Braden Currie

Currie, Snyder win XTERRA New Zealand

Photos / Results

(Blue Lake, Rotorua)- Braden Currie and Suzie Snyder captured the 13th annual Paymark XTERRA New Zealand Championship on a beautiful blue sky day at Blue Lake in Rotorua this afternoon.

Early morning rain and cloud cover made way to bright sunshine by the time the race started at 11am but left behind slick and muddy conditions that made a technical bike course even more so.

In the men’s race Currie led early with the second-fastest swim split of the day, just two-seconds by Sam Osborne, and had the lead on the bike until about halfway when local favorite Olly Shaw from Rotorua came storming past.

“Sam and Olly were just killing it on the single track. It was slick out there and a lot of mud so some real challenging riding,” said Currie.

Shaw, who posted the fastest bike split of the day (1:11:01) had roughly 30-seconds on Currie heading out on to the run but that wasn’t enough.  Currie got past Shaw about three-kilometers into the run and was in cruise control until he caught a glimpse of a hard-charging Osborne towards the end.

“I was really lucky to see Sam because he was flying,” said Currie of Osborne, who had the fastest run of the day (40:40) to finish in second place just 13-seconds behind Currie.  It was the closest finish in recent memory, made all the more dramatic as Osborne collapsed in exhaustion at the line.

“This is the most rewarding win I’ve had in a few years,” said Currie.  “I haven’t been racing here because there has always been an adventure race in China on the same weekend and I’ve wanted to win this one since I started racing XTERRA, so I’m stoked to have got it.  It’s an awesome race. It’s short, it’s fast, and it hurts.”

Shaw held on for third, with Aiden Dunster and Josh Kenyon rounding out the top five.

Conrad Stoltz, the defending champ and XTERRA’s all-time wins’ leader, was a race morning scratch after coming down with a bug on the flight over.

“I was gutted to pull.  My form is good and this event is world-class.  The core of athletes here is incredible and the trails are so challenging and unique. The nature here with the huge tree furns is just amazing,” said Stoltz, who stuck around and helped the announcing team describe the day’s action as it happened.

Pro Men    
Pl Name Final
1 Braden Currie, NZL 2:06:24
2 Sam Osborne, NZL 2:06:37
3 Olly Shaw, NZL 2:07:59
4 Aiden Dunster, NZL 2:15:55
5 Josh Kenyon, NZL 2:16:37
6 Sam Clark, NZL 2:16:50
7 Kieran McPherson, NZL 2:18:07
8 Dirk Peters, NZL 2:21:50
9 Cameron Paul, NZL 2:22:04
10 Mitchell Ginsberg, NZL 2:23:17
Suzie Snyder

In the women’s elite race Suzie Snyder’s victory was 12 years in the making.  The XTERRA veteran had lots of big wins as an amateur with a couple XTERRA World Championships and four National titles, but today was her first big win as a pro.

“It feels awesome, and it’s about time. It only took me 12 years,” exclaimed Snyder after the race.

Snyder had the fastest swim of the day and was riding up front alongside Rachel Challis until pulling away about midway through.

“That bike course was a ton of fun but gnarly in the mud,” said Snyder.  “The real problem I had was staying focused because I just wanted to look around, it’s so beautiful out there.  It’s like no place I’ve ever been.  You go from a tropical feel to a Redlands Forest-type scene to jungle action, and it changes all the time so it’s just constant stimulation.”

Snyder’s winning time of 2:32:29 was less than one-minute faster than Lizzie Orchard who had the fastest run split of the day (48:33) to move from fourth off the bike to second at the finish.

Pro Women  
Pl Name Final
1 Suzie Snyder, USA 2:32:29
2 Lizzie Orchard, NZL 2:33:24
3 Rachel Challis, NZL 2:35:16
4 Sarah Backler, NZL 2:37:35
5 Samara Sheppard, NZL 2:39:10

More than two-thousand racers came out to take part in the Paymark XTERRA Rotorua Festival today.

