Originally, Steve's plan was to do the XTERRA at Oak Mountain State Park in Birmingham, AL. Having just recovered from that 6 hour drive to Birmingham last weekend for Bump and Grind, he decided to scrap that plan and do the race at Eureka Springs, AR instead. A shorter drive across the Ozark Plateau and marginally cooler temps tipped the scales. Plus, now he's in the running for the Arkansas Cup. Fido and I went along as support.
The swim leg is in Lake Leatherwood. The water is cool and pretty clean, but the grassy area leading up to the start was a mine field of goose droppings. I couldn't avoid stepping in it once or twice and Fido managed to get a couple piles in his mouth when I wasn't looking. I saw a racer lying down amongst the poo to do some stretches and thought for a second that I should warn him. In the end I didn't say anything. He either knew it or didn't need to know.
Steve had a great swim leg and came into T1 in 2nd place. A quick transition put him in first place on the bike leg.
The bike leg was two loops, one 5 mile and one 8 mile. After the 5 mile loop, Steve and another guy were still in the top two spots, but a couple more guys were charging fast and the 8 mile loop has two long, steep (as in granny gear) climbs and plenty of technical rocks to keep it interesting. Steve went down on some algae covered rock and bruised up his bum pretty good, but recovered and came in to T2 in 4th place, maybe 20 seconds behind 2nd and 3rd.
The first long climb of the 8 mile bike loop is also part of the run course. Steve caught and passed a guy on that climb. The fact that Steve was walking and the other guy was running gives some perspective about how steep these climbs are. Anyway, the pass stuck and Steve finished in 3rd place overall. Woo hoo!