Pick up pace for 2008 season
Gunnison residents Brian and Jenny Smith are back on track for another successful summer of racing in the XTERRA off-road triathlon racing series.
While Jenny was still rehabilitating from tearing her Achilles in January, Brian opened his 2008 racing season with a third place finish at the XTERRA West Championships in Temecula, California on May 18.
Brian was the joined by his wife Jenny at the Southeast Championships in Pelham, Alabama on June 8.
Brian finished the race in sixth place among the pro men, while Jenny opened her season with a fourth-place finish among pro women, just 18 seconds out of third place.
A week later, Jenny headed to the East Championships in Richmond, Virginia on Sunday, June 15, while Brian was off to Brazil to compete in the Brazil XTERRA as an invited athlete.
Brian had a solid showing on his trip to compete in South America, finishing third. Meanwhile, Jenny carried the family name strong back in the states with a second-place finish in the pro women’s class.
The Richmond racecourse is remarkably urban and opens with an interesting swim across the James River.
“The course is crazy and the river was really shallow, so we were literally swimming over rocks,” says Jenny.
Jenny came out of the swim portion feeling solid, in 11th place among the pro women, and proceeded to do what she always does—drop the hammer on her bike.
Jenny posted the second fastest bike split of all the pro women racers to move her way up into second place as she came into the final transition, to the run with Shonny Vanlandingham hot on her heels.
Jenny soon found herself shoulder to shoulder with Vanlandingham with five kilometers left to go.
With one kilometer left in the race, Jenny made her first move but Vanlandingham stayed tight, refusing to let Jenny go.
It wasn’t until the final stretch that Jenny managed to pull away just enough for the second-place finish by six seconds.
“The last five kilometers was full on,” says Jenny. “With about 800 meters to go I put on one last surge. It was really tight.”
While Jenny and Vanlandingham are quite familiar with eachother from years of competing, Jenny sees a whole new field of competition, chasing down the usual suspects of winners.
“There’s a whole influx of new people, so it’s really competitive,” says Jenny.
Most important, Jenny’s Achilles tendon seems to feel good after two weekends in a row of racing.
“I’m really psyched with how I’m feeling,” says Jenny. “To do back-to-back races was a test and I think I’m past it.”
Both Jenny and Brian will spend July doing their other hobby, professional mountain bike racing, and will return to the XTERRA circuit for the Crested Butte Bank XTERRA on Sunday, July 27.
Their next regional championship XTERRA race will be the Mountain Championships in Ogden, Utah Saturday, August 16.