Last weekend the XTERRA America Tour was in full swing with XTERRA Portland in Oregon, XTERRA Muleshoe in Texas, XTERRA Indian Peaks in Colorado, and XTERRA St. Louis in Missouri.
On August 10th, Trevor Wurtele took the elite race at XTERRA Portland with a time of 1:59:55. Evan Pardi finished in 2:00:50 while Brent Mattison rounded out the top three with a time of 2:30:57. Anne Usher captured the title for the elite women with a time of 2:25:51 and was followed in by Emanuela Bandol in 2:42:38.
In the amateur race, Nate Youngs was first with a time of 2:02:18. Matt Berg was second in 2:04:26 and Derek Vinge was third in 2:05:42. For the women, Remy Maguire won with a time of 2:23:13. Hannah Allen was second in 2:26:11 while Abbi Milner was third in 2:31:00.
Further south in Pacebend Park, just outside of Austin, Texas, XTERRA legends Kyle Grieser and Melanie Etherton captured the men’s and women’s races at XTERRA Muleshoe with times of 1:42:51 and 2:11:16, respectively. Jason Savill was second with a time of 1:49:34, and last year’s champ, Mike Carter, was third with a time of 1:53:15. In the women’s race, Alissa Magrum was second with a time of 2:14:27, and Jeanne Hoffman was third in 2:29:09.
"It was a good day,” said race director, Joel Grimmett. “Kyle and Mel are both amazing athletes. Kyle had a great day and was in the top ten out of the water. By the end of the first mountain bike lap, he was in the lead. Jason Savill was in second but despite his exceptional mountain bike skills, he was not able to put time into Kyle's lead. Kyle had a couple of minutes of cushion going into the run on Jason and was able to build on his lead and finished over six minutes ahead of Jason with last years’ winner Michael Carter finishing third overall."
The better battle of the race was between Steve Etherton and Danny Tweedle with Danny only needed three points to secure the 45-49 regional champion. Danny and Steve have alternated age group wins this year. A wrench was thrown into the group when former local Jeremy Cogswell came out from Orange County, CA to race in their group adding an unknown to the finishing equation. The competition was tight with Danny being able to pull off second in his age group to newcomer -this season - Fernando Lopez. Steve finished third and Jeremy fourth.
“As for Mel, she is an excellent mountain biker. She was fourth out of the water and had the fastest bike split by over five minutes. She also had the second fastest run time.”
Meanwhile, up at altitude the same day, in Nederland, Colorado at the Eldora Ski Resort, it was all about the Ignatz power couple. Elite athletes Ryan and Maia Ignatz won the men’s and women’s divisions in 1:56:55 and 2:12:24. Thomas Spannring was the second elite in 2:05:16, and Valentina Carvallo was the runner-up for the women in 2:17:02.
In the amateur division, XTERRA age-group world champ Grzegorz Zgliczynski again was first through the chute with a time of 2:02:58. Jeffrey Dewitt was second in 2:06:11 while Simon Lapiere was third in 2:07:56. In the women’s race, Megan Riepma was the women’s champ with a time of 2:31:06. Katie Taylor was second in 2:35:05 and XTERRA age-group Pan Am Champ, Paula Maresh, was third in 2:44:08.
The following day in Missouri, XTERRA St. Louis went off without a hitch on August 11th. Featuring a rugged, backcountry mountain bike course and a tough run, XTERRA athlete Mike Barro race directed another great day for his fellow Tribe members.
In the men’s division, Justin Bowen was the day’s champ in 1:59:30 while Karl Stover was just behind in 2:01:12. Dane Baldini was third in 2:05:20. For the women, Amanda Bayer claimed the title in 2:23:58, proving that the move from the east coast to the Midwest was a good choice. Julia Grunloh was second in 2:45:33 and Beth Sanborn was third in 2:45:45.
“The event was a smashing success,” said Barro. “We had hazy, overcast skies, which kept the heat at bay and made sighting easy in the swim. Although you might not know Justin Bowen’s name, all the locals do. He helps drive the pain train on Tuesday nights at the Big Chief road ride in hilly Wildwood. This was his first XTERRA ever, so he was a ringer for sure. Karl had a four-minute lead out of the water, so I was pretty surprised when Justin came off the bike within seconds of Karl, as I thought they were evenly matched. But when Justin blew by him, he never looked back.
“The women’s race was Amanda wire to wire. However, the race for second was pretty close. The young blood, Julia Grunloh was able to track down veteran Beth Sanborn on the run and capture second by a few seconds.”
Bayer has been focusing on her run leg this year and is already a talented mountain biker.
“I’ve been working on developing more technical bike skills and I think that is finally starting to show,” said Bayer.
Bayer also plans on racing at the XTERRA Pan Am Championship in Utah on September 7th.
“The race in Utah was a disappointment for me last year, so I feel like I have some unfinished business there,” said Bayer. “But Maui is the ultimate goal. My fiancé Henry and I have a Maui beach wedding booked for Tuesday October 29th. We planned it around the XTERRA World Championship on October 27th.”
This weekend, XTERRA heads west for a rugged extravaganza. XTERRA Lake Tahoe in Incline Village, Nevada on August 17th is a classic off-road adventure that begins with a 1500-meter swim in Lake Tahoe and continues on an epic 22-mile mountain bike course on the legendary Flume Trail. The mountain bike course skirts the mountainside and looks down upon Lake Tahoe. Finally, racers will head into the finish chute via a 5K lap through aspens, pines, and water crossing or two.
The following day, the Tour heads to Idaho for the 14th annual XTERRA Wild Ride on August 18th in Ponderosa State Park. The race features a ¾ mile swim, an 18.5-mile mountain bike ride, and a 10K trail run. Located outside of Boise, McCall is a former logging community that has transformed into a resort town near Payette Lake at about 5000 feet. The mountain bike trails flow and bend with the land and provide a true singletrack experience, while the run provides a zen adventure, even though the hills will make sure your heart is still beating.