Brett at Xterra Worlds

6 11 2017

Brett competed in the Xterra World Championships in the Maui last week.  He finished 2nd in his age group (by less than a minute), and 5th overall.  That’s in the WORLD, folks.  Amazing!

His recap below (copied from his blog).    You can follow him directly here.  Congratulations are in order, sir!



I figure I better write this while things are still somewhat fresh in my mind.

Even with the Maui course being the longest and most challenging of the year, things still seem to fly by and blur together. Upon finishing, one is quick to forget many of the details of what actually transpired over the last 3 ish hours. The finish line provides a relief from the pain that starts in your arms just after 9:05 Maui time, spreads to your legs throughout the day and eventually settles in your heart and mind. By the time the run starts, there is nothing left but the mental image you have created and what heart that you have left to push through the immense pain.

In my case, I look back and think of all the places I could have made up 45 seconds….hindsight sees a lot of opportunities.

My entire season was built with two races in mind. I wanted to win my Age group national championship and world championship. I knew if everything came together on race day, I had the ability, and had put the work in to accomplish both.

In september, I was able to tick off one of these boxes by grabbing the 30-34 AG National and Pan-Am championship as well as second amateur. With that kind of confidence I returned to Boulder with one goal left, to win worlds. While Colorado weather didn’t really cooperate as well as my right knee deciding to flair up and keep me off the bike a bit, I still came to Maui feeling fit and confident that I still had a fighting chance. The weather leading up to race day was rough, and I was forced to do my pre-ride on friday which would not normally be my preference as its a bit close to the race. Regardless, I felt great on race morning.


Swimming has been my achilles heal since I began xterra in 2014. I have knocked minutes off my swims, but I still typically come out a few minutes down on the fastest guys. In Maui this can make it tough if you swim slow, considering the large amounts of single track on the bike. I stood at waters edge with the mindset that I would attack the swim and no-one would keep me from latching onto that front line of swimmers. When the gun went off, I had a decent start, but got just slightly pinched off right away. This mistake cost me as I was stuck in a mess of people and couldn’t find a way out. The first buoy was also chaos because of this and I probably lost myself a good 15-20 seconds just trying not to get pushed under as I rounded the first turn. The swim back to shore and the shore run went well, I glanced at my watch and the first 850yards had me at 10:40 so I figured I would still pull it off in 22 minutes or less. Even though I had a clearer path to the second buoy, I somehow slowed up and ended my swim at 23 minutes and some change.

Normally I wouldn’t complain about this swim time, considering my previous times were in the  27 and 25 minute ranges, but the guy who beat me swam 19 and change. So did I lose it here?


The bike is the hardest bike course by far of any on the circuit. Its impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t done it, and it seems even I forget from year to year how difficult it is. I described it the other days as having multiple super-flagstaff walls all over it, then take aways some traction and add a lot of heat, humidity and scorching sun.

I attacked the first section known as the lower bowl fairly quick, passing as many people as possible as quick as possible. Once I hit the upper section which is 3.5 miles in, the competitors had thinned out and I was feeling pretty good. The big climbs came and went, I worked my way by a few more riders, and thinking back sat behind a few a bit to long. When I hit the last 5.5 miles of lower bowl single track, I was completely alone. I caught one more elite rider before transition but that was it, and I had a good feeling. When I ran into transition I couldn’t make out any bikes in the amateur transition area, but I knew that was probably not the case as I knew a couple guys who were better swimmers and I had not passed on the bike. Notably, Tate Haugen and Ryan Lewis who I had battled hard an nationals, had to be out front still.



The run is something you try not to thing about until you get there as it can make you ease up on the bike. Basically you run uphill, then down a little, then up forever, then down a little, then up a lot more, then down a little, then across a beach, then up…and its hot.

Its a death march and really does separate the men from the boys. Sure enough, I caught Ryan Lewis about 2 miles in and he was going backwards fast. I was running on the heals of one elite competitor and the top 35-39 age grouper for the majority of the course. At mile 3 we passed Tate and left him behind as well. All I knew was there was one age grouper right in front of me, but he was not in my age group. He clearly had a leg on me and I had made up my mind that I would just do my best to hang on as I wasn’t feeling all that spry myself at this point.

