XTERRA West Championship Course Preview

Blue sky with clouds above sandy desert landscape. Trail cut along small rideline.

Part of the moonscape bike and run course at the Xterra West Championship in Lake Las Vegas.

Saturday, April 25th marks the start of the XTERRA US Pro tour with the West Championship in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada. It will be my first time racing the event, and I’ll have my hands full against a stacked field of elite athletes from the US, Canada, Mexico, and Australia. Click through to experience the course.

The Swim

True to the standard XTERRA format, the swim consists of two 750-meter loops in Lake Las Vegas. Once on dry land, athletes will high tail it up a short section of tarmac to a moonscape bike and run course traversing the dry, rocky, and hilly desert terrain above the lake.

The Bike

The bike course is about 18 miles in length, and consists of two-loops on the steep, dry, and sometimes rocky desert terrain.

long expanse of flat desert ahead with small hill poking up at horizon in the distance.

The bike and run courses start out smooth enough, but get quite hairy with steep descents and cornering on the loose and rocky terrain.

Gravely desert trail with small scrubby green bushes to the side.

Plenty of punchy climbs like this one send your heart rate into the red zone.

Steep hill on desert trail.

Pre-riding is a good time to appreciate the view.

Grayish desert sand canyon between two steep ridges.

A long section of loose sand within this valley is looks simple enough, but holding your line and keeping speed isn’t so easy.

Bright sandy desert lanscape, canyon in midview, steep hill/mountain in the distance.

Off-road racing always delivers a unique challenge at every venue, with stunning views to boot.

Dry, cracked desert floor.

It’s hot, but it’s a dry heat.

Smooth wide desert trail ahead with gradual ascent in the distance.

Smooth spots like this on the course are great for hydrating and getting some calories in.

Brown desert landscape with small hills, trail leading up to crest.

You’ll need plenty of calories to fly up hills like these on the two-loop bike course.

Desert with Lake Las Vegas slightly visible in the distance.

A view of Lake Las Vegas and the surrounding hills along the course.

Shore of lake las vegas with green water grasses growing up from the sandy dirt.

The last few miles of the bike loop feature single track along the inlets of Lake Las Vegas.

The Run

After a grueling mile swim and 18-mile cross country bike course, the final placings will be decided on the 6.2 mile trail run.

Xterra off-road triathlon race course arrows pointing into the desert trail.

Most segments of the run course were also covered on the bike; meaning hills conquered on the bike still linger for the foot race.

Wide open dirt path in the desert, curving into horizon. Bright sun showing through the clouds in the light blue sky.

The more wide open sections of the course are great to open your stride and really haul.

The bike and run courses are about as foreign to what I experience in North Carolina that the race might as well take place on the moon. I’m excited for the opportunity pushing my limits against both the stacked elite field and the challenging terrain.

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This entry was posted in Mountain Biking, Nature, Race Preview, Trail Running, XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to XTERRA West Championship Course Preview

  1. great write up. Here’s a few more pics of what it’s like racing in Vegas. http://marcusbarton.com/2010/04/26/racing-on-mars/

  2. Pingback: Race Report: 2015 XTERRA West Championship | Alex Modestou Racing

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