XTERRA Midwest. Battle Creek, Michigan


Winning smile & story time. During a week like this, so many things happen, its impossible to keep track of it all. I’ll try to give some perspective here.

My new race kit is officially here.  It arrived from Hong Kong on Friday. My mate Gary Mandy hooked me up sweet with LUMA kit. I have a white kit, a black one and a red one (pictured) to chose from. And cycling gear

X mas came early!


1 ) Conrad Stoltz 2:03:16
2 ) Mike Vine 2:04:13
3 ) Josiah Middaugh 2:04:27
4 ) Dan Hugo 2:05:27
5 ) Nico Lebrun 2:06:00
6 ) Seth Wealing 2:06:31
7 ) Brian Smith 2:08:20
8 ) Branden Rakita 2:10:10
9 ) Craig Evans 2:10:20
10 ) Ryan Decook 2:13:09


1 ) Melanie McQuaid 2:20:26
2 ) Renata Bucher 2:23:23
3 ) Christine Jeffrey 2:24:21
4 ) Shonny Vanlandingham 2:25:05
5 ) Jenny Smith 2:26:29
6 ) Jari Kirkland 2:38:08
7 ) Emma Garrard 2:42:42
8 ) Alexandra Borrelly 2:43:17
9 ) Erin Kummer 2:46:13


AND a flashy windbreaker! Steve’s Bessonny’s son will be fast one day.


This bike course is nothing but forest, its flat as a pancake, the terrain is as smooth as a babies’ bottom but its really twisty. At first I thought the course was really easy, but if you average 20mi/h, with all those turns, it gets quite busy. A few top men crashed- hitting trees,(Josiah) slipping in corners (Josiah) or endo-ing (Seth, Mike and JOSIAH!) in one of the 4 deep river crossings. So it wasnt that easy after all. The forest is huge and really dense. Part of the course went through some old trenches the military used for training for WWII.

When I saw the trail surface (the whole 30km course had 2 rocks and 3 roots) I hurriedly called Specialized and asked to send me some Specialized Renegades. The 1st time I saw these tires I called them the “Condoms”. Few knobs, thin rubber, short lifespan. Its a 340g tire and it rolls exceptionally well. I had the bomb proof Caveman proof 600g tires which isnt known for its rolling. Its known for it Cavemanproofness.

Bobby Behan, the Specialized Factory Team manager somehow got wind of my request and my phone went nuts. 1st a text that said “NO!” “Call me”, then some more threats and but the time I finally got to argue my case, I knew I was fighting a losing battle. I’d say “Bobby, this course is safe, (punctures) I need the fast tires” and he would say “Ride what you have. Just pedal harder you can win on any tires, as long as there is air in them!” Not much sympathy.


War stories in Afrikaans with Dan Hugo, then French with Nico Lebrun…

Dan had a great bike up to about 10k – always just a few turns behind me. Then he lost a contact lens on the forest floor. He chucked his glasses to a spectator, picked up the lens in a flash, popped it in and was off in 30 seconds! Impressive stuff. Dan, I think you should leave the 4th discipline- XTERRA is hard enough as it is – get some RX glasses.


Jim and Cathy- my home stay

Home stays are always great. “Birds of a feather flock together” I learnt in primary school English. Battle Creek home stays are even better than most. Ok, my home stay doesnt have the massage chair like Melanie, Jim and Renatas’ but this morning at 5.30 I had some pretty spectacular pancakes with whole oats, milled grain and an egg. And real maple syrup. Probably the 1st appetizing early race morning breakfast I’ve ever had.

The night before the race I notice there is a pretty big hole in my Profile Design wetsuit, Cathy had a sewing kit and Jim Superglue. I’m very handy with a needle and thread. (when I was a rabid tri geek I used to sew my numbers to my singlet) Superglue sealed it all up nicely.

Thursday was press day, we met at Team Active bike shop- where EVERYTHING in Battle Creek happens – for  TV interview.


Jabber jabber jabber


On the 2nd floor, the bike shop had a test track with all kinds of obstacles and 3 of us fit on the Big Dummy- a bike designed to carry 400lbs load- and re raced it around the test track. Laughing our heads off. Ok, there was some fine micro brew beer involved.  We even rode over the teeter totter. Really, its on TV. Guess who was the fastest driver?


The Big Dummy. Its also the bikes name.


Jim McConnell and Mike form Team Active Bike shop with a pic of Jim surfing a waterfall at XTERRA Saipan.


Early Friday morning Carol Hart from Balega socks and I had breakfast with the Kalamazoo Gazelles Tri team. Most of them has never done a triathlon before, so it was really nice to be able to help motivate people to get out there and take that 1st step towards addiction.  I dont see myself as a motivational speaker at all, so I just told stories with snippets of handy info instead.  We gave out Balega socks and signed posters and I went home, napped 3 hr, watched 3 movies. In fact I didnt leave the house again that day. My home stay is a movie buff and has 100s of DVDs. They couldnt believe I havent seen The Wizard of Oz yet. My “life wouldnt be complete.” So I finally leanrt why Amber calls me “Munchkin” and why flying monkys scare kids. And why those red shoes are to be clicked 3 times. The best of the whole movie was when Scarecrow had “the stuffing kicked out of him.”

Amelie is one of my favourite movies, so Delicatessen, by the same director was great. The last movie was “the Fastest Indian in the World.” Dan, thanks for the recommendation, that “dirty old man” sure is some inspiration.  Going 200mi/h on a 1920 motorbike in 1967 (still a record) He completely re engineered the bike, like souping it up with pistons cast in sand. Mowing the lawn with gasoline was classic too.


The new Specialized Trivent triathlon shoe and the Avia Avi Bolt. The run course was smooth a babys’ bottom too, so I went with the fastest shoe we have. Also quite a flashy shoe.  The Stuffitts, are drying the shoes (and making them smell like Cedar) for tomorrows flight.


Will Kelsay, very professionally set up his bike- shoes already clipped in. They are nicely balanced with elastics- ready for quick entry- and he even has baby powder inside to keep his tootsies dry. He is quite a funny guy, (REALLY) but I would give my front teeth to see him fit his left foot in his right shoe…


Of course we couldnt let him hang, (we thought about it!) so told him about the shoes and here is the typical Will grin!

Will drove his van from Colorado, (3 days away) and rents the space in the back. He can fit 10 bikes in there and the transport of a bike will cost you $30. -As opposed to the $125 the airlines rape you with. He is leaving for Alabama Monday, if you’re interested…


ZippyEric 18-05-2009, 23:07

Congrats on another win! Do your TriVents have tread on the bottom in case you have to hike a bit or do they have the slick sole like off the shelf? I’d like to have a single-strap MTB shoe for Xterra, but no one makes one 🙁


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