Sambolec and Shokey Run Away at Mocanaqua

Experience plays a key role in the half-marathon race

A year of experience made a big difference in Eric Sambolec and Jaclyn Shokey racing to big wins at the XTERRA Earth Conservancy Trail Run at Mocanaqua, Pennsylvania.

Sambolec was the overall winner of the half-marathon (13.1 miles) trail race, and Shokey was the top female. The event – which was the fourth of five races in the 2013 XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series – was completed on June 15 at the Earth Conservancy Land.

Sambolec completed the course in 1 hour, 27 minutes, 53 seconds, to win the event for the second consecutive year. He also won the race in 2012, and said the experience from a year ago played a key role in improving his time by nearly two minutes.

“It helped me to know where to push, and more importantly, where to ease up and save some energy,” he said. “Also, the top three finishers were the same as last year, so I had a sense of how the other guys would approach the race.”

Just like last year, Tony Korch (1:33:38) placed second and Grant Farrell (1:38:49) was third.

“I ran with Grant Farrell for the first four to five miles, and then I broke away on the flat sections at the top of the course,” Sambolec said. “I knew I was widening my lead after halfway, but wasn’t sure by how much so I worked pretty hard in the second half and tried to run a good time.”

Sambolec, 35, drove nearly three hours from Ithaca, New York, to enter the race. He said the challenging course at Mocanaqua has become a reason for him to make the trip every year.

“The course is tough with constant climbing over the first three miles, then it levels out at the top of the mountain and has some really tough descents in the last few miles,” he said.

Shokey placed 14th overall with a time of 1:49:24, and she finished more than 20 minutes ahead of the other women. She finished second in this same race a year ago, but said the experience led her to the convincing victory this year.

“I was more familiar with the course so I knew not to go out as hard in the beginning and to save myself for areas of the course where I could pick up the pace,” she said.

She described the course at Mocanaqua as “one of the most challenging of the XTERRA Pocono Series,” because of the steep climbs in the first half of the race.

“Those hills are extremely steep, making it difficult to walk up, let alone trying to run up them,” she said. “Due to the excessive amount of rain we had a few days prior to the race, the course was very muddy and had many deep puddles.”

Shokey’s victory came just seven days after she placed second in another half-marathon trail race – the XTERRA Richmond Trail Run in Richmond, Virginia.

“Occasionally I will run back-to-back races in one weekend so running two half-marathons on back-to-back weekends wasn’t all that bad,” said Shokey, who resides in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.  “I didn’t push as hard for the Richmond half because I had the stomach bug, and I knew I had Mocanaqua the following week.  I wanted to be prepared for that race.”

CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS

The finale of the 2013 XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series will be the XTERRA Gouldsboro Trail Run on June 29 at Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania. The 13-kilometer race is open to runners of all ages and skill levels, from all states. To register for the race or learn more about the series, please visit www.wilkesbarreracing.com.

Runners Treated to ‘Pretty Awesome’ Trails at Turkey Track

Thomson and Young win marathon; Hofferber and Falcon win half-marathon

When an expert trail runner like J. Marshall Thomson describes a course as “pretty awesome,” it must be good.

Such was the case at the inaugural XTERRA Turkey Track Trail Run, which was completed on June 15 at Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Close to 200 runners from 10 different states participated in the event, which was the third of four races in the 2012-13 season for the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series.

Thomson added to his list of XTERRA Trail Run victories by winning the full-marathon course in impressive fashion. He completed the 26.2-mile course in 3 hours, 1 minute, 43 seconds – nearly 27 minutes ahead of the rest of the field. It was his fourth overall XTERRA Trail Run victory in the past two years.

“This course was pretty awesome,” said Thomson, who is 34 and resides in Crested Butte, Colorado. “I always love a course that stays on trails. The course was 90 percent beautiful rolling, winding single track, with maybe a mile of dirt road to and from the start. The weather was awesome and everything was just about perfect.”

Thomson said he ran with the half-marathon leaders for the first half of the race, and then ran by himself for the second half of the full-marathon. His lead was so large that he even had time to “hit a wall.”

“Unfortunately, I fell apart at mile 21,” he said. “I just hit a wall … although my pace slowed drastically and I was starting to suffer, I was able to push through the last few miles and maintain my lead.”

Raul Manzanares from New Mexico placed second in 3:28:39.

Amber Young, also from New Mexico, placed third overall at 3:42:20, and was the first female. She also dominated her division, finishing nearly 25 minutes ahead of the other women.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS

A majority of the runners opted to enter the half-marathon course, and a pair of newcomers to XTERRA Trail Runs took top honors.

