PC:Jesse Peters/XTERRA

Making her second appearance of the XTERRA Pan American series this year, Lesley Paterson made up for a less than ideal swim with a dominant bike-run combo to win the XTERRA Pan American Championship race in Snowbasin, Utah last Saturday.

A 3-time XTERRA World Champion in 2011, 2012 and 2018 and 2-time ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion in 2012 and 2018, Paterson’s early season didn’t go as planned, she explained “After finishing my early season races with some disappointing form, my goal was to go back to basics. Tons of strength work, lots of manipulative therapies to get my hips and feet back in alignment, and hours of treadmill running at 15% grade! For the first time for this race, I also spent a full 6 weeks at altitude (Boulder, CO, then Park City, UT) to make sure I was as ready as I could be!”

The overall race series leader, Samantha Kingsford, led out of the water and was followed by Fabiola Corona, Suzie Snyder, Julie Baker, legendary long-course road triathlete Heather Wurtele, with Paterson in 6th 2:20 off the leader’s pace. Though she hadn’t raced in four months, Paterson was very disappointed in her swim, admitting “I was a full 1-minute down from where I should have been – a few too many cobwebs on the aggressive start and pacing strategy!”

PC:Jesse Peters/XTERRA

Using her knowledge of the course and patience, Paterson was able to work her way back once onto the bike. “I knew the bike was going to be a slog, and after racing this course for 10 years, I know that the final 8 miles (the climb and descent of Sardine Peak) is where the race can be won and lost, so I held back a little on the first half (I was down 3:16s on the leader at that point). At mile 10 of the bike, I started cramming EFS to hold my legs through a big effort on the last climb, and it worked. I came into T2, 2:35 down on the leader, Sam Kingsford, but knew that I brought myself within reach.”

Paterson is known to cause a lot of damage on the run; to close the door on Kingsford, Paterson put in a huge performance, almost 3-minutes quicker that Maia Ignatz’ second best run and more importantly, 4:15 better than Kingsford. Paterson commented “I was really happy with my run. I caught Sam about halfway through and then gave it everything to keep the gap.” Keeping the gas on all the way to the finish line, Paterson burst through the tape in a time of 2:55:10 to be crowned the 2019 XTERRA Pan American Champ. Exuberant about the result, Paterson remarked “I finished with the 2nd fastest bike split and race best run, and took the win, so I’m happy!”

“I emptied the tank, despite having a crappy swim and a so-so first half of the bike. The race was a fantastic reminder to me that you don’t have to feel great to have a great race!”

PC: Jesse Peters/XTERRA

With the XTERRA World Championships a ways out on October 27th, Paterson said “It’s all about speed work from here on out. My entire season is built around the World Championships in Maui. The next six weeks are all about transitioning from strength and endurance into SPEED at sea level. I’m now sleeping in my altitude tent in San Diego through to Worlds and I don’t generally race again but I load up on fast group workouts with bikers, one-on-one sessions with my swim coach, and lots of fast runs on the treadmill and track. This seems to work wonders to find that extra 10% I will need if I’m going to have a chance of winning the World Championships!”

XTERRA Pan American Championships
Snowbasin, UT
September 7, 2019

1 Lesley Paterson 2:55:10
2 Samantha Kingsford 2:56:48
3 Fabiola Corona 3:04:03
4 Julie Baker 3:04:32
5 Suzie Snyder 3:05:05
6 Maia Ignatz 3:05:20
7 Heather Wurtele 3:07:48
8 Kara LaPoint 3:09:21
9 Jennifer Smith 3:15:49
10 Marta Menditto 3:17:26