Mother Nature, Your Toughest Competitor

Mar. 29, 2013

It’s well documented that in XTERRA, Mother Nature is your toughest competitor.  Look no further than the opening weekend of the XTERRA America Tour to find several stellar examples of this statement.

Hickory KnobIn Rocksprings, Texas it was a warm 86-degrees the afternoon before XTERRA Camp Eagle but during the night a strong front blew in and the temp dropped to 38-degrees with 30mph winds at the start.

“Luckily the spring fed water was still a warm 70-degrees,” said race director Joel Grimmett.

Weather aside, 26-year-old Grayson Keppler upset XTERRA’s Texas age-group legend Kyle Grieser by exactly one minute to win the men’s race while the better-half of the Etherton couple, Melanie, won the women’s race, placing 9th overall.  Etherton has won the SC 35-39 division two years running now, while her husband Steve (a regional champ himself) placed 5th overall and won the 40-44 division on a cold day at Camp Eagle.


Grayson Keppler  1:48:39
Kyle Grieser  1:49:39
Jack Cartwright  1:52:02

Melanie Grote  2:05:24
Rebekah Trevelise  2:33:58
Lucia Colbert   2:45:48

Complete Results

Even colder, and perhaps more aptly described as “downright miserable” conditions, faced the fine folks at XTERRA Hickory Knob in McCormick, South Carolina.  Here’s how race director Andy Kennedy described it…

“The couple of days going into the race were gray, cloudy, and cold....high's in the upper 40's. On Friday, we had a sprinkling of rain; on Saturday around 2:00 pm, the skies began to crack a bit more and rain began to fall. The trails were a bit muddy heading into the race with the Saturday rain insuring that the bike ride would at least be a bit more difficult. The park service had been working to remove trees that were down on the trails due to prior storms but when the rains started, were hindered from removing them all. Three trees remained down on race morning making the 14.4 mile bike even a little more challenging.  The rain slacked off a bit Saturday evening giving a little hope of a respite from the ugly weather but that hope was short lived. Around 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning the rain started back....heavier than before. The thunder crept in and lightening streaks were dodging through the sky around 4:30 a.m. I headed out onto the bike trail for a dark run around 5:30 to see what it looked like. The trails had become downhill streams and there was still thunder rumbling in the distance. I kept checking radar and NOAA weather consistently...fingers crossed for a break.

The consistent theme weeks coming into the race was the swim water temperature. It had drifted between 49-53F for a couple of weeks and the freezing rain wasn't going to help. Earlier I'd reduced the swim from 800m to 500m to cut down on the time of exposure. A couple of days prior to the race, I changed the start time from 7:30 am to 8:45 am, somewhat at the insistence of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and with hopes that the air temperatures would at least be out of the 30's.  By 8:45 race morning, we had a little break in the weather, the air temperature was 41F-42F, the water temperature was 52F, and all were off! Oh, by the way, to be sure to get the race in with more severe weather approaching, the swim was cut down to one objected...imagine that. The 14.4 mile bike and five-mile trail runs were mud baths that sent numerous competitors sliding and tumbling.....but I sure saw a lot of smiles out there!”

Dan Kimball and Marcus Barton from the newly formed Team Centimark-Tailwind tri team suffered the best on the day, finishing 1-2 for the men, with Misty Becerra of Clermont, Florida winning the women’s race.

“By all measure, it was a muddy, nasty, tough, successful race,” said Kennedy.  “All who even toed the start line are to be congratulated. I just told 'em all it's an XTERRA...suck it up buttercup!”


Daniel Kimball  2:18:53
Marcus Barton  2:20:01
Joshua Schaffer  2:20:36

Misty Becerra  2:56:24
Tanya Houghton  3:00:08
Lila Bowers  3:27:03

Complete Results

At XTERRA Miami they didn't have much to complain about regarding the weather, except that it was perhaps "too hot" with a high right at 90-degrees.  Diego Corredor and Jen Moos were the ones on fire, winning the men's and women's races.


Diego Corredor, 33  2:07:21
Rafael Lee, 37  2:10:51
Reinald Garcia, 41  2:11:20

Jenn Moos, 30  2:17:20
Beata Wronska, 38  2:30:39
Melissa Scott, 43  2:35:15

Complete Results