Truckee duo sharp in XTERRA National Championship | SierraSun.com

Truckee duo sharp in XTERRA National Championship

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun

Lisa Snover/Provided to the SunTriathletes hit the water to kick off the Nissan Xterra National Championship in Incline Village on Sunday.

Conrad Snover and Matt Chappell, Truckee’s veteran and rookie competitors in the 2006 Nissan Xterra Championship Series, represented their town well in the National Championship in Incline Village on Sunday.

“It was a beautiful day … a nice, crisp morning that warmed up but never got too hot,” Snover said, describing the mild weather that greeted his seventh national title race.

When all the dust had settled ” after a 1,500-meter swim in Lake Tahoe, a 32-kilometer cycling leg and 10K run to the finish at Village Green “Snover was fifth in the highly competitive men’s 30-34 age group and 28th overall in 2:57:31.

That was fine by him.

“I had low expectations,” said Snover, 31, who entered the triathlon ranked No. 6 in the Southwest region men’s 30-34 division ” “hands down the toughest” age group, said XTERRA marketing director Trey Garman.

Snover said his low expectations stem from a busy work schedule that has kept him on the road much of this year, limiting his training time.

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“I definitely wanted to get a National Championship, but I wasn’t disappointed with where I ended up,” he said. “It’s a really tough race. It’s the best of the best.”

Plus, it’s not over for him just yet, as Snover still has a shot at the best of the best on the planet come Oct. 29 when the Nissan Xterra World Championship goes down in Makena, Maui, Hawaii. Anything can happen on the island, where Snover has placed as high as fourth ” twice ” and sixth in the five years he has qualified.

Sunday, though, was more about having a good time, he said. And with a large crew of local supporters on hand in Incline, that’s exactly how the race turned out.

“We had a blast. It’s unbelievable to be able to do the race at home,” Snover said. “We had tons of friends out there. It was really neat.”

Chappell, 28, qualified for the National Championship in his first season competing in the XTERRA series, entering with a No. 7 ranking in the Southwest region men’s 25-29 age group.

Like Snover, Chappell’s friend and training partner, the 28-year-old novice had a good showing, placing sixth in his age division and 66th overall in 3:11:54.

“It went really well,” Chappell said. “I was aiming for a top five and I got sixth, so I think that’s perfect. It was kind of a tease that will make me train to do better next year.”

And now he knows what to expect for future National Championships.

“I was pretty nervous going into the event,” Chappell said. “I think I did great for it being my first year. I think next year I’ll be more prepared.”

With hundreds of racers making a mad dash through the water during the opening swim portion, Chappell learned about the competitive nature of the race.

“There’s brutal stuff that goes on in the water,” he said, describing a scene with swimmers tussling and splashing to gain an edge in the tight quarters. “Nobody can see anything. It’s fair game.”

Chappell didn’t mind.

“It was fun. I had a good time,” he said. “It was cool to represent the town in that sport. I’m pretty stoked with how I did.”