Kerstin Weule victorious in Xterra World Championship

Jody Purcell  Credit: Robert Oliver
Chance plays a big role in deciding outcomes in the Xterra World Championship. Two years ago, Michael Tobin probably would have won the race, but a flat tire helped Ned Overend claim an upset victory. This year, the roles were reversed: Overend came in as the two-time and defending champion, but suffered a flat tire on Sunday that helped Tobin to victory.

In this years womens race, Wendy Ingraham was considered a shoo-in to win the Hawaiian Airlines Double for the lowest combined Hawaii Ironman and Xterra finishing times, but she was stung by a bee during the bike leg and was unable to finish. Beth Zinkand took advantage of Wingnuts misfortune to make herself $1,000 richer.

Chance also played a role in deciding Sundays womens World Championship and Points Series outcomes. The defending champion, Jody Purcell, fell victim to a flat tire and two broken chains within one measly 30K mountain bike leg, clearing the way for a victory by Kerstin Weule, who holds the record for the most career Xterra victories. The fact that Purcell still managed to climb back into third place before melting down within sight of the finish and ultimately crossing the line in sixth place indicates that she would have stood an excellent chance of winning had she only had an incident-free ride.

This is to take nothing away from Weule, who won the race deservedly with a gutsy come-from-behind performance and had a flat tire of her own to deal with. Indeed, Purcells woes hardly turned the race into a laugher for Weule, as the expected showdown between Weule and Purcell who were tied for this years Points Series lead coming into the World Championship - turned instead into a battle between Weule and unheralded Melanie McQuaid.

McQuaid turned in the fastest bike split of the day to mount a four-minute lead on Weule entering the second transition. Weule pushed hard on the run and chipped away at Purcells advantage throughout the insanely difficult seven-mile run segment. As the two leaders came into view of the finish on Salt n Pepper Beach, Weule passed McQuaid and surged into the lead.

Once passed, McQuaid entered a pretty severe bonk, and it appeared that Tori Valentine might catch her, too. But then Valentine fell apart to the point where she actually fell down and was carried off the course allowing the spent McQuaid to cross the finish line in second place.

Purcell was the next woman to appear on the beach, but as she tired, Uli Blank, Karen Masson, and Jenny Tobin passed her in quick succession to finish third through fifth, respectively.

With the win, Weule claimed the Xterra America Tour Points Series title.

Points series final standings

1. Kerstin Weule 890
2. Jody Purcell 810
3. Lorraine Barrows 688

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