We’ve covered a few triathlons this year and part of an XTERRA during DeGray TriFest Weekend but this past weekend we were able to enjoy a couple of grueling XTERRA’s at DeGray Lake from start to finish.
What is an XTERRA? Besides being a popular style of Nissan SUV, first and foremost it is a style of triathlon. Started in 1995 , the XTERRA incorporates the same basic disciplines as a regular triathlon only the cycling and running portions are done off-road. XTERRA races have different lengths based on course design but all start with an open water swim followed by mountain biking and finishing up with a trail run. The bikes are usually the same ones used for cross country mountain bike racing, no aerobars or other aerodynamic customizing as would be common in road triathlons. One last thing, XTERRAs are tough.
DLT Event Management presented two XTERRA races on Saturday, XTERRA DeGray Lake and XTERRA EPIC. DeGray Lake was the shorter event with a 900 yard swim, 11 mile mountain bike and 4.0 mile trail run. The temperature for the 9 am start was somewhere in the low 40’s and water temperatures were deemed cold enough to allow the use of wet suits. The race started at the Iron Mountain Resort Marina. Most competitors told us that the water temperature wasn’t bad as long as you were in a wet suit. Once they got out of the water and into the transition to the bike, the steam coming off the bodies as competitors changed into bike gear was confirmation of the colder air temperature. Racers experienced longer than normal transitions due to changing out of wetsuits and adding more cold weather clothing but soon they were off on the Iron Mountain Mountain Bike Trails.
The XTERRA EPIC started around 9:30 am from the same spot. The big difference in this race was length starting with a 1 mile swim, transitioning to a 33 mile mountain bike section followed by a 10 mile trail run. Most of the short course DeGray racers had finished the entire race before the first Epic racer had completed the 3 laps of the mountain bike course. From the transition all racers headed straight up a steep hill out of the marina area and onto the road across the dam and both races had participants come back the same way, the Epic racers had more miles on the other side of the dam.
It was mid-afternoon before the leaders began coming in off the Epic run. XTERRA events, like other stamina testing endurance events, utilize some very specialized skills but if you’ve done a triathlon before and you are comfortable on a mountain bike, trying one of the sprint length races should be on your race bucket list.
Short Course Results:
Epic Course Results:
We also have over 800 photos from the events you can share, tag and download for FREE on our Facebook Page.