The epic elite races may have grabbed the headlines after the XTERRA Oak Mountain off-road triathlons on May 8, 2021 in Shelby County, Alabama, but behind them hundreds of amateur off-roaders were giving it their all in pursuit of division wins and XTERRA World Championship qualifying spots.
In the women’s amateur race Angela DiBerardino from Anchorage had the best swim (21:16) but Deanna McCurdy from Littleton, Colorado - no doubt powered by the memories of her good friend Charlotte Mahan - stole the show.
McCurdy posted the fastest bike split (1:50:23, more than three minutes quicker than Jill Sorensen) and the best run time (53:23) to cross the line in 3:12:12, a full seven-minutes ahead of runner-up Emma Briggs from Folsom, California. Briggs won the 40-44 division just ahead of Sorensen, who placed third overall.
Also of note, 18-year-old Jordan Gwyen Austin from Orland Park, Illinois was the youngest female in the full course and placed 13th overall, while Sheri Schrock from northern Minnesota – who did her first full course XTERRA in Shelby County in 2019 at the age of 66 – won the 65-69 division for the second time.
In the men’s amateur race Will Allen from Farmingdale, New York edged Dwayne Dixon from Raleigh, North Carolina by just over one-minute to win the overall title.
With the safe-race time trial starts in effect it was impossible to tell exactly when and where the race was won, but Allen posted the 7th best swim, had the 2nd best bike split, and fastest run of the day to take the tape in 2:46:54, a time that would have been good for 10th place in the elite field.
Jason Lamoreaux from Anchorage, Alaska had the fastest bike split of the day (1:37:14) on his way to winning the 40-44 division and placing third overall amateur. He was one of three racers from Anchorage to earn a Maui qualifying spot, alongside Andy Deunow (pictured) and Andrea Kettler.
Tom Eickelberg, who finished third in the 30-34 division, posted the fastest swim time of the day in 18:14, which would have been fast enough to keep up with Eric Lagerstrom in the men’s elite race.
AJ Stacey, 15, from Nashville, Tennessee beat his older brother Will, 18, to take home the 15-19 division and Ron Scranton, 78, from Tijeras, New Mexico won his second race in three weeks following a solid showing at XTERRA ATX in Austin on April 24.
And a special shout-out to these two - Alan Moore from Ada, Michigan and Jay Heller from Las Vegas, Nevada – who volunteered over the weekend when they weren’t racing. Moore and Heller are long-time members of the XTERRA Family, quick to share a smile and lend a hand and the XTERRA crew is grateful for their contributions and the many others like them.
All-in-all, 45 amateurs from 20 states qualified for the 2021 XTERRA World Championship race to be held December 5, 2021 in Kapalua, Maui by virtue of their performances on May 8. Here’s a look at all the Maui qualifiers from XTERRA Oak Mountain:
|15-19||AJ Stacey (Nashville, TN)||Jordan Gwyen Austin (Orland Park, IL)|
|20-24||Edward Bird (Cheyenne, WY)|
|Nicholas Dicklin (Galena, IL)|
|25-29||Caleb Baity (Huntersville, NC)||Jacki Cronin (West Chicago, IL)|
|Patrick Martin (Annapolis, MD)||Abigail Bird (Salt Lake City, UT)|
|30-34||William Allen (Farmingdale, NY)||Heather Wilson (San Diego, CA)|
|John Wiygul (Signal Mtn, TN)||Jen Simpson (Tallahassee, FL)|
|Tom Eickelberg (Leonia, NJ)|
|35-39||Dwayne Dixon (Raleigh, NC)||Amelia Van Dyke (Dillon, CO)|
|Blake Gill (Northport, AL)||Andrea Kettler (Anchorage, AK)|
|Jacob Watkins (Charlotte, NC)|
|40-44||Jason Lamoreaux (Anchorage, AK)||Emma Briggs (Folsom, CA)|
|Iain Banks (Bowie, MD)||Jill Sorensen (Dillon, CO)|
|Josh Flanagan (Alton, NH)|
|45-49||Karel Sumbal (Greenville, SC)||Deanna McCurdy (Littleton, CO)|
