Big Storm Can't Stop XTERRA St. Louis

May. 23, 2017

A major storm hit St. Louis on Friday, which felled trees and took out power just two days before XTERRA St. Louis.

"It looked like a tornado went through," said race director, Mike Barro. "People were saying there was no way we could have the race. But we did what they said couldn't be done because I didn't want to cancel."

Sixty mph winds left 60,000 without power in St. Louis and resulted in closed roads, early school dismissals, and many downed trees in Creve Coeur Park, where the race was to be held.

"As you can imagine, the storm wreaked some havoc on the trails," said XTERRA Age Group World Champ and XTERRA St. Louis Champ Mimi Stockton. "There were lots of downed trees and debris. Even on the rerouted course, we climbed over two gigantic fallen tree trunks while hoisting our bikes up over them. Only in XTERRA, right?"

"Luckily, the course dries well," said Barro. "But the wet ground from the rain we've had meant that trees were just uprooted by wind. We had to leave two trees where they were and had dismount sections for the riders."

"We got an email from park officials that one of the downed trees was beyond the scope of what the park could handle and he needed the US Forest Service to remove it," said Barro. "For most of the other trees, we had some incredible volunteers with chainsaws and rakes, who made the course ridable."

Race organizers and volunteers had to quickly reroute and remark sections of the course on Saturday.

"The race director and his crew spent a lot of time on Saturday clearing the course for us," said Stockton. "It was definitely appreciated."  

Barro added that he received positive feedback about the dismount sections because they were well-organized and added an element of adventure.

"The course was a train wreck," said Larry Kluetenkamper, who won the 55-59 age group. "And Mike cleared the track and got the train moving again. I want to get to Worlds this year and if XTERRA St. Louis was canceled, I would have had to find another one in the region. I so appreciate all that Mike and his crew did to get us all to the staring line."

The race consisted of a 750 meter lake swim, a 14 mile mountain bike course, and a 4 mile trail run.

Mimi Stockton finished first in 1:44:56. Claire Beckmeyer was the runner up in 1:52:52, and Anne Pendygraft was third in 1:54:46.

In the men's race, champ Jake Keehan crossed the line in 1:35:01 followed by Michael Drackert in 1:36:55. Dave Otto was third in 1:39:51.

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