Suunto's Conrad Stoltz has done it again. He tore it up this past weekend at the XTERRA USA Championships winning the race by finishing a full five minutes ahead of the second place finisher, Nicolas Lebrun. Stoltz finished the 1-mile swim, 19-mile mountain bike ride, and 6.5 mile trail run in 2:24:03. Stoltz has won the six-stop XTERRA U.S. Pro Series for the eighth time since 2001.
“I’m really, really surprised with my performance today,” said Stoltz. “I’ve said before that this is the anti-Conrad course because there are 3,000-feet of climbing and not a whole lot of descending, and because I’m 180 pounds it is especially challenging for me, but my legs felt amazing and the Specialized 29’er I was riding was incredible, it just rolled over all the roots and rocks.”
Stoltz’ five-minute margin of victory was by far the most dominating performance in the history of the XTERRA USA Championship race, and his prowess on the mountain bike turned it into a race for second place early on.
It all started with Stoltz one minute behind the swim leaders; amateur Patrick Valentine, and pros Seth Wealing, Branden Rakita, and Dan Hugo. Stoltz not only got that minute back, but put another minute on the field by mile four after the first big climb up Wheeler Canyon. By mile eight he led by three minutes and was absolutely flying when he passed a collection of journalists tracking the race.
When the bike course reached Snowbasin Resort at roughly mile 13 his lead was more than four minutes, and he went into the bike-to-run transition five minutes, 20 seconds up.
“I was really worried about the two mountain men, Josiah Middaugh and Nico Lebrun, because they are such great climbers and had no idea I had such a big lead until I got on the run. When I heard about the gap I was really able to enjoy this run, and savor the beauty of the course,” said Stoltz, who even had the chance to stop and kiss his girlfriend a half-mile before the finish line.
Conrad is the overall point leader in the U.S. for XTERRA this year. For more information on Conrad visit his website here. For more on XTERRA visit their website here.