For the Fourth of July weekend, Bell’s Beer rider Jim James broke out his brand new Trek 9.8 mountain bike and headed to Richmond, Virginia for the Nissan Xterra East Championship. For those not familiar with the Xterra race format, it’s a mountain bike race sandwiched between a 1-mile swim and a 6-mile run. And for the East Championship, it’s the big show for off-road triathletes east of the Mississippi.
Historically, the competition at Richmond has been extremely high. This year was no different. There was a field of 400 racers that included several Olympians, 50 professional triathletes, numerous World and National Champions.
The promoter, Team Unlimited which is responsible for the Xterra Global tour, once again set up a great course that was challenge even the most seasoned professionals athletes. The swim was held on the James River, which required navigating the strong currents and avoiding large boulders slightly submerged below the surface. Then for the swim survivors, there was a fast and technical, 15-mile mountain bike course. For those athletes that still had energy to run, there was a technical run course that would challenge even a mountain goat. The southern hot and humid conditions just made the couse even more brutal on the atheltes' body.
The results for the Bell’s representative at the East Championship, 1st place in the men’s 40-44 age group. Jim’s overall placing was 23rd, right in the middle of the professional! Man, what a guy will do for a little free beer.
Oh, and the new bike, prefect! Jim’s bike split was a solid professional level effort!
What got Jim through the race, and so quickly…knowing that there were two ice-cold Bell’s Cherry Ales in the cooler.