Caleb Baity and Margo Pitts won the Southeast Region opener at the fifth annual XTERRA Myrtle Beach off-road triathlon on Sunday.
The race was a show of excellence and camaraderie across the board. Paul McCall, from Hillsborough, North Carolina – who finished sixth overall - had the fastest swim of the day, while three-time and reigning XTERRA Southeast Region 20-24 division champ Caleb Baity and six-time and reigning XTERRA Southeast Region 45-49 division champ Marcus Barton had the fastest bike splits of 54:41 and 55:54 respectively. The fastest run split of the day belonged to Mark Chandler, who finished third.
Baity and Barton - the runner up – raced together as a team, the way they’ve done it countless times before.
“Once the race was off, we had a fun point-to-point swim,” said Barton. “I managed to get up into the lead of the bike for a good portion of the first lap until Caleb caught me. I yelled at him to get moving when I saw him in the switchbacks and once he grabbed the front, I hopped on his wheel, telling him that I thought we were in the lead. We continued onto the second lap in a two-man train until one of the race staff yelled, ‘You're third and fourth, Marcus!’ That lit a fire under Caleb and he picked up the pace and slowly pulled away from me. We came out of T2 with identical T2 times down to the hundredths of a second, but he still had a gap. Coming out of T2, I asked a spectator how many were ahead of me to which they replied ‘three.’ I still found it hard to believe because we hadn't seen anyone in front of us for the entire bike leg. I tried my best to close the gap on the run and made some headway but ran out of runway to get the job done. At the finish line, they informed us that the first two finishers were stacked relays with some fast relay members.”
Baity and Barton didn’t have to work as hard as they did, but as usual, they left it all on the course as did XTERRA Southeast regulars Yaro Middaugh (fourth overall) and Ali Arasta (eighth overall). Baity crossed the line in 1:39:25, just 19-seconds ahead of Barton. Mark Chandler was third in 1:42:29.
In the women’s race, XTERRA Pan Am Champ and three-time SE region 50-54 division champ Margo Pitts had her own race to the wire with Jessica Lehman. The two finished just 14-seconds apart in 1:56:28 and 1:56:42. Sara Miller was third in 1:58:40. Pitts had the fastest swim and run splits of the day while Jessica Lehman, 31, had the fastest time on the bike by almost two minutes.
“Yesterday was fun and brutal at the same time,” said Pitts, 52. “Racing with these younger, strong and fit women keeps me feeling alive and young. Jess and I were going at it the entire race. She finally caught me on the bike around mile 10 and I couldn't hold on to her back wheel so I let her go. I saw her on the straightaway back to the Snake - this cool gnarly, twisty single track one mile out from the finish. I caught her with a quarter mile to the finish just before exiting the Snake.”
Pitts admitted she felt pretty beat up after the race and will be resting for a few days before racing next weekend at XTERRA Fort Yargo in Georgia on April 28th.
Expect to see Pitts at XTERRA Oak Mountain in May before she heads out to train in Colorado for a few months. “The mountains and adventures are calling my name,” she said.
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Next up: XTERRA Fort Yargo – 4/28 in Winder, GA
Learn more about the XTERRA America Tour at xterraplanet.com.