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The Countdown to Maui is on!
THIS WEEK: The countdown to Maui is on! The Nissan Xterra World Championship is just 11 days away and the 10th annual event promises to be the best yet with a growing international flavor (athletes from 25+ countries) and an incredible pro field (75 confirmed). The race is the culmination of the 90-event XTERRA Global Tour that traveled to 14 countries around the world, it boasts a $130,000 purse, and will be televised as a one-hour CBS Sports Spectacular at 12 noon Super Bowl Sunday, February 5, 2006. As the saying goes, "Maui No Ka Oi" - Maui is the best. Below you'll find a tentative pro start list, info on the course, this year's XTERRA Global Tour Championship race winners, and more.
THE PRO START LIST: The professionals competing in Maui are the best-of-the-best in not only the world of XTERRA, but also the mountain biking and triathlon communities. Below find them listed by race number, determined by their finish position at last year's Nissan Xterra World Championship, then alphabetically. Tentative as of 10.12.05.
# - Men - Age, Hometown
1 - Eneko Llanos - 28, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
2 - Olivier Marceau - 32, Cannes, France
3 - Josiah Middaugh - 27, Vail, Colorado
4 - Dominic Gillen - 28, Washington, Connecticut
5 - Justin Thomas - 30, Reno, Nevada
6 - Nicolas LeBrun - 32, Villeneuve Loubet, France
7 - Sylvain Dodet - 31, Antibes, France
8 - Hektor Llanos - 33, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
9 - Jimmy Archer - 33, Boulder, Colorado
10 - Robert Latschen - 34, Graz, Austria
11 - Michael Tobin - 41, Boise, Idaho
12 - Ryan Ignatz - 26, Boulder, Colorado
14 - Kelly Guest - 28, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
15 - Peter Reid - 36, B.C., Canada
16 - Jim Vance - 28, San Diego, California
17 - Michael Lovato - 32, Austin, Texas
18 - Jon Hume - 37, Auckland, New Zealand
19 - Sascha Wingenfeld - 29, Fulda, Germany
20 - Alexander Lang - 37, Freiburg, Germany
21 - Andrew Noble - 40, Gold Coast, Australia
22 - Yu Yumoto - 26, Chiba, Japan
23 - Ronny Dietz - 27, Chenitz, Germany
24 - Jason Chalker - 31, Canberra, Australia
25 - Chad Seymour - 23, Honolulu, Hawaii
26 - Ben Travis - 34, Palm Springs, California
27 - Nico Pfitzenmaier - 34, Besigheim, Germany
28 - Dennis Manor - 29, Reno, Nevada
29 - Will Kelsey - 24, Boulder, Colorado
30 - Lars Finanger - 24, Boulder, Colorado
31 - Greg Krause - 27, Denver, Colorado
32 - Jeff Sanders - 33, Lahaina, Maui
33 - Jasper Blake - 31, Victoria, B.C., Canada
34 - Rip Esselstyne - 42, Austin, Texas
35 - Roan Exelby - 27, Howwick, South Africa
36 - Adam Feltz - 23, Downers Grove, Illinois
37 - Will Franc - 29, Zuerich, Switzerland
38 - Alexander Fruehwirth - 36, Kirchberg, Austria
39 - Stefan Jakobsen - 31, Nanaimo, B.C., Canada
40 - Geoff Kabush - 28, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
41 - Jan Kubicek - 25, Chodov City, Czech Republic
42 - Chris Legh - 32, Melbourne, Australia
43 - Mark Leishman - 27, Palmerston North, New Zealand
44 - Chris Lieto - 32, Danville, California
45 - Deon Lourens - 37, Encinitas, California
46 - Brent McMahon - 24, Victoria, B.C., Canada
47 - Kaley Parkinson - 30, Pleasant Hill, California
48 - Ronnie Schildknecht - 25, Thalwil, Switzerland
49 - Francisco Serrano - 25, Garza Garcia, Mexico
50 - Michael Simpson - 22, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
51 - Conrad Stoltz - 32, Stellenbosch, South Africa
52 - Mike Vine - 32, Victoria, B.C., Canada
70 - Jamie Whitmore - 29, Somerset, California
71 - Melanie McQuaid - 32, Victoria, B.C., Canada
72 - Danelle Kabush - 30, Canmore, Alberta, Canada
73 - Melissa Thomas - 35, Boulder, Colorado
74 - Sybille Matter - 31, Bern, Switzerland
75 - Ingrid Rolles - 32, Cape Town, South Africa
76 - Candy Angle - 36, Weymouth, Massachusetts
77 - Sonia Foote - 27, Rotorua, New Zealand
78 - Heather Fuhr - 37, Alberta, Canada
79 - Imke Schiersch - 34, Nuernberg, Germany
80 - Linda Gabor - 35, Redlands, California
81 - Nicole Newton - 31, San Diego, CA
82 - Yasuko Miyazaki - 25, Tokyo, Japan
83 - Danelle Ballengee - Dillon, Colorado
84 - Renata Bucher - 27, Lucerne, Switzerland
85 - Jimena Florit - 32, Buenos Aires, Argentina
86 - Kate Major - 27, Sydney, Australia
87 - Kathy McKay - 29, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
88 - Monique Merrill -36, Breckenridge, Colorado
89 - Mami Saito - 28, Kawasaki, Japan
90 - Jenny Tobin - 35, Boise, Idaho
91 - Shonny Vanlandingham - 36, Durango, Colorado
92 - Carina Wasle - 21, Kundl, Austria
THE SINGLE TRACK TRAILS TO MAUI: The rugged, dust-strewn trails to Maui have taken competitors to some of the most magnificent destinations in the world, from the far-off island of Saipan to the Black Forest in Germany. Below are the XTERRA Global Tour championship events that qualified athletes to race on Maui where they'll join lucky at-large slot recipients in a quest for a world title.
