Pro triathlete James Haycraft from Charlotte, NC and Kat Welling from Spartanburg, SC took home the titles at the XTERRA America Tour opener at XTERRA Hickory Knob in McCormick, SC on Sunday.
Haycraft took the tape in 1:34:09, more than one-minute ahead of amateur winner Sebastian Binnemann while Wellington edged Leyla Porteous by under a minute in the women’s race.
It was the most unusual of season-openers, a rare on-road, draft-legal, mountain bike experience. Why? The trails were just too muddy, and out of respect for the trails, the park, and all the other users it was the right thing to do. Despite the organizer’s offer to defer participant’s entry into next year’s event many chose to stay and give it a try.
“The mere prospect of racing on the road, using a mountain bike (XTERRA rules) didn’t appeal to many, but we all respected the decision to respect the trails,” said XTERRA ambassador Marcus Barton, who gives terrific insight into the day on his blog. “In the end, we all had a blast of a time and many commented on the fun nature of a draft-legal mountain bike race on the pavement.”
The top 15 racers in each division at Hickory Knob qualified to compete in the XTERRA USA Championship race to be held September 19, 2015 in Ogden, Utah. The new qualifying rule allows athletes from across the country a better opportunity to qualify for Nationals and more time to make travel arrangements.
The XTERRA America Tour rolls on this weekend with the ever-popular XTERRA REAL off-road triathlon in Granite Bay, California and incredibly interesting XTERRA Camp Eagle off-road triathlon in Rocksprings, Texas. The photo above is of the mid-swim climb.