Another year, another Lock 4 Blast title for "former" XTERRA pro Craig Evans over the weekend.
The long-time XTERRA fan favorite jumped into his hometown race and showed one-and-all he's still got game.
He justified his performance by posting, "I hate losing more than I like winning" to his Facebook account. I think Saturday's win was his 12th in Gallatin.
There was a ringer in the women's race as well, 3x XTERRA World Champion (40-44) Mimi Stockton and here she gives us a first-person perspective on the day...
XTERRA Lock 4 Blast is one of the longest runniner XTERRA events in America, and for good reason. This was the 16th year the event was held and after racing it, it's easy to see why it has endured all these years. The race is held in Lock 4 Park, about 30 minutes north of Nashville. It's an idyllic lakeside haven that boasts scenic mountain biking and running trails as well as warm, calm waters. The race directors and volunteers were top notch, not only were they some of the friendliest people on the planet, but incredibly organized as well.
Race morning was picture perfect. Clear skies, temperature hovering around 70. The race started at 8 am (a bit on the early side), but seeing as the forecast was calling for a high of 95 that day, I think everyone was eager to get started. The swim was an 880 meter triangle course in Old Hickory Lake (formed from the Cumberland River). Water temperature was a balmy 81 degrees so the wetsuits had to stay in the car.
The trails in the park were clearly designed and built with mountain bikers in mind. The day before the race, the directors decided to change the bike section from 2, 6.1 mile loops to 3, 4.2 mile loops. This was done to protect part of the trail that was slightly damaged from the previous day's wind and rain storm and to make it more spectator friendly. Overall, the trails were fast, fun and flowy with minimal climbs and quick descents, lots of switchbacks and plenty of rocks and roots to keep it interesting. Some great obstacles and pretty cool jumps made this one sweet and challenging trail to ride. The run course was equally as picturesque and demanding. It was a 2 lap, 4.2 total mile roller coaster jaunt through the woods, with the beginning part of the trail abutting the lake and the finishing chute up on the hill overlooking the lake and transition area.
As we lined up in the water, waiting for the official start, all eyes were on former XTERRA Pro Craig Evans (who also doubled as one of the race directors!) to break free early and take the lead. And take the lead he did! He claimed to have only swam 4 times over the past year, but nobody was buying that seeing as he completed the swim in a blistering 11:13. Next out of the water at 14:26 was Lara Houseman, with Mimi Stockton a few steps behind. Transition was set up at water's edge making for a very fast T1. Stockton threw on her bike gear and was out of transition second, behind Evans. She came into T2 with a significant lead over Christine Grant, took off on the run and never looked back. She finished in 1:58:24 with only 2 men in front of her. In second place was Christine Grant with a time of 2:09:17. Susan Finney was close behind in third coming in at 2:10:34.
In the men's race, Craig was obviously the guy to beat. Seeing as he had an almost insurmountable lead coming out of the water, it was going to be pretty hard for anybody to catch him on the bike. Trent Lowery was the second male out of the water after Craig in 15:49, with Alex Ohman on his tail in 15:56. As was expected, Craig was a beast on the bike course, crushing it in under an hour. Alex took over second place from Trent on the bike and ended up in second with a time of 1:53:09. Trent was the third place male, coming in at 2:03:45.
The Lock 4 Blast race is a wonderful, low key event in a beautiful setting. With opportunities to see racers 3 times on the bike and 2 times on the run, it is probably one of the most spectator friendly XTERRA's out there. Crossing the finish line, with rap and rock-n-roll blasting on the speakers and high-fives all around, the true #Livemore XTERRA spirit was in full display!