Conrad Stoltz navigated the Belle Isle “Dryway” back in 2007. Credit: Conradstoltz.com
In a few minutes I’ll be heading down to Brown’s Island to watch a group of XTERRA pros face-off in a pre-race shoot-out — a kind of mini version of Sunday’s main event, only as a relay. This “shootout” is in lieu of the standard press conference.
It’s a first-of-its-kind event, where fifteen of the fastest professional XTERRA triathletes in the world will split into five, three-person relay teams to take each other on in a short swim in the James River, a mountain bike ride over the footbridge and through the pump track on Belle Isle, and a run past the murals along the Canal Walk before finishing on Brown’s Island. The fastest team should conquer the challenge in about 15 minutes.
It should be a lot of fun, and you can follow along at home, because presenting sponsor Luck Stone will outfit each racer with GPS trackers and cameras that will live stream all the action for the mini-tri. It should be a lot of fun.
Among the racers participating today will be last year’s Richmond champ Dan Hugo and Conrad Stoltz, the greatest off-road triathlete of all time. There’s a great story by South African journalist Angus Powers in Red Bull’s Magazine The Red Bulletin on the burgeoning rivalry between the prodigy (Hugo) and the “Caveman” (Stoltz). It’s a must-read for XTERRA fans and anyone who’s followed these races over their 15 years in Richmond. Great writing. Great story.