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The Kahuna's Prognostications
The managing director of the XTERRAGlobal Tour, “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas, gives us his thoughts on the upcoming XTERRA USA Championship in Lake Tahoe, NV on Oct. 5. With $110,000 in prize money and the award-winning TEAM TV crew onsite filming all the action for a one-hour sports special, its no surprise the sports best are headed to Nevada...
Here we go into the final race for the US, and we go into it with what is one of the finest pro fields ever. Some of the best foreign pros are here to go up against our USA series athletes. Here’s a sample:
Chris Legh (Australia) XTERRA Australia Champ
Add to that Fabiola Corona, 2008 Olympian from Mexico along with 2004 Olympic bronze medal winner Susan Williams and we have quite a field to watch.
The way the points are added requires the pros to count whatever points they earn at Tahoe as part of their total. So no points, means you get a big, fat zero that you must count. So while Conrad Stoltz has 3 wins, Dan Hugo the 2009 South African champ with 3 second places is only 30 points behind. So a win by Hugo and a 5th or worse by Conrad and the Championship goes to the young gun.
Same for the women. Melanie McQuaid goes to Tahoe with a perfect 300, but Shonny Vanlandingham is just 28 behind so their situation is exactly like the men. A win by Shonny and a 5th or worse by Mel and Shonny is the champ. A big bobble by the leading two men or two women and Jen Smith and Josiah Middaugh are right there and ready to take the big prize of $14,000 to the points winner. And with the arrival of the foreign pros into the mix there are a lot of “what ifs”. Seth Wealing has been living not far from Tahoe for most of the year and he won there in 2006. We saw Josiah win Richmond and he’s a horse for this course. Brian Smith has not had any luck in Tahoe but the 3rd year could be the charm.
Mike Vine has been second at Tahoe for two straight years and he is peaking for this race. Like Vine, Jen Smith was been second at Tahoe for the past two years and is overdue for that Big Win.
Here's a look at the XTERRA U.S. Pro Points standings heading into Tahoe:
The Age Group championship scheme is less complicated. This is a poker “All In” race. Win it and you are the champ. We have some pretty heavy age group past champions ready to play King of the Mountain and stay on top of the heap.
Tom Lyons is back looking for his record breaking 7th National Championship, but he was beaten earlier this year by Casey Fannin and those guys will be close. Matt Boobar (pictured) has won the last two amateur titles but can he make it three-in-a-row? Damien Gonzalez is now a pro so 30-34 is wide open. Emma Garrard was fastest amateur woman last year and she is now a pro as well so that puts 25-29 out there for Susie Snyder, Brandyn Roark Gray or Erin Collins. This particular group of women are all very fast and well worth watching.
Other 2007 National Champs returning are Lisa Lieb, Caroline Colonna, Bev Enslow, Cindi Toepel and Kathy Frank for the women and Scott Zavack, Tommy Monica and Hans Dieben for the men. Will Willie Stewart be back to keep his Challenged Athlete crown or is it Mike Hicks turn? Lots of questions going into this most important race. Anybody who thinks they can predict the age group winners this year has a lot more confidence than this old guy. Times, they are a changing, new and fast folks are coming around. Will it snow again this year or will it be sunny and mild? Will Tunnel Creek be sticky or slick?
Hey, that’s why we have the race. At 9:00am on Sunday the 5th everybody will say... “ALL IN”
STUFFITTS STEPS UP
The first 400 runners at next weekend's XTERRA Trail Running National Championship race will get a free pair of Stuffitts ($10 value), courtesy of DRIFEAT Owner and CEO Mike Huebner. If you’ve never heard of these, recent reviews in the September issues of Triathlete and Competitor Magazines have given it rave reviews . They are soft foot-shaped forms made of 100% cedar shavings that you stuff in your shoes after workouts to soak up sweat and moisture and keep them smelling clean and fresh. The product is endorsed by none-other-than 3x XTERRA World Champ Conrad Stoltz. Read more about 'em at www.stuffitts.com.
BOLT TO LEAD TRAIL RUN CLINIC
Although not quite as fast as Usain Bolt, Richard Bolt (pictured) has some pretty great trail running credentials as the leader of the U.S. Mountain Running Team which just won its first medal – a bronze at the World Trophy race in Switzerland last weekend. The 38-year-old from Portland also won both the XTERRA Dirt Dash and XTERRA Havoc at the Hideout trail runs in Oregon earlier this year. Bolt will be teaching the XTERRA University Trail Run Clinic, presented by Paul Mitchell, the day before the XTERRA Trail Run Nationals in Bend, OR at 5pm on Friday at the Footzone, serving up course tips and race preparation advice.
FLUME TRAIL BIKES
Max Jones, a two-time National Mountain Bike Champion and Hall of Famer, will rent mountain bikes and get them ready for athletes in the days before the XTERRA Nevada and XTERRA USA Championship races. Even for athletes traveling with others who aren’t racing, renting a bike and discovering the Flume Trail is highly recommended. Check out www.TheFlumeTrail.com for more info.
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