Jeffrey Hofferber from Durango, Colorado, finished first overall, completing the 13.1-mile course in 1:25:05. He is an experienced road runner, but this was the first trail race of his career, and it resulted in the first overall victory of his running career.

“This race will go down in personal history as my first win ever!” he said. “I knew I had the chance to do it given my overall strength and speed from road training. I had a lot of encouragement from friends and family, even though they didn’t make it out. This win really helped solidify some personal decisions about my future of running and will no doubt be the encouragement to come back next year.”

Hofferber said he was pushed throughout the course by Thomson, because the full-marathon and half-marathon runners started at the same time.

“A little over half way, I rolled through a beautiful meadow feeling relaxed but a little tired,” Hofferber said. “I came up over a hill turning slightly right and saw Marshall over my shoulder. It definitely helped push me through the next few miles, unsure if he was running the marathon or the half.”

Although this was Hofferber’s first XTERRA Trail Run, he did practice on the same course about a month before the race with race director Mike Le Roux. “This really helped me finish strong knowing the end was just around the corner,” Hofferber said.

Gordon Gianniny, a 16-year-old student at Durango High School, placed second in 1:30:01. Jess Montour from Flagstaff, Arizona, was third in 1:35:33.

Jaime Falcon from Breckenridge, Colorado, placed sixth overall at 1:43:14, and was the first female. It was also her first XTERRA Trail Run.

“I actually didn’t know until the finish that I had won,” she said. “There was some confusion on my part about who was in front of me. I passed two women maybe 4 to 5 miles into the race, but ran solo for large chunks of time, and was surprised to hear at the end that I had won.”

Falcon, her husband, and their 9-month-old son camped overnight at Pagosa Springs after the race. “We had heard many great things about the trails in Pagosa Springs, so combining a family camping trip with a trail race was a good reason to make the trip,” she said. “We loved the area and will definitely be back.”

CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS AND INTERVIEWS

Every runner in the event received a pair of custom event socks, as well as “Turkey Track” medals created by students from Pagosa Springs Elementary School.

The next race in the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series will be the XTERRA Beaver Creek Trail Run at Avon, Colorado, on July 21. It will be the season finale, and the final chance for runners to earn points toward the overall standings of the series.

Allen, Erbenova win XTERRA Greece

Lake Plastira, Greece – Ben Allen (28, North Wollongong, Australia) and Helena Erbenova (34, Balatkova, Czech Republic) won the inaugural XTERRA Greece at Lake Plastira this afternoon.

Ben AllenIt is Allen’s sixth XTERRA World Tour win of the season (to go with a pair of runner-ups) and his first career win on the European Tour.  It’s the first win of the year for Erbenova, who won four straight in Europe to end last season as the Tour champion.

XTERRA managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas was on-site and brings us this initial report from Lake Plastira.

A fabulous day for racing, sunny and warm with a small breeze.  Ben Allen and three relay swimmers were first out of the water with Asa Shaw just 30 seconds back.  At the end of the first lap, Shaw and Allen were inches apart working together to gap the field.  Third was first year pro Marvin Gruget, fourth was Belgian Yeray Luxum.  Shaw dropped his chain early in the second lap, hooked it back up only to have it break just a few K farther into the bike.

“I had a little gap exiting the water and once I jumped on my Giant Bike I laid it all on the line,” said Allen after the race. “Asa Shaw road strong to bridge the gap and we road together increasing our lead on the chasing pack of athletes. Unfortunately for him he suffered a broken chain and I was left solo as I started the bike and managed to enter T2 with a handy lead going into the run leg. I felt great coming off the bike and managed to settle into my rhythm early. I knew I wasn’t going to have it easy with the caliber of world class athletes chasing me down. I managed to run comfortably on the muddy grass fields and through the forest sections.”

Allen had a solid performance in every respect and was not challenged after Shaw dropped back.  The big surprise was Belgian Kris Coddens, who has raced XTERRA in the past but today he and fellow Belgian Yeray Luxum were on fire.  Luxum swam faster, Coddens caught him on the bike and they ran back and forth the entire race with Coddens finishing just 10 seconds ahead of Luxum for second.

“Wrapped to finally get the monkey off my back & win a European XTERRA World Tour Race,” said Allen.  “I’m honored to win here today at the very first XTERRA Greece and be engraved on the trophy as this year’s champion. What a fantastic location for an XTERRA, surrounded by beautiful mountains and the pristine Lake Plastira. It was an awesome XTERRA experience.”

