to Tahoe with a vengeance and holds the top spot in the Series with a perfect score of 300 points by virtue of winning the first three regional championships of the season. Stoltz will win the Pro Series if he places 7th or better regardless of what anyone else does. That leaves the 2nd ranked Seth Wealing, ironically, in the exact same position as last year when he became the first American male to win this race and the first to win the Series since Michael Tobin in 2000. Wealing is coming off an impressive victory at altitude in the mountains at Snowbasin Resort in Utah and looks poised to give Stoltz a run for his money.
There are, in fact, a dozen guys with the skills and guts to pull off a win here in Tahoe with the likes of mountain specialists Mike Vine, Josiah Middaugh, and Greg Krause, bike-and-run phenoms Brian Smith and Andrew Noble, road triathlon star Chris Legh, and European notables Nico Pfitzenmaier and Sam Gardner. Canadian triathlon legend Peter Reid has pulled from the race due to injury.
In the women’s race it’s all about Jamie and Melanie. Melanie McQuaid from Canada and Jamie Whitmore from Sacramento, CA (the top two female pros) have the hottest rivalry in the entire multisport world. In the last 27 championship races both Jamie and Melanie have raced stretching back to the 2003 season - Jamie Whitmore has 14 wins and Melanie has 12. In 23 of those they’ve finished 1-2, and a bunch of them have been decided by a minute or less. Last year Melanie won this race, the U.S. Pro Series, and the World Championship for an unprecedented third time. Jamie Whitmore, who has won the last three regional championship events this season and the USA Championship and Pro Series four-times (2002-05) is ready to reclaim her title. With a 300-to-280 points advantage, Whitmore holds her fate in her own hands as she simply needs to finish 3rd or better to win the Series.
Jenny Smith, who’s had a breakout season after placing 2nd here a year ago, and the ever-consistent Candy Angle are contenders for the overall and falling short of that will battle each other hard for the 3rd spot in the Series.
This year the women’s pro field was missing five of the top 11 women from last year’s Pro Series due to pregnancy. The mommy-to-be (or just delivered) list includes Danelle Kabush (4th in Pro Series), Janae Pritchett (5th), Ingrid Rolles (8th), Jenny Tobin (9th), and Aracelly Clouse (11th).
In their absence Amber Monforte has stepped-up her game and is ranked 5th in the Series heading into this one, and XTERRA has also seen an influx of new talent making an impact with the likes of mountain bike specialists Dara Marks Marino and Shonny Vanlandingham.
With 43 pros representing 8 countries in a battle for the XTERRA USA Championship crown and the money ($110,000 purse) and fame (national TV and major exposure in industry magazines) that go with it – this race promises to be an epic showdown.
PRO START LIST BY COUNTRY/ALPHA:
USA - Jimmy Archer, Brian Astell, Matthew Balzer, Andrew Biglow, Ryan DeCook, Lewis Elliott, Jordan Jones, Greg Krause, Ryan Ignatz, Tyler Johnson, Will Kelsay, John Koenig, Josiah Middaugh, Spencer Powlison, Bucky Schafer, Brian Smith, Cody Waite, Seth Wealing
ARGENTINA - Mario De Elias
AUSTRALIA - Chris Legh, Andrew Noble
CANADA - Jordan Bryden, Mike Vine, Luke Way
GERMANY - Nico Pfitzenmaier
SOUTH AFRICA - Lieuwe Boonstra, Conrad Stoltz, Jean-Paul VanderLinde
UNITED KINGDOM - Sam Gardner
USA - Candy Angle, Erin Ford, Kim Jennings, Jari Kirkland, Kristy Lanier, Dara Marks Marino, Amber Monforte, Shae Rainer, Sara Tarkington, Shonny Vanlandingham, Emily vanMeter, Jamie Whitmore
CANADA - Melanie McQuaid
NEW ZEALAND - Jenny Smith
SHOW ME THE MONEY: $110,000 will be given away = $70k to the top performers in the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series, and $40k for the race alone. Here’s how it breaks down for the Series: 1st - $14,000, 2nd - $7,000, 3rd - $4,500, 4th - $3,000, 5th - $2,000, 6th - $1,200, 7th - $900, 8th - $700, 9th - $500, 10th - $450, men only 11th - $400, 12th - $350, 13th - $300, 14th - $250, 15th - $200. Here’s the race breakdown: 1st - $5,000, 2nd - $4,000, 3rd - $3,000, 4th - $2,400, 5th - $1,800, 6th - $1,400, 7th - $1,000, 8th - $700, men only 9th - $500, 10th - $400, 11th - $300, 12th - $200.
