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XTERRA Midwest Cup This Sunday
The 2009 XTERRA Cup Series started out in familiar fashion with Conrad Stoltz and Melanie McQuaid winning the men’s and women’s pro races earlier this month in Nevada, but their victories didn’t come easy. Josiah Middaugh held the lead halfway through the run and finished just 32 seconds back, while Shonny Vanlandingham crept all the way up to within 23 seconds of capturing the women’s crown.
Race number two in the eight-stop XTERRA Cup Series is this Sunday, May 17, in Central Michigan (between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo) and you can expect some more close racing action. It’s anyone’s guess how the course at Fort Custer State Park will ride and who it will favor, but word has it that technical skills on the bike are needed for this one. That doesn’t mean much to the XTERRA pro field anymore, as just about all of them have mad mountain bike skills.
Early weather forecasts call for a clear sunny day in the 60s, but you’d imagine the colder it gets the happier Josiah Middaugh will be. Middaugh (pictured here on his way to victory in Richmond, VA last year) grew up darn near the Canadian border in East Jordan, MI, so will enjoy a homecoming of sorts with this being the biggest XTERRA race this close to his hometown. The sentimental value will mean little to Stoltz and fellow South African Dan Hugo, who is still looking for his first XTERRA win in the U.S. (he’s finished in the top 4 in each of the last five America Tour races he’s been at). Mike Vine got an early jump on his season having spent some time in Saipan this April and is likely to get a lot faster earlier this season. He was 4th at the West Cup. Other hopefuls include all the regular American standouts like Brian Smith, Craig Evans, Seth Wealing and Branden Rakita. Three-time XTERRA European Tour champ Nico Lebrun is taking on the America Tour this year and will certainly be looking to get some big points after having to withdraw from the West Cup with mechanicals on the bike. Also of note is Matt Boobar –the two-time overall XTERRA Amateur National Champ- who will be making his pro debut. "I skipped Vegas so Conrad could get his confidence up," joked Boobar.
On the women’s side four of the top five women from the first race are back at it (only exception is Danelle Kabush who was third in Vegas). All eyes should be on Renata Bucher, who was fourth at the West Cup but racing on some pretty well traveled legs having done a full slate of races in far off places (Saipan) in the weeks prior. Christine Jeffrey, Emma Garrard, and Jenny Smith will be in the mix and local favorite Erin Kummer from Rochester Hills, who won the overall amateur XTERRA crown last year, will be making her pro debut not far from her hometown.
Each pro needs to count five of the eight Cup races this year towards their final points total and the big payoff at the end of the year at the USA Champs in Utah, so every race counts and you can be assured of a quality battle in Cereal City this Sunday.
XTERRA'S CONTRIBUTION TO "NATIONAL RUNNING DAY" IS IN PHILLY...
On June 3, athletes across the nation will lace up their running shoes to take part in the 2009 National Running Day. XTERRA and race director Don Morrison are getting involved with the XTERRA Warwick Park Ruckus 5-Kilometer Trail Run.
The third of five races in the 2009 XTERRA Philly Series, the XTERRA Warwick Park Ruckus is an adventure through the rolling hills, serene woodlands, and sweet single track that define the Philadelphia area.
Learn more about XTERRA trail run series and how to live the healthy, active, outdoors lifestyle at www.xterratrailrun.com.
FUHR, SANCHEZ WIN SoCAL TRAIL RUN SERIES FINALE
Heather Fuhr (pictured here courtesy Peter Weber) continued her domination of the XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Series by winning the XTERRA Malibu Creek 22km race in 1:47:33, a minute faster than her winning time on this course last year.
In the men's race Los Angeles local and City of Angels ½ Marathon Champion Romualdo Sanchez, 39, won in 1:38:52, edging SaltStick developer Jonathan Toker by three minutes. More than 700 runners took part in this, the last race of the increasingly popular SoCal Series. Read the full story. Results.
XTERRA EUREKA SPRINGS PREVIEW
On Saturday, June 13, the XTERRA Eureka Springs Off-Road Triathlon and Trail Run will challenge endurance athletes from around the country on the city’s 1600-acre crown jewel, Lake Leatherwood City Park (photo courtesy Richard Quick).
The course at Lake Leatherwood is quickly developing a reputation as one of the most demanding on the XTERRA America Tour. The steep mountainous terrain that characterizes the Ozarks is perfect for this type of event – lots of punishing climbs as well as several, fun and fast descents. Check out all the details at the official website www.eurekaspringsoffroadtriathlon.com.
New for this year’s event is a focus on sustainability and reducing waste. Race Director Nick Cross notes that, “in the past, we’ve had recycling and have always cleaned-up thoroughly, but this year we wanted to take it a step further.” Some notable changes include utilizing a paper-free online registration process, having posters printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks, choosing organic cotton for the race shirts and using re-usable grocery bags for the racer goodie bags.
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