The “Beast of the East” is known for being one of the more challenging XTERRA races in the National Point Series. This year’s race didn’t disappoint, as the beast roared with intermittent rain resulting in slick conditions for XTERRA warriors facing the technical trails.
To add to the challenge, a course re-route was required due to heavy rains in the days preceding the event. This extended the mountain bike course to over 14-miles and added the Plymouth Lane trail. This added unique trail features including a number of broken down Plymouth cars (how’d they get there?), rolling rocky terrain, rhododendrons that seem to want to reach out to grab you, and a series of plank bridges. Riders were rewarded for their efforts with the flowy Banker trail before connecting back to the original course. These trails are a fine example of the wild diversity of terrain in Wawayanda State Park, a picturesque gem featuring lush forests despite being only an hour from New York City.
When the rain and mud cleared it was one of the top XTERRA amateurs, Vermont’s Steve Croucher claiming the win with a time of 2:28:52.
Steve commented “Anyone looking for an XTERRA race that packs a real punch needs to put XTERRA Way Over Yonder on their radar for 2019. While elevation gain is modest, the 14 mile bike course is wildly deceiving. This is hands down one of the most technically demanding bike courses that I’ve raced on the East Coast and is more challenging than courses I raced when I lived in Colorado. The run circles Wawayanda Lake and includes rolling fast single track, a few must walk water crossings and a tricky uphill finish through the rock gardens of Sitting Bear. The course is the real deal and the real value is it’s only an hour form NYC….so no excuse not to drive or fly in for what is quickly becoming a staple season opener.”
On the women’s side, it was New Hampshire’s Celeste St. Pierre winning with a time of 3:25:24
Celeste also had high praise for her second XTERRA Way Over Yonder. Her feedback: “The race is a great challenge! A doable challenge, one that keeps me focused. The Mountain Biking is tough but that’s what makes for a great XTERRA. So you have to be a true Triathlete to handle all three legs of the race. The run was fantastic! I enjoy trail running because I can’t just put my head down and stare at the ground waiting for it to be over – I actually have to engage the mind and the body together otherwise I may find myself on the ground kissing rock!
The host park is probably the best XTERRA venue I have been to thus far.”
The XTERRA Warrior tenacity award went to Jennifer Elder Brady, who flatted on the mountain bike course and pushed through adversity to get back to transition, do the trail run, and finish with a time of 5:03:11 smiling all the way.
A combination of XTERRA veterans combined with a field of first time XTERRA racers taking on the Full Beast as well as the new for 2018 Sprint course. The Sprint course was perfect for first timers, athlete’s crossing over from road triathlons and XTERRA racers that hadn’t gotten a lot of training in during the long winter who still wanted a bit of a challenge to start their season. The Sprint was won by James Doyle with a time of 1:37:15 and we look forward to him taking on the full beast next year!
Further racing options included a Team Relay, Duathlon and Paddle Stat options. Offering plenty of variety for racers of all types.
XTERRA Way Over Yonder will return May 18, 2019 and looks forward to all the returning racers, new XTERRA athletes and even more racers from across the country who are ready for the unique XTERRA experience of tackling the Beast.