|Michael Dorr (Avon, CO)||Pam Colbert (Cambridge, MN)|
|David Dornaus (Wayland, MA)|
|50-54||David Meadows (Hoover, AL)||Angie Childre (Milledgeville, GA)|
|Eric Snowberg (Golden, CO)||Chrissy Halioris (Crestwood, KY)|
|Andy Kelsey (Hopkinton, MA)|
|55-59||Donny Forsyth (Charlotte, NC)||Alexis Gaston (Tallahassee, FL)|
|Andrew Duenow (Anchorage, AK)|
|60-64||Cliff Millemann (Davis, CA)||Sharon McDowell-Larsen (Breckenridge, CO)|
|Bruce Wilson (Temecula, CA)||Lucia Colber (Cordova, TN)|
|65-69||Bill Schmitt (Loudon, TN)||Sheri Schrock (Cohasset, MN)|
|Doug Jones (Pensacola, FL)|
|70-74||Frank George (Rome, GA)|
|75+||Ronald Scranton (Tijeras, NM)|
The day also featured a sprint distance race which featured a 750-meter swim, a 16K mountain bike ride, and a 4.5K trail run. Christoff Zimmerman, 15, from Morrison, CO beat his Dad Rick in the men’s race, and get this – his Mom, Christine, won the women’s 50-54 division.
Kenneth Anderson from Shawnee, Kansas was third in the Sprint race, followed by the one-and-only Casey Fannin who won the 60-64 division and kept his hometown win streak intact.
Another Birmingham local, Blaire McCurry, won the women’s Sprint race with Gabriella Havron in second and Deanna McCurdy’s daughter, Hailey (pictured above), in third.
In the Xticer race everyone was a winner, as this event is just about living the healthy, active, outdoors lifestyle and going for it! It combined a 200-meter swim, with an 8K mountain bike, and 2K trail run.
Wells Finch from Mountain Brook, AL was the overall champ and Violet Ortner from Nashville, TN won the women’s race.
On Thursday, May 13, in conjunction with XTERRA’s first-ever “Bike Night” celebration, Oak Mountain State Park welcomed a new trail to its epic network of single track dubbed, “Slingshot.”
“Teamwork makes the dreamwork, and we have a great team here,” said Oak Mountain superintendent Kelly Ezell at the ribbon cutting.
That team consists of the hard-working crew from Shelby County, the Oak Mountain State Park staff, and the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (BUMP), who have spent more than 100,000 hours on the design and construction of new trails at Oak Mountain State Park over the past 20+ years and to this day are hard at work to build, preserve, maintain, and ride the sweet single track in the park.
“The support we get from the Park and the County is priceless,” said BUMP president, Jeff Rozycki. “The emergency bridge work they did this week was amazing, and the support we get from our members, too, who are generous with their time and donations, we appreciate it all so much.”
A massive rainstorm swept through Shelby County on Tuesday before the race that caused several trees to fall across the trails and at least two creek crossing bridges collapsed. Thanks to quick work by the crews at Shelby County, OMSP, and BUMP, the bridges were repaired and rebuilt in time for race day. The XTERRA Crew was even able to lend a hand and clear several trees that fell across the trails.
XTERRA Global LLC donated $500 on behalf of the XTERRA community to BUMP over the weekend.
32-MILES RUN CLUB
Another highlight of the XTERRA Oak Mountain weekend was meeting Shannon Gray and the team from the 32-Miles Run Club, created to inspire hope in all cancer survivors by providing emotional support and encouraging healing through movement and community.
Gray and four others took part in the new XTERRA 5x5K relay team challenge on Sunday, May 9.
“All five of us are survivors, from stage 4 to active chemo to seven years out, and we’re trying to find a way to get people to see that cancer isn’t a stopping point, but a stepping point,” said Gray. “It’s a stepping off point to encourage movement, to encourage the life you want to live instead of curling up and saying I give up.”