In the small country town of Gallatin, Tennessee back in 2002 a 215-pound All-American swimmer out of Western Kentucky University gave XTERRA a whirl on a dare from a friend.
“Who’s that fat guy coming out of the water,” a spectator at the XTERRA Lock 4 Challenge said.
“That’s my husband,” replied Holly Evans.
The “fat dude” was XTERRA Pro Craig Evans (pictured coming out of the water at Richmond this year), and he finished well back that year but “after that race I swore I’d win it the next year.”
Evans, who over the last decade has gone from oversized age grouper to the fastest American pro at the ITU Cross Tri World Championship, lived up to his word and won it in 2003.
Even more impressive, he’s won the Lock 4 Blast every year since – a total of nine straight, and this year he is aiming for an even decade of dominance on his home course.
To make things interesting, Evans is calling out anyone willing to listen.
“If anyone beats me at Lock 4 I will pay for their entry fee into the XTERRA National Championship, buy them a Steak Dinner in Hendersonville, TN while they’re in town, buy all the drinks they can handle, and give them a goodie bag from my personal sponsors.”
The Challenge is on! The race – one of the longest-running events in the XTERRA family – dates back to 1999 as an XTERRA and well before then with David Hardin of Biker’s Choice as the race director. It combines a half-mile swim in Old Hickory Lake with a 12.5 mountain bike and 4.5 mile trail run.
“The two-loop bike course is a very fast and 100% single track trail system. This course is challenging from beginners to professionals with bridges, short rock gardens and whoopdy doops without much climbing,” explained Evans. “If you enjoy tight and twisty trails, Lock 4 dares you to not touch your brakes and make it around this 12.5 mile bike course.”
Anyone who has seen Evans rail corners in the Southeast can attest that brakes really aren’t part of his game plan. As visual proof, he’s got his very own hype video on the trails at Lock 4 Park put together by Rick Kimmel at Stumbling Towards Greatness productions.
Once on the run the two-loop course starts up a steep grassy short climb then dives into tight and twisty single track on the opposite side of the bike course. After its over Dave Brown at Lock 4 Park welcomes racers to stick around and enjoy the great post-race food, watermelon, and acoustic music.
“The course is 10 miles from my house, and just 30 minutes from Nashville,” said Evans. “The Bikers Choice mountain bike team and the Optimum Endurance triathlon team help maintain the trails along with a few locals who continually help keep the trails clear. With all of the local support, we are able to ride these trails year round.”
Mark it down. Take him on. Craig Evans vs. the World - Next Sat., June 30. XTERRA Lock 4 Blast