XTERRA Alabama 2007



Photos by Rich Cruse

‘T was a hot and sweaty midsummers’ day in Pelham Alabama.

XTERRA folks from all over toed the line at the Oak Mountain State Park, whether for XTERRA Series points, glory, or just fun and games.

This course is well known for it technical (fun) bike course, hilly run route, and of course- the infamous ‘Bama heat and humidity.

Like in Temecula, I had good, solid day- 2nd out the water, built a 3 minute lead on the bike and blazed to a 5 minute lead halfway through the run. (Before the hills started!) I think I won by about 3 minutes. Whatever Andy Noble (2nd) and Josiah Middaugh (3rd) do on those steep, loose downhill paths in the forrest, (I think its called “free falling”) I’m not prepared to do…

Funny thing this age thing: I didn’t once get that “OOOHH, almost died THERE!” feeling. I take less risks, and probably go a bit slower through the jungle bungle (also because I’m taller (6ft3) and have a higher centre of gravity in the corners), but once the road straightens out- regardless of the terrain- its “voet in die hoek!” (Foot in the corner)

The main downhill is rocky from top to bottom. The smaller rocks litter the fast sections and are unavoidable, and the bigger rocks and drops are around Blood Rock- where the crowds gather. To minimize snake bite puncture risk, I used a rear tire with thick sidewalls and a harder rubber compound. (see details below) It worked well as many experienced mountainbikers had tires issues out there.

Felt pretty amazing on the flat part of the run. Funny, after 25 years of competitive running, I finally learned how to run this summer. Darcy Norman in Truckee showed me some goofy exercises and a few drills to do and man, on the open road I could smell rubber burning. Free tip: No matter what your ability, technique is crucial. First perfect technique, (“perfect” is a relative term) then add fitness. You dont put a Porsche engine in a ’87 Nissan Sentra with a Hula doll on the dash. Even if it is red. (see story about my Red Rocket coming soon)

Spare a moment for countryman and portage Dan Hugo who came over from Stellenbosch to taste XTERRA in the USA. He placed 6th in Temecula and has been camping in the living room floor the last 3 weeks. His form picked up like crazy the last few weeks and I think he was poised to surprise folks- himself included. (Must be the combination of altitude training, a diet of vast amounts of potatoes and braaivleis (BBQ) and a few big sessions up in the Sierras) Just about to move into 2nd on the bike (2/3rds through) be seemingly mistook a rocky jump for smooth trail. Clipped the back wheel on the lip, rode on the front wheel for a while and then dumped it in the rocks. His cracked helmet has a stone stuck in it. Unfortunately the X rays said L scaphoid broken. (again) Ai. However the man, umm kid (still 21) is inspired and we’ll see more of him soon. DGHugo.com

Coming sunday is XTERRA Richmond Virginia – my favourite course.

Stay tuned.

Bonus material:

Swim: Ultra SpeedZoot (in picture) worn over usual 2 piece race gear which I took off after swim.

Bike: Specialized Epic Carbon full suspension. XL. 23.5lbs (No paint – saves 180g)

Suspension: Rockshox Reba fork with Poploc.

Pressure: 120psi + and 115 – Plush for a big guy.

Specialized rear shock 130psi, 13 clicks from full negative and 9 clicks from fully firm. (Gobbly gook for really plush and forgiving)


Front: Specialized Fast Trak LK S-Works 2.00 non-tubeless with 1 cup Stans at 30psi

Rear: Specialized Fast Trak LK Pro 2.00 Tubeliss with 1 cup of Stans at 30psi. (The UST Tubeliss is a heavier tire (750g vs the 450g front) but with thick side-walls. Good for snake bite resistance)


Profile Design Carbon bars with 2″ rise. No bar ends. Too many trees to hook onto!

Profile Design Lava OS stem. 120mm long, deg rise

Nutrition during race:

3x Espresso Clif shots (100mg caffeine a shot!)
750 ml water
750 ml Clif Shot Electrolyte (Apple) with 4 Saltstick sodium tablets. Plus about 16 sodium tabs in the 24hrs before the race
Once on the run – half a cup of water down the hatch and half a cup over the head at each station. 1 Espresso Clif Shot at about 3km.

After race: Clif Recovery shake. (Vanilla) And brownies. And Dairy Queen. And probably Margaritas tonight.

Official Overall Results

by: JTL Timing Systems – (808) 325-0287

Swim 0.93km
Bike 18.50km
Run 6.20km

1 Conrad Stoltz #1 (Pro) :19:55 1:03:19 :39:22 2:02:36
2 Andrew Noble #3 (Pro) :20:22 1:07:34 :38:28 2:06:24
3 Josiah Middaugh #4 (Pro) :22:15 1:07:04 :37:31 2:06:50
4 Mike Vine #2 (Pro) :21:36 1:05:47 :40:10 2:07:33
5 Craig Evans #15 (Pro) :19:26 1:06:46 :42:10 2:08:22
6 Seth Wealing #9 (Pro) :20:08 1:08:24 :40:20 2:08:52
7 Brian Smith #5 (Pro) :25:34 1:05:45 :37:45 2:09:04
8 Jamie Cleveland #14 (Pro) :20:04 1:12:44 :40:46 2:13:34
9 Cody Waite #12 (Pro) :23:24 1:08:39 :42:05 2:14:08
10 William Kelsay #11 (Pro) :24:48 1:10:29 :41:22 2:16:39




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