Richmond a June Tradition for XTERRA, Melanie McQuaid

Richmond a June Tradition for XTERRA, Melanie McQuaid

June 8th, 2012

Since she emerged on the scene in 2001 the former world cup mountain biker from Canada has been remarkably consistent, making her way to the podium every June for 11 consecutive years, including wins in 2004, 2008 and 2009 – and six runner-ups.

Richmond, VA (June 8, 2012) - What have you done every June since 2001?  Some might have a traditional summer vacation spot or a birthday celebration, but for 3x XTERRA World Champion Melanie McQuaid – it’s crushing it at the XTERRA East Championship in Richmond, Virginia.

Since she emerged on the scene in 2001 the former world cup mountain biker from Canada has been remarkably consistent, making her way to the podium every June for 11 consecutive years, including wins in 2004, 2008 and 2009 – and six runner-ups.

“I’ll tell you what, I don’t remember actually finishing all of those,” McQuaid said with a smile at the annual media day on Brown’s Island with the city skyline looming in the background.  She was referring to some of the collapses at the line she’s experienced as a result of pushing the envelope in stifling heat.

While McQuaid might not remember it, age grouper David Karasik does – in fact, it’s one of his favorite memories.  “I remember Melanie just melting after finishing in second place in 2007, and then being dragged to the medical tent, loved that.”  To be clear, he loved it because of the effort.

McQuaid’s all-in, do-or-die type of racing has endeared her to fans for more than a decade, and you only have to look back to October for the most recent example when she collapsed with the lead and a hundred yards to go at XTERRA Worlds.

McQuaid was 28 when she made her first trip to the James River, and her success in the first one may have been the spark that ignited her career in XTERRA.

“I was a swimmer in High School, ran a bit at University, and raced world cup in mountain biking for a while,” McQuaid explained when asked how she got into triathlon.  “When I didn’t make the Olympic team for mountain biking I was just going to take a year off, maybe even quit, but then I discovered I was OK at XTERRA and I could maybe improve over time and make it as a Pro in this sport, and that kept me racing.”

She was more than just OK back in 2001, proved it soon after with her first XTERRA victory at the West Championship in 2002, and has been one of the sports’ biggest stars ever since.

In the early years at the XTERRA East Champs the bike course was a lot more wild and technical, and back then McQuaid’s bike handling skills carried her.

“This was one of the more technical ones back in 2001 to 2007, and in the battles I had with Jamie Whitmore I’d get more wins if I was riding well, and carried a lead off the bike where she couldn’t catch up.  It’s less technical now, the field is stronger, and it’s just who has a better day.  Like, for me to win on Sunday, I’m going to have to have a strong bike but also not be weak on the run.”

Just like the course in Richmond, McQuaid has evolved through the years.

“I think you always have to challenge yourself and keep changing and developing.  In the past four years I moved into the half-ironman stuff because its different people to race and its making me better at XTERRA as well.  So now I’m racing more of that at the same time which makes the in-season, like right now, more challenging because I have too many events on my schedule but I think by the end of the year it will pay off to have worked my way through it and will make me stronger by the end of the year.”

While the daunting race schedule may make McQuaid, who started her season with a win at the Ironman 70.3 in Oceanside, stronger come October, it’s hard to imagine it’ll help her much on Sunday. McQuaid just came off a 5th-place finish in really tough conditions where she rode off the top for much of the bike at the Ironman 70.3 in Kona, Hawaii – and the travel from the Hawaiian Islands to the East Coast is nothing short of brutal.  To her credit, McQuaid is not offering it as an excuse.

The women’s field in 2012 is arguably the strongest it has ever been. McQuaid will be up against last year’s Richmond winner and 2010 World Champ Shonny Vanlandingham (2011), the 2010 Richmond winner and four-time XTERRA European Tour Champ Renata Bucher (2010), the reigning XTERRA and ITU Cross Tri World Champ Lesley Paterson, and the rising star from Virginia, Suzie Snyder (who was the top American at ITU Cross World and was third in Richmond a year ago).

“A dozen years on the podium” sounds sweet, and rest assured 94-degree temperatures, tired legs, and fierce competition won’t keep McQuaid from giving it everything she has on Sunday to make that statement a reality.

Watch it LIVE at xterra.luckstone.com! Luck Stone, a presenting sponsor of the XTERRA East Championship, has a comprehensive slate of coverage planned for Sunday’s pro race that starts at 8am EST.

Get ready to stack your browser windows!  On one screen they’ll bring you live video feeds from eight spots around the course. On another they’ll showcase a social media (GIS) map of the course with detailed positioning and tweets from strategically positioned spotters and finally, in a first for XTERRA, they are equipping every elite with a GPS tracking device that will allow followers to see their every movement.  The “myathletelive.com” device reports location, speed, distance, and elevation.

Fans can use any web enabled cell phone or handheld device such as an iPhone or Droid. Just go to the website xterra.luckstone.com, and follow the various links. Home viewers can do the same from their computer.  Our suggestion is to open up multiple browsers and have fun.

About Luck Stone

Luck Stone is a customer-inspired business that offers more than 30 different products such as
crushed stone, sand and gravel, topsoil and ball field mixes to the road-building, commercial and residential construction industries. A privately-held company founded in 1923 in Richmond, Va., Luck Stone is one of the largest crushed stone providers and has more than 17 construction aggregate plants in Va. and N.C. and three distribution yards in Va. To learn more about Luck Stone go to xterra.luckstone.com

About TeamUnlimited/XTERRA

TEAM Unlimited is a Hawaii-based television events and marketing company, founded in 1988. It owns and produces XTERRA and in 2011 will produce nearly 200 XTERRA off-road triathlon and trail running races in 15 countries worldwide. There are 40,000+ competitors from all 50 states and more than 40 countries competing in XTERRA. In addition, TEAM TV has produced more than 300 adventure television shows resulting in three Emmy’s and 42 Telly Awards for production excellence. View samples at xterra.tv, and learn more at xterrarichmond.com

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