Mr. and Mrs. Smith return to season of triathlon competition

Looking to bust into top five

Gunnison residents Jenny and Brian Smith are back at it again. The Smiths have transitioned into another season of off-road triathlon racing and have two Xterra races already under their belts, with more on the horizon.
It’s been game on from day one as both the women’s and men’s fields have improved dramatically over years past.
“The level of competition has gone up dramatically,” says Brian. “Each one of these races is like a Worlds event. It’s insanity.”
For the past couple of summers, the Smiths have battled with the Gunnison Valley elements and lack of pool time in an effort to get ready for the opening races of the Xterra circuit in May.
According to Jenny, she now has a new plan. Rather than continue to bounce back and forth between the professional mountain bike race circuit and the Xterra races, she’s concentrating on the Xterra races and the subsequent training.
“I’m more focused on trying to round myself out as a triathlon athlete,” says Jenny. “More swimming and running.”
In addition, she’s decided to use the Xterra season as a gradual build-up to make sure she peaks at just the right moment.
“I just want to improve as my season goes on and be at my best shape at Nationals and Worlds,” says Jenny.
Two races into the 2009 season, Jenny appears to be on target.
She opened with an eighth-place finish at the Western Regional Cup Championship at Lake Las Vegas, Nev. on May 2 and then took fifth place at the Xterra Midwest Cup in Michigan on Sunday, May 17.
“In Vegas I was like ‘Holy cow, everyone’s going fast,’” says Jenny. “I felt better in Michigan. I was a lot closer to the leader. I’m seeing progression already, which is encouraging.”
Jenny is now headed to Alabama this weekend to race in the Xterra Southeast Cup on Saturday, May 23.
Brian is coming off a frantic and successful winter season of competition and opened his summer race season feeling strong from his winter activities.
“Considering where I usually am this time of year, I’m right on track,” says Brian.
A stomach bug plagued Brian at the Las Vegas event but he fought through to finish in eighth place.
Brian improved upon his Vegas performance with a seventh-place finish last weekend in Michigan, including posting top-five splits on the bike and run portions of the race.
“Just another half-step better,” says Brian.
Brian returns to the Gunnison Valley to race in the Sage Burner and the half Growler before returning to the road for an intense month of racing.
After competing at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Brian heads off to the East Coast to join Jenny and compete at the Xterra Atlantic Cup in Richmond, Va., where he hopes to break onto the podium.
“My goal in Richmond is top five,” says Brian.

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