On July 8th, Rob Ricard and Amy Carver prevailed on a very hot day at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Both athletes are having an excellent season. Ricard won XTERRA French River on June 24th, and this is Carver's 4th overall female win of the season. She won XTERRA Myrtle Beach in April, and XTERRA Knoxville and XTERRA Tsali in June. Perhaps more remarkable is that Carver has only competed in five XTERRA races in her life.
"The 2016 XTERRA Whitewater was my first ever XTERRA," said Carver. "I initially signed up to try something different and ended up loving the culture. It's competitive, but XTERRA athletes are much more laid back and helpful compared to any type of racing on the road. I like to race and train as an outlet to life, but I want it to be fun too."
At XTERRA Whitewater, Ricard finished in 2:13:21, about eight minutes ahead of runner up Caleb Baity, and ten minutes before Marcus Barton. Ali Arasta was fourth in 2:25:11.
Carver finished in 2:49:45, about seven minutes in front of runner up Spryng Briggs. Morgan Garcia was third in 3:05:46.
It's always fun to watch XTERRA Southeast races because of the core group of dedicated athletes who swap podium spots throughout the series and seem to bring out the best in each other.
Caleb Baity has been mentoring 15-year old Joseph Urbanowicz, who finished 12th overall, just behind Yaro Middaugh. And Marcus Barton - who may be one of XTERRA's most consistent athletes - will help anyone who asks. Yaro Middaugh, Ali Arasta, Amy Carver, Angie Childre, Christine Grant, and Derek Tingle are among the regulars.
"Marcus has been instrumental in mentoring me on how to train and compete off road as I was clueless when I started," said Carver. "I was also fortunate to meet Caleb Baity this year and he has done the same. It's amazing the passion you see from those two."
Joe Urbanowicz isn't the only teenager who is excelling at XTERRA. Dewight Winchester is also strong in the 15-19 age group and competed in the XTERRA National and XTERRA World Championships last year. This weekend, he is competing in XTERRA Beaver Creek in Colorado.
Barton was thrilled for Carver's win at XTERRA Whitewater and boasted that she was one of his "Rabid Muffin Monkeys."
"Caleb and I wanted to race the local winter mountain bike series," said Barton. "It was team-based and we decided to recruit a few people. All the other teams were something like 'Joes Bike Shop' or 'Something Racing.' I wanted a name that showed we were in it for fun and not so serious. So we became the 'Rabid Muffin Monkeys.'"
What started as a team of six is now a team of 40.
"We're still a goofy bunch and we have a blast heckling the other riders during races," added Barton. "A lot of the monkeys are already XTERRA athletes, but monkeys - being very persuasive with others - have pulled a bunch of newbies into the XTERRA fold. One example is Jen Barthel who did her first XTERRA at Myrtle Beach and just completed XTERRA Whitewater this past weekend."
View complete results from XTERRA Whitewater at www.usnwc.org.