Top 10 Pro Men

1 Ben Allen, AUS 2:17:37
2 Kris Coddens, BEL 2:19:05
3 Yeray Luxum, BEL 2:19:16
4 Nicolas Lebrun, FRA 2:21:58
5 Asa Shaw, GBR 2:21:59
6 Cedric Lassonde, FRA 2:24:42
7 Felix Schumann, GER 2:26:03
8 Marvin Gruget, FRA 2:29:22
9 Francois Carloni, FRA 2:33:45
10 Sergey Yakolev, RUS 2:35:59

Helena ErbenovaFor the women ITU racer Mignon Vatlach and Kathrin Muller were first out of the water, but at the end of the first lap Jacqui Slack was in front, Muller 2nd and Helena Erbenova closing fast.

Erbenova took command on the bike and never let up, while Muller and Slack had a great battle together for the second lap of the bike and the entire run.

Erbenova finished more than four minutes up for the win.  Slack finally was able to pass Muller and put a small gap, but the German lass was not giving in and was less than a minute behind at the finish.

A sold-out field of 300 athletes from 23 countries took part in today’s race.

Top 5 Pro Women

1 Helena Erbenova, CZE 2:38:17
2 Jacqui Slack, GBR 2:42:51
3 Katrin Mueller, GER 2:43:40
4 Renata Bucher, SUI 2:48:08
5 Carina Wasle, AUT 2:50:42

Next on the XTERRA World Tour: XTERRA Spain was the second European Tour race and 10th World Tour event to qualify amateur athletes into the XTERRA World Championship to be held in Kapalua, Maui on October 27, 2013.  Next up, XTERRA Brazil in Ilhabela next weekend for a highly anticipated showdown between Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz and his younger countryman Dan Hugo.

Date – Race, Location
Feb 24 –  XTERRA South Africa Championship, Western Cape
Mar 2 – XTERRA Philippines Championship, Cebu
Mar 9 – XTERRA Motatapu, South Island, New Zealand
Mar 9 – XTERRA Saipan Championship, Northern Marianas
Mar 23 – XTERRA Guam Championship, Piti
Apr 7 – XTERRA Great Ocean Road, Anglesea, Victoria, Australia
Apr 13 – XTERRA New Zealand Championship, Rotorua
Apr 28 – XTERRA Malaysia Championhip, Putrajaya
June 2 – XTERRA Spain Championship, Cieza, Murcia
June 15 – XTERRA Greece, Lake Plastira
June 22 – XTERRA Brazil Championship, Ilhabela, SP
June 29 – XTERRA Switzerland Championship, Vallee de Joux
July 7 – XTERRA France Championship, Xonrupt, Gerardmer
July 14 – XTERRA Victoria, Canada
July 20 – XTERRA Abruzzo, Lago di Scanno, Italy
Aug 3 – XTERRA Mexico Championship, Tapalpa, Jalisco
Aug 4 – XTERRA Canmore, Canada
Aug 10 – XTERRA Czech Championship, Prachatice
Aug 17 – XTERRA Germany Championship, Zittau
Aug 24 – XTERRA Japan Championship, Marunuma
Aug 31 – XTERRA Ecuador,
Sept 8 – XTERRA England, Cranleigh, Surrey
Sept 21 – XTERRA USA Championship, Ogden/Snowbasin, UT
Oct 27 – XTERRA World Championship, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

XTERRA Lock 4 Blast Celebrates 15th Year

It might be hard to believe, but the small town of Gallatin, Tennessee holds a piece of off road triathlon history. Gallatin is home to the XTERRA Lock 4 Blast which is tied with Richmond, VA as the second-longest running XTERRA in the continental U.S. (trailing only Ruston).  Saturday, June 29, 2013 marks its 15th year of existence.

Lock 4 Blast RiderSomething else you might not know is that 10 out of those 14 years, the event has been won by Hendersonville, TN resident and professional triathlete, Craig Evans. Evans competed in his very first off road triathlon at Lock 4 in 2002 on a dare.  He didn’t win that year and was even called the “fat guy” as he exited the water, but he said after the race, “I swear I’ll win it next year.” Not only did he win it in 2003, but also every year since!

This year the race is coming full circle with Evans and his business partner, Clifton Duhon, have taken over ownership of XTERRA Lock 4 Blast.

“As an athlete, you don’t really get a behind the scenes look at everything that goes into putting on a race. It’s been a fun challenge for me to see that side of things,” said Evans.

“For me, the most exciting part is owning a piece of history,” said Clifton Duhon. “I got a taste of the off road lifestyle last year as a sponsor of XTERRA and I immediately fell in love with the athletes. It’s exciting to be a part of the lifestyle.”

