The XTERRA America Tour kicked off its 17th year last weekend with the XTERRA Real off-road triathlon in Granite Bay, California. The race gained its moniker “Real” because race director, Bill Driskill, wanted an off-road course that felt authentic.
“You never know what’s going to happen at XTERRA Real,” said Driskill, “Which is just one reason why I love this sport.” Because of the heavy rain in northern California this winter, it took dedicated race staff and volunteers two hours to clear 25-feet of driftwood that had piled up in the lake. The good news was that the water was a balmy 60-degrees, which Driskill added was warm for this time of year.
In the men’s race, Peter Hawkins led the entire race until Kyle Fox sprinted him down with 50-yards to go to claim the win. On the women’s side, first out of the water overall for men and women was Jessie Koltz, who finished second in the women’s race for the second year in a row.
“I love the water: the calm, the color, the cold,” said Koltz, a 28-year-old pro triathlete and swim coach. “The water is where I clear my mind.”
Although Koltz was out of the water first, fellow pro Julie Baker (pictured above) snuck by her in transition and maintained that lead on the mountain bike and run portions of the race to finish first with a time of 1:44, about 5-minutes ahead of Koltz.
“It definitely felt good to get out and start doing some racing, this course was shorter and flatter than most of the races so it was a good way to ease into the season,” said Baker, the reigning XTERRA Beaver Creek Champ. “It was a little muddy out there, and some of the bike course was moved onto pavement because of all the rain we've been getting, but still a good time.”
Mixed martial arts stars Nick and Nate Diaz competed in the event for Team Michael David Winery. Both Diaz brothers are known for their disciplined triathlon training schedule. Nick Diaz finished 50th with a time of 2:06. Fifteen-year-old Dylan Gong, the reigning 15-19 XTERRA West Region Champion, finished 13th overall at the race on Saturday.
Find complete results here.
The next stop on the XTERRA America Tour is Saturday at XTERRA Blackwater in Milton Florida. Consisting of 45 races in 30 states, the XTERRA America Tour rolls from late March until the National Championships in Ogden, Utah on September 16th. Learn more at xterraplanet.com.