The morning started with a 5.5 km, 11km and 21km runs (and a walk option) then followed with a 26km mountain bike, and then the XTERRA triathlon for individuals and teams.


XTERRA New Zealand was the seventh of 40 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 20th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Nov. 1, 2015.

8-Feb XTERRA Philippines Championship (Brad Weiss / Flora Duffy)
22-Feb XTERRA South Africa Championship (Stuart Marais / Flora Duffy)
7-Mar XTERRA Motatapu (Dougal Allan / Jess Simson & Simone Maier)
28-Mar XTERRA Saipan Championship (Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack)
29-Mar XTERRA Malta (Nicolas Fernandez / Brigitta Poor)
29-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica (Rom Akerson / Lesley Paterson)
11-Apr XTERRA Guam Championship (Ben Allen / Carina Wasle)
11-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship (Braden Currie / Suzie Snyder)
18-Apr XTERRA Australia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship, Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia+
XTERRA Australia Championship
25-Apr XTERRA West Championship, Lake Las Vegas, NV, USA#
25-Apr XTERRA Tahiti, Mataiea
26-Apr XTERRA Reunion, Saint Gilles les bains
2-May XTERRA Malaysia / XTERRA Asian Tour Championship, Langkawi+
10-May XTERRA Brazil, Ilhabela, SP
16-May XTERRA Southeast Championship, Pelham, AL, USA#
USAT Cross Triathlon National Championship
16-May XTERRA Portugal, Golega*
7-Jun XTERRA Spain Championship, Plasencia, Extremadura*
14-Jun XTERRA East Championship, Richmond, VA, USA#
20-Jun XTERRA Greece, Lake Plastira*
27-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Championship, Vallee de Joux*
27-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter – Canadian Cross Tri Championships, Ontario, Milton, Canada!
4-Jul XTERRA Freedom Fest, Oahu, HI, USA =
5-Jul XTERRA Victoria, B.C., Canada!
5-Jul XTERRA France Championship, Xonrupt, Gerardmer*
11-Jul XTERRA Sweden, Hellasgaarden, Stockholm*
18-Jul XTERRA Mountain Championship, Beaver Creek, CO, USA#
25-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound, McDougall, Ontario, Canada!
26-Jul XTERRA Italy Championship, Abruzzo, Italy*
8-Aug XTERRA Mexico, Tapalpa
8-Aug XTERRA Czech Championship, Prachatice*
15-Aug XTERRA Germany Championship, Zittau*
16-Aug XTERRA Canmore, Alberta, Canada!
22-Aug XTERRA Adventure Fest Maui, Kapalua, HI, USA =
23-Aug XTERRA Quebec – Quebec City, Quebec, Canada!
29-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada!
29-Aug XTERRA Denmark, Tilsvilde*
29-Aug XTERRA Japan, Hokkaido+ (start 2016 Asian Tour)
30-Aug XTERRA England / European Championship, Vachery Estate, Surrey*
13-Sep XTERRA Woolastook, Upper Kingsclear, New Brunswick, Canada
19-Sep XTERRA USA Championship, Ogden/Snowbasin, Utah, USA#
1-Nov XTERRA World Championship, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

* European Tour / + Asian Tour / # America Tour / ! Canada Series / = Hawaii qualifiers


April  18
XTERRA Australia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship, Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia+
XTERRA Jersey Devil

XTERRA Jersey Devil Celebrates Year Five

Sunday April 26 will mark the 5th installment of the XTERRA Jersey Devil.  “I can’t believe it has already been 5 years”, says Race Director, Bob Horn (also a 4X XTERRA Regional Age Group Champion).   Bob says, “the XTERRA Jersey Devil is definitely one of those races that is a labor of love”, and “I hope when athletes come to do the race that shows through on race day.” The race takes place at the beautiful Citta Boy Scout Reservation, in the heart of the New Jersey Pine Barrens.  For most Mid-Atlantic Regional and Northeast Regional athletes it will be the 1st chance to gain some valuable points towards the Regionals Points Series Race, and NEW this year, the 1st chance to lock in a spot for XTERRA Nationals in UTAH, by finishing in the top 15 in their Age Group.

The Citta Scout Reservation is a convenient location for a lot of athletes as it is about 30 miles north of Atlantic City, making it only a few hours from New York City and Philadelphia.  Of course not only is the location convenient, but the Pine Barrens are also a great location for an early season XTERRA race.

The ½ mile swim is in a clean cedar lake.   The shallow lake is just perfect for swimming in come late April, so temps in the lake warm up fast, and average for race day in the high 50s to low 60s, perfect  temps for swimming with a full wetsuit.

The 13 mile mountain bike section will definitely get your legs burning.  Maybe not burning in the normal XTERRA sense, as the course lacks any real climbing, but in the constant churning you’ll be doing, pumping some speed on the fast sandy trails.  Given this year’s snowy winter and wet spring thus far the course will certainly have its wet spots so come prepared to get dirty, which is an XTERRA requirement.

If you haven’t quite gotten the full XTERRA experience at this point in the race don’t worry, the race culminates with the “Crown Jewel” of the course, the 3.2 mile run.  The run course will give you a taste of what the Jersey Devil himself has to endure every day, going through marshy creek areas, classic pine barren alleys, while always keeping a lookout for the occasional sticker bush grabbing you. In what has been described by one athlete as, “I felt like I was back on the high school football field dodging linebackers, there were a lot of trees to dodge in that one section behind the lake. “   Bob says, “ I always enjoy hearing the comments from athletes about the run course, it feels like I’ve made the XTERRA name proud.”

Learn more and register at


For Trailheads, by a Trailhead

Lisa Jhung, one of the original racers at the inaugural XTERRA World Championship in Maui back in 1996, turned her passion for multisport into a career as a journalist covering the industry for the last two decades. Last week she set a PR of sorts, publishing her first book about the sport she loves the most – trail running.

Trailhead CoverWe caught up with her to talk about her new book, Trailhead

XTERRA: Congrats Lisa, thousands of articles but first book, right?
Lisa Jhung: Yes! Thousands (maybe hundreds) of articles, but this is my first book.

XT: When did the love for trail start?
LJ: I fell in love with running on the beach and on the bluff trails of Del Mar (San Diego), CA, toward the end of high school, and then all around campus at U.C. Santa Barbara. I was a volleyball team walk-on. I started running on the beach in Del Mar to train for the timed mile we had to do at try outs. When I quit late in my freshman year, I really got into running. After college, I lived in—and ran trails around—San Francisco, Mill Valley, Tahoe, and now Boulder.  I sometimes ran on roads, but have always opted for sand, dirt, grass, snow. I’m an XTERRA gal, after all. :)”

XT: What was your favorite part of writing the book?
LJ: Since the book is illustrated, I loved the creative process of thinking visually and coming up with conceptual/fun ways to get a point across. I’d write, draw, doodle, write…And I’d go on runs to mull over chapters, paragraphs, illustrations or whatever. A few miles on a trail always helps me make decisions and clear my mind.

XT: What was the hardest part of writing the book?
LJ: The hardest part about writing the book is dedicating the time. I wrote it all in about a year, but was freelancing for magazines—juggling shoe reviews, profiles, etc.—with deadlines the whole time. And I have two little boys, so life is busy even when I’m not working on a book!

XT: Tell us again how you got to Maui in ‘96 for the first XTERRA (AquaTerra) and what you remember from that race.
LJ: I saw the Aquaterra advertised in the back of a magazine (Competitor, I think) after a run in Marin one day. I was just out of college, and an Olympic-distance road triathlete at the time. It sounded like a good excuse to go to Hawaii, so I roped in a college roommate and we made the trip together. I bought my first mountain bike shorts when I got to Maui, and raced on a steel frame, no-shock clunker. I ate it pretty hard (still have the scars) on the first descent … twice. I had to ride to get to the next aid station, and then thought, “What else am I going to do today? Might as well make it through this course.” I chucked my bike into the TA and have never been happier to head out of T2 on foot!”

