Xterra Pan American Championships Race Report
The 2019 Xterra Pan American Championship on 9/7/2019 is in the books. Held in beautiful Snow Basin, Utah, this race was the toughest Xterra I have done so far. Athletes from all over the world participate in this race, including about 30 pros who show up for the $20,000 prize money. This year, there were more than 500 age groupers in the Olympic and Sprint distance events, making for a very competitive field. We were blessed with ideal weather conditions, with clear skies in the morning, giving way to overcast skies and a breeze in the afternoon, which helped us stay cool on the run course.
The swim was held in Pineview Reservoir by Huntsville, UT, where we jumped off of a large concrete boat ramp. Water temperature was between 71 and 74 degrees so it was wetsuit optional for age groupers and not wetsuit legal for the Pros. The course was diamond-shaped and unfortunately, I sighted off the wrong buoy on the return which put me 100-200 yards off course. Moral of the story: if the water you are swimming in is quiet - you likely are off course!!
The bike course begins with a 1½ mile ride on the side of the road that borders the reservoir. If you ride on the pavement, you are disqualified. Next, we rode up Wheeler Canyon on an old jeep road that was rocky and narrow. After about 5 miles, we jumped onto single track for the remaining 14 miles (Olympic distance) or 7 miles (Sprint), before turning toward T2, which was approximately 3000 ft above T1 and the swim course. This means we did lots of climbing! Out of the 19 miles we rode in the Olympic distance race, we were climbing for about 12 to 13 miles, with lots of switchbacks! The downhill sections were mostly rocky and fast but the flow was great.
T2 and the run went without a problem. There was lots of climbing initially, and then many ups and downs. The aid stations were well placed and the trail varied from rocky to dirt in the trees. The last mile was downhill with switchbacks giving way to the sprint to the finish on the grounds of the Lodge. Here is a well-done recap of the race:
All in all this race went without too much of a hitch, except for the sighting issue I had in the swim. Being a strong climber is key to doing well in this race but I managed to place 5th in the Old Guys division of 65-69. Next year, I plan to be on the podium!