Tobin and Weule, last years overall Nissan Xterra Point Series champions, put an end to the winning streaks of Kerry Classen and Jody Purcell, who had won three out of three races going into the Richmond event.
A record-setting, sold-out field of 300 athletes started Xterra Richmond, the only urban Xterra in the 10-stop series. The race started with a 1-kilometer swim in the James River, continued with a 26-kilometer mountain bike that crossed the river on several islands, utilizing the twisting forested trails of the James River Park and Forest Hills Park, and concluded with a 10-kilometer trail run over floodwalls, Civil War remnants, and dry river rock beds.
Throughout the day, Richmond delivered heavy humidity with temperatures rising into the high 90s. However, the weather wasnt the only thing simmering. The race was a dogfight, with a pack of pro athletes jockeying for position throughout the race.
University of Virginia swimmer Austin Ramirez set a blistering pace in the swim, emerging almost a minute ahead of second-place Kerry Classen. Ramirez was soon dropped on the bike, and he pulled out of the race.
A pack of strong riders including Tobin, Classen, Canadas Mike Vine, John Koenig, Dave Harrison, Jimmy Riccitello, Pat Brown, and Xterra World Champion Ned Overend ripped through the course. With the difficulty and the technical nature of the bike course, many riders felt it to be a cyclo-cross riders dream.
Falls and near-misses took their toll on Classen, and realizing that today was not his day, he pulled from the race. Pat Brown also pulled after two flats. Vine, with the fastest bike time of the day, hit the run transition in first place, with Tobin just under a minute and a half behind him, followed by Koenig with Harrison hot on his heels and Overend less than a minute back.
Tobin pulled ahead of Vine on the rock scramble about 2 kilometers out from the finish and took his first victory of the 2000 season in 2:10:51. Vine finished 42 seconds back. Koenig was picked off by Harrison after a steep section of climbing, known as the Mayan Ruins," and was run down by Overend at the rock scramble.
Koenig, a resident of Phoenix, thought that he would have had the hot weather advantage since he trains under the Arizona sun, but it wasnt so. Harrison finished third, Overend was fourth and Koenig, fifth. The results caused a shake-up in the mens overall standings for the series. Classen dropped from first to third, and Harrison moved up from eighth to seventh.
In the womens race, series newcomer Laurie Hug was first out of the water, a minute ahead of Kerstin Weule. Weule and 1999 Xterra Richmond champion Jody Purcell quickly moved to the front and battled back and forth for the lead.
Purcell, who had spent the week with a respiratory infection, faded in the first half of the bike but hung on to finish second behind Weule, and retained her lead in the 2000 Nissan Xterra Points Series standings. Purcell said, With the way I was feeling, my goal was to try to keep in second place and not lose any ground.
Weules winning time was 2:36:23, seven minutes ahead of Purcell. Lorraine Barrows finished third, Linda Gabor in fourth. This was Gabors best finish of the season. Jenny Tobin, posting the fastest run of the day, finished fifth.
The Xterra America Tour travels next to Rochester, Mich., on the outskirts of Detroit, on July 16 for the fifth race of the 10-race series.
June 18, 2000
|1. Michael Tobin||2:10:51||1. Kerstin Weule||2:36:23|
|2. Mike Vine||2:11:33||2. Jody Purcell||2:43:56|
|3. Dave Harrison||2:11:47||3. Lorraine Barrows||2:46:11|
|4. Ned Overend||2:13:13||4. Linda Gabor||2:48:00|
|5. John Koenig||2:13:52||5. Jenny Tobin||2:48:50|
|6. Jimmy Riccitello||2:16:09||6. Katherine Zambrana||2:51:55|
|7. Jimmy Archer||2:17:26||7. Tory Valentine||2:52:09|
|8. Mike Pigg||2:18:21||8. Sydney Meyer||3:03:12|
|9. Brian Hughes||2:19:18||9. Theresa Morningstar||3:06:26|
|10. Justin Thomas||2:22:17||10. Laurie Hug||3:20:13|