Major League Baseball hosted its annual All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday and this Saturday, just two hours west of The Mile High City, XTERRA will host its own version of the mid-summer classic by hosting hundreds of the absolute best professional and amateur off-road triathletes in the world at Beaver Creek Resort in Avon.
Beyond just the stellar competition, the field will be up against one of XTERRA’s toughest challenges. Host to championship racing since 2009, the XTERRA Beaver Creek course is a unique beast, boasting the highest elevation of any major on the XTERRA World Tour.
It starts with a one-mile swim in the cold waters of Nottingham Lake situated at 7,400-feet elevation. The next step involves roughly 15 miles of mountain biking that climbs 3,500-feet into the thin air of the Rockies. The first climb alone gains 2,000 vertical feet in just over four miles.
It peaks out at 9,400 feet, then twists through well-maintained single track to Beaver Creek Village. The final piece of resistance is a calf-burning, lung-busting, six-mile trail run which breaks down into essentially two brutal climbs, each with over 500 feet of climbing (roughly 1,050ft for the course).
2015 XTERRA World Champion Josiah Middaugh, who lives and trains just down the street from the course he helped design, manages the effort better than most. He’s won six of the last seven races. Mauricio Mendez, the 2016 XTERRA World Champion, won the other time in 2018. They’re both back.
And then there’s Sam Long, the talk of the triathlon world right now, who crushed this course and placed second as a 20-year-old college kid five years ago. He’s gotten a lot faster since then.
Beaver Creek trails
Eric Lagertsrom made his XTERRA debut in May, and looked right at home at the front of the race until a couple flat tires and a Kiwi named Sam Osborne came along. He’s been dying for a second chance ever since, and will get it on Saturday. Osborne went on to win that race in Alabama in May, and more majors in 2019 (6) than anyone else on the XTERRA World Tour. He wants this one to add to the collection.
Then there’s all the Colorado-based racers, who push themselves to the limit in the thin air on a daily basis. Kieran McPherson, Mike Meehan, Branden Rakita, Brad Zoller, Brian Smith, the list goes on.
The race starts 9am MDT on Saturday, July 17. Follow the updates on instagram.com/xterraplanet.
Elite Men's Startlist
Place at 2019 Beaver Creek - Name, NAT
1 - Josiah Middaugh, USA
2 - Sam Osborne, NZL
4 - Mike Meehan, USA
5 - Branden Rakita, USA
7 - Brad Zoller, USA
8 - Brian Smith, USA
9 - Will Ross, USA
10 - Elliot Bach, USA
11 - Evan Pardi, USA
NA – Steve Croucher, USA
NA – Curtiss Feltner, USA
NA – Eric Lagerstrom, USA
NA – Andy Lee, USA
NA – Sam Long, USA
NA – Garen Marter, USA
NA – Kieran McPherson, NZL
NA – Mauricio Mendez, MEX
NA – Hans Ryham, USA
NA – Paul Stevenson, USA
NA – Timothy Winslow, USA
In the women’s chase Suzie Snyder is out to defend the title. It took her years to master this course, and her performance in 2019 was masterful indeed.
Samantha Kingsford got a taste of the challenge in 2019 (finished 4th) and is hoping to leverage the learnings from that day into a top spot effort on Saturday.
Amanda Felder had a breakout race at XTERRA Oak Mountain in May, placing second behind Kingsford and with renewed energy for off-road triathlon. Tess Amer, Nicole Valentine, Michelle Mehnert, and Rebecca Zitnay are also hoping to land a podium spot.
Elite Women's Startlist
Place at 2019 Beaver Creek - Name, NAT
1 - Suzie Snyder, USA
4 - Samantha Kingsford, NZL
6 – Tess Amer, USA
7 – Nicole Valentine, USA
9 – Michelle Mehnert, USA
NA – Amanda Felder, USA
NA – Rebecca Zitnay, USA
XTERRA Beaver Creek swim course
In addition to the elite race, more than 700 endurance athletes and outdoor enthusiasts will take part in the myriad of weekend offerings in the mountains to celebrate the XTERRA mantra to “Live More!”