October 2001 – Maui
Story and photos by Kristen McFarland
South Africans dominate
ISSUE #14, Winter 2002 – This year’s Xterra World Championship was won on the bike leg in both the men’s and the women’s races, as Conrad Stoltz and Anke Erlank of South Africa clocked splits over three minutes faster than their nearest competitor.
After a good swim and a quick transition, Stoltz took the lead on the famous climb up the crusty dry side of the volcano. He was at T2 all alone and then proceeded to put in the fastest run (40:15 over a rough 11K) to win the race by over eight minutes. Just like last year, when Kerstin Weule won despite a flat, Anke suffered a flat tire. She had such a commanding lead, however, that even the time lost changing her tire was not enough to lose her lead.
Stoltz, who has been living and training in Colorado Springs, and Anke Erlank, who has relocated to Louisville (outside of Boulder) finished the Nissan Xterra Series of 4 races on the mainland in the lead to win the $10,000 series points prize going into the World Championship race. They both won the last race of the series, in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, at the end of September. Erlank rides for the Saturn-Timex cycling team.
Kerstin Weule fights through injury
Despite being the defending champion from last year, Kerstin Weule (Evergreen) was not at all disappointed with her third place result. Battling a back injury since May, Weule almost cancelled her plans to race here at the off-road world championship.
“We just decided Monday to come, because it got really, really bad last week. So I’m actually super happy to be top three. The time was not very good. It was terrible, but it doesn’t matter. Top three for me under the circumstances, is fine.”
The back problems bothered her throughout the morning. However, she managed a strong run. After going through the second transition in seventh, Kerstin pulled up to third. She is very unsure of what her plans will be for next season if this injury does not heal.
“It could very well have been my last race today.”
Monique Merrill, of Breckenridge, came in a minute behind Kerstin for fourth.
Overend struggles to 4th
Two time champion Ned Overend of Durango didn’t feel on for the event, but had a good result anyway. After a third at Keystone and a third at Lake Tahoe, he ended the series in third in the points race.
“I wasn’t riding strong enough. I was fourth, and I was disappointed in the race. But now that it’s over I realize that that’s about as good as I was going to do….I did manage to climb up to just behind second place. I caught the second place guy on the bike. But I really needed to go by him with a pretty good lead in order to hold that position on the run. So I only lost one place in the run.”
Pat Brown climbs up the ranks
“Every year I just move up a few places,”said a happy Pat Brown after finishing 6th. He was very determined to continue that trend.
“I rode on a flat for the last two miles of the bike. I was in fifth, and then I got the flat. Then Andrew Noble, from Australia, caught me and we came into the transition area together.”
Just one person passed him on the run.
Jimmy Archer (Boulder), who had finished the points series in 6th, one spot ahead of Pat, couldn’t beat him in this race, crossing the line 3 minutes behind him for an 8th.
Wes Hobson, who had his best finish here in ’98 (2nd), was competing the last time as a professional and had high hopes for his “goodbye” race. He ran under the arch 10th with new baby Makenna in his arms, happy and yet disappointed in his result.
“I know it’s right after today. I came into this race feeling good and I just got dropped at the beginning of the climb. That shouldn’t happen. I’m usually the one that’s leading the climb.”
At that point he actually felt like quitting, and he has only DNF’ed a few times in his long career. Then he noticed that others weren’t really catching him from behind, so he tried to keep his pace thinking, “This is my last race, I gotta finish.”
Entering T2 in 16th place, “I just started picking people off ,” he said. “The last quarter mile I passed 2 people on the beach here.”
Widoff wins the “Double”
Cam Widoff (Boulder) came in 30th, and much to his surprise, won the “Double”, a $2500 prize. That is the award for the participant who finishes highest in the Xterra and the IRONMAN World Championship the preceding weekend on the Big Island. Cam placed 8th, his second best finish there ever. “I came over to support my brother (who was racing)….I have been over here for like two or three years with him.” He had heard that Steve Larsen and some other top pros from IRONMAN were coming over and he had not planned on racing competitively. “I didn’t bring anything,” he said. Riding on Peter Cain’s bike and wearing Wendy Ingraham’s helmet he put together the equipment to race. “I had a lot of fun.”
