The XTERRA Texas series got underway at Camp Eagle in Rocksprings, TX on Saturday to the delight of winners Jack Cartwright and Melanie Etherton.
“It was a very good day,” explained Cartwright, the reigning 40-44 XTERRA National Champ who finished in 1:43:25, two minutes ahead of 11x South Central Region Champ Kyle Grieser.
“I came out of the water right with Kyle and we rode together up the first super technical climb, passing the few others who were ahead from their faster swims. I had a small crash (or rather put my foot down and had to get moving again) on the technical descent into the river bed and Kyle opened a 30-45sec gap on my. From there I kept him nearly in sight and decided I would bridge and pass him on the last long climb in the final 3km of the course. On that climb, I committed to making the pass stick and went by him and another guy (3rd place guy Donnie Bunker I believe) without looking back and once over the top, I drilled the descent to ensure they did not pull me back. Going into T2, I was all alone and the run (if you can call it that) was uneventful. It was a brutal run course, perhaps a bit too brutal. I am a sub 35min 10k runner and my pace on that run course was over 8min per mile. I did love the bike course, it ranks as one of the best in Texas, especially since it has some real elevation rather than only rolling rock gardens like Reveille Peak and Muleshoe.”
In the women’s race four-time South Central Region Champ Melanie Etherton and Texas Series regular looked in fine form after focusing more on her engineering career than her racing career over the past couple years.
“Race Revolutions put on an excellent race - everything from race-preparation schedule and packet-pick up/registration to the swim/bike/run and the post-race food was well organized and went smoothly,” said Etherton.
“The XTERRA race at Camp Eagle in the heart of the Texas hill country is always a highlight. On race day we were excited to line up with many of our long-time friends and a few new ones in the clear water of the Nueces River. My swim went well and after the long climb on the limestone stairs from the river to the transition zone, I was excited to get on the bike and start my favorite leg of the race. Less than a mile into the ride Steve (her husband who finished 5th overall) caught up with me. I let him pass and was able to keep up with him for almost 4 more miles, which made the ride even more fun. Both the bike and the run courses were significantly different this year, and the run course was tough. Due to lack of run training over the winter (foot injury and cyclocross were the culprits), I didn't have high hopes for the run, but the relatively high temperatures, the climbs and technical terrain made it a big challenge. The generous encouragements from fellow racers, volunteers and the beautiful hill country views kept me going and I finished the race worn out and happy. The post-race party was fun as always and is part of the reason why we race.”