This year, the XTERRA Mountain Region gets underway June 15 at the incredibly popular XTERRA Lory off-road triathlon in Bellvue, Colorado, which sold-out in record time this year.
“We sold out two-months faster than 2018, which is a great sign for the event and the sport in general,” said race director Lance Panigutti, who has a permit cap of 350 participants.
The swim is held in the gorgeous Horsetooth Reservoir with canyon walls on both sides and the beginner-friendly mountain bike and run courses climb through the clouds. In fact, all the races in the XTERRA Mountain Region are at high altitude, providing a truly elevated experience.
Just like summer in the Rockies, the season is short and sweet but includes some of the most beautiful venues for off-road racing. Following Lory, it’s off to XTERRA Beaver Creek in Avon, Colorado on July 20. This is one of the most beloved – and most grueling – XTERRAs on the America Tour. Held at 7400 feet in elevation, the mountain bike ride alone includes 2200 feet of climbing and the run will take you up another 1000 feet.
Not only is XTERRA Beaver Creek a 100-point race on the XTERRA America Tour, it’s also a gold-level XTERRA Pan American Tour stop and includes 51 qualifying spots into the XTERRA World Championship. As a result, the top amateurs in the country flock to this one, both in the amateur and elite races.
2018 XTERRA Regional Champ Benny Smith (15-19) is a perfect example. After racing at the XTERRA World Championship in Maui, he kept right on training, simply because he loves it that much.
“I took four days off after Worlds,” said Smith, “But then it became torture to not train. So, the last few months have been pretty sick. Every day I just focus on training first and everything else is second. I got in some high-volume weeks of 20-plus hours and right now I’m focusing on speed and intensity. A big part of winter training is not getting burnt out and snowboarding is a perfect way of staying stoked while training hard. This winter we’ve been getting heaps of snow so it’s pretty awesome.”
Last year, Smith won his age group at XTERRA Indian Peaks and Fruita and was second at XTERRA Beaver Creek and Lory despite an Achilles injury and cramping up at the end of XTERRA Lory. He’s so talented that he was second overall at XTERRA Lory and third overall at XTERRA Indian Peaks. Smith’s hero, XTERRA World Champ Josiah Middaugh, is also his coach, so Smith is truly living the dream.
“I’m only 18 so I could be looking at over 20 years of pro-level training and racing and if there’s one dude that knows about that, it’s Josiah. So, it’s a good thing he’s my coach.”
What’s remarkable is that while most XTERRA athletes in the Mountain Region are no longer 18, they all seem to possess the same willing spirit, whether it’s to train through snowdrifts or keep going through the thin air even if it feels like their lungs are going to burst.
2018 XTERRA Regional Champ Michael McGann (50-54) takes Mother Nature’s punishments in stride.
“My goal for this year is to get back to Maui,” said McGann. “Last year was my first trip and I am definitely not great in the mud so I want another shot. The bottom line is I train all year because I enjoy the sports, especially running. Switching from the roads to XTERRA a few years back has added so much fun into training because the off-road provides more beauty and challenge.”
McGann plans on competing at XTERRA Oak Mountain, Lory, Beaver Creek, and the XTERRA Pan Am Championship in Utah in September. Like most athletes, he is a fan of the new rules that use an athlete’s top three races to score for XTERRA Regional Champion titles.
“I don’t think the new rules will impact the number of races I do, but I am going to focus more on XTERRA Oak Mountain and Beaver Creek since those are higher point races where you can get 100 points for a first-place age group finish instead of the usual 75 points.”
The final race in the XTERRA Mountain Region is XTERRA Indian Peaks on August 10th in Nederland, Colorado. Located just outside of (and up from) Boulder, Nederland is smack in the middle of the Rocky Mountain Hub. You can enjoy Boulder’s healthy haute cuisine and then make a night of it at the gaming tables in Central City or Blackhawk, about an hour away. If you are looking to connect with nature (duh), you can hike or ride the Continental Divide, explore the old silver mines that helped give the town its start, or spend a day at Eldora Mountain Resort, which is the site of XTERRA Indian Peaks.
One of the biggest ski resorts in the winter, in the summer, Eldora becomes a mountain biker’s paradise. XTERRA Indian Peaks will take you on truly epic trails with a bit of dirt road, double track, single track and even a bit of "barely any there" track. It all ends up at the Indian Peaks Lodge where you will be led into the finish line with live music, food trucks, beer, and great prizes.
XTERRA Indian Peaks will challenge all athletes with a 1000-meter swim in chilly Peterson Lake, a 600-meter dash to the transition area onto a 22K, two-loop bike course, and finally, a 7K run course that some consider to be the epitome of all XTERRA run courses. You will experience short steep climbs, meandering paths through the forest, a technical descent, and in some cases, you will experience total silence because the trails are soft enough to muffle your footfalls.
Whether you want to crush all your XTERRA goals or simply wander somewhere beautiful, XTERRA Beaver Creek and Indian Peaks satisfy every form of wanderlust.
The 2019 XTERRA America Tour features more than 30 races from coast-to-coast broken down into eight regions: the Atlantic, Midwest, Mountain, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, South Central, and the West.
Find the details on how the series works and sign-up for an adventure today at xterraplanet.com.