While it’s still chilly in the Midwest, XTERRA athletes are already training hard for June, when the XTERRA Midwest season kicks off its spring and summer racing season.
“I’m inside a lot on the trainer and the treadmill,” said XTERRA St. Louis race director, Mike Barro. “That’s just how it is this time of year.”
XTERRA 5-time age group World Champ, Mimi Stockton, enjoyed a rare, 60-degree day and ran outside in shorts just because she could. “I got a little slice of warmth today,” she said. “It was drizzling, but still it felt amazing.”
For those stalwart Midwesterners with cabin fever, take heart. The XTERRA Midwest Region is bigger and better than ever this year. The season will kick off on June 10th with XTERRA Illinois Wilds in Hanna City, Illinois, then head to XTERRA DINO in Northern Indiana on July 14th before moving further north to XTERRA Ionia in Michigan on July 22nd. XTERRA DINO Southern Indiana will celebrate warm summer days on August 4th before XTERRA St. Louis revels in its new location on August 12th. The season will have its finale at XTERRA Rockport Rugged on August 18th.
XTERRA Fort Custer takes place on September 30th but the points will count towards the 2019 season.
This year, XTERRA ST. Louis will be held at the Council Bluff Recreation Area, which is about 90 minutes south of St. Louis.
"It is a real challenging mountain bike course,” said Barro. “It’s not over the top technical but it showcases what mountain biking in the Ozarks is all about. With rock gardens, steep climbs, and hair on fire descents, this is going to be a great race.”
Barro is co-race directing with his college teammate, Walter Davis. The two ran cross-country and track at University of Missouri. Last year, they were local heroes when they stayed up most of the night before XTERRA St. Louis, cleaning up the downed trees on the course caused by a major storm so the race could still go on.
The 2018 XTERRA St. Louis event will include an 800-meter swim, a 14.5 mountain bike ride, and a 4.8-mile trail run. The mountain bike course follows gorgeous single-track trail around Council Bluff Lake.
“The bike course only has one sustained climb, but the course is in and out of the fingers of the lake, up and down, and it’s real punchy,” added Barro. “You’ve got to stay on top of it and pedal hard down the steep descents so you can get back up the hills. The good news is that as long as the lake is on your left, you are doing it right.”
The run includes a half-mile long hill. “That’s kind of a monster for the Ozarks,” said Barro. “So athletes will get to do it twice and get the full enjoyment out of the experience.”
The race is just two miles down the trail from some prime campsites, making XTERRA St. Louis an ideal summer, weekend getaway.
Barro and Davis are excited, as registration is already far ahead of what it was in the previous two years. You can sign up for XTERRA St. Louis at https://racesonline.com and learn more about the XTERRA America Tour at https://www.xterraplanet.com.