The course combines an 880-yard swim in Old Hickory Lake, 12-mile mountain bike, consisting of two loops on fast, sweeping single track, and a 4.2 mile run that has been called “one of the best on the American Tour.”  When asked if he planned on racing or winning the event again this year, Craig said, “I don’t know. This race definitely holds a special place in my heart, but being co-race director adds new stresses. You’ll just have to show up and see if I’m on the start line.”

One person that will be on the start line is Brent Bieshaar. Brent is doing “XTERRA Across America,” an odyssey to compete in an XTERRA triathlon every week of the 2013 season to raise awareness for the Blazeman Foundation For ALS.  ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gherig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.  XTERRA Lock 4 will be his 14th race in 15 weeks, and he’ll have eight more races in the final two months of the regular season.

Whether you are racing for fun, racing for your 11th win in a row or racing for a reason, one thing is for sure, XTERRA Lock 4 will be a BLAST!

For more information about XTERRA Lock 4 or to register, visit www.beraceseries.com. To learn more about Brent and his journey you can see his blog atwww.xterraacrossamerica.com.

Runners Treated to Challenging 5K at Moab

Van Reenen, Gist take top honors

Sometimes, a 5-kilometer trail run can go a long way. Such was the case at the XTERRA Moab Trail Run last weekend at Moab, Utah.

Moab Podium“The course was surprisingly challenging for a 5K,” is how runner-up Richard Burgunder described it. “The diverse terrain included an interesting mixture of single track trails, sand, water crossings, suspension bridges, steep climbs, and a fully exposed half-mile trek across the dam at Ken’s Lake. Overall it was a beautiful course and provided some spectacular scenery. The waterfall was simply amazing.”

Robert Van Reenen from Salt Lake City was the overall winner, completing the course in 26 minutes, 53 seconds. Burgunder, who drove six hours from his hometown of Boulder, Colorado, to get to the race, finished second in 27:28.

Burgunder said he led for the first mile, then Van Reenen took the lead on one of the longer climbs. “We ran neck-to-neck through most of the race, rotating the lead a couple of times,” he said. “It wasn’t until the final half mile where Van Reenen pulled away.”

Katja Gist from Denver placed fifth overall and was the top female with a time of 29:12. Amy Hammermeister from Gunnison, Colorado, was the second female at 30:36.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS

All of the runners were treated to PowerBar products before, during and after the race, and Burgunder performed double-duty as a runner and PowerBar Field Marketing Associate.

This is the first year of the XTERRA Utah Trail Run Series, and the Moab Trail Run was the second of three races in the 2013 Utah Series. Burgunder recently moved to Colorado from Pennsylvania, and has become a regular participant in races in both Colorado and Utah.

“The races out west have proved to be a vastly different experience for me thus far,” Burgunder said. “First, I am coming off of a very serious injury that nearly ended my season. With only a couple of weeks of training over the past several months, the races have been especially challenging for me. The Moab race was extremely hot and exposed in the desert, which is something that I’m not accustomed to. I like the challenging nature and stunning scenery that the races out west have provided.”

The next race in the Utah Series will be the XTERRA Wolf Mountain Trail Run at Eden, Utah, on July 13. That will be the final race of the season, although the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship will also be held in the state of Utah – at Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah, on September 22.

To register for a race in the Utah Series or to learn more about it, please visitwww.xterratrailrun.com or www.utahxterra.com.

Rigdon and Hallagan Take Top Honors at Eureka Springs

Runners from five different states participate

Eureka Springs RunnersThe XTERRA Eureka Springs Trail Run was completed at Eureka Springs, Arkansas, on June 8, and a pair of out-of-state runners took top honors.

Tony Rigdon III from Columbia, Missouri, was the overall winner, and Amy Hallagan from Loveland, Colorado, was the first female.

Rigdon, 40, completed the 12-kilometer course in 1 hour, 45 seconds, and finished more than two minutes ahead of the rest of the field. Seventeen-year-old Jake McClung – a hometown runner from Eureka Springs – placed second in 1:03:15.

Hallagan, 40, placed eighth overall with a time of 1:07:25, and dominated the women’s field. Stephanie Pendegraft from Mountain Home, Arkansas, placed second in 1:23:55.

In addition to the 12K long course, there was also a 6K short course. Eric Wilbur was the overall winner of the 6K course, and 61-year-old Patsy Miller was the first female.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS

Runners from five different states – Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma – participated in the event. The Eureka Springs Trail Run is not affiliated with any specific XTERRA region, as Arkansas does not have a full series.

Didawick and Jackson Earn Virginia Series Titles

Richmond was the season finale for 2013

In addition to being a fast runner, Josh Didawick is also a fast learner. Prior to this year, Didawick had never competed in a trail run. He is now the 30-34 age group champion for the XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series.