XT: Are you coming back for the 20th edition on November 1?
LJ: I hope to come back for the 20th. My mountain biking hasn’t gotten a whole lot better, but I’d love to return to the XTERRA family and celebrate continuing to love the off-road world.

From the preview…

Trailhead is a witty, fun guide to all things trail running. Veteran trail runner, triathlete, and adventure racer Lisa Jhung offers this illustrated pocket guide to all runners curious about running off road or wanting to run farther into the backcountry. She offers authoritative advice on everything from how to find good trails to run, how to choose the best shoes and clothing, how to carry enough water, and how to stay safe from wildlife and weather.”

Order yours at
Follow Lisa here:


Edmonds, Grant win XTERRA Tiger

Chris Edmonds and Christine Grant won the XTERRA Tiger off-road tri in Auburn, Alabama on Saturday and our intrepid correspondent Marcus Barton tells us how it happened…

“Are you an Auburn fan or Alabama fan? Well, regardless of whether you yell “War Eagle!” or “Roll Tide!”, you can race an XTERRA near both of these colleges and their names reflect their alma maters. XTERRA Tiger takes place near Auburn whereas XTERRA Tide takes place near Tuscaloosa.

XTERRA Tiger is one of the earliest races on the circuit and in the southeast. Many come from all over to test the waters of how their training is progressing and to get that racing bug again. Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina were well-represented. With it being an early season race, the water temps are low and usually wetsuit legal. As the racers lined up in the water, the temp was still dropping from the day before. At breakfast it was 63, but at race start, it was 56.”

Read more

Rotorua Swim

A Baker’s Dozen in Rotorua

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour rolls into Rotorua on Saturday for the 13th year of racing around the famous Blue Lake.

In the elite men’s race Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz returns to defend his crown following one of his all-time favorite XTERRA experiences in Rotorua last year.

“What a phenomenal course and venue!” exclaimed the four-time XTERRA World Champ on his blog after edging Ben Allen to win it with 40-seconds to spare last year.  “Beautiful blue lake called “Blue Lake” surrounded by green mountains covered with dense tree fern growth 20ft tall … some of the very best and unique single track I’ve ever ridden. This is the adventure and adrenaline I’ve been looking for!”

Stoltz will once again have stiff competition awaiting, this time in the form of Kiwi adventure racing star Braden Currie from Wanaka – who will be making his Rotorua debut – and the 23-year-old hometown hero Olly Shaw from Rotorua who was third last year.

“For me to beat or even contend with both Braden and Conrad I will have to have an awesome day in all three disciplines and use my home course knowledge to my advantage,” noted Shaw, who’s been racing at XTERRA New Zealand since he was 15-years-old.

“As a young elite athlete these are the guys you look up to in the sport so it would be awesome to be racing alongside them. Braden is at the top of his game at the moment and Conrad has more pedigree, knowledge and experience than any other XTERRA athlete so I know it is going to be a tough race but I’m looking forward to the challenge!”

Shaw traveled all around the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour last year with stops in Motatapu, Saipan, Guam, and Australia but insists the Rotorua route is the most special of all.

“The course in Rotorua is a dream XTERRA course,” he says.  “A beautiful fresh water swim in the Blue Lake, surrounded by thick green bush on all sides, followed by both a physically and technically challenging mountain bike taking in some of the best tracks and views the world-class Whakarewarewa Forest has to offer. Then top that all off with a two-lap run around the Blue Lake that is both fast and hard, with an atmosphere that is hard to match anywhere. To make it even better the temperature at this time of year in New Zealand always makes for close, fast racing so Saturday will be exciting!”

In the women’s race American stand-out Suzie Snyder is fulfilling a bucket-list dream to toe the start line in Rotorua and will be up against a host of strong local elites like Sarah Backler, Lizzie Orchard, and Rachel Challis.

“I’ve been working really hard this off-season and I’m feeling good about my fitness going into the year so I’m really excited about the season,” said Snyder, the 2012 XTERRA U.S. National Champ.  “I’m really excited to be here, it’s been in my list for about five years now since bumping into Jay Shelgren at Worlds in 2010.”

