Shiiiit. Moaned XTERRA Bike Course Chief Circ Toepel. A man of exacting detail and few words. These were the first swear words I had heard from this man, even after marking, running and sweeping the XTERRA Mountain Bike Courses twice. I had spent 10 hours a day next to him. I was a walk on volunteer at the U.S. National Championships in Ogden a few months earlier. Circ sized me up like a trail boss.
We made the gate by mere seconds. As Circ unlocked that hinge the first three pros blew by. In that were the favorites. This guy named LANCE ARMSTRONG (we’ll get to him later) Austrian Michael Weiss (eventual winner) and Spain’s Eneka Lianos. South Africa’s Conrad “Caveman” Stolz had already fallen victim to Lances blazing bike pace. Something, I’m told the experienced XTERRA pros expected and loathed.