The new opportunity for XTERRA America Tour racers to qualify for the XTERRA World Championship in Maui by winning their region has Mimi Stockton, a 43-year-old mother of three from Michigan, dreaming of paradise.
“It's 7 degrees and grey here,” said Stockton, the reigning and three-time 40-44 women’s World Champ.
“Just looking out the window makes me feel like an icicle, and right about now I’m thinking it’s a fantastic idea to be able to qualify for Maui by becoming the regional champion. It's something to dream about and shoot for. It will undoubtedly give more racers a chance to qualify, especially those for whatever reason cannot make a championship race or finish first or second at one. It will also mean more to become a regional champion. In my mind, that changes everything. And perhaps more importantly, it should increase the number of racers at the local races.”
For Stockton and all the other XTERRA racers in the midst of snow and ice festivals, winter is the time to make a game plan on how to capture that regional championship.
“That's how I'm going to punch my ticket,” said Stockton. “I'm a Midwestern girl and this area provides ample opportunities for me to flex my XTERRA muscles. But first things first! I am going to hit the road and travel south to Alabama, where the twisting, rolling trails of Oak Mountain State Park (May 21) await. Since that will be my first race of the season, I have expectations, but admittedly they're not very high! My goal is to finish in the top three of my age group, but I'll be happy with a top five finish. After the warmth and sunshine of Alabama, hopefully I will have knocked some of that winter rust off my body and I'll be ready to tackle the regional races.”
XTERRA Midwest Region Races:
July 16 - XTERRA DINO Southern Indiana (Versailles, Indiana)
July 24 - XTERRA Ionia (Ionia, Michigan)
Aug 6 - XTERRA DINO Northern Indiana (North Liberty, Indiana)
Aug 13 - XTERRA Illinois Wild (Hanna City, Illinois)
Aug 20 - XTERRA Rockport Rugged (Alpena, Michigan)
“I've decided to not race during the month of June to focus on fine-tuning my mountain bike skills, because let's face it, I spend the majority of my time on the road. I'm trying to get over my fear of flying down tree-lined hills at top speed, but it takes time and practice.
By July I hope to be ready to rock and roll at XTERRA Dino Southern Indiana. The trails there are my favorite, even the death-defying cliff section that manages to amplify my fear of heights. This is a race I've done before and is not entirely suited to my strengths, but I hope to finish in the top two of my age group. Next up: XTERRA Ionia. A mountain biker’s nightmare, a road bikers dream! I might have a decent chance of winning my age group in this race, if I can get some distance between me and the other fast women on the flat sections. 2 races down, 2 more to go!
XTERRA Dino Northern Indiana is practically in my backyard and it is the one race where I can sleep in my own bed the night before. I know these mountain bike trails by heart, but they still demand my full attention. They are snaky and narrow and not at all easy for a 29er to maneuver through unscathed. They are, however, relatively flat (we are in the Midwest after all) and fast, making the ensuing run seem relatively painless. This is an important race for many reasons. If I do well enough to land in one of the top two spots in my region at this point in the season, then I will head into my last race of the season feeling confident and positive that Maui is within my reach.
XTERRA Illinois Wilds is one of the most scenic and unique races I've ever done (running through a zoo anyone?!). The bike section is technically difficult, but if I can make it through without crashing, I know I can rock the run. I can taste it already...the brilliant blue Maui skies; the lush, tropical flora; the warm, cerulean ocean waters...I want it, I want it all and I can feel it as I cross the finish line.”
Take it from Mimi, she knows what she is talking about! She earned her undergrad degree from Northwestern University and got a masters in public policy from the University of Chicago. When she’s not chasing her kids around you might find her whipping people into shape at Maddog Revolutionary Fitness.
Her words of wisdom come from Mae West, "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough."
Rules Refresher Note: You count your best four scores. You must count one race in your region. You have to count two races in your region. Only two races in the America Tour offer points at the 100-point scale – XTERRA Oak Mountain in Pelham, Alabama on May 21 and XTERRA Beaver Creek in Avon, Colorado on July 16. If you race at both, just your best score counts at 100-point level, and your other score reverts to 75-point level. The most points you can score is 325. Of the 176 regional champions honored last year, just 19 scored 325 points. Happy Training!