Xterra USA Championship – Trail Run Preview

Early fall color on scenic and challenge Xterra USA championship run course

Early fall color on the scenic and challenging Xterra USA championship run course

The Xterra USA off-road triathlon championship course is a legitimate test of mental and physical strength. Held each year just outside of Ogden, UT, the race starts off with a mile-long swim in Pineview Reservoir, followed by 18 miles of mountain biking with 3,400 ft of elevation gain. The final challenge athletes face is a 10k run on technical singletrack climbing, traversing, and descending on the slopes of the Snowbasin ski resort.

For better or worse, the run starts off with a crazy steep uphill, climbing over 300 ft in less than a half mile. After all the climbing on the bike, the initial climb is a surprisingly nice transition into running, as the short uphill strides closely mimic the motion of pedaling on a bike.

Xterra Utah trail run elevation profile. Due to heavy cloud cover, and all the mountain switchbacks, the run only registered 5.2 miles on my Sunnto watch.

Xterra Utah trail run elevation profile. Due to heavy cloud cover, and all the mountain switchbacks, the run only registered 5.2 miles on my watch.

The initial half-mile lung buster is up a grassy ski slope and fire roads. The rest of the course is all singletrack, with more moderate climbing and descending. Be sure to closely watch your footing over all the sections of copious baseball- to melon-sized rocks.

The last steep fire road pitch before hitting the singletrack.

The last steep fire road pitch before hitting the singletrack.

Aspen, pine, and stunning peaks dominate the scenery.

Aspen, pine, and stunning peaks dominate the scenery.

Wildlife spotting are quite common. Here's a moose just chilling in a pond beside the trail. I've also seen wild turkeys, deer, and a coyote out on the bike/run course.

Wildlife sightings are quite common. Here’s a moose just chilling in a pond beside the trail. I’ve also seen wild turkeys, deer, and a coyote out on the bike and run course.

Some more fall color and mountain peak views along the Needles trail descent.

Some more fall color and mountain peak views along the Needles trail descent. The final downhill segment of the course is a serious quad buster.

Last year, I didn’t take in enough fluids on the bike, and was grateful for all the aid stations on the run to help keep me going. Hopefully I’ll do a better job with hydration throughout the race this time around.

Best of luck to all the competitors.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s