Colorado’s high country during the summer time is something to behold with its big blue skies, white aspens, majestic mountain ranges and cool, fresh air. It’s simply beautiful and Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, host to XTERRA Championship racing since 2009, enhances the experience with world-class facilities and people.
Then there is the course itself which is an absolute beast, boasting the highest elevation of any major on the XTERRA World Tour.
It starts with a mile swim in the cold waters of Nottingham Lake situated at 7,400-feet elevation. Nottingham is just big enough to get a full mile swim with 2 laps, and Buck Creek flows into the reservoir so even though the lake is small, the water temp rarely tops 70 degrees.
The next step involves roughly 15 miles of mountain biking that climbs 3,500-feet into the thin air of the Rockies. The first climb on the bike gains 2,000 vertical feet in five miles.
The bike course peaks out at above 9,400 feet above the Arrowhead and Bachelor Gulch ski slopes, then turns into some well-maintained single track that switches through the aspen trees and works its way to the village-to-village trail and down to Beaver Creek Village.
The final piece of resistance is a calf-burning, six-mile trail run which breaks down into essentially two challenging climbs that each have over 500 vertical feet of climbing (roughly 1,050ft for the course).
Appropriately, America’s best XTERRA athlete and reigning XTERRA World Champion Josiah “Beast Mode” Middaugh calls this place home, and has won the last three races here.
“What I like about this course is the fact that you have to dig deep and push yourself. There is no easy way around it, so you’ll have to test your limits to meet your goals,” he said.