One of the toughest decisions to make at the beginning of the XTERRA season is which races to put on your calendar. With more than 40 races on the XTERRA America Tour alone, picking which races to enter is even tougher than deciding which bike to buy next. Below are former Mr. XTERRA award winner Will Kelsay’s five reasons why you need to put XTERRA Portland (August 4th) on your schedule.
Sweet Singletrack – after a refreshing splash in the clear, blue water of Hagg Lake, you’ll be treated to some fun and amazingly fast Oregon singletrack. Flowing through the lush evergreens around the lake on these trails, you are guaranteed to have a smile on your face whether you are doing the XTERRA, the XTICER, the duathlon, or the kids’ tri-dash. If you are looking for additional trails to shred on while you are in Oregon, hit up the McKenzie River Trail, the Oakridge Alpine Trail, and the Hood River Gorge.
Unique Swag – Do you have drawers overflowing with old race shirts you never wear? Or maybe they are already cleaning rags for your bike? Well, the race directors at XTERRA Portland are XTERRA athletes too, and we would also have something a bit more unique than another shirt. This year, XTERRA Portland will be including unique, ceramic-coated mugs in all the swag bags. Whether it’s filled with joe in the morning or a frothy one at night, it’s bound to bring back fond memories of the race.
Local Flair – If there is one thing Portlandians are known for, it’s doing things a little differently. When you are in town, try some of the award winning beers and flavorful menu at Breakside Brewery, go for a hike or run in Forest Park, and for any last minute race specific items, swing into the new headquarters of TriSports.com.
A perfect way to put your feet up and relax pre-race is to catch a movie at McMenamans. Devour some pre - and post- race ice cream at Salt and Straw (ice cream makes you swim faster right?), pop into the outlandish bakery that is Voodoo Donuts, and don't forget to grab some classic plaid at Pendleton's airport shop before you head to watch an MLS Timbers game at 8:00pm on race day. Whatever you decide to do, round up your posse and have fun because creating memories before, during, and after the race are a big part of why we do this sport.
Cold Hard Cash – Not only will there be a $5000 elite prize purse, but the top male and female amateurs will receive $150 as well as other prizes. All finishers will receive a medal that doubles as a bottle opener (see #2). And the post-race shenanigans will include even more giveaways of products you can actually use.
Easy Travel – We’ve come to think of “easy travel” as an oxymoron, but for XTERRA Portland, it’s true. Whether you fly in, drive in, or ride a three-humped camel named Larry, it won’t matter because getting to Hagg Lake is a breeze. A special hotel deal is available for participants and other accommodations are easy to find with the venue being less than an hour from the airport and downtown Portland.
Learn more about XTERRA Portland at https://www.xterraplanet.com. You can also check out the XTERRA Portland Facebook page and visit their website www.XTERRAPortland.com. Send your questions to xterraportland [at] gmail.com.