I was privileged to witness passion, grit, fire and determination at it's finest during the recent XTERRA Off-Road Championship and Richmond Sprint in downtown RVA on June 15. It was a different world indeed, and the guys and gals who race XTERRA seem to be of a different breed. There was a fine line between torture and exhilaration, yet despite the dirt and blood and bruises, everyone seemed to come out on the other side with a smile. The only reason you do this is because you absolutely love it.
|XTERRA...here? Richmond, you continue to surprise me.|
There was such a sense of camaraderie at this race that you couldn't help but have a great time. Nerves were eased at swim start by chatting with other racers, co-miserating in the daunting task ahead. That guy breathing fire down your back on the bike course? Hey, he still shouted a few words of encouragement as he snaked by. Spectators lined the most difficult sections on the bike and run courses. Although they were throwing out more insults than cheers, it made for some good laughs and even more determination to not F-up in front of a crowd. Transition area after the race was where we exchanged stories and battle scars. Ask any XTERRA racer how their day went, and they will happily show off their wounds.
My absolute favorite part of the day was watching the Pro and Championship women rock it out. I find any and ALL female athletes to be an inspiration, but the gals who can kick it on a mountain bike? Come on, baddest chicks out there!! I watched in awe as they battled the river, easily rolled the gnarly sections of trail, and blew past me on the run like I was standing still. The top Pro female finisher, who completed more than TWICE the distance I did, was pretty darn close to the same finish time I had in a much shorter race. Wow. Inspiration to keep getting me out there day after day.
The chance to live life to the fullest. Never stop chasing what you love.