TEAM OAM NOW Triathletes Win Big in the Dirt

July 29th, 2014 by Team OAM NOW / Athletic Mentors

When you hear the word triathlete, dirt is not generally in the same headline.  This weekend five TEAM OAM NOW triathlon team members went off-road to show they are not afraid of rocks, roots, and sand. Not only did they prove they’re not afraid,but they brought home home overall wins as well.
XTERRA is the off-road version of triathlon that follows the swim-bike-run format of a triathlon, but swaps the road for trails in the bike and run portions of the race. XTERRA Ionia, was held this past weekend at the Ionia State Recreation Area. The 800 meter swim was in the cool, spring-fed Sessions Lake and was followed by a 13 mile mountain bike and 5 kilometer trail run.
This was an inaugural event and, with the exception of one misinformed volunteer directing riders down the wrong trail, was a well-run race. Roxane Kippen, resident XTERRA expert, was in the hunt for the overall title and started out 4th woman out of the water and quickly made up the gap to 2nd and 3rd place with a fast transition and quick start on the bike course. At the first major turn on the course, there was a volunteer directing riders to go straight, when the course markings indicated a right turn. Roxane and the riders behind her knew the course went right and followed the marked trail. Knowing there was a very strong mountain biker and a very strong runner still behind her, she pushed the entire bike leg to maintain the gap through the run. XTERRA Ionia Group_croppedShe was able to hold off the other ladies and posted the fastest bike split of the day and finished first overall for the women. (The racers who went the wrong way on the bike course were assessed a time penalty as the misdirection resulted in them completing only half of the bike course.)

Triathlon team member Mike Steele and Elite Club team member Bob Schultz were competing in their first off-road triathlon. The week before the race, the team pre-rode the course to be sure they were familiar with all the twists and turns and the course itself. USA Triathlon rules state it is the athlete’s responsibility to know the course, and the recon ride proved extremely helpful given the unreliable direction from the course marshal. Mike got his crashes out of the way before the race, and successfully kept the rubber side down, finishing 5th in his age group. Bob also maneuvered well through the tight single track and finished 2nd in his age group, behind a current XTERRA regional age group champion.
TEAM OAM NOW also hit the dirt at the Big M Challenge, a cross-country mountain bike race held in Wellston, MI. Triathlon team members Alex Vanias and Kaitlyn Patterson both won the overall in the Elite men’s and women’s races.

Big M Challenge Men's Podium

Big M Challenge Men’s Podium

Alex took the win at the line after battling some of the top mountain bike racers in the state. Kaitlyn had the finish line all to herself, posting the fastest time for the ladies, which was over five minutes faster than the 2nd place finisher.


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