Photo courtesy Ani Roma
We’re just 15 races into the 2016 XTERRA America Tour but Caleb Baity (20-24 from Boonville, NC) and Marcus Barton (45-49 from Waxhaw, NC) have already racked-up perfect scores of 325-points.
Baity, a first-year XTERRA racer, and Barton, a season-vet of the sport, have each done and won their division in five races including the 100-pointer at XTERRA Oak Mountain last month.
Over the weekend Baity picked up his first overall race win at XTERRA Knoxville, while Barton finished in the top 3 for the third time this year.
About the race in Knoxville, Baity said…
“The conditions were loose and slick, it reminded me of when I used to race downhill at Beech Mountain in the pouring down rain. I got to a point where I rode 3 or so miles without seeing another racer and it made me worry that I may never catch the lead pack. When I finally started to catch the racers who I knew were in the front I felt a rush of extra energy. The run was an absolute blast. I loved how technical it was by having us weave in and out of trees and going over rock piles which made it feel like a true trail run. When I was climbing up the steepest hill and saw the current leader, Alex, I felt another wind of energy because I knew it was possible for me to win. After passing Alex and putting myself in first I gave it everything I had left, sprinting down the hill while trying to keep myself from slipping and eating it hard. Once the trail flattened out I looked back and saw no one in the distance. It was the best feeling to cross the finish line for my first ever 1st place overall win and think to myself that I was the fastest person racing that day.”
Barton summed-up his day a little bit differently… “I crashed 8 times, 4 of them on bridges and once into a poison oak patch. We'll see if it "hatches" in a couple of days. Didn't talk to a single person that didn't go down on a bridge. I tried walking one and still slid off of it.”
Barton also caught up with the women’s winner at XTERRA Knoxville, Katie Rowinski, who said…
“This was my first XTERRA race. It was incredibly fun and rewarding, but also very grueling. The bike portion was the hardest because it was so slick and muddy and I also struggled on the very last hill/climb on the run portion going around Mead's Quarry. Overall it was a very difficult race course. I've done road triathlons and road races before, but the XTERRA Knoxville event was definitely the hardest race I've ever done.”
View the XTERRA America Tour Standings and race results at: http://www.xterraplanet.com/races/points/