XTERRA race here Saturday

Some of the world's most finely tuned athletes will be taking over Jamestown on Saturday to test their physical aptitude with what is referred to as an "extreme triathalon."...

David Griswold / The Sun Pipestem Reservoir will host XTERRA, an extreme triathlon, on Saturday. It's the first time a sanctioned XTERRA race has been held in North Dakota.

Some of the world's most finely tuned athletes will be taking over Jamestown on Saturday to test their physical aptitude with what is referred to as an "extreme triathalon."

XTERRA, which is a customized triathalon that involves mountain biking, off-road running and open water swimming, will be making a stop in Jamestown on June 26th for XTERRA Pipestem Creek.

"They call it an extreme triathalon," said co-race director Fritz Femgren. "It's an off-road triathalon. Instead of a road bike they ride mountain bikes, and instead of running on asphalt they run on gravel roads and paths."

This will be the second year an off-road triathalon will be held in Jamestown, but this will be the first year it will be as a sanctioned event with XTERRA. It also marks the first time XTERRA has ever made a stop in North Dakota.

"When people say NASCAR they're talking about stock car racing, but when people say XTERRA you know they're talking about off-road triathalons," said race director Steve Aesoph. "They only do off-road stuff."


The course, in order to comply with XTERRA regulations, was extended from last year, adding five miles to the bike-riding portion. Now racers will face a one kilometer (1,000 meters) swim, a five mile run and a 13 mile bike ride.

"The main point of the race is to get people to come to Jamestown," Aesoph said. "Right now, we've got people from eight states and Canada."

Among the field of competitors is former national and world champion Cindi Toepel, 58, who is also currently the No. 1-ranked female athlete in her age group.

"It's cool for us," said Femgren. "You would have to go to the (Twins Cities) to see some pros in cycling. You can see what they call the Nature Valley Grand Prix, in Minnesota, where they have some pros, but there are very few pros that come here to race, ever."

Also in the field will be Erin Kummer, a pro tri-athlete who races for team Timex. Kummer will also be holding a Question and Answer session at the Buffalo City Bar and Grille on June 25th during the packet pick-up, which is from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The race is open to both individuals and relay teams with cash prizes being awarded to the top finishers. Aesoph also said for those athletes skeptical of attempting the one kilometer swim, which will be in the Pipestem Reservoir, canoes and kayaks will be available to use instead.

"It's a pretty difficult race, but the relay component allows teams of two to four people to do it," said Aesoph, last year's champion. "So, it is open for some local people who maybe haven't done the training or have ability to do the entire thing on their own."

The race isn't just for the competitors either.


"I want the community to come out to the race," said Aesoph. "We need tons of spectators with cowbells. ... I would like a gauntlet of people out there to cheer them on."

Registration is available at and is $60 for individuals and $90 for relay teams.

"We hope that it gets people together to have a good time," said Femgren. "It will bring some business into town and also be fun for us locals, too."

Sun sports writer David Griswold can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at

What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads