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.
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 course is about 18 miles in length, and consists of two-loops on the steep, dry, and sometimes rocky desert terrain.
The bike and run courses start out smooth enough, but get quite hairy with steep descents and cornering on the loose and rocky terrain.
Plenty of punchy climbs like this one send your heart rate into the red zone.
Pre-riding is a good time to appreciate the view.
A long section of loose sand within this valley is looks simple enough, but holding your line and keeping speed isn’t so easy.
Off-road racing always delivers a unique challenge at every venue, with stunning views to boot.
It’s hot, but it’s a dry heat.
Smooth spots like this on the course are great for hydrating and getting some calories in.
You’ll need plenty of calories to fly up hills like these on the two-loop bike course.
A view of Lake Las Vegas and the surrounding hills along the course.
The last few miles of the bike loop feature single track along the inlets of Lake Las Vegas.
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.
Most segments of the run course were also covered on the bike; meaning hills conquered on the bike still linger for the foot race.
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.