XTERRA Worlds Circa The Year 2000
Y2K was a breakout year for both the men’s and women’s XTERRA World Champions - Michael Tobin and Kerstin Weule. They had each finished 2nd in Maui in ’99 and had won just about every major XTERRA but winning Worlds was always the ultimate goal.
“Just thought of a funny story but first here's why 2000 was such a great experience,” shared Tobin. “XTERRA did a camp on Molokai the weekend before. Jenny and I, Pat Brown and friends were asked to participate. It was so relaxing, quiet and fun. Nothing like the pressure I put on myself prior to the year before. Jenny and I stayed in this beautiful hut looking out over the island and ocean. A little more my style than staying at the big hotels to be honest. Two nights before the race at the race hotel I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. As I walked to the bathroom I blacked out. The next thing I noticed was something rough on my cheek. It was the non-slip coating on the tub bottom. With my shorts down I got up and couldn't turn my head. I spent the day before the race at a Physical Therapist in one of those traction machines. Really relaxing :).”
Not exactly the perfect race prep, but it worked! “I passed Mike Vine on the last big climb and held off the Whistler trained bike handler to the transition. I bet he was surprised. Or maybe he had a flat?” wrote Tobin, who added that racing against and with Mike Pigg was always special. “I love his joy in competing,” he said.
After Maui, Tobin, Mike Vine, and Pat Brown teamed up for their very first adventure race in China. “We rented some sit on top kayaks in Maui to practice,” said Tobin, “We still laugh at our "how hard can it be'" comment after we flailed down the Yangste river completely out of contention.”
The XTERRA World Championship race that year was a grueling affair, described colorfully here by Matt Fitzgerald in a post he wrote for active.com 15 years ago…
"Chance plays a big role in deciding outcomes in the XTERRA World Championship. Two years ago, Michael Tobin probably would have won the race, but a flat tire helped Ned Overend claim an upset victory. This year, the roles were reversed: Overend came in as the two-time and defending champion, but suffered a flat tire on Sunday that helped Tobin to victory.
In this years womens race, Wendy Ingraham was considered a shoo-in to win the Hawaiian Airlines Double for the lowest combined Hawaii Ironman and Xterra finishing times, but she was stung by a bee during the bike leg and was unable to finish. Beth Zinkand took advantage of Wingnuts misfortune to make herself $1,000 richer.
Chance also played a role in deciding Sundays womens World Championship and Points Series outcomes. The defending champion, Jody Purcell, fell victim to a flat tire and two broken chains within one measly 30K mountain bike leg, clearing the way for a victory by Kerstin Weule, who holds the record for the most career Xterra victories. The fact that Purcell still managed to climb back into third place before melting down within sight of the finish and ultimately crossing the line in sixth place indicates that she would have stood an excellent chance of winning had she only had an incident-free ride.
This is to take nothing away from Weule, who won the race deservedly with a gutsy come-from-behind performance and had a flat tire of her own to deal with. Indeed, Purcells woes hardly turned the race into a laugher for Weule, as the expected showdown between Weule and Purcell who were tied for this years Points Series lead coming into the World Championship - turned instead into a battle between Weule and unheralded Melanie McQuaid.
McQuaid turned in the fastest bike split of the day to mount a four-minute lead on Weule entering the second transition. Weule pushed hard on the run and chipped away at Purcells advantage throughout the insanely difficult seven-mile run segment. As the two leaders came into view of the finish on Salt n Pepper Beach, Weule passed McQuaid and surged into the lead.
Once passed, McQuaid entered a pretty severe bonk, and it appeared that Tori Valentine might catch her, too. But then Valentine fell apart to the point where she actually fell down and was carried off the course allowing the spent McQuaid to cross the finish line in second place.
Purcell was the next woman to appear on the beach, but as she tired, Uli Blank, Karen Masson, and Jenny Tobin passed her in quick succession to finish third through fifth, respectively.
With the win, Weule claimed the Xterra America Tour Points Series title.”