Michelle Vanquishes the Xterra Jersey Devil


Michelle Ankenbrand won PTOTRI’s complimentary race entry to the 2016 Xterra Jersey Devil. It was her first Xterra event and she finished with a time of 2:10:51, which was good enough for 4th place in her age group! Here’s what Michelle had to say about her experience:

The 2016 Xterra Jersey Devil was a race of firsts for me:  first triathlon in 3+ years, first time swimming in sub-60 degree water, and first time racing on a mountain bike.

The weather was a chilly 48 degrees that morning with pouring rain forecast for most of the day.  I almost didn’t get out of bed, but can you blame me?  I also almost dropped out—the water literally took my breath away upon first touch.  I’m thankful that a friend (also racing) made me get in and swim around for about 10 minutes.  It made the swim, usually my favorite part of the race, much more bearable.  Enough about me, now onto the course.

The swim was two ¼ mile loops with a ¼ mile run from the beach to transition.  The bike course was advertised as 13 flat and fast miles, and would have been if not for all of the rain.  For those of you not familiar with this particular area of New Jersey, the ground is a mix of sand and dirt—typically fast on a dry day.  On race day, it was like riding through deep, wet cement, but it made the course all the more fun (you should have seen the mud ruts by the second loop!).  Although new to mountain bike racing, I really enjoyed the ride and what better way to throw myself into the sport, right?  The run was one of the most technical 5k trail runs I’ve ever completed.  We ran over planks and makeshift “bridges,” climbed over trees, and I even ran by someone who lost his shoe to a battle with the mud.

I finished in 2:10.  Not too shabby for my first Xterra, but I was disappointed that there were no Jersey Devil sightings.  Also, kudos to the race volunteers—they were awesome.  It was the type of day when it was so much harder to be a spectator/volunteer than a competitor.


Bob Horn and his team deserve many thanks for organizing the Xterra Jersey Devil and for letting PTO Tri Club join in on the fun!

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