On the final hill, a volunteer yelled out that I was fourth amateur on the course. This was the first information I heard all day and at this point, I was only about a mile from the finish and there wasn’t much I could do to change the outcome. I charged the downhill, the beach run almost killed me, and got to once again run side by side with my wonderful wife lindsay up the grass to the finish line.

I got 2nd and actually 5th amateur.


Final thoughts

Does it suck? yea it does, especially when I look at the 45 seconds I got beat by. I can think of so many places I could have charged harder on the bike to gain little advantages, moments when I coasted to get a little recovery, or when I was riding alone and maybe got a little complacent. If I could have just had a visual on the leader on the run, maybe it would have changed the game. I also know I can swim at least a minute faster which I will continue to work on over the winter. Regardless this was the outcome. I made huge improvements all across the board even with the setbacks leading up to the race. I made the podium and I have to be proud of that. My disappointment only comes from knowing what I was capable of.

My dilemma now is what do I do next year…Is racing amateur going to continue to motivate me? do I grab elite status and see where I stack up?  First I will work to get the knee healthy, get some recovery and maybe come december I will start to make some decisions.

On a final note, I have to give it up to my competitors. This shows the depth of talent in the amateur field.



Thanks to all the people who came through to support me this year.

My wife Lindsay is my #1 supporter and always beats me on that Maui finish line sprint!

Sabrina Huffaker for being a great friend, and supporter for every event I take on.

Marcus Hille is the best in the business. The healing hands that keep me in one piece

Chaun Sims for supporting me in one of my biggest wins of the season at Xterra Beaver Creek

Alchemist for keeping me constantly supplied with the best riding gear

Breck Bike Guides for making sure I always get my hands on the absolute best equipment

Roka for supplying me the best wetsuit on the market for nationals

Lindsey Deneen for almost drowning me in the pool many many times

Russell and Kelly Herbert who basically put me on this journey

James and Heather Doran for their constant support year after year

Rife Hilgartner for being a great friend, training partner.

Whiting Leary for supporting the cause this year

Blair Murphy for teaching me not to swim “pretty”

There are so many more.


Also, Many more pictures to come..

Alchemist Summer Wrap up

3 10 2017


This blog has been idle while a lot happened over the summer.  So, here it is in all its glory.  Or rather, with nod to Inigo Montoya, there is too much, let me sum up.

Brett continued his dominance on the Xterra circuit with another win at Beaver Creek. The man is on a mission for World dominance.


John P. rode like a man on fire at the Hundito to earn this 3rd place podium spot in the Singlespeed cat. I went out fast, but couldn’t hold him off, as he went by me at mile 30 like i was standing still. Strong work, Pavlik!


Hooge (middle) busted out another impressive Trail Run Podium at the Quad Rock 25 in Fort Collins. This was one of his shorter races, normally competing in some of the hardest running Ultras on Earth.


Drew went to Italy to compete in the 24 Hour Solo Worlds. Two years ago, he won the 50+ group in California. The competition is traditionally much stronger in Europe, but Drew, as per usual, showed up with guns ablazing.        “In just about 13 hours I will start the 24 Hour world championships in Finale Ligire Italia. Start is 10 am – about 2 AM your time. I have an ace support team with more than 30, 24 hour races between them – 2 mechanics, 1 ⅓ therapist, 2 camp “moms”, 1 photographer – of course this is all  3 people; Toni, Wesley & Nick. We have the system dialed. Hopefully I put in the work over the past 6 months to ride well.
The event is huge – 400 solo riders. We are all on a 10 k course so things will be tight. Lots of “ciao”, “grazie”, “tranquillio (calm down). It will not be lonely out there.  I did well in the WEMBO worlds in 2015 in California but this is a whole different deal. We are in the heart of cycling here. No expectations for placing, just hope to ride well.”


He rode so fast the cameras didn’t have time to focus.


Railing a turn on the way back into the transition point.


Some pretty spectacular night photos. Drew wore his custom Team kite with WEMBO World Champ Stripes and the American flag. The ghetto number plate was his backup. Bike #1 crapped out, so he had to ride Bike #2 for much of the race.


Drew’s doppelganger joined in the on the fun.


Drew’s impeccable crew. Toni, Wesley, and Nick. Loads of 24 hour experience between them.