Shelgren is an XTERRA amateur racer from New York who lives in New Zealand now and has been taking Snyder around to show her the trails.

For Backler, a 32-year-old industrial designer and creator of beautiful porcelain objects from nearby Tauranga, XTERRA was a passion brought on by her husband that has turned into more than just a hobby.

“I watched my husband get hooked by XTERRA in 2010, and decided that if he was going to continue I didn’t want to be a supporter and should give it a go,” explained Backler.  “2011 was my ‘taster’ at XTERRA Rotorua, AND 2012 was the chance to do it a little better and the trend has continued ever since.”

Indeed it has. In 2012 she won the amateur title at Rotorua then went to Maui and won the 30-34 XTERRA World Championship crown.  Turning pro was the logical “next challenge.”

Last year Backler finished third at XTERRA New Zealand behind ITU star Barbara Riveros and many-time XTERRA champ Jacqui Slack, neither of whom are on the start list this year.  As for being one of the favorites to win it, Backler humbly defers…

“It’s always hard to know who will be lining up on race day and what form they are in as there aren’t a lot of other XTERRA races in NZ. It hasn’t really been a scenario that I’ve given a lot of thought to as there are others I know who are very capable of that position. What I do know is if I can have the race I’ve been training for, leave nothing in the tank and enjoy it I’ll be very satisfied and happy with a job well done.”

Speaking of well done, organizer Frank Clark and his team from First Tier Sports Productions have been putting on a first tier event since 2003.  The Paymark XTERRA Rotorua Festival is one of the single biggest multisport events in the world, with more than 2,000 racers taking part in a variety of challenges including a 5.5 km, 11km or 21km walk or run, a 26km mountain bike as well as a team or individual triathlon.

“At XTERRA we want everyone to “Live More” so that means getting out there and giving it a go, whether it be doing the 11km trail walk or racing on an XTERRA team.  We have events for everyone, including a Kids Zone,” said Clark, a racer himself who went head-to-head against the likes of Conrad Stoltz in France back in the 90’s.

More information can be found at and follow along on race day, April 11, on their Facebook page

Renata Bucher

XTERRA Guam Celebrates 11th Year

The 11th annual XTERRA Guam Championship on Saturday will serve as the third of five stops on the 2015 XTERRA Asian Tour, and most of the major players are on island to take part.

In the men’s race all eyes are on Brad Weiss from South Africa, who won the XTERRA Philippines Championship to open the season,  and Ben Allen from Australia, who won the XTERRA Saipan Championship just two weeks ago.

“I’ve been out here for almost a month now and these races (Saipan/Guam) are tough, honest courses,” said Allen, the 2012 and 2013 XTERRA Guam Champ.  “It gives you an idea as to where you are at, at the beginning of the season. Steep climbs, natural rugged terrain and the heat and humidity provide the perfect opportunity to race and train in similar conditions to Maui for the World Champs.  It’s also a great stepping stone towards the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champs which is the main focus for the first half of the season.”

Nearly a dozen pros this year used the Tagaman Triathlon, XTERRA Saipan, and XTERRA Guam races as a great excuse to live and train in the Marianas for a month.

“Being in the warmth and getting your daily dose of vitamin D, always brings a smile to your face. You spend your days’ outdoors exploring and living life, the way we should…” is how Allen described it.

For Weiss, the trip came at a great time for a mix of solid training and healthy recovery from an early ITB issue.

“Training is finally back to some form of normality but the body is certainly feeling a little sluggish with the added running volume,” said Weiss.  “Just incredibly grateful to be running pain free again and the injury seems to be well and truly a thing of the past. Guam provides a really challenging mountain bike course and truly tests the full array of skills. It has it all from steep climbs to fun flowing pump track style racing. It really is a favorite of mine and I look forward to racing here on the 11th. It has already been a great week of training and I look forward to continuing the momentum into next week. I may be a little fatigued going into the race but there is a long season ahead I must prepare for. Regardless, racing in Guam is always incredibly fun.”

