Putting "Braveheart" to the Test

Apr. 23, 2015

Two-time XTERRA World Champion Lesley Paterson is hoping to turn some hard luck into a winning hand at the XTERRA West Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday.

The “Scottish Rocket” has had a tough go of it recently.

Last year injuries and Lyme disease, a nasty auto-immune disease, kept her out of the line-up until Nationals. She finished third at that race behind Flora Duffy and Barbara Riveros, but then Lyme kicked in again and forced her to miss XTERRA Worlds.

She spent the off-season getting mind and body straight and was strong as ever heading into XTERRA Costa Rica on March 29, then took a tumble pre-riding and fractured her shoulder the day before the race.

“I couldn’t lift my arm above my head so I had to do the whole swim one armed…1500-meters is a long way with one arm! I had to have the other one down by my side,” she explained.

Paterson’s swim split was 33:27, a full 12-minutes slower than Sara McLarty and more than six minutes behind eventual runner-up Emma Garrard. She erased most of that deficit with the fastest bike split of the day then made up the rest with a blistering fast run and won the race.

“I’m a pretty stubborn gal,” Paterson explained to Bob Babbitt in a TV segment on NBC San Diego that aired this week.

“It was unbelievable.  The night before I was crying my eyes out thinking I’m not going to be able to race, to then winning it. It’s testament to the Braveheart spirit to never give up.”

On Saturday, just four weeks since she fractured her shoulder, she’ll give it a go in Vegas despite having to do the swim – again – with just one arm.