Hobson Retires from pro racing
After 12 years as a successful professional triathlete and nearly twenty years in the sport, Wes Hobson has raced his last pro race. “Finishing tenth today is all the more reason it feels right.”
Despite his frustration with this last race, Wes has won races throughout his career, and has competed in venues all over the world. From winning the U.S. Triathlon Series back in ’92, to his win at Escape from Alcatraz in ’99, he has been in the top ranks of olympic distance triathlon all these years.
Wes also has served the sport, as elite athlete representative for two years on the USAT Board of Directors.
During the last two years he has begun making the transition from active pro to being part of the sport as a businessman. He collaborated on and co-produced the movie Triathlon: Through the Eyes of the Elite with Endurance Films and has a newly published book, Swim, Bike, Run. He has plans to do some coaching and perhaps direct some training camps.
Besides these various endeavours, he plans to enjoy taking care of his brand new baby, Makenna, and spending more time with his wife, Jenn.
2001 Nissan Xterra World Championships Colorado Results
1.5K swim / 30K mountain bike / 11K trail run
Plc Name Division Place Swim Bike Run Overall
1 Conrad Stoltz #45 Pro :19:44 1:28:49 :40:15 2:28:48 Co. Springs/South Africa
4 Ned Overend #4 Pro :22:21 1:32:55 :42:49 2:38:05 Durango, Colorado
6 Pat Brown #7 Pro :20:32 1:38:36 :42:24 2:41:32 Boulder, Colorado
8 Jimmy Archer #5 Pro :22:34 1:40:51 :41:04 2:44:29 Boulder, Colorado
10 Wes Hobson #3 Pro :19:41 1:45:31 :43:05 2:48:17 Boulder, Colorado
30 Cameron Widoff #55 Pro :20:00 1:55:59 :42:58 2:58:57 Boulder, Colorado
33 Anke Erlank #74 Pro 1 :25:48 1:48:06 :47:05 3:00:59 Louisville/South Africa
41 Mike Volk #307 35 – 39 :21:16 1:53:23 :50:51 3:05:30 Telluride, Colorado
43 Neal Henderson #30 Pro :21:42 1:54:30 :50:36 3:06:48 Boulder, Colorado
47 Mark Gavach #169 35 – 39 :24:18 1:55:11 :48:26 3:07:55 Boulder, Colorado
55 Kerstin Weule #60 Pro 3 :22:53 2:02:40 :47:04 3:12:37 Evergreen, Colorado
59 Monique Merrill #81 Pro 4 :25:06 1:58:18 :50:17 3:13:41 Breckenridge, Colorado
65 Grant Holicky #23 Pro :21:35 2:02:30 :51:10 3:15:15 Boulder, Colorado
69 Josiah Middaugh #23 20 – 24 :24:11 2:03:33 :47:51 3:15:35 Vail, Colorado
120 Rob Noyes #247 45 – 49 :26:11 2:13:14 :53:22 3:32:47 Breckenridge, Colorado
150 Whit Smith #277 35 – 39 :30:49 1:59:34 1:11:57 3:42:20 Denver, Colorado
159 Dave Kaleugher #208 30 – 34 :34:06 2:15:27 :55:33 3:45:06 Evergreen, Colorado
173 Jessica Burwell #331 25 – 29 27 :32:55 2:20:43 :55:14 3:48:52 Durango, Colorado
187 Richard Wall #310 50 – 54 :35:55 2:15:59 1:01:28 3:53:22 Co. Springs, Colorado
199 Kevin Deighan #150 40 – 44 :30:01 2:38:55 :49:03 3:57:59 Vail, Colorado
209 Don Nelson #243 30 – 34 :26:27 2:21:36 1:13:50 4:01:53 Denver, Colorado
210 Cristina Begy #72 Pro 45 :38:40 2:15:39 1:07:34 4:01:53 Denver, Colorado