WHO ARE YOU?: The sport of XTERRA has produced a special breed of athletes and here in Nevada you’ll find representatives from 46 states, 8 countries, and all walks of life. Of the 700 racers competing in the two XTERRA races over the weekend nearly 90% are from out-of-state and last year competitors traveled an average of 2,232 miles to get to Nevada. From Shayna Powless, a 13-year-old XTERRA prodigy to Errol Lassiter – a tough-as-nails 71-year-old, you’ll find students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, and massage therapists from every corner of the U.S. It’s a diverse group that shares at least one thing in common - that inner calling to LIVE MORE. Here’s a cross-section of Sunday’s field and some of their stories…
Name – Age and Hometown (Occupation)
Shayna Powless - a 13-year-old from Roseville, CA (Student)
Shayna will become the youngest racer to ever compete in the USA Championship. Far from an average 13-year-old, Shayna started racing mountain bikes when she was 4. Her Mom Jeanette is an Olympic marathoner and her Dad Jack - who is also racing - is a 4-time Ironman Hawaii World Champion in the military division. Shayna did her first XTERRA in Jacksonville, FL when she was 11 and won the 19 and under division. She was the 1st place junior in the Nevada City Classic bike race, has competed at the junior Olympics in cross country the past two years, and perhaps most importantly – is a straight A student. To make sure Shayna could handle the challenge of this course her Dad has taken her to the Lake to swim and pre-rode the entire bike course. “It was really hard, but really fun too,” is what Shayna said about the course.
Chris Holt – a 16-year-old from Centennial, CO (Junior at Arapahoe High School)
Emily Gassman – a 19-year-old from Burlington, VT (Student at University of Vermont)
Zach Goldman – a 22-year-old from Waterford, CT (Acquisitions Analyst)
Molly Hummel – a 23-year-old from Durango, CO (High School Math Teacher)
Zach Bittinger – a 25-year-old from Swanton, MD (Electrical Engineer)
Will Kelsay - a 26-year-old pro from Boulder, Colorado (XTERRA Professional)
Will is likely the most energetic, positive, wild, and wacky guy you’ll ever meet. This year, he took his “just go for it!” attitude to an epic new level by embarking on a 12,630-mile, 12-week, 12-race, cross-the-country road trip in a beat-up RV to share his love for XTERRA. Along the way he put on 10 clinics at Fleet Feet stores, traveled through 31 states, won four races, finished in the top 10 at three others, rebuilt the RV, and then ran out of money.
Melissa Stacy – a 27-year-old from Orlando, FL (Valet for Walt Disney World Resorts)
Brandyn Roark Gray – a 28-year-old from Sandpoint, ID (Mental Health Counselor)
Seth Wealing - a 28-year-old from Boulder, CO (Architect, XTERRA Professional)
Seth is the defending men’s pro Champion (and became the first American winner of the XTERRA USA Championship since inception in 2001 last year) and is unique in the fact that he lives two professional lives – one as a 40+ hour a week architect, and another as a triathlete.
Nick Clayton – a 29-year-old from Gainesville, FL (Student at University of Florida)
James Walsh – a 29-year-old from San Diego, CA (Network Engineer)
Toni Axelrod – a 34-year-old from Vail, Colorado (Photographer)
Toni is on the Impact Racing triathlon team whose mission is to compete in order to raise funds for First Descents, a Colorado-based organization that helps young adults with cancer.