Richmond StartThe 2013 XTERRA Virginia Series came to a close last weekend with more than 350 runners participating in the XTERRA Richmond Trail Run.

“I did triathlons and road races before this year, but I was looking for something different to do and decided to try and do a trail run,” Didawick said.

His first trail run experience came in April of this year at the XTERRA Hungry Mother 10K Trail Run at Marion, Virginia.  He placed fourth overall and first in his age group, and it provided enough of an incentive for him to sign up for the XTERRA Richmond Trail Run 20K.

“I liked that first one at Hungry Mother so much, I signed up for Richmond,” said Didawick, who is 31 and resides in Staunton, Virginia. “I’m glad I did because Richmond was awesome. The whole event was just phenomenal.”

Didawick placed third in his age group at the Richmond 20K race, and it gave him enough points to win his age division for the season for the XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series.

“I try to do a little bit of everything to stay in shape,” he said. “But I definitely want to do more trail runs. I really enjoyed doing the two XTERRA races this year.”

Didawick was one of two runners to score enough points to earn an age-group championship in the 2013 XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series.

The other is Clark Jackson, who won the male 55-59 division. Jackson placed first in his age group at all three races in the Virginia Series. He previously won an age-group title in the XTERRA North Carolina Trail Run Series.

The XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series will return in 2014 with at least three races. To learn more about it, please visit www.xterratrailrun.com or www.goruntrails.com.

The 2013 XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series champions:

 

Age Group Name Age Hometown State
Male 30-34 Josh Didawick 31 Staunton VA
Male 55-59 Clark Jackson 56 Charlottesville VA

Inaugural XTERRA Greece at Lake Plastira Saturday

The second of eight races in the XTERRA European Tour takes place Saturday with the inaugural XTERRA Greece at Lake Plastira.  XTERRA’s managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas is on-site for the event and brings us this preview…

Lake from Top of Bike in GreeceLake Plastira is not Athens nor is it an island in the sea.  It is mountains, fresh water lakes, tall trees, flowers, small wonderful villages and crisp clean air.  To get here is an easy 3.5 to 4 hour drive from Athens mostly on fast limited access highways.  The location is most known and very popular for winter sports so there are dozens of small hotels and restaurants in several villages spread throughout the area.  To say it is scenic is an understatement.

This is a first time race and everything is shaping up well.  Kostas Koumargialis limited the entry to 300 and is sold out.  Other organizers told him he would be happy to have 150 entries and as of now, XTERRA Greece is the biggest first-time triathlon in Greek Federation history.

The lake is huge.  It is the highest lake in Greece at 850m.  In World War II the area that is now the lake was a landing strip for Warbirds.  Greek General and later Prime Minister Plastira ran the show and had the futuristic thought that he could create a great reservoir and recreation place by building a dam.  He did, the lake was named for him, and has become a grand vacation spot.

This is not an urban setting.  The village is only a few hundred meters away but the race venue starts with a short run to transition in a big, grass field.  The bike is two laps of 15K.  Not too technical but it has lots of climbing and quick downhills.  The one who can ride the fastest without going over the limit will be at the sharp end of the field.  The trails run through forest and farms and riders will pass ancient watering places fed from mountain springs as well as true Greek shepherds and their flocks.  I did not get out on the run today as the daily 5:30pm thunderstorm came through and soaked us all.  I hear it is fast, fun and scenic.

The pro entry is strong.  With Ruben Ruzafa winning two weeks ago in Spain but not here, the leaders are Ben Allen, Asa Shaw and Nico Lebrun.  As is not uncommon, there are strikes in France that are holding up flights.  Shaw waited all day before he could leave and Lebrun will not be in until late tonight.

Alexander Haas is over his illness and fellow German Felix Schumann are making their first race of the season along with Yeray Luxum from Belgium.  French first year pro and age group world champion Marvin Gruget will make his debut here to compete against regulars Jim Thijs, Francois Carloni, Tim vanDaele and Cedric Lassonde.

The women’s fight will be similar to Spain with Renata Bucher, unbeatable in her last four races facing off against 2012 women’s Euro Tour Champ Helena Erbenova, Jacqui Slack, Carina Wasle, Kathrin Muller, Brigitta Poor, and Greek Olympian Deniz Demaki.  South African Champion Carla Van Huyssteen is listed but I have not seen her as yet.  Hoping she is healthy and ready to race.

The 5:30pm storm has passed as predicted and now at 7:00pm the sun is shining and the roads are dry as if it never rained.  The forecast for Saturday is partly cloudy, mid 70’s with lots of passing and racing : )

Hugo, Paterson win XTERRA East Championship

Photo Gallery / Highlight Clip / East Championship Results / Sprint Results

(Richmond, VA) – Dan Hugo and Lesley Paterson won the XTERRA East Championship pro race on a beautiful day at James River Park in Richmond, Virginia this morning.

