Steve Larsen 1970-2009

A great competitor, father, husband and human being.  He’ll be missed by many.


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Gittinitdun in Alabama To Make it Threeferthree

I picked up a new mantra while I was in Alabama: “If I got it…they’re gonna get it!”.  Love that, thanks Dianne!

The race in Alabama went almost as close to perfectly as I could ask for.  The second half of the bike course my shifter cables gave up due to an overload of wet conditions and sand but really, it was an inconvenience causing me a few seconds and some grief rather than any meaningful problems.  I put together the fastest swim by two minutes (thanks to Christine Jeffrey’s absence), the fastest bike by a minute to give myself a solid lead off the bike.  I then used my lead to gingerly tiptoe down the sketchy downhills on the run course enroute to winning the Southeast Cup Race in Pelham, Alabama this week (solidly outsplit by second place Lesley Paterson on the run, not surprising). 

I put together a race that Steve Larsen would approve of with Conrad and I winning our races with the fastest bike splits.  I had a good swim, threw the smackdown on the bike on the Maxxis Larsen TT outsplitting the next fastest athlete on the bike by a minute and then ran it in.  With heavy hearts we had a moment of silence before the start for this incredible athlete who at 39 years old is gone far too soon.  Steve, the sport of XTERRA and all of us who hope to be as influential and gracious as you were will miss you a lot.

This is my third win in three starts this year… not a bad opener?  The podium included Lesley Paterson in second, followed by Renata Bucher, Shonny V and podium newcomer, Emma Garrard who is a newbie pro rocketing up the ranks.  Read on for more….

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Happy Birthday To Me – A Win In Michigan

I bet when I told a bunch of people I was travelling to Battle Creek they were probably thinking at that point my job sounded like work.  I admit, I may have felt the same.  Battle Creek is not like Maui, Lake Tahoe, or Snowbasin with resort cache and cosmopolitan coolness when you think of visiting.  However, now that I have been to this cool little town (home of Kellogg’s) it is definitely tops on my list of “welcoming” races.  First the course was great:  warm water swim (in a wetsuit), twisty, technical (at 20mph) singletrack for the bike course and the run, topped off by the warmest, friendliest, most helpful, welcoming and outstanding locals EVER!  The people here are amazing.  On behalf of myself and I am sure the ENTIRE pro field (between the Team Active folks and Erin Kummer this venue managed to homestay all of the pros!) THANK YOU THANK YOU for such a wonderful race experience.

Special thank you notes go to Steve Bessonny, his wife April and two kids Madison and Alec for hosting Jim, Renata and I.   They couldn’t have been more fun.  The unlimited Kashi treats were a nice added bonus, mmmm!  We really had fun during our stay and yes, you guys are in the running for the Homestay of the Century award.  I have some amazing friends around the world that started as homestay families and I really hope Steve and April won’t mind being added to my list!  I think a bike trip is in our future.  Thanks to the Team Active bike store for the mechanical tweaks, to Mark McCullough for chiropractic tweaks, to Mike Wood for the swim hookup, to Jim and Joyce for putting on a super fun race and to XTERRA for bringing us to Kellogg country.  Obviously Steve’s place was the hot place to be given Renata and I went one-two in the women’s event!

Yes, the race went well.  I won the event with the second fastest swim, the second fastest bike and the second fastest run.  The bike and run I was less than 10 seconds off the fastest times but I was smoked by Christine Jeffrey in the swim.  Always work to be done!  In the end I had a three minute gap to Renata Bucher who outran Christine, who outran Shonny who outran Jenny coming out of T2.  Exciting racing in the women’s event!   Oh yeah and it was my birthday so I got all I wanted.. a win!  It was looking pretty dismal for me on Monday so I am very pleased with my performance this time out.  Read on for the story…

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Quick Q and A with Kelly at Zappos

Did you know that Conrad flashed Anke?

Or that Melanie worked as a secretary before becoming an athlete?

Kelly asked some fun questions of Conrad and I in the “backwoods cabin” boardroom at Zappos.  Enjoy the quick vid.


Highlights from Las Vegas

Below is a highlight video from the US Cup in Las Vegas.  You can get a feel for the landscape of the race.  This video is helping me to remember what I need to do for the coming race.  Enjoy!



Mel’s Visit to Red Rocks Canyon and Zappos HQ

Anyone who knows me personally has had a peek into the “other” side of Mel.  The side that likes wearing dresses, makeup and really high heeled shoes that I actually am incapable of walking in for more than an hour, requiring frequent shoe rest breaks during an evening.   It is a side of me that is almost 180 degrees removed from this version of myself that won the XTERRA US Cup last weekend in Vegas:

The harder core version of mel, trying to stay ahead of that dude behind me…

I believe in balance.  I like to balance the aggressive, confident, focused version of myself with a softer, more feminine and more creative side.   That side of me wears dresses, gardens, collects hundreds of bottles of great wine and cooks dinners requiring three days of preparation.  Therefore, I have had a personal relationship with already.  Zappos started as during the dot com boom in the nineties and since then has since rung up a BILLION dollars in sales while branching into outdoor gear, clothing, watches and all sorts of other cool stuff. 

The newest project at Zappos is the new website where you can focus your online shopping for the AVI-Stoltz and AVI-Bolt in a one stop shop.  Conrad and I were invited to come to a Zappos open house for their running brands, take a tour of the facilities and visit with some of the uber-cool, super young and hip staff that work there.  Thank you to all of our hosts, especially to Kelly, for your wonderful hospitality.

Ed welcoming a happy Zappos employee…


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XTERRA West Cup Lake Las Vegas 2009 – The Lunar XTERRA

The similarities between Maui and the new Las Vegas XTERRA are many.  Loose, rocky terrain, many short steep climbs, hot temperatures, some wind and a kickass resort to name a few.  However, Las Vegas took it to another level.  Sparse is not the word for the lack of vegetation on the bike and run courses as it looked as if we had landed on another planet where organic material had not yet evolved.  The laundry list of XTERRA-worthy participants landed on this planet to do battle for the Cup which made for exciting and close races in both the men’s and the women’s events.  I managed to hold my lead to win the kickoff event of the season holding off Shonny Vanlandingham in my case while Conrad Stoltz was able to take his back to win the men’s event from Josiah Middaugh. 

Of special note was the opportunity to meet many of my new Mel’s Rad Racing teammates.  What a wonderful group of people!  Although getting the team going has not been without its challenges they have been nothing but positive and motivating influences for me.  Many of them earned their Maui spots already including team captain and my right hand woman Alexia Droz.  A particularly notable result include Keri Grosse and  Kat Pollard’s wins – with Kat a FULL HOUR faster than the fastest boy in the 15-19 age category.  Girl power!  Another heartbreaker was Fred Smith’s sixth in his age group which as a VERY impressive ninth OVERALL!  It was a very tough field but he was very fast and will earn a Maui spot for sure.  The success of the MelRad team was great and at posting time we still don’t have our full results but congrats to everyone!

Okay, on to the Mel version of events….



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