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Horsecow "Ace" Wins XTERRA Real as The Vineman Heads Back to Saipan
HORSECOW "ACE" WINS XTERRA REAL
Tim Helms, a 26-year-old in his third year of veterinary school at UC Davis, ran down a trio of XTERRA National Champions (Joshua Olmstead-2009, Damian Gonzalez-2007, and David Cloninger-2005) to win the XTERRA REAL Off-Road Triathlon in Granite Bay, California on Sunday. Josh, Damian, and David finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively.
While a relative unknown in XTERRA circles - it was just his third ever XTERRA - Helms (pictured here courtesy James Pratt) was a Track and Field All-American in his junior year at UCD when he placed 4th in the 3,000-meter steeplechaise.
“He passed Cloninger at mile two, where he was about 70 seconds behind race leader Joshua Olmstead at the time, and he caught and passed Joshua a mile and a half later with just a half mile to the finish line,” said Mark Shaw, one of the race directors from Total Body Fitness.
In digging around to find out just who Helms was, we uncovered the Horsecow track club (his nickname is “Ace”) and their uncanny success in XTERRA races in the month of March. Fellow Horsecow members Justin Hurd and Mark “Hot Karl” Lonac based out of Fort Collins, CO won the XTERRA Dash4Cash Snowboard race and the XTERRA Snowshoe 10km race, respectively, at Snowbasin Resort in Utah earlier in March. Not bad for a bunch of “shamblers”.
“HORSECOW is just a collection of friends and old teammates from Davis that we’ve raced with over the years,” explained Helms.
XTERRA Pro Emma Garrard – who finished 11th in the XTERRA Pro Series last year – topped the women’s field followed by the always impressive 15-year-old Shayna Powless from Roseville, CA.
Also of note, 7-time XTERRA World Champ Tom Lyons won an impressive 45-49 division (10th overall), with Shayna’s dad Jack Powless in 2nd (13th overall), and 1997 XTERRA World Champ Mike Pigg in 3rd (14th overall).
THE VINEMAN HEADS BACK TO SAIPAN...
Over the past seven years more than 40 of the worlds finest triathletes and mountain bikers have made the trek to Saipan – a pristine little island in the middle of the western Pacific Ocean – for the annual XTERRA Championship (this year it’s on April 18).
Among them are Olympic triathletes, XTERRA World Champs, and mountain bike phenoms from more than a dozen countries. The 2009 field includes three of the top four women from the 2008 XTERRA World Championship, including current and two-time winner Julie Dibens (GBR), four-time Saipan and three-time XTERRA European Tour Champ Renata Bucher (SUI), and perhaps the most decorated female mountain biker in U.S. history – Shonny Vanlandingham.
Contending on the men’s side is defending champ Andrew Noble (AUS), 2008 XTERRA Japan Champion Sam Gardner (GBR), Ulli Katzer (AUT), Jim McConnel (GBR), Takahiro Ogasawara and Taro Shirato from Japan, and for the first time since winning the inaugural race in Saipan back in 2002 – Mike Vine (CAN).
“After the long Canadian winter I'm looking forward to splashing in the Grotto and heading to a beach BBQ,” said Vine (pictured crossing the finish line in '02. “The whole trip that first year was a neat experience, from meeting friendly people to visiting the south Pacific for the first time. It may be a small island but there is a lot to see there with the melting pot of people as well as the island's rich WWII history and artifacts.”
Indeed, Saipan played host to some of the most significant battles of World War II and the race itself starts just a couple hundred yards from American Memorial Park Museum where you can delve into the history. Of course, the race itself heads right through the same tropical jungle and caves where the battles ensued. Learn more about the “Crown Jewel” of XTERRA at www.saipansports.com, and the plush host hotel at Pacific Islands Club Resort.
WWW.XTERRAFOOTWEAR.COM LAUNCHES ONLINE
The new XTERRA Trail Running shoes, with design inspired by a big-cat predator’s paw, are now available online now at www.xterrafootwear.com.
“With the cat’s paw, we liked the symbolism of man’s co-existence with all things found in the environment,” said designer Ashley Brown. “We adapt to our surroundings, whether it be animal, plant or any of nature’s elements. The thought behind XTERRA’s new line is that the outdoors are no longer to be conquered; they’re to be connected with.”
HORNER, GERMISHUYS WIN IN SOUTH AFRICA
Top South African multisport athlete Kent Horner (pictured) managed his second consecutive XTERRA victory in the South Africa Series by winning the Albert Falls off-road tri on Sunday in 2:13:14, just under 5 minutes ahead of runner-up Lieuwe Boonstra. Carla Germishuys took top honours in the individual ladies category of the event, crossing the finish line in 2:32:07.
"Albert Falls Dam is an amazing venue for XTERRA. The route was very fast and quite different to the previous XTERRA events. Because of the speed, we had found the navigation much tougher on the single-track sections of the route. The run also had lots of twists and turns, which broke my speed and rhythm. I had a good race, but will definitely have to take it up a notch for Grabouw," says Horner.
Germishuys surprised supporters on the day when she crossed the finish line 5 minutes in front of South African Olympic triathlete and reigning XTERRA Buffelspoort Dam champion Mari Rabie. "My swimming is coming along really well and I am really happy about that. The mountain-bike route was awesome with winding single tracks. I had to push myself as hard as possible to catch Mari. I really enjoyed the run, as it was genuinely off-road, most of the time taking us across animal paths. I ran hard as I wasn't sure how large a lead I had over Mari. The venue was just amazing and it was evident that event organisers really put in a lot of effort to make it as enjoyable as possible for us. I had a great race and can't wait to compete at Grabouw," says Germishuys, who clocked the fastest mountain-bike and run splits on the day.
The fourth and final race of the RSA Series will culminate at the XTERRA South Africa Championship at Grabouw Country Club (Western Cape) on April 18.
CASEY FANNIN 3-PEATS
Casey Fannin, at the ripe young age of 49, won the XTERRA Miami off-road triathlon for the third consecutive year on Sunday with a winning time of 2:18:29, more than two minutes ahead of the runner-up. In the women’s race Jennifer Moss, 26, took top honors in 2:49:14.
XTERRA GUAM THIS SATURDAY
The XTERRA Guam Off-Road Triathlon hits the shores at Port Authority Beach in Piti this Saturday, April 4 for the fourth year of racing as part of the XTERRA America Tour. XTERRA Guam combines a 1km swim in the waters of Piti, followed by a 31m mountain bike up Nimitz Hill, into the technical terrain atop Mt. Alutom and then down to Mannengon Hills before returning to the transition point at Port Authority Beach. The race finishes with a memorable 8.2k trail run that has athletes navigating through jungle rivers and down slippery waterfalls. The run was described a “signature test of courage” by Inside Triathlon writer/photographer Tim Carlson in the May 2007 issue.
The race marks the beginning of a three-plus week training and racing stint in the western Pacific for the likes of Euro’s Julie Dibens, Renata Bucher, Jim McConnel, and Sam Gardner.
XTERRA SAIPAN PRO ALUMNI
Jude Baker (Guam) 2003
BOLD DENOTES PREVIOUS CHAMPS
MELRAD RACING TEAM SET
Melanie McQuaid and Conrad Stoltz announced their roster of 20 amateur athletes - 13 men and 7 women - that will race under the "MelRad Racing" banner in 2009. Among the chosen ones are a number of current and/or former XTERRA National Champions including Katherine Pollard (15-19), Tom Monica (50-54), and Bruce Wacker (60-64) - as well as the reigning overall amateur XTERRA World Champ Keri Grosse (40-44). For the complete scoop visit www.racergirl.com.
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