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Finish Line Isn’t End for Local Xterra Athletes

Bashton was one of several local athletes whose portraits and interviews were featured in Style several days before the race, held in Richmond for the sixth year in and around Brown’s Island, the James River, Belle Isle and Forest Hill Park.

The rough-and-tumble triathlon is part of the Xterra USA Championship Tour, which features the USA Championships Sept. 26 in Lake Tahoe, Nev., and culminates Oct. 24 at the World Championships in Wailea, Hawaii.

Kirk Williams, who at 17 was the youngest local competitor, is heading for Tahoe, he says. The Ashland native, whose specialty is biking, placed third in his division and 113th out of the day’s 388 racers.

Crossing the finish line, he says, “was a relief, for sure.” But he couldn’t tell how he fared against the competitors in his age division. “I knew I rocked the bike,” he says, “but I was pretty sure they passed me running — I couldn’t tell.”

On the other end of the age spectrum, 56-year-old Tom Doyle says he exceeded his expectations, placing second in the 55- to 59-year-old men’s division — just behind last year’s Xterra world champion, Kent Robison.

Doyle was just getting over a back injury before the race. He also had another obstacle during the mountain bike race: a rock. “I’d just plain gotten tired,” he says, “and smashed the front end into a rock when I should have lifted the front end over the rock. But sometimes the eyesight and the body don’t coordinate when you’re tired.”

Bashton, who competed with her mom and sister, is rehabbing for her next race. But whatever race it is, Xterra remains her favorite. “All of Richmond’s out there,” she says, “and just gung-ho for what we do.” — Jason Roop

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