The elites racing overseas have also been of great value to the local community, and have taken advantages of opportunities to meet with the island youth and inspire them with their stories.

“Kanae Quinn (long-time XTERRA racer and supporter from Saipan) gave me the opportunity to come and talk with her students about my job of being a professional XTERRA athlete as well as the country I come from,” said Weiss.  “Many had never heard of South Africa or triathlon for that matter. A truly awesome experience all round. I am very grateful to Kanae and what she’s doing.  It’s very cool to see how she’s helping the local students broaden their horizons.”

In the women’s race the reigning and three-time XTERRA Guam Champ Renata Bucher is back to defend her title, but will be up against familiar foes (friends, really) in recent Saipan winner Jacqui Slack, hometown favorite Mieko Carey, and Austrian Carina Wasle.

“This will be my 3rd time in Guam,” said Slack, who won the 2013 edition. “Similar to Saipan I love the natural courses as opposed to the man-made trails.  There is heaps of climbing and riding in the red dirt is something special, it’s a great test of awareness and ability as you have to negotiate the terrain to pick the correct lines.   We also have a great home stay, we love spending time with Cameron and Karly as they show us all the best spots on Island.  Eric’s band is pretty good too and makes for a pretty awesome after party.”

Indeed “Mojo” has been rocking XTERRA for a decade now.

As for her favorite part of the course, Slack says “it has to be the waterfall, you need to be pretty gutsy to allow yourself to jump from those heights into the rock pools it’s pretty slippery so a good level of skill and fearlessness is required.”

Like the others, Slack said she relishes the opportunity to race in train on the islands.

“It’s pretty incredible to be able to train on mountainous terrain, natural bush land and crystal clear waters, being on a small island allows you to relax and recover much easier as there are less distractions. It’s been great to get into a routine and I’ve had plenty of time to prepare well for Guam and the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champs next weekend.”

Wasle, who travels as much as anyone around the world with XTERRA, is quick to agree…

“After XTERRA Saipan I stayed one-week longer on this beautiful island together with Austrian Markus Benesch, who will also compete at XTERRA Guam,” said Wasle.  “The training was quite good and also quite fun biking and running through the jungle. Swimming in the ocean is just amazing. Warm water and lots of fish. I have never sweat so much, but now I think I’m better used to the heat and humidity.  Beside training and getting ready for the next race, there was so much fun things to do, like archery, paddeling, snorkeling, basketball, surfing…..It never got boring. Perfect training and racing vacation.” // // @xterraguam // #xterraGuam

Janet Soule

Paterson, Soule Stand Out

Two XTERRA racers deserve some special recognition this week.

The first is Braveheart warrior Lesley Paterson, who quite literally swam with one arm at XTERRA Costa Rica this week because she tore a tendon while pre-riding and couldn’t rotate her shoulder.

“I couldn’t lift my arm above my head so I had to do the whole swim one armed…1500-meters is a long way with one arm! I had to have the other one down by my side,” she explained.

Paterson’s swim split was 33:27, a full 12-minutes slower than Sara McLarty and more than six minutes behind eventual runner-up Emma Garrard.

She erased most of that deficit with the fastest bike split of the day then made up the rest with a blistering fast run (and bloody shoes thanks to the sandy insides).

Also of note this week is Janet Soule from Davis, California.

The 53-year-old who won her division at XTERRA REAL on Saturday, then a half-marathon the day after. Earlier in the month she took home top honors for her work as a public relations professional and before that took home some trophies at a body building competition. And, if you know Janet, all that pales in comparison to how genuinely sweet she is as a person.

Camp Eagle Top Female

Cartwright, Etherton Win in Texas

The XTERRA Texas series got underway at Camp Eagle in Rocksprings, TX on Saturday to the delight of winners Jack Cartwright and Melanie Etherton.

“It was a very good day,” explained Cartwright, the reigning 40-44 XTERRA National Champ who finished in 1:43:25, two minutes ahead of 11x South Central Region Champ Kyle Grieser.