In contrast, tropical storm Andrea on Friday and another storm front that came in Saturday morning dumped two inches or more of rain on Richmond and combined to create fast currents and flood level river heights in the James forcing the cancellation of the swim. Fortunately, several hours of bright sunshine starting Saturday afternoon and into Sunday morning dried up the trails and the full, epic Richmond bike course was still a go.

The swim was replaced with a 1.6 mile run, followed by the 20-mile bike and final 6-mile run (which was also re-routed to replace the “dry way” section that was under water).

Dan HugoThe change in format from a triathlon to a run-bike-run duathlon changed the dynamic of the race, stealing the advantage from the strong swimmers and handing it over to the fleet of foot.  It’s the second time in the 15-year history of the event the swim was cancelled, last time was 2003.

Regardless of the format, the day seemed destined to belong to Hugo, who captured his first XTERRA Championship since winning the South Africa title in 2011.  The 27-year-old from Stellenbosch was the first out of T1 and posted the fastest bike split by more than six minutes to fellow South African Brad Weiss.

“It’s much easier to win when the sports icon is commentating, or staying home in Vail, so a big respect to Conrad (Stoltz) and Josiah (Middaugh),” Hugo told the crowd moments after breaking the tape. “I really love this course and it’s gotten better.  There was a nutty bunch on two of the rock sections going crazy.  I thought the cannon was loud, but then when I got through to those boys the cannon seemed OK.”

Hugo is referring to a raucous bunch of bike and trail fanatics known as “Foghorn Leghorn Productions” who annually throw a trail party at the trickiest section in Buttermilk Heights known as “Rock Face.”  They blast music, BBQ, dress in costumes, scream, shout encouragement, and blast on vuvuzela’s to the delight of riders all day long.

Hugo’s victory was cause for celebration for his friends, family, and XTERRA fans worldwide as it broke a noteworthy string of 13 runner-up finishes in his previous 14 XTERRA races.  It’s fitting the win came here in Richmond as well.  He had a broken wrist and couldn’t race his first year here (following a crash in Alabama).  He posted three runner-ups in Richmond (twice to Stoltz, once to Middaugh) and last year at this time he was in a sling, “a total mess,” he said, after crashing on the road earlier in the season.

“So many friends and family have said to me over the last three years ‘today is your day’, and it just hadn’t wanted to be, but today was my day.  Not just for myself, but for everybody who has shared in the long, slow journey, thank you so much for your support over the years,” said Hugo at the awards ceremony in front of some of his best friends and even a grade-school buddy from South Africa he hadn’t seen in years.

“I’d also like to thank Luck Stone (Richmond-based presenting sponsor of the East Championship). It’s incredible to see on their truck the motto “Ignite Human Potential,” and I couldn’t think of a better phrase to take home from today.  They’ve pioneered a new frontier, and it’s great to be a part of that and I look forward to seeing what they have up their sleeve next year.”

Luck Stone covered the race with live streaming video, GPS trackers on the pros, and a social media map of the course while Conrad Stoltz’ provided the play-by-play and color for the day in what is assuredly the best live coverage the sport has ever seen.

The coverage must have created some anxious moments for the fans of Brad Weiss, Ryan Ignatz, and Nick Fisher as those three battled nearly all day long on the bike and run.  Ultimately, Ignatz broke free from the group at the famous “Mayan Ruins” section of the run and finished second – his best result in a major XTERRA.

“I was getting blown-up on that ride, and was lucky to be able to hang with those guys,” said Ignatz.  “Then on the run Brad pushed really hard in the beginning and it wasn’t until the stairs when I starting pulling away.  It’s pretty exciting, best result in a national series race and to be able to work all week and show up for the weekend like this…it feels great.”

Ignatz is a full-time bike fitter back home in Boulder and of note, his wife Maia (a full-time massage therapist) won the women’s age group title today.

Weiss pulled past Fisher for third, his best result in a U.S. race.  Fisher took 4th, his second top 5 in this his first year racing pro.  Will Kelsay passed four guys to get into 5th place, the second year-in-a-row for him on the podium in Richmond.

Craig Evans was in that trio of guys on the bike before taking a spill just before the tunnels coming out of Forest Hill Park on the second lap.  The crash was captured by a couple of photographers (see here). When he went down, Weiss, Fisher, and Ignatz rode by but Evans shook-it off and got back in the mix.  Andy Lee, who won the age group race in Richmond last year, passed Evans in the end to take 6th – his best finish as a pro.

Evans came across in 7th, followed by 21-year-old Karsten Madsen from Canada who raced with a hyperextended elbow, then Branden Rakita and Ryan DeCook.

PRO MEN

 

Pl Name Age Hometown Time Points
1 Dan Hugo 27 Stellenbosch, South Africa 2:12:47 100
2 Ryan Ignatz 34 Boulder, Colorado 2:18:30 90
3 Bradley Weiss 24 Somerset West, South Africa 2:19:07 82
4 Nick Fisher 27 Ogden, Utah 2:21:54 75
5 Will Kelsay 32 Boulder, Colorado 2:24:15 69
6 Andy Lee 41 Lakeway, Texas 2:25:09 63
7 Craig Evans 35 Hendersonville, Tennessee 2:25:25 58
8 Karsten Madsen 21 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada 2:25:53 53
9 Branden Rakita 32 Colorado Springs, Colorado 2:26:42 49
10 Ryan DeCook 32 Rochester, Michigan 2:27:31 45

Also: Cody Waite (41), Tim Snow (37), Brad Zoller (34)

PATERSON WINS ON A BIKER’S COURSE

Lesley Paterson“Who says I’m not a mountain biker,” Paterson exclaimed moments after crossing the finish line.

That may have been the wrap on Paterson two years ago, but not anymore.  She proved once again today her XTERRA success is about more than just fitness.  Today she hung with arguably the best mountain biker in the sport – Shonny Vanlandingham – on a slippery, technical course and posted the second-best split of the day while riding behind Vanlandingham for much of the race.

“My goal was to really go out there and enjoy it and try to keep my focus,” said Paterson, who has now won six straight XTERRA championships.  “Shonny passed me going into the second lap so I was really pleased to have fended off the other people. I rode with her for most of the lap and to be honest it was really fun, we chatted around the lap and she was giving me encouragement all the way, which is XTERRA Style.  Yeah, she’s my favorite athlete by far.”

Paterson continued to praise Vanlandingham at the awards ceremony where she thanked the 2010 World Champion for “giving me her lines.”

“It was a tough course, really was gnarly, and I only came off once,” said Paterson.

Vanlandingham crushed the bike, and headed out on the run with the lead, albeit short-lived as the “Scottish Rocket” flew by about a mile into it.

“I was trying to emulate her form as she passed,” smiled Vanlandingham, who said she feels really good with her run and is finally getting back from the knee surgeries that slowed her down since 2011.

Brandi Heisterman posted her second straight 3rd-place finish spurred by another great day on the mountain bike.  With the trails closed the past two days and this being her first time to Richmond, Heisterman hadn’t ever ridden on these trails before this morning.

“Lovey, love, loved that course,” exclaimed Heisterman, who rode in second behind Paterson for a while.  “Killed me not to know it on the first lap, wasn’t in the right gear and got caught off guard at Hodson ramp, but I got it right the second time around. The crowd was awesome, the cheering was amazing.”

Melanie McQuaid finished in fourth, her 13th straight year in the top 4, and Danelle Kabush rounded out the top five.

PRO WOMEN

 

Pl Name Age Hometown Time Points
1 Lesley Paterson 32 San Diego, California 2:30:40 100
2 Shonny Vanlandingham 43 Durango, Colorado 2:33:23 90
3 Brandi Heisterman 38 Brackendale, B.C., Canada 2:36:06 82
4 Melanie McQuaid 39 Victoria, B.C., Canada 2:38:33 75
5 Danelle Kabush 37 Calgary, Canada 2:38:53 69
6 Suzie Snyder 31 Fredericksburg, Virginia 2:41:41 63
7 Christine Jeffrey 41 Tucson, Arizona 2:56:21 58
8 Katie Button 28 Victoria, B.C., Canada 2:56:55 53
9 Caroline Colonna 49 Taos, New Mexico 2:59:52 49
10 Catherine Sterling 36 West Boylston, Massachussetts 3:00:54 45

XTERRA U.S. PRO SERIES UPDATE

Lesley Paterson stayed perfect in the pro series, and will enter Nationals with a perfect 300 score. Pros count their best three of four regionals (there’s one left – the Mountani Championship at Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, CO on July 20) plus their score at the USA Championship in Utah to determine the Series winner.

