XTERRA Athlete Profile : Jeanne Hoffman
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Occupation: Engineering Manager
Racing Division: 50-54
Credentials: Raced XTERRA since 2011. A two-time XTERRA South Central Region Champion. Won her division at four XTERRA Texas Series races in 2016 and plenty more since, and is a founding member of the fabulous Loose Moose Crew.
Pictured from XTERRA ATX (L-R): Lua Walter, Carter Fairless, Joe Fuller, Dayna and Mike Sewell, Carolyn Fairless, Nicole Morgan and Jeanne.
Over the last decade, Jeanne Hoffman has lived the quintessential XTERRA life.
It started in 2011 when she got her feet wet as the swimmer/runner part of a relay team. She soon found inspiration from the elites and age group warriors she met along the way and summoned the courage to do the mountain bike herself and give XTERRA a go as an individual. At the races, she made friends - lots of friends - who turned into training partners, then travel buddies and teammates, and one awesome experience led to another until all of a sudden, Jeanne became a full-fledged “Live More by example” member of the XTERRA Family.
This Saturday, April 24, 2021 after a year of pandemic postponements, Jeanne jumps back into action at the XTERRA ATX off-road triathlon in her hometown of Austin, Texas. We caught up with her to talk about the return to racing, Loose Moose Crew, life before XTERRA, and more...
Pictured from XTERRA Nationals 2016 (L-R): Jeanne, Mike Fussell, Stephayne Gibson, and Lua Walter
QnA, from April 21, 2021
XTERRA: First things first Jeanne. For those who don’t know you, and maybe even those who do, is it pronounced “Jeen” or “Jeanie”??
Jeanne: Officially it’s “Jeen,” but almost everyone calls me Jeanie. I’ll answer to both 😁
XT: Where did you grow-up?
JH: Arlington Heights, IL (Chicago! Go Cubs!)
XT: Sport of choice as a kid?
JH: I was a gymnast growing up - age 4 through college. I was also pretty serious about ballet/dance but had to make a career choice at age 11, and chose gymnastics.
XT: How far did you take gymnastics?
JH: All the way to the University of Denver; where I was the first gymnast in Denver history to qualify for NCAA Division 1 National Championship.
Editor’s Note: What Jeanne didn’t mention is that she was inducted into the DU Hall of Fame back in 2001, having “re-wrote the record books” during her college career by posting the highest season average 37.11 as a freshman, setting school marks on the vault, floor, balance beam, and all-around as a sophomore; and going to Nationals as a junior.
XT: What do you do when you’re not riding or running on trails?
JH: I manage a team of test design engineers for BAE Systems, a defense contractor who I have been with for almost 27 years. Our products support the mission and safety of our warfighters across all of our armed forces.
XT: Secret to managing an active lifestyle and a pretty awesome full-time job like that?
JH: It’s a constant balancing act, but I’ve balanced like this since I was young and training 20+ hours per week for gymnastics. I guess I don’t know any other way of life.
XT: What’s a typical training week look like?
JH: Currently, training is picking back up after some pandemic-induced loss of motivation (mostly an excuse to not get in the pool). Running and biking three days a week, Tuesday night trail run coaching of an all-women’s group, Happy Treading, strength training sometimes, and swimming when I‘m motivated (it’s coming back).
XT: How’d covid impact your job/life this past year?
JH: My husband and I were only impacted by COVID in that we have been and continue to work from home. This, and the 12 bikes between us, caused us to move to a larger place at the beginning of 2021. We consider ourselves very fortunate - we’ve maintained our jobs when others have lost work, and our families have remained mostly COVID free to date.
XT: Mindset for 2021?
JH: My outlook on 2021 comes from a place of gratefulness. As the world around us slowly comes back online, I am thankful to see friends and family in person, thankful for the return of events and races where I get to see many of those friends again! And I continue to be thankful that my husband and I seem to be coming out the other side of 2020 relatively unscathed.
Pictured from XTERRA Nationals 2017 (L-R): Nicole Morgan, Joel Grimmet, and Jeanne
XT: How did you end up racing XTERRA?
JH: I raced a few XTERRA relays 2011-2013 as the swimmer/runner only with a well-chosen mountain biker to complete the team, and I was convinced at the time I could never even attempt doing the whole race myself because I would likely die on the bike. I had met Melanie McQuaid in 2010 at Ironman 70.3 World Championships, looked her up in detail afterwards (not a stalker) and felt I couldn’t come anywhere close to her level of badassness, and should never even try. But, I got back on a mountain bike after at least 20 years, and raced my first solo XTERRA event in 2016 at XTERRA Bluebonnet. That year I had gotten into World Championships via the at large entry (along with a friend), and I was determined to prove I deserved to be there. So, I raced all five of Race Revolutions Texas races and Ogden that year in an effort to prepare, and came out as the XTERRA Regional Champion in my age group, and felt that covered me for Maui - I was legit.
XT: And what made you want to do another one after the first one?
JH: I met Ron Hill and his wife at the time (super friendly and inspiring!) at that first race, along with a few other women who were out there for their own first off-road triathlon. Other athletes along with the race director (you know, that XTERRA Tribe people talk about) were immediately welcoming. How can you not come back?
XT: Do you have a favorite XTERRA destination?
JH: My favorite course so far is Ogden It’s so tough but so beautiful while you are suffering. And it is the official birthplace of the Loose Moose Crew!
XT: Oh, yeah, the legendary Loose Moose Crew, do explain...
JH: XTERRA Utah, 2016, our condo that year had this great Loose Moose sign on the front door and as soon as we saw the door, we embraced it, and from then on anyone who stays in the condo becomes part of the Loose Moose Crew. We picked up Herve 2017 & 2019, and Hans in 2018.
XT: And from there the shenanigans began?
JH: Yup, the first set of t-shirts showed up in 2017, then there was a news video from the trail run and several of us could be heard cheering in the background and yelling Loose Moose! That was us. And you can bet there will be more where that came from this year!
XT: And when did XTERRA Announcer Kalei Waiwaiole join the crew?
JH: 2018! We made her an honorary member after she showed up at our condo door thinking it was her condo, AND because we think she’s awesome :)
Pictured L-R: Jeanne, Lua Walter, Nicole Morgan, Kristen Murr, Hans Ryham in the back #belikehans, Joe Fuller, and of course, Kalei in front.
XT: I know you’re a two-time regional champ, but how many races have you won in your age group?
JH: I won my age group at all 5 XTERRA/Race Revolutions races that first year, and have had a pretty decent local win rate since. I’ve had my butt handed to me in Ogden and Beaver Creek though.
XT: What’s cool about XTERRA ATX, how excited are you to get back at it on Saturday?
JH: XTERRA ATX has a fun and challenging bike course; I often choose to ride Pace Bend Park for training. I’m super excited to be back to racing this year, and excited to have a sold-out race in our backyard.
XT: The Texas XTERRA Crew seems like they have all the fun, what do you attribute that to?
JH: Of course we have all the fun! It can be squarely attributed to the people. XTERRA attracts people who care about people and how others are doing in life, not just sport. We care about people whether 1st place or last. Top of your game or injured. Whether you fit in your wetsuit or not this year. And we love the Furious French contingent from Houston! (Again, how could you not when they sweep the relay podium AND bring a post-race wine and cheese tent?)
XT: You're in a club too, right, Switchback Racing?
JH: I race for Team Switchback out of Tulsa - an amazingly supportive and fun group of all off-road triathletes, mountain bikers, and trail runners. Flashback to XTERRA Magnolia Hill 2016, I approached 2 XTERRA Ambassador athletes and asked where one of them got their cool XTERRA visor. Lua said, “Oh, you need to go to one of the Championship races to get one,” and Nicole said, “come to Ogden with us and stay in our condo and btw, what’s your name?” Later that year, she asked me to join the team. It’s the people!
XT: You’re on the start list for XTERRA Oak Mountain May 8 as well, what keeps you coming back to that race?
JH: Oak Mountain is challenging and not at altitude! I placed 4th in my age group both times I’ve been there, and someday, maybe this year, I’ll get on the podium.
XT: Tips for the XTERRA Family ... "if you’re ever in Austin and want to train"...
JH: I’d say if you are ever in Austin, go run the greenbelt and ride Pace Bend, Walnut Creek, or Brushy Creek. Go check out Barton Springs Pool if you’re a swimmer.
XT: And if you’re ever in Austin and just want to have fun and explore?
JH: Wait, what?