In our on-going curiosity to learn how different athletes plan on going about winning their region we’ve stumbled across an interesting fact … not everybody wants to give away their strategy!
Take Marcus Barton for example.
Marcus, a self-described “average Joe Schmo trying to be a good employee, husband, dad and granddad while squeezing in training and racing,” is the ring leader of XTERRA’s Southeast Region.
The 46-year-old from Waxhaw, North Carolina is quick to share stories on races and places, lead group rides and trail work days, tell you what lines to take, where to stay, and how to get into the sport. He’s a great resource for race director’s and racers alike, and even moderates the Southeast Region Facebook page.
Last year Marcus won his fourth SE regional championship title (45-49 division). We asked him if he was chasing his fifth title this year and he enthusiastically replied, “you're damn right I'm going for it!!”
Then we asked him how he planned to do it, and he said “none of your business.”
Of course, that’s not actually what he said but it’s what he meant!
What he actually said was “I haven't laid out my strategy just yet, but I have an idea of which ones I am doing. Some of them are based around the fun ones; some are based around ones I think I'll be good at. BUT, I do want to keep the strategy to myself.”
Lucky for us, however, Marcus was willing to let us take a look back to last season to see how his chase for the regional championship unfolded …
“My original plan in 2015 was to win Pelham, get my USAT National title back, then go do Tsali and Greensboro (two races I hadn't done before),” explained Barton. “However, low and behold, David Meadows kicks my butt in Pelham, giving him 100 points. I knew I was doing OtillO late in the season, so I wouldn't be in racing shape (at least bike wise) in August and September. This meant that he could have done Tiger, Tide and Blackwater and taken the Southeast title from me. Soooo this means that Richmond HAD to be my win. I HAD to get 100 points. Even if I went to Richmond and got 100, he still could have tied me and if he raced Tide and Tiger, he would win the tiebreaker. This meant I also HAD to beat him at a local race. When I found out he was doing Knoxville (one week before Richmond I might add), I had no choice but to drop Tsali and Greensboro, go to Knoxville, beat him and then go to Richmond and win. Luckily, I did and it worked out. Why did I tell you this long story? Because if someone is serious about the title, it's not just about getting points, it's about how you strategize against the other racers.”
Awesome stuff, huh!
This year, with 11 races in the Southeast region, the chase is wide-open for the regional championship title and qualifying spot into XTERRA Worlds that goes with it. We just hope you’re not in Marcus’ division!
His final words of wisdom … “He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.”
Check out his blog at www.speedylizard.com.
2016 XTERRA Southeast Region Races
|24-Apr||XTERRA Myrtle Beach||Myrtle Beach, SC|
|30-Apr||XTERRA Fort Yargo||Winder, GA|
|14-May||XTERRA Clemson||Clemson, SC|
|21-May||XTERRA Oak Mountain||Pelham, AL|
|5-Jun||XTERRA Knoxville||Knoxville, TN|
|11-Jun||XTERRA Greensboro||Greensboro, NC|
|18-Jun||XTERRA Lock 4 Blast||Gallatin, TN|
|26-Jun||XTERRA Tsali||Bryson City, NC|
|9-Jul||XTERRA Whitewater||Charlotte, NC|
|31-Jul||XTERRA Panther Creek||Morristown, TN|
|7-Aug||XTERRA Blackwater||Milton, FL|
|20-Aug||XTERRA Auburn||Auburn, AL|
|16-Oct||XTERRA Hickory Knob||McCormick, SC|