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Race Preview: Xterra Mountain Championship

The Xterra Mountain Championship takes place this Saturday at Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, the last of six regionals in the Xterra America Tour. Up for grabs: $10,500 in prize money for pros and 41 amateur qualifying spots into October’s Xterra World Championship in Maui.

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The tranquil silence of the Colorado Rockies is about to be shattered by the sounds of off-road triathletes grinding up and screaming down its steep mountaintops. The Xterra Mountain Championship takes place this Saturday at Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, the last of six regionals in the Xterra America Tour. Up for grabs: $10,500 in prize money for pros and 41 amateur qualifying spots into October’s Xterra World Championship in Maui.

Lebrun is the defending champion. Photo: XTERRA

French pro Nico Lebrun, two-time defending champ at Beaver Creek, will return to defend his title one week after racing Xterra France, where he finished second. He’ll face opposition in a cadre of Colorado-based pros, including Josiah Middaugh (the hometown favorite), Branden Rakita, Cody Waite and Seth Wealing.

On the women’s side, Shonny Vanlandingham also returns to defend her title. The NORBA mountain biking star has won this race the past three years and is the one to beat. Canadian pro and three-time Xterra world champion Melanie McQuaid will provide her fiercest competition, and will be racing for the first time at Beaver Creek. McQuaid will tackle an ambitious double this weekend, racing Xterra on Saturday before flying to Northern California to race Vineman on Sunday. Other pro women to watch include 2010 runner-up Sara Tarkington and Christine Jeffrey.

Pro List:

Men
Rank – Name – Age, Hometown

2 – Branden Rakita – 30, Manitou Springs, Colorado
3 – Josiah Middaugh – 32, Vail, Colorado
5 – Nicolas Lebrun -38, Digne, France
7 – Cody Waite – 32, Lakewood, Colorado
8 – Seth Wealing – 32, Boulder, Colorado
9 – Trevor Glavin – 31, San Diego, California
10 - Shiloh Mielke – 31, Durango, Colorado
11 – Chris Stehula – 26, San Luis Obispo, California
12 – Adam Wirth – 33, Boise, Idaho
13 – Jason Michalak – 33, Lakewood, Colorado
15 – Patrick Valentine – 25, Colorado Springs, Colorado
16 – Damian Gonzalez – 34, Stockton, California
17 – Brad Zoller – 33, Avon, Colorado
18 – Matt Boobar – 38, Stratton Mountain, Vermont
20 – Brian Smith – 35, Gunnison, Colorado
23 – Will Kelsay – 29, Boulder, Colorado
NR – Christopher Vander Linden – 26, Ankeny, Iowa

Women
Rank – Name – Age, Hometown

1 – Melanie McQuaid – 38, Victoria, B.C., Canada
2 – Shonny Vanlandingham – 41, Durango, Colorado
3 – Christine Jeffrey – 38, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
4 – Suzie Snyder – 29, Fredericksburg, Virginia
6 – Emma Garrard – 30, Park City, Utah
7 – Caroline Colonna – 46, Taos, New Mexico
9 – Tracy Thelen – 31, Colorado Springs, Colorado
11 – Kelley Cullen – 30, New Castle, Colorado
13 – Jaime Brede – 33, Breckenridge, Colorado
NR – Luisa Bryce – 29, Denver, Colorado
NR - Jessica D’Amato – 32, Boulder, Colorado
NR – Sara Tarkington – 30, Boulder, Colorado