Anne Nevin doesn’t like to sign up for races in advance. Despite having the sixth fastest time for the women at XTERRA Beaver Creek this year – even among the elites – she entered the race on a bit of a whim without a training plan or even her own bike.
“We come to Colorado from Norway each July to visit my husband’s family,” said Nevin, who lives in Trondheim. “I’ve seen XTERRA every year but I never pictured myself ever doing that. But last year I decided to try it and borrowed my father-in-law’s bike.”
On her first attempt, Nevin was the second-fastest amateur behind only Genevieve Evans.
“Most of my training is done without any purpose,” said Nevin. “I just go. And that’s what I love. I ride my bike and cross-country ski and run with my dogs in the morning. That’s the beauty about trying something new at age 45. You are kind of over the hill and you can do whatever you want.”
“Over the hill” is a relative term for the former professional cyclist and cross-country skier. Last year, she entered the Isklar Norseman Extreme Triathlon and won, setting a new course record of 12 hours 4 minutes. The “Norseman” includes a 3.8K swim in 50-degree water, a 180K bike ride, and a 42.2K run.
“I started training for triathlon after I signed up for Norseman last year,” said Nevin. “The only reason I never did it before is because I’m not a swimmer. I was like, I don’t know if I can even do this. But I signed up anyway and that’s when I started going to the pool and swimming laps and doing all that stuff.”
It’s hard to believe that anyone as naturally gifted as Nevin has doubts, but she admits that even for her, her first race at XTERRA Beaver Creek was intimidating.
“The first lap in Avon Lake, I wasn’t sure I could finish. I felt like I was drowning. But that’s also the excitement too because it’s such a challenge.”
In Trondheim, where she lives, Nevin runs anywhere from four to six miles before work with her German Shorthairs. Then she jogs the two miles to her office where she eats breakfast and starts her day. In the evening she runs back home. Weekends are often filled with cross-country skiing with the family, a hill climb, or a mountain run she signed up for the day before. This year, she’s going to compete in the Trondheim Triathlon and another trail marathon, just because the course is so spectacular.
“When I was a professional athlete, it was so complicated. I had to know if it was a low week or a high week. Now, it’s just, if I want to go hard, I go hard. I don’t have a training plan, I don’t write down my training hours, I don’t do any of that.”
This year, at Beaver Creek, what gave Nevin the greatest joy was watching her two children race. Her son Sven (11) was 14th in the XTERRA Beaver Creek Sprint, and her daughter Selma (14), was 16th overall and the first female, just like her mum.
“My son came out of the water and asked how far ahead his sister was,” said Nevin. “I said two minutes, and I could see that he just wanted to catch her. They are pretty tough those kids, and it makes it that much more fun to race. I love that we can do this as a family. And it’s not just doing the race, it’s that you can do someplace different and have a such a fun adventure.”
Even Nevin’s husband – also a former pro cyclist – is getting excited about XTERRA.
“If you could have heard him,” said Nevin, with a laugh. “He’s been making fun of triathlon forever, but now he wants to do XTERRA and qualify for Worlds and go to Hawaii next year. I think it’s the course at Beaver Creek and everything around the event. It’s just such an adventure.”
When the Nevins return to Norway next month, don’t expect this laid-back family to stress out about their new triathlon goals. They will continue to run with their dogs, ski in the winter, and head to the pool once a week because that’s what their friends are doing. Just don’t be surprised if you see the Nevin name in XTERRA Europe results.
“Now that I’m over the hill and I’m so old and my kids are so strong, I’m excited to travel with the family and do XTERRA,” said Nevin, “This is definitely what I'd like to do.”