Reigning XTERRA Pan Am 45-49 division champ Andy Lee out of Lakeway, TX and 5x SC Region Champ Melanie Etherton from Austin won their respective titles at XTERRA Bluebonnet on Saturday, March 24th in Bryan, Texas.
The race, together with XTERRA REAL, opened the season for the XTERRA America Tour and was also the first race of the year in the XTERRA South Central region.
Lee’s splits on the mountain bike and run were the second fastest of the race, but his consistency, paired with a solid swim, proved enough for the win. Thirteen-time XTERRA Regional Champ Kyle Grieser was second in 1:51:47, and Robby Devlin was third in 1:56:52.
“It was really exciting to watch Kyle and Andy,” said race director, Joel Grimmett. “Kyle left transition in the lead but ultimately Andy caught him on the run and won.”
After a year’s absence, Grimmett brought XTERRA Bluebonnet to a new location at Lake Bryan, just northwest of the Bryan/College Station area.
“Overall, it was a great first race of the season,” said Grimmett. “We had seasoned XTERRA veterans and several new participants which is always a good thing. The new trail added to the challenge as well.”
Grimmett explained that the trails are 95 percent single track and feature tight, twisty turns with frequent drops in and out of the gullies. The trails have lots of roots to maneuver around and some rocky sections for a punchy and technical route.
In the women’s race, Etherton had the fastest bike split and second fastest run split with a final time of 2:20:48. Runner up Alissa Magrum finished in 2:24:20 and Alyssa Lutz was third in 2:27:25.
“Melanie finished strong to take the overall women’s race,” said Grimmett.
Jenny Burden, who won her 30-34 age group, is another strong finisher who exited the water just ahead of Magrum.
“The water was really cold but I got in and warmed up before the start so I didn’t suffer the shock to my face like a lot of people did,” said Burden, who was on a brand new bike. “With the new bike and new trail, I had to work really hard on the cornering, but I feel really good about this race. I am absolutely improving compared to how I was doing last year and I think it will keep getting better.”
Burden also had some advice to her fellow competitors during the pre-ride of the course.
“I rode with two women who wanted to session everything. I finally turned around and said, ‘Ladies, you know why 15-year old boys are so good at this? Because they have no brains, no fear, and don’t think – they just ride. Do that!’”
After the race, one of the women came up to Burden and told her that she kept repeating those words to herself during the entire race and that she now had a new mantra.
View the complete results.