The stars were out at the 13th annual XTERRA REAL off-road triathlon in Granite Bay, California, the first of four races in The Golden State this year.
2013 overall amateur XTERRA National Champ Matt Balzer from Reno, Nevada took home the men’s title in 1:44:54, a little more than four minutes ahead of the reigning 15-19 division XTERRA National Champ David Duncan.
“David’s progress is amazing,” said Balzer, who played a big role in the success of JP Donovan who won the overall amateur XTERRA National title last year. “Two years ago he was 20min behind me, last year about 8 and this year 4 or less. I am launching my new team very soon, Sierra Endurance Sports and David is already a teammate! I figure if he’s going to be beating me soon I need to get him on the team early.”
The top three spots in the women’s race went to the pros – Debby Sullivan (1:58:57), Kara LaPoint (2:00:09) and Kelsey Withrow (2:03:42) while Sian Turner, the 30-34 XTERRA National Champ, took the amateur crown.
“It was a good race this weekend,” said Sullivan. “The conditions were perfect with a beautiful sunny day in the mid-70s and the course was running fast. It felt great to get back into XTERRA and shake out the cobwebs. I felt like I was able to put together a strong race the whole way through. My swim went well but I knew I had my work cut out on the bike as Kelsey Withrow was racing and she put the whole field to work, way ahead of everyone on the swim. I was able to catch her on the bike about 3/4 of the way through the first lap of the two-lap course but I knew Kara was right on my heels out of the water. I also knew that the one thing that has not suffered from her hand injury was her run. So, I wanted to gain as much as I could on the bike. Turned out to be enough to hold!”
Withrow was indeed impressive in the swim, posting a 12:39 split that was best in the field, men included. Also of note, UFC stars Nick and Nate Diaz were in the field, but the real stars are the organizers at TBF racing.
“They do an amazing job at all their races,” said Balzer.