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XTERRA Richmond XVI

XTERRA has been racing in Richmond since 1999, and the city has firmly established itself as the sports’ finest urban adventure with a hip city culture that compliments ripping trails and the unpredictable James River.

This year’s 16th annual XTERRA East Championship will be unlike any before as it will double as the USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championship race.  That means amateur racers who win their division will be crowned a USAT Off-Road National Champ and an XTERRA East Champion all while earning qualifying spots to both the 2014 XTERRA World Championship AND the 2015 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship.

Needless to say June 15th will be a big day for those in pursuit of off-road excellence.

This year’s race, the third of five stops in the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series, has also attracted a stellar elite field to the River City with big names like Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz, Josiah “Beast Mode” Middaugh, and Dan “The Man” Hugo.  All three have won in Richmond before and each is hungry as ever to claim the crown once more.

As the hype begins to build on 2014 we dig into our archives of quotes from Richmond races past to get a glimpse into the allure of racing #xterraRVA…

“It’s my favorite course, and probably globally my favorite experience. The skyscrapers, great river and forest make for a ridiculously perfect XTERRA set-up that offers as much as any other. And you don’t need to explain XTERRA to anyone here.  The history and legacy of XTERRA in Richmond is at a very high level.”

- Dan Hugo, prior to winning it all last year

“I don’t think anybody here ever has a clean ride.  I endo’d, and I know that happens to everybody.  You just have to overcome that stuff.”

- Jamie Whitmore, after winning in 2006

“I’d like to thank Conrad for letting someone else win. It was sad to see him out there with a flat but nice to have a race for first rather than a race for 2nd and 3rd.”

- Josiah Middaugh after winning in 2008

“When I heard I was 1:30 back out of T2 I just went out a little too hard…I hit the wall, literally, at the Mayan Ruins.”

- Tyler Johnson, 2008, he still hung on for 3rd

“It was really important to silence my own inner-critic and show myself what I can do.  I think I’m the fastest at this sport and I had to prove it.”

- Melanie McQuaid after winning in 2008

“Had a hard day on the bike, got two flats … my left leg and my right leg.”

- Shonny Vanlandingham after finishing 3rd in 2008

“It feels like you’re out in the middle of nowhere but you’re in the middle of a big city and that’s really quite amazing.”

- Conrad Stoltz after winning in 2005

“An 800 watt sprint out of the transition area and he’s gone, and I’m still trying to get in my shoes.  It’s amazing.  The first kilometer on the bike he’s putting down 500 watts and I’m thinking to myself this is the moment, I’ve got to be on his wheels, but the power he generates…”

- Hugo on watching Stoltz pull away early in 2011

“Thrills and spills.”

- Christine Jeffrey, describing her day in 2008

“I caught Craig at the first bridge, Tyler on the dike, Josiah on the stairs, then Mike in the last twisty woods section, then tactically ran it in.”

- Seth Wealing, on running his way into 2nd from 7th in 2007

“Just want to say Happy Father’s day to my dad.  He’s out there suffering at 60-years-old.”

- Jamie Whitmore about her Dad, Biff, who competed himself on Father’s Day in 2007

“First lap my head wasn’t in it, I wasn’t focused. So, on the second lap I was paying attention and saw where I went wrong.  The second lap I was just flying, it was so smooth and so much fun. There was a lot of spectators on the cliff all in costume, yelling, spraying beer and dancing around.  It was like riding through a circus.  It’s such a fun race, the epitome of XTERRA.”

- Stoltz after winning Richmond for the 7th time in 2012

“There are a lot of mountain bikers on this podium and I think that’s testament to the fantastic trail network here.  Richmond is lucky to have so many great volunteers that take care of these trails.  I’ve seen the evolution of these trails over the years and they are in amazing condition and so much fun to ride.”

- Melanie McQuaid after winning in 2008

The minute I arrived on site, I’d hop on my bike and “get lost” on the trails. I’d ride for six hours in the two days prior to racing, that’s how cool the Richmond course is.  I remember getting poison ivy on very sensitive body parts (damn speedo), I remember ‘swimming,’ I remember literally cussing my way through the river-bed, I remember being so hot I worried about spontaneous combustion, I remember being in the best cycling shape of my life and getting spanked by guys like Mike Tobin, who knew what they were doing on a mountain bike.”

- Former XTERRA World Champ Jimmy Riccitello

“I still remember riding over the narrow stone bridge, slipping backwards trying to run up a muddy pitch, riding down a stairwell, the heat and humidity, scrambling up the steep stairs on the run, free forming the rocks across the river. Ya know, we’re still good friends with our homestay, they’ve even visited us here in Boise.”

- Michael Tobin, winner of the first two Richmond races in 1999 and 2000

“This course reminds me of some of the world cups I’ve done in Europe where they have small forests around cities but use every available space for trails. Really impressed with this place, they’ve got a great park system here.”

