XTERRA standout Kyle Grieser doesn’t have an off-season, but it’s not because of his racing schedule.
“I have to stay in shape all year round to be the best I can be at my job,” said Grieser, who just returned from the Texas panhandle where he was battling a wildfire. “Having that much cardio under my belt definitely helps, but fighting fires is still the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There’s nothing quite like it in the world.”
Although Grieser qualified for the XTERRA World Championship race in Maui for the past 13 years, this is the first year he has registered for the race.
“I finally decided to give XTERRA Worlds a shot, so most of my focus is going to be for that race and being in the best possible shape to do well there in Hawaii.”
“I love doing the XTERRA ATX because it’s right in my backyard,” Grieser added. “Pace Bend Park is my second home, and I love the hard work that Joel and Dion put into all their races. ATX is a quick course, but it’s also incredibly technical in spots, so it’s perfect for this point in my season.”
Interestingly, Pace Bend Park was the home of the first XTERRA race held in Texas way back in 1999 when it was the second-stop on the inaugural 10-stop XTERRA America Tour. A pair of XTERRA Hall-of-Famers, Michael Tobin and Kerstin Weule, won that first event.
“At the time, it was a long way outside of Austin, which has now pretty much spread all the way there,” said XTERRA President Janet Clark. “It’s a gorgeous natural venue on Lake Travis, which gets packed on the weekend with people out enjoying the water and not paying any attention to XTERRA!”
Last year’s XTERRA ATX women’s champion is another local hero. Alissa Magrum is the executive director of Colin’s Hope, a non-profit that creates and supports programs that aid in the prevention of drowning. In 2016, the Colin’s Hope Athlete Ambassadors raised $80,000 by collecting pledges and competing in marathons, triathlons, and swims.
“Drowning remains the leading cause of accidental death for children under four, and I’m passionate about changing that by sponsoring swim lessons for children and building awareness of water safety,” said Magrum, who is also an XTERRA Ambassador. “Athletes are go-getters, which is why I’m so happy to be part of the XTERRA tribe. These races are full of remarkable people, like Kyle.”
Last year, Alissa finished the XTERRA ATX in 2:31:58, coming in six minutes ahead of second-place finisher, Keri Rimiel. Look for Alissa to be one of the first out of the water. She has a strong background in open water swimming events and has competed in swims up to nine miles to raise money for Colin’s Hope and awareness about drowning prevention.
The race begins in Pace Bend Park with an 800-meter swim, continues with a 13-mile mountain bike ride, and finishes with a 3.7-mile trail run.
Pace Bend Park is in Texas Hill Country in Spicewood, Texas. The entire park is on a peninsula jutting into the lake with steep bluffs on one side offering spectacular views. The running and biking portions of the course include limestone ledges, challenging rock gardens, steep climbs, and technical drop-offs, as well as a few flat and fast stretches.
The 2017 Texas XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon Series consists of five events held at some of the most popular venues in the central Texas region.