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.
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.
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.