Lesley Paterson Wins XTERRA Pan Am, Shares What XTERRA Racing Means to Her


VeloPress author Lesley Paterson won the XTERRA Pan Am Championship in Snowbasin Resort in Ogden, Utah this month with a 7-minute lead.

The course featured a 1-mile swim in the 4,900-foot Pineview Reservoir, an 18-mile mountain bike course with 3,000 feet of climbing to the top of Sardine Peak, and finished with a trail run of 7 miles and 700 feet of climbing.

In this video profile of Paterson, Lesley describes what racing XTERRA means to her: “To be a member of the XTERRA tribe means honor, it means toughness, it means heart, and it means bravery.”


Lesley Paterson won XTERRA Pan Am Championship Ogden, Utah
Photo: Jesse Peters/XTERRA Planet


The next day, Paterson won the XTERRA Trail Run Nationals in 1:33:59 over the 21K course. That’s a 7:10 minute/mile pace at 7,000 feet altitude over rough terrain that included rocks, single track, and 2,200 feet of elevation gain. Pro triathlete Julie Baker said about Paterson, “Dude, she just goes insanely hard. And she breathes like a freight train coming by. I don’t know how she goes that fast and that hard for so long. It’s incredible.”

Paterson said, “I did not expect to feel that good. I was feeling super tired this morning but got out there on the hill and just felt in the zone. I knew there were some good girls here today and I thought they were going to come past, but I just felt great.”

She exited the swim as the sixth elite female yet overtook all five riders in front of her by mile 5 of the bike.

“I came out of the water in second place, two-minutes down, got up into second place just after Wheeler Canyon, probably about half a mile into the next trail,” said Paterson. “I passed Julie about another mile after that but she’s strong, you know and kept with me for a bit.”

“Yeah man, I was really going for it today,” she said. “And the conditions were just supreme. That descent was amazing on the bike, and I’ll tell ya, if I didn’t have to run I might have enjoyed that.”

Paterson is relishing these two wins–and her earlier wins at XTERRA Beaver Creek. Despite these four wins, it’s been a tough year for Paterson, who has fought back from injury and a medical procedure and who has smilingly undertaken a busy book launch tour for her new book, The Brave Athlete.

Paterson used the “investigative health hustle” she describes in a chapter of The Brave Athlete to overcome a painful piriformis injury which she described during her Denver book tour stop as “a real pain in the arse”. Paterson’s win is even more remarkable since she spent part of this spring recovering from a gut biome transplant intended to help her manage Lyme Disease.

The Brave Athlete solves the 13 most common mental conundrums athletes face in their everyday training and in races. Dr. Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson will help you take control of your brain so you can train harder, race faster, and better enjoy your sport.

Photos by Jesse Peters used with permission of XTERRAPlanet.com.