Craig Evans leads the men’s series with the best three combined scores of the year so far.  Here’s a look at the standings:

2013 XTERRA U.S. Pro Series Standings (after 3 – 6.9.13)  

PRO MEN

 

Pl Name West S’East East Totals
1 Craig Evans 63 82 58 203
2 Josiah Middaugh 100 100 DNS 200
3 Branden Rakita 82 63 49 194
4 Dan Hugo DNS 90 100 190
5 Nick Fisher 37 69 75 181
6 Will Kelsay 49 58 69 176
7 Ryan Ignatz 75 DNS 90 165
8 Bradley Weiss DNS 75 82 157
9 Matt Mangen 53 53 DNS 106
10 Andy Lee DNS 37 63 100
11 Jason Michalak 58 34 DNS 92
12 Conrad Stoltz 90 DNF DNS 90
13 Cody Waite DNS 45 41 86
14 Matt Lieto 69 DNS DNS 69
15 Tim Snow DNS 31 37 68
16 Karsten Madsen DNS DNS 53 53
17 Chris Ganter DNF 49 DNS 49
18 Brian Astell 45 DNS DNS 45
19 Ryan DeCook DNS DNP 45 45
20 Lewis Elliot 41 DNS DNS 41
21 Will Ross DNP 41 DNS 41
22 Matthew Sheeks 34 DNS DNS 34
23 Brad Zoller DNS DNS 34 34
24 Zach Winter 31 DNS DNS 31
25 Damian Gonzalez 28 DNP DNS 28
26 Tom Eickelbert DNS 28 DNS 28
27 Joshua Merrick DNP DNS DNS

PRO WOMEN

 

Pl Name West S’East East Totals
1 Lesley Paterson 100 100 100 300
2 Shonny Vanlandingham 82 75 90 247
3 Melanie McQuaid 75 90 75 240
4 Suzie Snyder 90 69 63 222
5 Brandi Heisterman 41 82 82 205
6 Danelle Kabush 69 58 69 196
7 Christine Jeffrey 31 53 58 142
8 Caroline Colonna 37 45 49 131
9 Emma Garrard 58 63 DNS 121
10 Katie Button DNS 49 53 102
11 Kelley Cullen 63 DNS DNS 63
12 Jaime Brede 53 DNS DNS 53
13 Jen Gersbach-Venzara 49 DNS DNS 49
14 Tamara Donelson 45 DNS DNS 45
15 Catherine Sterling DNS DNS 45 45
16 Heather Holmes DNS 41 DNS 41
17 Rachel Challis 34 DNS DNS 34
18 Lauren Harrison 28 DNS DNS 28

DNS  Did Not Start
DNF  Did Not Finish
DNP  Did Not Place

MODESTOU, IGNATZ WIN AGE GROUP RACE

2013 East Amateur ChampsAlex Modestou won his division for the third time in a row at the XTERRA East Championship, and took the overall men’s amateur title as well.

Maia Ignatz, the 2011 XTERRA 30-34 World Champion, won the overall women’s title in her first time on the Richmond course.

There were several repeat champions, highlighted by Kathy Coutinho who won her division for the ninth time since 2001.

Valerie Hardin won her seventh Richmond crown, followed by Annette Macniven and Nat Grew with four, Ali Arasta with his third straight, and Daryl Weaver with his second in a row.

Here’s a look at all the age group champions from today…

XTERRA EAST CHAMPIONS (FEMALE)

 

Division Name Time Hometown
15  – 19 Hannah Rae Finchamp 3:08:11 Altadena, CA
20 – 24 Allison Linnell 3:32:38 Miami, FL
30 – 34  *Maia Ignatz 2:52:35 Boulder, CO
35 – 39  Kristen Mihalic 3:21:03 Albuquerque, NM
40 – 44  Kathy Coutinho (9) 3:05:50 Annandale, VA
45 – 49  Celeste St. Pierre 3:33:47 Lincoln, NH
50 – 54 Valerie Hardin (7) 3:26:55 Doylestown, PA
55 – 59 Annette Macniven (4) 4:23:18 Wainscott, NY

XTERRA EAST CHAMPIONS (MALE)

 

Division Name Time Hometown
15 – 19 Roman Brown 2:50:54 Shoreham, NY
20 – 24 Thomas Canzano 4:07:50 Farmington, NM
25 – 29  *Alex Modestou (3) 2:27:06 Washington DC
30 – 34  Joshua Loren 2:45:08 Wilmington, DE
35 – 39  Noah Wright 2:37:25 Austin, TX
40 – 44  Daryl Weaver (2) 2:28:35 Lititz, PA
45 – 49  Todd Gottfried 2:39:43 Valencia, CA
50 – 54  Ali Arasta (3) 2:49:03 Asheboro, NC
55 – 59 Cliff Millemann 2:51:33 Davis, CA
60 – 64 Russell Clark 3:30:17 Scotia, NY
65 – 69 Terry Hutchins 4:05:26 Kalamazoo, MI
75 – 79 Nathaniel Grew (4) 4:55:31 Costa Rica

* TOP AMATEURS