A trio of past and present XTERRA pros – Brian Astell, Matt Balzer, and Damian Gonzalez, finished 1-2-3, in that order, at the 11th annual XTERRA REAL off-road tri in Granite Bay, California on Saturday.
Astell, famous for winning the XTERRA Halloween Costume contest in Maui when he dressed up as the “naked cowboy” a few years ago, was well back out of the water but strung together the second-best bike split with the fastest run to take the win in 1:43:19, just 20-seconds ahead of Balzer.
In the women’s race three-time XTERRA 30-34 division West Region champ Sian Turner edged the reigning 25-29 XTERRA National Champion Kara LaPoint by a little over a minute.
Impressive performances were had by many in the early-season challenge, highlighted by 44-year-old Dave Cloninger from Bend, Oregon who posted the fastest bike split of the day and finished 5th overall. Also of note, Brent Bieshaar finished the 2nd of 24 XTERRA races on his schedule this season, Jim Meskimen won the 70+ division in 2:42:39 and finished ahead of 25 other racers, MMA stars Nick and Nate Diaz added some star-power to the race, and 16-year-old Jocelyn Vides won her division and placed fourth overall among women.
It was also the first XTERRA for roadie pro Erich Wegscheider, who finished 10th overall and wrote a really colorful (think funny) recap on his blog that is worth a read.
According to long-time race director Bill Driskill from TBF Racing, the race was held under ideal conditions. “We had some of the best weather for the XTERRA Real in the ten years that we have been holding the event. It rained, stormed, thundered and ‘lightninged’ all night, but on race morning it was a cloudy but warm 66-degrees on a course that I heard athletes call “perfect” all day,” said Driskill.
XTERRA REAL has long been one of Cali’s all-time finest and annually draws the best of the West Region age groupers and a handful of pros.
|Top 3 Men||Time|
|Brian Astell, 32||1:43:19|
|Matthew Balzer, 32||1:43:39|
|Damian Gonzalez, 37||1:46:28|
|Top 3 Women||Time|
|Sian Turner, 32||2:00:28|
|Kara LaPoint, 27||2:01:38|
|Debby Sullivan, 32||2:02:35|