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XTERRA takes center stage at Pipestem

Mountain bike riders compete in last year’s XTERRA race at Pipestem Reservoir. Three events are planned today and two on Sunday. John M. Steiner/Sun File Photo

If you’re looking for a weekend activity, and really like challenges, Steve Aesoph has an invitation for you.

Aesoph’s annual XTERRA weekend begins today and continues on Sunday with five races at Pipestem Reservoir. It’s the sixth straight year Aesoph has put on the event. While it continues to grow — between 100 and 125 people are expected to compete — he has an open invitation for new participants.

“We just want people to come out and have a good time and for them to know we have a lot of things they could get involved with,” he said. “It’s not just a bunch of extreme events, I think we have something for most everybody.”

Today’s events begin with a 5.5-mile trail run. It begins at 8 a.m. and is open to anyone. There is no race day registration for the short-course and long-course marathons, although people are more than welcome to watch the two races along the scenic route.

The short course features a 500-meter swim, five-mile mountain bike race and three-mile trail run. The long course is a real doozy with a 1,000-meter swim, 13-mile mountain bike race and a 5.5-mile run to finish it off.

Sunday’s 10 a.m. XTERRA mountain bike race includes a relay option, with up to three people per team to cover the 35-mile loop around Pipestem, featuring every useable trail, including ATV and horse trails.

“The relay is hopefully to boost participation, especially for local athletes,” Aesoph said.

Also Sunday is a one-mile open water, point-to-point swim.

“Every event has a little bit of a twist,” Aesoph said. “We try to make it interesting.”

Throwing everything together continues to be quite an undertaking for Aesoph, who has to navigate around his real job at UTC Aerospace. He typically needs two months for fundraising and then a week prior to the event for final course preparations.

Aesoph did not add an event for the first time. Participants from all over the country will be competing for a purse of over $3,000 plus another $1,500 in prizes, including a carbon fiber bike frame.

“The sponsors have been great. We’re excited about what we have planned and hope people can make it out this weekend,” Aesoph said.

Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at

Dave Selvig
Selvig has been a sports writer at The Sun since 1999 and sports editor since 2009.
(701) 952-8460