XTERRA returns: Three new races have been added from last yearAfter a successful run last year, XTERRA is returning to Jamestown — but there’s a little more to offer this time around. The extreme style of racing, which is a combination of mountain biking and a traditional triathlon, attracted people from eight states and Canada to participate in the first-ever sanctioned XTERRA event to be held in North Dakota.
After a successful run last year, XTERRA is returning to Jamestown — but there’s a little more to offer this time around.
The extreme style of racing, which is a combination of mountain biking and a traditional triathlon, attracted people from eight states and Canada to participate in the first-ever sanctioned XTERRA event to be held in North Dakota.
This year, the XTERRA race will be accompanied with three more races to accommodate participants who would like to compete, but not at such an “extreme” level.
“We’ve expanded it to four races and it is now called the R.M. Stoudt Off-Road Festival,” said race director Steve Aesoph. “In addition to the XTERRA event, we will have the Redplum Media Trail Run, The RDO Equipment Short Course Triathlon, and then we will have the Epic Sports Epic mountain bike race on Sunday.”
The Quality Inn XTERRA Pipestem Creek race will once again be a one kilometer swim, a 15-mile mountain bike trek and a five-mile run at Pipestem Creek. After last year’s inaugural year of being affiliated with XTERRA, the Pipestem course was rated in the top 15 of all the XTERRA America races by the athletes that competed.
The Trail Run will be a 4-plus mile run through river crossings, log barriers and hills.
“That’s actually taking place on a course that has never been run on,” said Aesoph, a Jamestown resident. “I just designed it last weekend.”
The Short Course, also referred to as the Sho-Co, is a shortened version of the full XTERRA race. It will consist of a 500-meter swim, a five-mile bike ride and a three-mile run.
“It takes place on the same course as the XTERRA, it’s just shorter,” Aesoph said. “The total distance of that course is less than 10 miles. So, a lot of people that may be intimidated by the distance of the XTERRA should definitely feel this course is an attainable goal.”
Sunday’s bike race is a 35-mile race/ride that goes on the North Ridge Trail and also consists of horse trails, off-trail and gravel-road riding. There will be no times taken, just places.
“We actually had the XTERRA reps ride with us (on the bike trail) last year, and they absolutely loved the ride,” Aesoph said. “They said we had to incorporate the ride into the race weekend. That race actually came as a suggestion from XTERRA.”
The full Pipestem Creek race is the only event that will count towards the XTERRA standings, and prize money will be awarded to the top five finishers in both the men’s and women’s division. There will also be a relay option for teams.
“The race didn’t originally grow the way I had envisioned it,” said Aesoph. “I kind of asked myself, ‘Why?’ It kind of dawned on me that the race may be a little bit too extreme for the average runner or cyclist. I didn’t want to take away from the uniqueness of the original race — the fact that it is on a great course and it is challenging — so what I decided to do was rather than try and expand that race, I added more races.”
Aesoph brought off-road racing to Jamestown two years ago, but last year he expanded the race to comply with XTERRA regulations to make it an annual stop for XTERRA athletes from all over.
He has won his age division two years in a row, but this year he is taking a step back from the full course and will be competing in The Trail Run.
“Last year, it took so much out of me building up to race day — preparing the course, making sure everybody knew what was going on — as soon as I reached the bike course I knew I wasn’t going to be as competitive as I would have liked to be,” Aesoph said. “So, this year I’m going to take a step back and not do the triathlon and I’m just going to concentrate on making the race day go as smoothly as possible.”
Spots are still available for those who want to compete in any of the races, but this year registration must be completed before race day because of the time the registration process takes. Those interested in competing this year can register at pipestemxterra.com.
“We had quite a few people last year, but I think this year is going to be even bigger,” said Aesoph. “A lot of different community members and sponsors have done so much to help me push the race this year. ... It has been fantastic.”
Sun sports writer David Griswold can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by e-mail at email@example.com