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XTERRA USA Championship Preview

Pre-race Video and Picture links.

Here what some of the top contenders are saying before the race, see some of the images from around the course, and be sure to have a look at the footage Conrad Stoltz captured with his GoPro camera mounted to his handlebars on the bike course this week…

2010 XTERRA USA Championship Show
Conrad Stoltz clips from the course, Part I (scenics)
Conrad Stoltz clips from the course, Part II (downhill)
Conrad Stoltz Pre-Race Interview
Shonny Vanlandingham Pre-Race Interview
Tim DeBoom Pre-Race Interview
Lesley Paterson Pre-Race Interview
Cindi Toepel Pre-Race Interview
Christine Jeffrey Pre-Race Interview
Pictures from the course

Some Of The Weekend’s Other Stories

While Lance Armstrong and the pro races are grabbing the majority of the headlines this week, there are literally hundreds of amazing stories to tell from this year’s field.  Here’s just a couple..

XTERRA great Jamie Whitmore makes a heroic return from cancer, and will compete in Saturday’s XTERRA Utah short course race. When Whitmore won the 2007 XTERRA USA Championship for the fifth time in her career it marked her 37th championship win.  At the time, it looked like 50, even 100 wins wouldn’t be out of the question. Then came cancer, and her focus turned from winning races to fighting for her life.  Thank goodness “J-Dawg” is as tough as they come and she not only survived, but thrived.  Whitmore now fills her days exercising, playing with her adorable twin boys – Ryder and Christian – and coaching others how to excel in their own careers.  While her days as an elite may have come to an end, her life as an athlete never will.  In fact, Whitmore’s athletic career got a new bill of health this year in the form of a brace that will allow her to ride her bike again.

“I have no glute, no hamstring, no calf and cannot move or feel my foot at all.  The only thing functioning on my left leg is my quad,” explained Whitmore.  “So this brace I’m going to get is really exciting stuff.  It’s the same brace Craig Vogtsberger uses when he races, and should be stiff enough for me to start riding the bike and not have my foot flop while I pedal. I am also having custom orthotics made to help with stability.”

– There are a trio of young deaf competitors – John Klish, Taylor Seavey, and Jessica D’Amato – who are competing at the highest level in the USA Championship race.  Klish is one of the favorites in the overall amateur race and Seavey is one of the sports brightest young stars.  Led by Klish, this trio has an ambitious plan to start an organization designed to increase deaf participation in events that will ultimately lead to a better quality of life for deaf individuals.

– “One-arm” Willie Stewart returns to XTERRA.  Steward dominated the challenged athletes division at XTERRA for years, and now brings his contagious smile and sense of humor – along with that super cool prosthetic arm that allows him to ride a bike – to Utah.  Other challenged athletes are also on the start list, including legally blind racer Michael Stone who returns to defend his title with the help of his friend and guide Jared Berg.  Craig Vogtsberger, who won the 2009 Physically Challenged XTERRA USA title, is also back.