- Shonny Vanlandingham after finishing 3rd in 2008

“Back in 2001 I was just an innocent roadie thinking I had reached the pinnacle of triathlon going to the Olympic Games and I came to Richmond for my first XTERRA. I borrowed this 35-pound soft ride bike a week before the race and came out just to see what XTERRA was all about, and I was blown away.  Mike Vine won, I got second, Lebrun was 3rd, Steve Larsen 4th, and Ned Overend 5th.  After the race Steve and Ned came over to me and said ‘welcome to XTERRA, great to see you’.  The people were so friendly and I had such a good time that XTERRA became my goal.  I really lost my heart to XTERRA in Richmond.”

- Conrad Stoltz reminiscing about his first-ever XTERRA in 2001

“Who says I’m not a mountain biker.”

- Lesley Paterson moments after winning last year’s race

“My first impression was how amazingly well organized, colorful, impressive, and almost intimidating it was.  I was scared to death, had never done a tri before, and really hadn’t done much of any racing before other than marathon running.  But I was also filled with this sense of intense happiness to be able to participate in such a big race with so many fine athletes.   When I crossed the finish line, I swore I’d never do another marathon, that XTERRA was made for the likes of me.  More than 10 years later, all I have raced is XTERRA.”

- Dr. Kathy Coutinho, Virginia-based age grouper

“I remember when the swim was moved across the river into the slough.  It was a total obstacle course. The swim start was like being shot out of cannon because of the flow of the river, and then we took a hard right across shallow rocks and river grass.  It’s one of the only swims I remember passing people walking during the swim.” 

- XTERRA age grouper Casey Fannin recalling the 2004 race

“There’s this big field of rocks and periodically there’s an arrow. There’s one line that’s fast where you’re actually running on rocks and then there’s the line that I took where you have to run through water and jump back up on rocks or go way around the long way.   I ended up with my feet in the water the wrong way, and lost a lot of time.”

- Melanie McQuaid on 2005 run to the finish. Interestingly, it was the same exact mistake Jamie Whitmore made in 2004.

“I fell in a trench and went the wrong way twice and learned a lesson, because there are places out there where you can’t continue on. So in 2005 I practiced it over and over and once I got into the rock hopping section I knew where to go.  I came out behind her (McQuaid) and shot out on a different line and I just bee-lined it straight to the ladder.”

- Jamie Whitmore, who chased McQuaid down from behind to win by 30 seconds in 2005

“I felt fine on the bike, it didn’t hurt at all, and it wasn’t until the run that I started to get tired and a little woozy and I wasn’t sure if it was fatigue or blood loss.”

- Conrad Stoltz on the famous “bloody foot” incident from 2009 when he sliced open the top of his foot shuffling across the bottom of the James River while helping to put a course buoy back in place just before the swim start, raced anyway, and won.

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 after winning last year, 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.”

XTERRA EAST CHAMPIONSHIP ELITES

Tentative pro list for the June 15 USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championship / XTERRA East Championship race in Richmond, Virginia.  Rank denotes current standing in 2014 XTERRA U.S. Pro Series after two races.

Rank – Name – Age, Hometown
1 – Josiah Middaugh – 35, Vail-Eagle, CO
2 – Bradley Weiss – 25, Cape Town, South Africa
3 – Craig Evans – 36, Hendersonville, TN
4 – Mauricio Mendez – 18, Mexico City, Mexico
5 – Branden Rakita – 33, Colorado Springs, CO
6 – Dan Hugo – 28, Stellenbosch, South Africa
8 – Chris Ganter – 35, Boise, ID
9 – Jeff Smith – 31, Portland, OR
13 – Karsten Madsen – Guelph, Ontario, Canada
11 – Nick Fisher – 28, Ogden, Utah
15 – Alex Modestou – 27, Washington, D.C.
17 – Ryan DeCook – 33, Rochester, MI
NR – Charlie Epperson – 37, Tamuning, Guam (TN)
NR – Andy Lee – 41, Lakeway, TX (Great Britain)
NR – Nicholas Miehe – 25, Tarpon Springs, FL
NR – Takahiro Ogasawara – 34, Tokyo, Japan
NR – Conrad  Stoltz – 40, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Rank – Name – Age, Hometown
1 – Flora Duffy – 26, Boulder, CO (Bermuda)
2 – Emma Garrard – 32, Park City, UT
3 – Suzie Snyder – 32, Fredericksburg, VA
5 – Danelle Kabush – 39, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
6 – Kara LaPoint – 26, Truckee, CA
8 – Amelia McCracken – 30, Philadelphia, PA
9 – Shonny Vanlandingham – 45, Durango, CO
10 – Christine Jeffrey – 41, Tucson, AZ (Canada)
12 – Debby Sullivan – 32, Rocklin, CA
13 – Caroline Colonna – 50, Taos, NM
14 – Rebecca Blatt – 34, Lakewood, CO
NR – Mieko Carey – 36, Tumon, Guam (Japan)
NR – Catherine Sterling – 37, West Boylston, MA