“Sorry – this mail never went out. We are in Italy after all. Anyway, the internet crashed so there was no line timing anyway. Just finished the 2017 World Championships. I finished 3rd in the 55 year old age group. The winner, Peter, from Australia was 2nd behind m I. The 2015 Weaverville worlds and he won the 3016 event in New Zealand. He was just too strong all 24 hours. He led from the start, I got close but never close enough. It was back and forth between the Belgium in 2nd and I and he prevailed. I rode really well on a tough course. Very, very twisty the entire course. Rocky, steep loose technical climbs. A bit too hot for my liking. I had some trouble eating enough (editors note: he was puking his guts out) and had to take a break at 2am – something that won’t work if you want to win. I recovered well (editor’s note: after two hours of tossing his cookies, he dragged his ass back into the saddle and pedaled like a warrior poet) and moved back up the field. Very fun race. This is a huge event with concerts and parties all going on while we raced. Our course goes across the stage. My crew was of course, perfect. Now a little down time on the Mediterranean coast of Italy.”


Well done, Drew. Makin us proud!


Josh stomping the dirt at the Gold Rush Gravel Grinder. Is that Blue Steel?


Noel and Russ competed in the Glacier 360 in Iceland. Those two adventurers are no strangers to exotic and hard-ass riding. They raced La Ruta a couple years ago.


Spectacular terrain. And wet feet.


The duo were strong day in and day out in the exposed and rugged conditions.


Job well done, Fellas!




Max has become a force on the MTB circuit. He is riding for Boulder High, and he dominated the Short Track C series this past summer. Here he is on his way to winning the Short Track race, cape and all! Justin G. was hot on his heels and took second in the race. Way to go, fellas!

Laurie completed her first Half Ironman. She is normally an ultradistance cyclist, knocking out ridiculous 1200k rides in one sitting. She just started running and swimming this year.

Way to go, Laurie!


Another sub 5 hour century in the books. The fall edition was impressive. “Solid turnout yesterday, sorry we missed you! Not sure if you’re still keeping the Alchemist blog up to date? Regardless, here is the first of a few emails with my pictures from yesterday’s effort. No Hooge professional photog out there today — just me trying to capture the chaos while red-lining my heart rate and holding on for dear life to the wheel in front of me. Oh, and I hoped not to take anyone down in the process… 16 started: Geer, Vigil, Schaeffer, Brunner x2, Asnes, Pierce, Youngblood, Kellagher, de Kerf, (unknown), Doriese, Fross, Kreidl, Swanson.”


The start was strangely foggy. Here is the group riding into the pea soup.


Mike runs a tight ship. If you don’t keep a dialed paceline, you will be flogged.


The day cleared up for a great day of riding.  Mercifully, I was committed to a U10 soccer game, so I had to miss the fun (i.e. didn’t have to get spit out the back of the peloton)


Brett is still on fire! “Well, we got some hardware today. One spot off the top of the amateur podium, but I snagged my first Xterra Pan-American AG Championship and my first Xterra U.S AG national championship. Not a bad day in ogden after been sick for so long. All the love to Nick Truitt and Sydney Truitt at Breck Bike Guides and my main man Jeff Wu with Alchemist. Kappius Components for helping keep me on the absolute best wheels on the market. So many more to Thank! Also congrats to Kiki Silver on her AG U.S Championship. Representing the Colorado Athletic Club Boulder crew! #paincave #xterranationals A few others that must be thanked and they know why. Lindsay TackSabrina HuffakerWill KauanuiLindsey Ness DeNeenBlair Carroll MurphyErin HanselWhiting Dimock LearyRussell Herbert and of course Marcus Allen Hille”


Big thumbs up! Brett has several wins this year along with being the Pan American Champ. He will be representing Alchemist and the U.S. of A. at the World Championships in Maui later this month. Get some, Brett. Want to know more? You can follow his training and competition blog here:


Brett’s Xterra Win, Take Deux.

12 06 2017

I haven’t dialed in the embeds from Instagram, obviously. Here are Brett’s words and photos/videos. For reals this time.

View this post on Instagram

Small recap of today

A post shared by Brett Tack (@tackhammer63) on

tackhammer63Small recap of today

tackhammer63Victory baby! #breckbikeguides #teamalchemist #mauiherewecome #kappiuscomponents

%d bloggers like this: