Preview to World Championship Show
DON'T MISS THE NISSAN XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SHOW
SUPER BOWL SUNDAY ON CBS (12 Noon EST, 9am PST)
THIS WEEK: XTERRA goes national with the hour-long CBS Sports Spectacular presentation of the World Championship. With the show televised in the preview window to the Super Bowl – on the heaviest TV day of the year - some three million viewers will see it. It’s the single biggest footprint the sport makes in the U.S.
WHAT YOU’LL SEE: A compelling look at some of the best athletes in the world caught in a struggle against Mother Nature and their own physical limits.
Narrated by renowned reporter Arman Keteyian and filmed on location in Makena, Maui, the show tracks professional and amateur competitors in their quest for off-road multisports greatest prize – the XTERRA World Title. More than 500 participants ages 18-to-64 representing 24 countries and 35 U.S. states took part in the challenge, which combined a one-mile ocean swim with a 20-mile mountain bike and 7-mile trail run.
There are big names like Olympians Eneko Llanos, Conrad Stoltz, Olivier Marceau, Brent McMahon, XTERRA's best with Nicolas LeBrun, Melanie McQuaid, Jamie Whitmore, Mike Vine and Josiah Middaugh, mountain bike stars Ned Overend, Geoff Kabush and Shonny Vanlandingham, adventure racing phenom Michael Tobin, and Ironman champs Peter Reid, Chris Legh, Kate Major and Sybille Matter.
More impressive are the names of a few guys you’ve never heard of – Mark Shaw and Bobby McMullen. In the main feature, McMullen (who’s blind) takes on the grueling course with the help of his friend. It’s an inspirational account of a man that overcame great odds just to get to the start line, and then through sheer determination and courage makes it to the finish.
This story alone makes the show a must-see event.
TECHNICAL BITS: There were 25 cameras filming the action that starts in the crystal clear waters of the Pacific, moves to scenes of mountain bike riders struggling up and zooming down the sharp lava rock laden trails of Haleakala, and finishes on white sand beaches for the run. CBS Sports produced the show in conjunction with TEAM Unlimited, a Honolulu-based television events and marketing company. Since 1990, TEAM TV has created more than 230 shows resulting in two national Emmy nominations, three regional Emmy’s, and 26 Telly Awards for production excellence.
ONE OF 500: The off-road to Maui twists and turns differently for everyone. For some, just getting to the start line is a miracle. As proof, meet Dan DeGolier - just one of the fascinating people who raced at XTERRA Worlds (written by Monica Bridle)...
Many people relate wealth to tangible items: a lofty bank account, a country club membership, or a house satiated with the newest gadgets. Not long ago, Washington State resident Dan DeGolier fit this profile. Furthering his career as a real-estate appraiser, and perfecting his golf game were two items that resided at the apex of his value chain. However, in 1999 this hierarchy crashed to the ground after he was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer. As if manufactured from glass, elements that he previously regarded as most important simply shattered. Amidst this broken world, his family and friends stood tall. They provided Dan with a solid foundation to build a new set of goals, the strength to endure the hardships associated with cancer and ultimately the fuel to emerge with a new thirst for life.
Dan’s illusion of “having everything” began to crack at the age of forty as he underwent a cancer treatment known as a thyroidectomy; in essence, total removal of the thyroid followed by radiation treatment. In the basement of a Seattle hospital, a nuclear-medicine wing held him in isolation and administered the retroactive iodine.
“My first radiation dose was so large that I had to be locked in a lead-lined room for two days to protect people from my radioactivity. I felt like a leper. The nurses passed food through a small porthole in the door and backed away as fast as possible. I tried to exercise to metabolize the radiation out of my system, but that just made me sick… After I was released, I couldn’t hold my wife or kids for a week until the radiation dissipated.”
Over the next two years, Dan endured two more comparable treatments. At times he felt as if the battle with cancer was a full time job and says that the hardest part was not the treatment, but the “emotional stress and mental challenge to stay positive and optimistic.”
Turning tragedy into triumph, Dan maintains the belief that his “cancer became an epiphany”. In his time of need, the colleagues who consumed much of his previous time and energy were the first to abandon him.
“My family and close friends were there to support me and I realized that they were the people I neglected when I was so ambitious. I quit my job, gave up a fancy office and now work from home where I am around my family and there for my kids. I quit playing golf and started coaching youth soccer. I also started running, riding and learning how to swim.”
During treatment, he became motivated by and fascinated with the incredible resilience and fortitude of people such as Lance Armstrong and Earnest Shackleton. He even named his appraisal service “The Endurance” after Shackleton’s ship during his 1915 tumultuous, but successful expedition to the Antarctic.
“My one long term goal that I made after my diagnosis was to walk my daughter down the isle at her wedding. I don’t know why, but that is what motivated me to do whatever I had to do. Hopefully she won’t get married until I am 85!”
Dan’s metabolism finally stabilized in 2002 and he found that running helped to mend the nerve damage in his legs. Ambition overtook him and in cross training for a marathon found companionship and fun riding with his son Kole, who had become an avid mountain biker. Intrigued by off-road triathlons, Dan got hooked after his first XTERRA experience during the summer of 2003 in Vashon Island. He bulldozed forward and went on to win his age group for the Northwest Regional Championships and placed 9th at Worlds. 2004 and 2005 proved to be full of more XTERRA successes and Dan was optimistic and prepared going into Maui this year, however, the finest gear and most rigorous training could not alter his fate during “the plunge” down Haleakala.
“I got a flat when a lava rock shredded my sidewall in two places. When the sidewall failed a second time I was completely frustrated and right at that moment another rider passed me and said ‘stay motivated’. That was just what I needed to hear at that point. It was so profound. I don’t know who you are but -- Thank You! I used a tube to line the sidewall and made it through the bike. Then out on the run I got cramps, and just when I was ready to quit, Blair Barklow caught up with me. Blair came back from a life threatening accident to compete in XTERRA. It was such an inspiration to run with him!”
For Dan, the finish line at Makena Beach exemplifies the phenomenal wealth he now possesses. Sixteen years earlier, he and his wife Dorothy were so charmed by the beauty of this coastline, that they named their daughter Makena. Although running is Dan’s least favorite event, he believes that “running on Makena Beach in the XTERRA World Championship is about as good as it gets”. He crossed the finish line hand-in-hand with his two kids, and “heard someone say ‘now that’s what it is all about’.
“I couldn’t agree more.”
Surviving cancer enabled him to fully comprehend that “all the hype, status and ‘stuff’ doesn’t mean much.
“It really strips away all the baloney and shows you what life is really about”.
With the shards of Dan’s past priorities swept away, cancer absent from his system and supportive family and friends, he is able to “Live More” and by XTERRA standards, is genuinely rich.