April 16...XTERRA New Zealand - Hamish Carter and Sonia Foote
April 24...XTERRA South Africa - Conrad Stoltz and Mari Rabie
May 15...Nissan Xterra West Championship - Conrad Stoltz and Melanie McQuaid
June 19...XTERRA Czech - Olivier Marceau and Renata Bucher
June 26...XTERRA Italy - Olivier Marceau and Melanie McQuaid
July 3...Nissan Xterra East Championship - Conrad Stoltz and Jamie Whitmore
July 9...XTERRA Austria - Nicolas LeBrun and Renata Bucher
July 24...Nissan Xterra Midwest Championship - Conrad Stoltz and Jamie Whitmore
July 31...XTERRA Brazil - Conrad Stoltz and Jamie Whitmore
Aug. 14...Nissan Xterra Mountain Championship - Conrad Stoltz and Jamie Whitmore
Aug. 27...XTERRA Japan - Yu Yumoto and Jamie Whitmore
Sept. 3...XTERRA Spain - Olivier Marceau and Sibylle Matter
Sept. 11...XTERRA Germany - Nicolas LeBrun and Carina Wasle
Oct. 2...Nissan Xterra USA Championship - Eneko Llanos and Jamie Whitmore
SCRAMBLE ON: On Saturday morning (Oct. 22 @ 8 a.m.), the day before the big race in Maui, the XTERRA Scramble 5k and 10k trail runs give visiting athletes and locals alike a competitive and fun way to start the day. Awards go to the top three in each age group and the 10k women's amateur winner earns roundtrip airfare between the West Coast and Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines. Wahine holo nui! Hawaiian's way of saying, "run fast young lady!" Both races are open for registration to one-and-all, and are a benefit for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui County. The two races take competitors off-road where navigating lava rocks, avoiding Kiawe thorns, and surviving a climb up the lower slopes of Haleakala are just a few of the challenges that await competitors.
THE COURSE: Maui's XTERRA course is legendary, and conditions change radically from year-to-year, diminishing the advantage to repeat competitors and perpetuating the course's stature as the most intimidating in the series. Hawaii's natural obstacles are unlike anywhere else on earth and for the 500 athletes racing in Maui - the Nissan Xterra World Championship is a truly unique experience. The victor will traverse this rugged terrain in roughly two and half hours (although Conrad Stoltz broke the record by almost two minutes when he crossed in 2:22:55 in 2002), with the lead woman 30-minutes behind.
Location: Maluaka Beach, aka Prince Beach
Access: Open to the public
The rough water swim is two laps of a 750-meter triangular course, with a 150-meter beach sprint between laps to get the blood pumping in a totally different direction.
Male - Glenn Wachtel (HI) 18:10 in 2000
Female - Raeleigh Tennant (AUS) 18:31 in 2000
Swim to Bike (T1), and Bike to Run (T2) Transition
Access: The swim/bike transition area is for competitors only, however, spectators may view the change-over from any position around the boundary.
Access: Closed to the public
Competitors are not permitted to pre-ride the Nissan Xterra World Championship course. For newcomers, it is read and react. For veterans, the experience might allow them to remember portions but more often than not it instills a solid feeling of respect for the Old Lady of XTERRA.
