Karl Stover and Teresa Groton captured the titles at XTERRA St. Louis on August 12th, 2018 in Council Bluff Recreational Area, south of St. Louis. Stover finished the 800-meter swim, 14.5-mile mountain bike, and 4.8-mile run course in 1:53:49 while Groton crossed the line in 2:05:50.
In the men’s race, Dan Ballheimer finished second in 1:59:58 while Zach Pashea was third in 2:02:17. Stover had the fastest swim and bike splits of the day while Ballheimer had the fastest run split.
Stover almost didn’t make the starting line because he was sick the week before, but it’s hard to keep him off his bike.
“Asking me about the race at Council Bluff is like asking how awesome ice cream is on a hot summer day,” he said.
As usual, Stover led the swim until Teresa Groton caught up to him just before the halfway point and held onto the lead until the mountain bike.
“Teresa can flat out move in the water,” said Stover, who caught Groton in the first mile of the mountain bike course. He steadily increased the lead over the 14.5-mile ride.
“I knew that this is Karl Stover country and to catch him I might need an E-bike,” said runner-up, Dan Ballheimer.
“I took a ridiculous tumble after kicking a rock in the trail a mile into the run course,” said Stover. “When I got up and rounded the corner, Dan was coming behind me with third place hot on his heels. At that point, my hip was a bit busted up and I ran damage control to the finish.”
Ballheimer, who was second, had a great race. He has been steadily improving since his first XTERRA two years ago and at XTERRA St. Louis, he made the overall podium for the first time.
“I knew going into the day I would have my work cut out for me, but just racing hard and having fun was top priority,” said Ballheimer. “There are so many things that can go right and wrong in XTERRA, I have learned to never count myself out.”
For the women, XTERRA Pan Am Champ Bev Enslow finished second behind Groton in 2:40:27 while Karen Holtman was third in 2:44:47.
Groton, who graduated from West Point this May, competed for both the swim team and triathlon team while she was there. She grew up in New Hampshire and learned to mountain bike with her family. At XTERRA St. Louis on Sunday, Groton had the fastest swim, bike, and run splits of the day for the women as well as the fastest swim split of the day overall.
"I would love to race another XTERRA in the future," said Groton, "But right now I am a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army currently posted to Fort Leonard Wood for Engineer Basic Officer Leadership Course and am a little limited in my racing schedule due to my classes."
The location at Council Bluffs was new for XTERRA St. Louis. The race showcased the best of the Ozarks with tight turns, punchy hills, and fun technical features.
“Overall it was a great race,” said Ballheimer. “The venue was perfect for an XTERRA and Mike Barro and his team did a really nice job. From the volunteers to the racers it turned out fantastic, and I look forward to the challenge again next year.”