Will Kelsay and Kathryn Lockwood took home individual championships at XTERRA Deuces Wild last weekend on a notoriously challenging course in Show Low, Arizona. It was made even more difficult by heavy rains, which provided an extra water crossing during the run section of the course.
"Our lake was so full that the trail was completely submerged," said race director, Debbie Claggett. "It was basically a second swim."
Will Kelsay was the overall champ with a time of 1:56:19, about three minutes ahead of John Sarikas, who finished in 1:59:26. Caleb Guest was third in 2:03:32.
"This year was all about coming back and having fun, so the goal of this race was to have a good time," said Kelsay. "I struggled on the swim with the altitude, cold water, and lack of time in the wetsuit, but I wasn't panicked. The bike went smooth and comfortably for me as I didn't push 100 percent. After going too hard on the bike and having bad cramps at XTERRA Oak Mountain just out of T2, I decided to back off a bit for this event. It worked perfectly as I felt smooth and comfortable on the run. It does make the race a bit more enjoyable when you aren't absolutely burying yourself."
Like most competitors, Kelsay commented on how challenging this race truly is.
"The run course took a sharp turn and led us down to the lake, where we jumped in for a 50 meter swim across. Spectators were treated to a good view from the hill above as we struggled to make it across. Seriously, try swimming 50 meters with your shoes on. It's not easy. Once you get out, you have about half a mile to the finish line and your legs feel like total lead. Add in about 30 stairs just 200 meters from the finish line and there wasn't a racer out there who wasn't struggling. It was so fun!"
Kathryn Lockwood, who won with a time of 2:19:49, came in about 15 minutes ahead of runner up Melissa Ross, who finished in 2:35:19. Marie Boone was close behind in third with a time of 2:36:33.
This was Lockwood's first time competing in XTERRA Deuces Wild. In February, Lockwood had corrective surgery for a double hernia and didn't start running or biking again until March. She was advised to go slowly and her first race of the year was XTERRA Renegade in May.
"XTERRA Deuces Wild was a challenging course with it's own, unique quirks, like a short swim across a lake inlet at mile 4 on the run," said Lockwood. "I felt good during the race and very relaxed, despite being at altitude. I had a good swim and found myself in second place out of T1, right behind the leader."
Lockwood took the lead shortly after she hit the first section of the trail.
"But I knew there were others in the field with more experience that were in chase mode right behind me," she continued. "I was probably pushing harder than I thought when I took a spill on a sandy down hill of the bike, but didn't get hurt. On the run I still felt good -and probably felt just a little too comfortable - when I tripped over a rock, so got to finish with a bloody knee. But what's an XTERRA race without a little blood?"
View complete results at www.deuceswildtriathlon.com