XTERRA: Local gets fifth in High Sierra off-road triathlon | SierraSun.com

XTERRA: Local gets fifth in High Sierra off-road triathlon

Matt Brown, Sierra Sun sports editor

Josh Miller/Sierra SunTruckee resident Zack Beekler, 41, finished second in the 40-44 age group and fifth overall at the XTERRA High Sierra Triathlon.

Truckee’s Zack Beekler followed up his impressive top local finish (17th overall) in the Donner Lake Triathlon on July 18 with a fifth place (1:28:16) in the XTERRA High Sierra Donner Lake Mountain Bike Triathlon on July 24.

The High Sierra Triathlon was the 30th race of the season in the Nissan XTERRA USA Champion Series. Beekler, 41, finished ranked second in the nation in the XTERRA 2003 40-44 age group behind his friendly rival Tom Lyons (42, Reno). Lyons finished second overall in the High Sierra race with a time of 1:25:13.

“My goal was to beat him or be close to him,” said Beekler, who lost Lyons on the final run leg of the triathlon. “I’m a good runner, but of all the legs it’s my weakest. I’m usually ahead of (Lyons) after the bike ride.”

Beekler enjoys competing in XTERRA events as an escape and release from working all the time, he said, but he also loves to be part of the culture of XTERRA racing.

“They are always held in pristine, rugged outdoor locations,” he said. “In road triathlons, there is a lot of emphasis on fitness, but (XTERRA’s) are more mentally and physically demanding. The XTERRA thing is like a family. Off-road people are true, outdoor adventure naturalists.”

Taylor Tolleson was the overall winner (1:23:49) at Donner and is the defending 19 and under national and world champion. Tolleson said the High Sierra race was easier than typical XTERRA races because the terrain stays fairly flat. The High Sierra consisted of a 0.5-mile swim, a 12-mile mountain bike ride and a 4-mile trail run.

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[For complete High Sierra results, visit http://www.xterraplanet.com/results1/high_04.htm.%5D

The Nissan XTERRA Points Series race is a spring/summer long series consisting of more than 30 races across the country. Amateur competitors register at up to three events to earn points toward an XTERRA Regional Championship title. With the title comes an invitation to compete for a national title at the Nissan XTERRA USA Championship in Incline Village, Nev., each September.

The country is divided into eight regions and racers can compete against people from their age group and region. Competitors can race in other regions for points, but invitations to the USA Nationals are given to the top point earners in each region/age group. Each age group is allotted a certain number of invites based on competition (e.g. Men 30-34 given 10 invites per region).

The top two finishers per age group are invited to the XTERRA World Finals in Maui. In Maui, competitors race against age groupers from around the world. Pros race as well.

For more information on XTERRA, visit http://www.xterraplanet.com.