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Sunday, June 27, 2004 -- Oak Hill, WV
ACE Big Canyon Off-Road Triathlon (iPO Event Id#: 6041) - A Nissan XTERRA Points Series Race
Story and photos by Jason Black

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]

Past Event Coverage: [2001] [2002] [2003]

ACE Triathlon
Love every XTERRA minute at ACE Adventure Center
ACE Adventure Center and the New River Gorge National River located in Oak Hill, West Virginia played host to one stop on the 2004 Nissan XTERRA Points Series Tour. This series for Pro and Amateur athletes consists of 44 races in eight XTERRA regions.

It's rumored to be the fastest-growing multi-sport event in the world. U.S. Amateur competitors compete in up to three events earning points toward the XTERRA Regional Championship Title. With the U.S. Title comes an invitation to compete for a National Title at the Nissan XTERRA U.S. Championship in Lake Tahoe, Nevada each September.

ACE Triathlon
Swimming down the New River
Pros compete in the U.S. National Championship Series and Global Tour for prize purses and bragging rights. The most coveted title and largest purse is offered at the World Championship.

On Sunday, June 27, ACE Adventure Center welcomed over 50 participants who made the trek there from all over the country. Swim downstream in the second oldest river in the world, run out of one of the deepest gorges in the country, mountain bike through some of the most lush forest this side of the rainforest and you have yourself one tremendous WV XTERRA triathlon.

The race began upstream of the historic Town of Thurmond the chilly, New River. Racers swam the current for 1.5 miles and navigated a small class 1 rapid. Then it was out of the water at the once famous Dun Glen Hotel, to begin the 8 mile run (climb) of 1,000 vertical feet of trails to ACE Adventure Center. It finished with a 10-mile mountain bike leg that left riders at the mercy of some pretty serious single-track.

ACE Triathlon
New WV resident Krist Mantz takes the women's top spot
With all the legs of this triathlon being held within the New River Gorge Canyon, the race was almost as unique as the gorge itself. It would be hard to select which leg the participants found the most difficult. Many participants emerged out of the river on wobbly legs. Just as many asked if they were almost there as they ran past the cameras and off into the woods. By the time racers arrived at the last leg most could barely give us a glance, but all had the same look of determination. It was truly an inspiring thing to watch.

The man who got out of the water first and never let up to hold onto the win was USAT Pro Mark Junkermann with a time of 2:29:33. From Ashland, Virginia, Mark was also the runner-up in 2003, and top winner of the King of the Hill Off-Road Triathlon, Lebanon, New Jersey. Junkermann started out from the get-go as the man to beat and he lived up to it. He was closely followed by second place finisher Daniel Evans (2:32:29), and third place finisher Matt Thompson (2:33:43).

In the women's division Kristy Mantz (2:51:03), finished first and 11th overall. Mantz is a Pro mountain biker, Pro XTERRA triathlete, coach with FSConcepts, bike shop owner, and the list goes on. In 2003 she began competing in the off-road series. Mantz finished 9th in the XTERRA World Championship at Wailea, Maui last year. When Kristy's not on the road she can be found at her and her husband's shop, Hale Dirtbean Training Facility and Bike Shop, in Marlinton, West Virginia. Elizabeth Vollmer (2:56:10), took second for the women and 14th overall while Katie Goodwin (3:19:45), finished third.

Ace Triathlon
XTERRA's Jennifer Trapp oversees Push-ups for prizes
The day ended at Ace with a free burrito lunch, free camping, fun at the Lost Paddle Lounge, raffle prizes, awards, and more. ACE has lots to offer everyone including camping, rafting trips, outdoor adventures, and more. Check out their next big sporting event, the ACE New River Bike Fest.

The next stop on the XTERRA U.S. Tour is the Lock 4 Tri-Challenge in Gallatin, Tennessee, and the Vashon Island Off-Road Triathlon at Vashon Island, Washington. Both races are on July 11, 2004.