Every year competitors say, "XYZ course is tougher than Maui". Every year around noon on Championship Sunday, the look - the eyes pointing down and the head shaking side to side - tells you that there is nothing like Haleakala.
Climbing from sea level to 1,200 feet then down and back up to 1,400 feet with a final portion called "the plunge" of 8-kilometers back to sea level, this track has everything. Full of rock strewn paths, gnarly golf ball sized gravel, short steep climbs, long, go forever climbs, hard packed lava, and then 6" deep, dusty silt. There's more than 3,000 total feet of climbing.
Male - Conrad Stoltz (RSA) 1:24:12 in 2002
Female - Melissa Thomas (USA) 1:41:02 in 2004
Out on the run athletes will find all sorts of sand - white, gold, black, salt and pepper, green or garnet. There's a lot more climbing involved, a spooky forest to navigate, a dozen different surfaces to cross, and just before the finish line some of Hawaii's most stunning oceanfront scenery.
There is no accounting for the heat generated by gnarly lava fields, making otherwise simple obstacles extremely difficult to conquer. After a year away, the "Makena Beach Mile" is back.
Male - Jan Rehula (CZE) 33:14 in 2004
Female - Erika Csomor (HUN) 38:18 in 2004
The course is very dry and dusty.and rocky. Both Ned's climb and the plunge are in very good shape and smoother than ever. There are lots of cows, everywhere.
This will be one of the dustier years for the course, but overall it may be one of the fastest courses we've had. Heartbreak Hill, well this will still be tough for a lot of people again.
There are several new rocky, "jack-hammer-rides" and some previously slow and dangerous areas will now be fast and dangerous. Some places look like asteroid fields - hundreds of baseball-sized rocks that are impossible to clean (the dirt is just gone from rains and wind). The climb out of Crossroads is the smoothest it's ever been. Same with the Plunge, which may encourage some riders to go faster than they should. At the bottom of the plunge there are some of the biggest powder pits (pulverized silty dust bowls) that I have ever seen - about knee-deep if you're sitting on an ATV, several meters long and spanning the width or the jeep road. Then the climb out is smooth and clean. I think there is no kiawe on the course, but I'm sure the Kahuna will say he found something we missed during mowing. The run will be tough too. More off-road, some altitude gain, hot gnarly lava fields, single track, and lots of obstacles. Makena Beach is back, and Spooky Forest, then a beautiful end run along the oceanfront golf course to help you forget it all at the finish.
MOJO IN MAUI: They played after the race in Maui last year, and are back this year by popular demand. MOJO is a three-man band from Guam that epitomizes "party hard" and will highlight the Halloween Party after the race on Sunday. The XTERRA Tribe first met them after the XTERRA Saipan Championship awards dinner in 2003 when they started jamming on the beach at the Pacific Islands Club. It didn't take long before the entire field of race participants and staff starting bobbing heads and dancing to the beat - led by none other than TEAM Unlimited President, Janet Clark.
"MOJO Rocks! They're great because they race too. They're one of us," said Clark. "I don't know how they do it."
Eric "Father of Keenan" Tydingco - Bass, Vocals and the slowest racer from Guam. Finished in 4:50:43 last year.
Greg "riffraff" Sablan - Drums and Vocals, and father of 4 girls and 8 shotguns.
Mark "The Experience" Cruz - Guitar and other string items like bikinis. Finished in 4:05:14 last year.
Mark and Eric are active XTERRA participants. Greg is an XTERRA groupie and hangs out at Paradise Gym. Mark and Eric founded MOJO in 2003 while providing entertainment for a Guam Triathlon Federation function. They picked up Greg in the afterglow a few weeks later.
MR. XTERRA: Tom Lyons was named "Mr. XTERRA 2005" the night before the Nissan Xterra USA Championship race in Nevada on October 1 at the Night of Champions dinner. Every year XTERRA takes selects an athlete they feel best personifies the spirit of the sport - the camaraderie, commitment, challenge, discovery, and style that is the essence of the XTERRA lifestyle. Lyons, a 44-year-old from Reno, Nevada, does just that. He has dominated the 40-44 age group division for years with five consecutive XTERRA South West Region championships, four straight XTERRA USA Championships, and three XTERRA World titles in a row. Those that have seen the XTERRA 18-wheeler would recognize Lyons' as he is larger than life running over a log on the side of the truck. He's been hard to miss at races too, with his pink and green motion potion jersey and straggly hair. Past his great accomplishments and charming personality, Lyons is a class act on the course and off. He promotes the healthy, active, outdoors lifestyle XTERRA is all about and has a great time doing it.
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