Last month at the XTERRA Oak Mountain off-road triathlon in Shelby County, Alabama, Amanda Felder had her best XTERRA performance ever.
She passed three-time XTERRA U.S. elite champ Suzie Snyder midway through the run and finished in second place behind only 2019 XTERRA Pan Am Tour Champion Samantha Kingsford.
While Felder is not new to XTERRA - she finished 8th at her first one in Victoria in 2016, and was 7th later that year at the Pan Am Champs in Utah – but Oak Mountain was the first XTERRA where she was in contention for the win.
“I’ve made a lot of progress the last year and a half or so,” said Felder, a two-time (2005/2008) USAT Collegiate National Champion road triathlete while at the University of California San Diego, where she earned a Ph.D. in bioengineering.
After a long professional career racing on the road, Felder says the open and inviting vibe of XTERRA is like a breath of fresh air.
Her goal for 2021 is to stay healthy, do all the U.S. races, mix in some mountain bike events to hone her technical skills, and ultimately finish among the top five elite women at the XTERRA World Championship to be held December 5 in Kapalua, Maui.
“For me, XTERRA offers a new version of triathlon where I have a lot to work on, skills I need to learn and improve on, and it offers that challenge that I really crave.”
“I come from road triathlon where people are extremely serious,” she explained. “With XTERRA, people are way more laid back. We all enjoy the trails and are here to have a good time.”
And to win.
We caught up with Amanda before the race last month, and here are excerpts from that interview:
Amanda’s Quick Facts:
Years racing: I did my first XTERRA in 2017, but my racing has been rather sporadic since then due to injury and more recently, COVID, so I only have five XTERRA's under my belt. I have done a ton of racing for many years on the road, however.
Best XTERRA Finish: 2nd, 2021 XTERRA Oak Mountain
Favorite XTERRA Course: Ogden -- so far at least. It's beautiful and epic! I would love to check out some of the European races, though.
Bike: 2021 Specialized Epic Expert that I got through Bear Valley Bikes in Big Bear, CA
Shoes: Depends on the course. I use a normal race flat if it's not too rocky or wet, and a lightweight trail runner if I need a bit more protection.
Tires: Depends on the course. I have really been liking the Specialized Fast Trak tire recently. It's a really capable tire for the weight.