(Cameron Park) – Waco, Texas, 23rd May 2010 – The inaugural XTERRA South Central Championship pro titles went to 36 year old Conrad Stoltz from Stellenbosch, South Africa and to 32 year old from Lucerne, Switzeland, Renata Bucher. Despite the blazing hot sun, the two proved to be worthy athletes.
Stoltz proved that he could ride like a Rodeo rider by expertly negotiating the twisty-turn tree lined bike course with ease. No one on the XTERRA Planet expected that Stoltz could “Cowboy Up”. He walked the finish line at 2:02:21 wearing a cowboy hat. He was more than three minutes ahead of second placer, Josiah Midduagh of Vail, Colorado.
Stoltz clocked the 15 mile bike course at 1:05:26, about two minutes faster than Middaugh. “I had fresh legs today and just killing it on the bike. I love this course, and when I came off the bike and someone said I had a four minute lead I thought to myself maybe we should move the XTERRA World Championship to Waco,” the grinning Stoltz said as he waved the local crowd at the finish line.
The race jumped off with Christine “Big Fish” Jeffrey on the lead. She was first out of the 1.5 kilometer warm water swim race in the Brazos River with Branden Rakita, Craig Evans and Stoltz tailing her.
Not for long however, Stoltz took the lead on the bike and further widening the distance from the rest. Two minutes behind Stoltz on the swim were Middaugh and Nico Lebrun catching up with Rakita. About halfway point of the bike to run transition, they caught a glimpse of Evans.
Middaugh said, “Nico and I stayed together on the bike and I thought we were doing well and making time but Conrad was actually putting time on us.” When asked how distant he was behind Stoltz out onto the run, he answered, “I don’t know, half a day?” He thought it ridiculous he was just behind four minutes. “I guess if he would’ve stopped and had some barbeque maybe I’d have had a chance,” he said.
Middaugh had the fastest run split on two straight races and took the climbs harder after playing cat and mouse with Lebrun on the run. Lebrun said, “Josiah was just too fast for me, he was really strong. I sat on his legs during the swim, rode behind him most of the bike, and then he dropped me on the run. He continued, “ He’s really strong, but in this kind of race nobody can beat Conrad. He’s on another planet on this kind of bike course.”
Stoltz acknowledged a lot of gratitude to the crowd who cheered him “like a rockstar” as Ian Moore of Bicycles Outback did the fine tuning of his ride in Waco on the eve of the race. In fourth place was Evans. On the fifth spot was Ryan DeCook, his career’s first win.
Passing off Melanie McQuaid, was the Swiss Miss of XTERRA, Renata Bucher on the bike and sprinted away on the run at 2:17:59 winning time, more than two minutes ahead of Shonny Vanlandingham of Arlington, Texas.
“It was just a perfect day” declared the four time XTERRA European Tour Champ, Bucher. She had her second win here in the US, with 22 career wins in her name. She was out of the water four minutes after Jeffrey and two minutes, 20 seconds after Melanie who was about a minute and thirty seconds ahead of Shonny.
McQuaid passed Jeffrey early and took the lead of the bike race before reaching the new 50 foot long wooden bridge connecting a culvert tunnel over a muddy creek and turned onto the Waco Bicycle club built single track a week ago prior this race.
Bucher said, “This course was so much fun. It’s like a long dance, up and down and up and down. You need both hands all the time because there are so many turns, and there is never a long flat section where you can catch your breath, so there’s no time rest,” she added, “So it was nice to come to the finish line and see that nobody was there.”
McQuaid took the third place and Emma Garrard on fourth, followed by Jeffrey on the Fifth place. Shae Rainer of Austin, Texas was in 6th place in her first XTERRA race ever and finishing 7th was Christie Sym of Australia.