“I came out of the water right with Kyle and we rode together up the first super technical climb, passing the few others who were ahead from their faster swims. I had a small crash (or rather put my foot down and had to get moving again) on the technical descent into the river bed and Kyle opened a 30-45sec gap on my. From there I kept him nearly in sight and decided I would bridge and pass him on the last long climb in the final 3km of the course. On that climb, I committed to making the pass stick and went by him and another guy (3rd place guy Donnie Bunker I believe) without looking back and once over the top, I drilled the descent to ensure they did not pull me back. Going into T2, I was all alone and the run (if you can call it that) was uneventful. It was a brutal run course, perhaps a bit too brutal. I am a sub 35min 10k runner and my pace on that run course was over 8min per mile.  I did love the bike course, it ranks as one of the best in Texas, especially since it has some real elevation rather than only rolling rock gardens like Reveille Peak and Muleshoe.”

In the women’s race four-time South Central Region Champ Melanie Etherton and Texas Series regular looked in fine form after focusing more on her engineering career than her racing career over the past couple years.

“Race Revolutions put on an excellent race – everything from race-preparation schedule and packet-pick up/registration to the swim/bike/run and the post-race food was well organized and went smoothly,” said Etherton.

“The XTERRA race at Camp Eagle in the heart of the Texas hill country is always a highlight. On race day we were excited to line up with many of our long-time friends and a few new ones in the clear water of the Nueces River. My swim went well and after the long climb on the limestone stairs from the river to the transition zone, I was excited to get on the bike and start my favorite leg of the race. Less than a mile into the ride Steve (her husband who finished 5th overall) caught up with me. I let him pass and was able to keep up with him for almost 4 more miles, which made the ride even more fun. Both the bike and the run courses were significantly different this year, and the run course was tough. Due to lack of run training over the winter (foot injury and cyclocross were the culprits), I didn’t have high hopes for the run, but the relatively high temperatures, the climbs and technical terrain made it a big challenge. The generous encouragements from fellow racers, volunteers and the beautiful hill country views kept me going and I finished the race worn out and happy. The post-race party was fun as always and is part of the reason why we race.”

Complete results

Matt Balzer

Balzer, Sullivan win XTERRA REAL

The stars were out at the 13th annual XTERRA REAL off-road triathlon in Granite Bay, California, the first of four races in The Golden State this year.

2013 overall amateur XTERRA National Champ Matt Balzer from Reno, Nevada took home the men’s title in 1:44:54, a little more than four minutes ahead of the reigning 15-19 division XTERRA National Champ David Duncan.

“David’s progress is amazing,” said Balzer, who played a big role in the success of JP Donovan who won the overall amateur XTERRA National title last year. “Two years ago he was 20min behind me, last year about 8 and this year 4 or less.  I am launching my new team very soon, Sierra Endurance Sports and David is already a teammate!  I figure if he’s going to be beating me soon I need to get him on the team early.”

The top three spots in the women’s race went to the pros – Debby Sullivan (1:58:57), Kara LaPoint (2:00:09) and Kelsey Withrow (2:03:42) while Sian Turner, the 30-34 XTERRA National Champ, took the amateur crown.

“It was a good race this weekend,” said Sullivan. “The conditions were perfect with a beautiful sunny day in the mid-70s and the course was running fast.  It felt great to get back into XTERRA and shake out the cobwebs. I felt like I was able to put together a strong race the whole way through. My swim went well but I knew I had my work cut out on the bike as Kelsey Withrow was racing and she put the whole field to work, way ahead of everyone on the swim. I was able to catch her on the bike about 3/4 of the way through the first lap of the two-lap course but I knew Kara was right on my heels out of the water. I also knew that the one thing that has not suffered from her hand injury was her run. So, I wanted to gain as much as I could on the bike. Turned out to be enough to hold!”

Withrow was indeed impressive in the swim, posting a 12:39 split that was best in the field, men included. Also of note, UFC stars Nick and Nate Diaz were in the field, but the real stars are the organizers at TBF racing.

“They do an amazing job at all their races,” said Balzer. / Complete results