Caveman wins XTERRA title

Published 3:55 pm Sunday, May 22, 2011

South African Conrad Stoltz crosses the finish line May 22 in the 2011 XTERRA Southeast Championship at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

PELHAM — South African Conrad Stoltz has developed a fondness for the rolling hills and calm waters at Oak Mountain State Park.

Stoltz, a 37-year-old professional triathlete, eagerly looks forward to a trip to Pelham during the XTERRA America Tour circuit every year.

It’s easy to understand Stoltz’s affinity for Shelby County after he captured his fifth consecutive XTERRA America Tour Southeast Championship men’s triathlon title May 22.

Stoltz claimed his 40th championship on the circuit after navigating the water, biking the path and running the trail at Oak Mountain State Park in the 2011 Southeast Championship. Stoltz completed the 1.5K swim, 30K bike trail and 10K trail run in 2:22.22.

“Of all the races, this is really my favorite race,” said Stoltz, a Stellenbosch, South Africa native. “It’s a real novelty. It’s got everything.”

Despite all the positive feelings Stoltz has for the course at Oak Mountain, there is still one thing he said he would change — the humidity.

“It’s still quite a challenge,” Stoltz said.

Stoltz, an 8-time XTERRA Pro Series champion and a 4-time XTERRA World champion who is affectionately known as “The Caveman,” said people in Shelby County are another reason he looks forward to the annual stop in Pelham on the circuit.

“The Southern hospitality is great,” Stoltz said. “We have fun here.”

Stoltz claimed the $10,500 cash prize and earned a qualifying spot in the XTERRA World Championship following the victory. Stoltz finished ahead of fellow Stellenbosch, South African native Dan Hugo, who finished second in the triathlon.

Canadian Melanie McQuaid captured the 2011 Southeast Championship women’s triathlon championship after completing the course in 2:39.59.

McQuaid, a 38-year-old from Victoria, British Columbia, is a 3-time XTERRA Pro Series champion and a 3-time XTERRA World champion. McQuaid captured a $10,500 cash prize and earned a qualifying spot in the XTERRA World Championship.

McQuaid topped 2010 XTERRA Southeast Champion Shonny Vanlandingham, a Durango, Colorado native. Vanlandingham finished second in the triathlon.

While professionals battled for the Southeast Championship, several triathletes also competed in the XTERRA Sport Division.

Triathletes in the Sport Division completed a 750-meter swim, a 15K bike trail and a 4.5K trail run.

Santiago Corredor, a 15-year-old from Florida, finished fourth in the Sport Division. Corredor said competing in the XTERRA event was his birthday present.

Corredor said he’s working toward future trips to Pelham to compete in the XTERRA Southeast Championship triathlon one day.

“Hopefully,” Corredor said.