The busiest weekend of the XTERRA America Tour season is upon us with seven races in seven states (Colorado, Indiana, Oregon, New Mexico, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Florida) on tap this Saturday and Sunday.
Where will you be?
LLINAS, FINNEY WIN XTERRA PANTHER CREEK
Alex Llinas and Sue Finney captured the XTERRA Panther Creek off-road triathlon titles in Morristown, Tennessee on Sunday.
“It was beyond my expectations to finish first overall in an XTERRA event, especially with the caliber of athletes that enter these events,” said Llinas in his post-race report (see below).
Alex Ohman was second and Caleb Baity, who blew out his tire on a sharp rock, still managed to finish third overall and win his division for the eighth straight time this year.
“What I Learned,” wrote Baity in his blog, “sometimes things happen that you can’t always be prepared for or fix, so just make the most fun out of the situation possible.”
On the women’s side, in an interview with the speedy lizard, Finney said she could not swim a straight line but was able to catch up quickly during the bike despite the slippery roots.
“The run is usually my strong leg, but I broke my foot last winter and it's still not 100 percent,” she added. “Between the humid heat and injury the run was difficult.”
Christina Halioris finished second with Cortney Mild in third.
Next up in the Southeast: XTERRA Auburn (AL) on August 20.
MARTINEK, RIEPMA WIN XTERRA ASPEN VALLEY
Elite triathlete Alex Martinek and Megan Riepma captured the XTERRA Aspen Valley crowns on Saturday.
Nelson Hegg was the fastest men’s amateur, coming in just eight seconds later with Craig Daugherty just four seconds behind in what must have been a thrilling finish line scene.
Jamie Brede was second among women, followed by Ashlie Angel. Full Results
Find the most up-to-date race results and regional standings at: http://www.XTERRAplanet.com/races/points/
Alex Llinas XTERRA Panther Creek Race Report (unedited):
My friend Kelly and I arrived the previous day to pre-ride the course and do our work out, but the trail run was still going on and they could not mark the bike course yet. I rode by memory as best as I could in very wet and muddy conditions to try and gauge the difficulty of the course and select the proper gear ratio for my single speed. Turns out my memory was pretty awful and ended up on some horse trails and mostly on the running side of the race, which led me to believe that there wasn’t as much climbing as there really was. My pre-ride coupled with information from my buddy Kelly’s trail report from later that day, led me to select a 32/17 gear ratio for my Niner single speed. This proved to be a little tougher that I expected the next day.
Panther Creek was my 3rd XTERRA event this year and having had mechanical failures that affected the outcome of the race in the first two events I was looking forward to finishing this race without issues. Having raced the Greensboro and Whitewater center races previously, I noticed who was always coming toward the front of the races and Caleb Beaty was one of those guys. In my first race he passed me on the bike leg and left me in the dust and in the second race he won it all. I knew Marcus Barton another really fast guy wasn’t going to be at Panther Creek, so my focus was squarely on Caleb.
My race day strategy was to capitalize on my swimming and go a little harder than I usually do to create a bigger gap between me and Caleb knowing that he is a really fast biker and runner, after that I planned to limit my redlining on the bike so that I could have enough energy to finish the run at a respectable pace. In the Greensboro race I had a really difficult time managing my energy on the bike and settling down and even though I had destroyed my rim about a mile from T2 and had to walk /ride a flat, I was already cooked… by the time I had put on my running shoes, thoughts of quitting were already swirling in my head. To mitigate this, I ramped up my training volume and focused on my worst enemy aka going uphill.
During race day, I lined up myself on the side closer to the buoy toward the front of the pack and started my swim with no issues, my friend Kelly was drafting behind me and I was lucky enough to get behind a girl that was swimming faster and did not mind me drafting behind her (or at least she didn’t let it be known during the swim) the pace was pretty fast for me, but I managed to hang on for about 90% of the race until I had to stop to get rid of my swim cap, which at this point was sitting at the very top of my head like a gnome cap. Anyway I came out of the water in 2nd place, about 10 seconds behind the girl.
T1 was a complete Chinese fire drill, I had not had a chance to practice my transitions and left the rack without my helmet on, luckily I noticed that before exiting transition and dropped bike on the ground and ran back to get my helmet. Immediately after I exited transition I reached down to grab my water bottle only to notice I had forgotten to put it in the bottle cage. I proceeded to again throw the bike on the ground and ask the relay girl to throw me the bottle sitting next to where my bike was. She tried her best to throw it my way, but her arms must have been spend from all that swimming, because the bottle only went about 3 feet from and landed still inside the transition area, so I had to run back into transition area and grab the botte….maybe that was her way of letting me know I shouldn’t have drafted off her.
Once on the bike I quickly came up on the relay team member and passed him. The first lap went without consequences aside from me cursing all the uphills I did not account for in my gearing and feeling a little tired. The course was wet, muddy and rooty and it took almost the entire first lap to settle in a rhythm. During the 2nd lap I felt a lot better, until I slid out and hit my knee on some rocks. My legs were too muddy and I was too excited to check for any damage to my knee, I was just hoping my bike was still functional, thankfully it was. During this whole time I was expecting the fast mountain bikers aka Caleb to start gaining on me and was thinking if I can stay ahead of him during the bike I will give it my all during the run and see if I can stay in the top 3. When I came by a volunteer group they informed me I was 2-3 minutes ahead of the 2nd place and I was able to finish the bike without ever seeing anyone come behind me. I arrived at T2 with no issues, had an uneventful change of shoes and went on my way hoping I would not lose too much time to the faster runners. I was feeling fairly good during the run and tried to keep a good pace, but once again the course had a lot more hills than this coastal guy is used to and I knew that the longest climb of all was still ahead. By the time I ran across the bridge and past the soccer fields and began to walk/run the hill I figured that if I got to the top of the hill and could not see anyone behind me I would cross the line first or collapse trying. Basically if I survived the hill, I was home free with only a mile to go. As it turns out my swim coupled with the fastest bike split had built me a lead long enough to where I never saw anyone come behind me during the race. I cruised into the finished line with a huge smile on my face knowing that all the training and hard work had finally paid off. It was beyond my expectations to finish first overall in an XTERRA event, especially with the caliber of athletes that enter these events. Second place came in just over two minutes behind me and Caleb came in 3rd almost 4 minutes later. Turns out Caleb suffered the same fate I had in my Greensboro race and had to ride on a flat for the last couple of miles of the race. I know how frustrating it feels to have that happen to you and I wonder if the outcome of the race would have been the same…. I guess I will have to wait till next year to find out.