Kelly Ault – a 36-year-old from Middlessex, VT (Freelance Writer)
Shonny Vanlandingham – a 38-year-old from Durango, CO (Professional mountain biker)
“Shonny V” is one of the best women’s mountain biker’s on the planet - a six-time U.S. National Mountain Bike Team Member, a three-time (2004-06) NORBA National Series Cross Country Champion and the 2005 U.S. National Short Track Champ.
Jeff Landauer – a 40-year-old from Roseville, CA (Massage Therapist)
Mara Fronhofer – a 41-year-old from Argyle, NY (Teacher)
Bruce Gennari – a 41-year-old from Birmingham, AL (Healthcare Manager)
Bruce is one of the fastest swimmers in the world, as proof he was first out of the water in the 1997 Hawaiian Ironman and the XTERRA USA Championship last year.
Billy Anderson – a 42-year-old from Cincinnati, OH (Banker)
Kathy Eckert – a 45-year-old from Denver, CO (Human Resource Manager)
Jim Hadly – a 45-year-old from Fallsington, PA (CEO of Aviation Components, Corp.)
Ruth Tummey – a 45-year-old from Manahawkin, NJ (High School Biology Teacher)
This race will take on special meaning for Ruth, as she explains… “In 2004 one of my climbing partners was killed while we were climbing together. After the accident I had a huge hole in my life because climbing at the time was my coping mechanism. I had just lost my Dad and one of my brothers, and my Mom had stage III ovarian cancer, and I used climbing as an outlet. I felt lost without it.
When I started to get more serious about mountain biking, it helped me heal. My husband Chris and I made new biking friends and started to travel around to explore new places to ride. At the end of last summer, I decided to jump back in the water and see how I felt. Maybe I could add a sprint triathlon to my race schedule in 2007. I started to noodle around online looking for races and came across XTERRA. I told my husband that I wanted to race XTERRA this season. After looking at me like I was crazy for a second, he said...What do you need? What can I do to help?
That was last December. It has been a great experience training for, and racing in XTERRA. My Mom passed away in June, just 10 days before my second race. I went and competed, even though I was emotionally in bad shape. She was a huge supporter of my goals, and if I qualified for Tahoe, she was going to come watch me race. Having my training to focus on this summer has helped me get through a very tough time. She will be there with me in spirit. She would be really proud of what I have accomplished so far.”
Heather McNamara – a 46-year-old from Brighton, MI (Physical Therapist)
Sally Hill – a 50-year-old from Midvale, UT
After battling stage IV ovarian cancer in 2005, this has been Sally Hill’s comeback year. She says, “While my races have been very tough for me, considering my lack of quality training time, just finishing has been a huge victory for me. On the other hand, the battle to finish a race is minimal compared to battle with cancer. I welcome this new challenge.”
Bruce McLaughlin – a 50-year-old from Royersford, PA (Engineer for Lockheed Martin)
Jim Lewis – a 54-year-old from Broomfield, CO (Software Engineer)
Libby Harrow – a 56-year-old from Vero Beach, FL (Bike Shop Manager)
Kent Robison – a 60-year-old from Reno, NV (Attorney)
Kent, a 5-time XTERRA USA Champion, has certainly paid his dues with XTERRA, as he explains… “Over the past 9 years I have broke 6 ribs, a collar bone, 2 cervical vertebrae and taken face plants in 4 countries and 10 different states all in the pursuit of respectability in XTERRA. I would not exchange that for anything!”
WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT: We asked the field to finish this sentence: “XTERRA is…” and here are just a few of their responses:
“The single best meeting ground of the best triathletes in the world. Ironman, ITU, Olympic, 70.3, Winter Triathlon, and Mountain bike champions have all competed at XTERRA.” – Jimmy Archer
“The Captain Morgan of triathlon,” – Christiane Reetz
“An Epic adventure that tests your will,” – Bruce Rogers
“Hard when I’m doing it and fun when it’s over,” – Mike Erbe
“The coolest, most diverse, challenging and funnest competition ever!” – Molly Hummel
“Family, friends, and fun. Always adventurous and you never know what the Kahuna has in store for you – always a smile or a joke or something to make your day.” – Linda Lindsay
“A way of Life,” – Jon Rittling
“A cosmic blend of specialized training, arduous racing, incredible camaraderie and friendships with competitors and TEAM Unlimited that defies description and is an irreplaceable component of my life,” – Kent Robison
“Blood, Sweat, and Beers!” – James Walsh
“About connecting with like-minded people, having fun, and challenging myself”- Kathy Eckert
“Living more through competition, meeting wonderful, like-minded people and traveling to beautiful venues,” – Libby Harrow
“Great racing and great community to be a part of,” – Bruce McLaughlin
“Making the sport of triathlon fun again for me! The diversity of the courses and the challenges associated with each course allow me to push myself both mentally and physically,” Sara Tarkington
“Not just a sport, it’s a lifestyle,” – Sara Hanson
“Not for the faint of heart,” – Zach Goldman
“An attitude that involves racing, helping the sport, being considerate of and encouraging fellow racers, and having a good time with friends,” – Jim Lewis
“An addiction,” – Jayne Peterlin
“Really, really hard and also really, really fun. The mentality between road tri and off-road is huge. XTERRA is more laid back and much, much more enjoyable,” – Bruce Gennari
“A part of the challenge of life,” – Brian Delaney
“One of the toughest things I’ve ever done, but well worth it,” – Christopher Holt
“All about achieving what seems impossible!” – Heather McNamara
“A gnarly way to commune with nature!” – Brandyn Roark Gray
“An opportunity for a person to challenge himself/herself both physically and mentally beyond anything he/she thought were capable of,” – Jay Hachadoorian
“A great way to bring pain and pleasure together in one event.” – Ryan Ignatz
“My biggest challenge,” – Brian Smith
“An extreme test of endurance, skill, and guts.” – Josiah Middaugh
“Life” – Conrad Stoltz
“Your worst nightmare and your wildest dreams!” – Jim Vance
“My escape from the real world,” – Craig Evans
“A wonderful race and event experience no matter where the venue. Somehow athletes, the race crew, and family members all end up together celebrating the experience. I have made some wonderful friends and lasting memories racing XTERRA events.” – Nicole Logan
“A great experience, from the people, the organization, the venues, and the racing.” – Jenny Smith
“My reason for showing up to work...NEVER!” – Brian Astell
“Adventure!” – Mark Leishman
“Unpredictable but always fun,” – Greg Krause
“The Way Forward,” – Mike Vine
“The bomb diggity dog!” – Jamie Whitmore
XTERRA YOUR WAY: Not just for elite racers, the events and activities at the XTERRA sports festival offer an adventure for everyone and the local community is invited to join in the fun. Located at the Village Green in Incline Village next to the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, visitors to the XTERRA festival will find big white tents filled with everything from the latest in XTERRA Gear to ice cold Pacifico beer. It's headquarters for all the outdoor action, and a great place to spend some time after running in the 5k or finishing up a big plate of BBQ. There's music playing, prize giveaways, kids games, and all the buzz one could imagine from a rockin' outdoor EXPO. On Sunday you can even get a professional haircut from Paul Mitchell stylists in exchange for a donation to the Challenged Athletes Foundation. In addition to the big race, there is a weekend-long outdoor lifestyle celebration that includes:
XTERRA TRAIL RUNNING NATIONALS (10k)
XTERRA ECO TEAM CLEAN-UP - A volunteer work party doing stream clean-ups, tree planting, and more...
To see a complete schedule of events visit us online at:
© 2014 TEAM Unlimited LLC