Swim, bike, run: XTERRA has it all | SierraSun.com

Swim, bike, run: XTERRA has it all

Kyle Magin
Sun News Service

Rich Cruse/XTERRA fileZachary Eaton rides under icicles on the Flume Trail during the 2007 XTERRA Nevada off-road triathlon. The race still took place despite the previous night's snowfall. The XTERRA Nevada race will be held Saturday and the XTERRA USA Championship on Sunday.

Hundreds of athletes will take to Lake Tahoe, the Flume Trail and the running trails in Incline Village this weekend for the eighth annual XTERRA Championships.

Accompanied by community trail runs, family events and an all-weekend festival atmosphere at the Village Green, XTERRA returns once again with its XTERRA Nevada off-road triathlon Saturday and the season-culminating XTERRA USA Championship on Sunday.

“These athletes come from all over the country and now the world and there are a lot of diverse personalities; it’s pretty fun that they’re gathering right here in Incline,” said Trey Garman, XTERRA vice president.

XTERRA events begin Friday, when the professional athletes will get together and clean the Village Green area as a part of the XTERRA Eco Team community clean-up.

From 1 to 6 p.m. Friday athletes can sign up for three of the open XTERRA races ” the 9 a.m. Saturday XTERRA Nevada triathlon or the 5- and 10-kilometer trail runs.

The XTERRA Nevada is a shortened version of the XTERRA USA Championship, with a 750-meter swim, 32K mountain bike ride (same as XTERRA USA) and a 5K run.

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The 5 and 10K trail runs, which leave from the Village Green and loop through Incline south of State Highway 28, are open to the public for a $25 registration fee, which includes an XTERRA T-shirt.

Later Friday, athletes interested in learning from the best ” XTERRA professionals ” are welcome to attend any of the XTERRA University clinics for free on the Village Green. From 3 to 6 p.m. Friday athletes including 2007 XTERRA USA men’s champion Conrad Stoltz, Mike ‘The Vineman’ Vine and Candy Angle ” perhaps XTERRA’s best swimmer, Garman said ” will teach the clinics, which focus on swimming between 3 and 4 p.m., the art of XTERRA between 4 and 5 p.m. and mountain biking between 5 and 6 p.m.

Racing begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, with the XTERRA Nevada race leaving from the Hyatt Beach. The 5 and 10K trail runs leave the Village Green at 10 a.m., and XTERRA Nevada winners are expected by 11:30 a.m. (men) and noon (women).

For the dog lovers who may have a shaggy athlete at home, the second-annual XTERRA K9 Challenge begins at 1 p.m. The K9 challenge puts man’s best friend through an obstacle course. Registration opens at 10 a.m. at the Village Green.

The main event begins bright and early Sunday, with athletes reporting to the Hyatt beach around 8 a.m. to get ready for the USA Championship.

The course, which remains the same as last year, is daunting.

At 9 a.m., a 1,500-meter swim starting at the Hyatt Beach starts the affair, followed by a sprint to the swim/bike interchange at the Village Green. From there the athletes begin a 2,000-vertical-foot climb up the Flume Trail, looping around Marlette Lake before returning to Incline and the Village Green. There, the bikers will transition into their running shoes and complete two loops on the 5K trail run.

Winners are expected around 11:30 a.m. for men and 11:55 a.m. for women.

Garman said Stoltz, 34, is again the favorite going into the race. But challenging him for his crown is 23-year-old Dan Hugo. Both hail from Stellenbosch, South Africa, and Garman said Hugo, 11 years Stoltz’s junior, is gunning for his fellow countryman.

Other men to watch for are Chris Legh of Australia, Americans Josiah Middaugh, Brian Smith and Vine. Seth Wheeling is also an athlete to keep an eye on, Garman said. Wheeling hails from Boulder Colo., but has been living in Incline the past year to train.

Women to keep an eye on are Melanie McQuaid, Shonny Vanlandingham, Marion Summerer, Amber Monforte of Reno and Danelle Carbush. Garman also said spectators should watch for Sierra Sun photographer Emma Garrard.