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Local athletes survive Xterra World Championships

Daniel Savickas

On Oct. 26, seven Tahoe residents traveled to Wailea, Hawaii, to compete in the Nissan Xterra World Championship.

This year’s event consisted of a 1.5K ocean swim, a 30K mountain bike ride, and a 1K run through deep sand and through forests laced with log crossings.

Truckee-resident Conrad Snover finished sixth in the men’s 25-29 age group and 44 overall.

After starting out with a good swim through the clear ocean water, Snover headed to his bike.

“During the race last year, I cut my tubeless tire wide open on a sharp lava-rock, almost ending my race,” Snover said.

Nearly 20 minutes later, Snover borrowed a wheel from a competitor with a broken derailleur. This allowed him to finish the race, but not in a competitive place.

This year, Snover’s No. 1 goal was to finish the race and if possible, be competitive.

With temperatures reaching 92 degrees and high humidity, Snover struggled to keep his mind on racing in a climate the locals described as “uncharacteristically hot.”

“I really struggled with it. I was sweating like crazy and getting dehydrated. The dehydration affects your attitude and causes mental fatigue. I had a hard time maintaining that race mentality,” Snover said.

Upon finishing the race, Snover received an I.V. to replenish his fluids.

“I really tapered and peaked for nationals in Tahoe. I had a hard time maintaining that fitness level for another month,” he said.

Although Snover’s mind wanted to slow down during the race, his body continued on.

“I learned one thing, anything can happen. People get flats and tire out. You never know, so just hammer it home and finish,” he said.

“I had a solid finish for a World Championship race. Any race like this you finish, you’ve got to be happy with. I would have liked to finish better, but that’s what next year is for. I had a really good season, I won three races. All in all, I’m really happy with the summer,” Snover said.

Incline Village-resident Ross McMahan finished 14 in the men’s 30-34 age group and 90 overall.

“It turned into a survival race,” McMahan said. “It was too hot to race by the end. We were all just trying to finish.”

“The course was so technical,” McMahan said. “People were going down all around you and all the time. You’d just try to miss them. The course was also so dry, you’d hit baby-powder-like puddles of dust that would just consume you.”

“It was one of, if not the most technical courses I’ve raced,” Snover agreed.

Sarah Calva, who recently moved to Incline Village, placed in the No. 10 spot in the women’s 30-34 age group.

“I have never sweat so much in my life,” she said. “There was virtually no shade on the bike course and no breeze. We were just racing in this dead, stagnant and sticky air.”

Richard Silver of Tahoe City finished in fourth place in the 55-59 age group. Hugo Kenyon, another Tahoe City resident, placed sixth in the 45-49 age group.

Susan Hughes of Incline Village finished No. 15 in the 35-39 age group. Gene Murietta competed in the challenged athlete’s division, but did not finish the race.

Truckee-resident Zach Beekler traveled to Hawaii for the World Championship after placing second in the 40-44 age group in the National Championship in Tahoe.

Since the race falls on Beekler’s birthday week, he decided to return to his roots of surfing and windsurfing.

Beekler did not race in the World Championship. Instead, he spent his time in Hawaii surfing 10-15 ft. North Shore swells, fishing and doing road rides.

“The highlight was my road ride from sea level to 10,000 ft to the top of Haleakala volcano,” Beekler said, a ride he finished on his 41st birthday. ” I needed a vacation, and I got one.”

Wendy Lautner contributed to this story.


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