XTERRA News March 15, 2006
THIS WEEK: The Pacific Islands Club ups the ante for Saipan Doublers, a pair of athletes from Japan and Michigan get ready for the Islands, XTERRA Italy wins an award, XTERRA South Africa draws some big names, and this week’s XTERRA TV schedule.
SAIPAN SAIPAN: Star power returns to the tropical island of Saipan with triathlon legend Olivier Marceau and XTERRA female phenoms Jamie Whitmore and Renata Bucher traveling across the globe to compete in the upcoming Pacific Islands Club Double competition and Saipan Sports Fest celebrations.
The PIC Double is awarded to the man and woman with the fastest combined XTERRA Saipan and Tagaman times. This year the PIC is raising the bar and will award men’s and women’s winners with $500 cash, seven free nights accommodation and a complimentary Gold Card (three meals a day in a choice of three restaurants).
The XTERRA race starts with a 1.5-kilometer swim in crystal clear waters, follows with a 30k mountain bike ride that traverses island terrain to the top of Mt. Tapotchau and finishes with a legendary 12k run that takes competitors past WWII relics and through secret jungles and caves.
The Tagaman is a road triathlon consisting of a 2k swim, 60k bike, and 15k run along the west coast.
In between the two races (XTERRA Saipan on April 1 and Tagaman on April 8) is a whole slate of fun activities for outdoor enthusiasts and their families.
3rd Annual SAIPAN SPORTS FEST SCHEDULE of EVENTS (tentative)
3/29-30 - XTERRA University Camp
3/31 - Tank-to-Tank Swim, XTERRA Scramble Trail Runs, XTERRA Saipan Welcome Reception
4/1 - XTERRA Saipan, XTERRA Kid’s Bike Race, Awards Dinner Party, music by XTERRA’s favorite band - MOJO
4/2 - Tour De Saipan, All American BBQ with Softball, volleyball and horseshoes
4/3 - Tank-to-Tank Swim, Forbidden Island Tour, Triathlon Clinic - Bike Preparations
4/4 - PIC Wall Climbing Contest, PIC Putter Golf Tournament, Paintball War Games
4/5 - Tank-to-Tank Swim, Evening Hash Run
4/6 - Go Kart Race, Triathlon Clinic - Goal setting and motivation
4/7 - Tank-to-Tank Swim, Tagaman Pre-race dinner at the PIC
4/8 - Tagaman Triathlon, Post-race Awards Dinner and Costume Party
4/9 - SOPHIA 7k/10k Walk, TagaKids Triathlon, Post Race Beachside BBQ
The Pacific Islands Club will serve as the official hotel for the XTERRA Saipan Championship. Located on the beach, this resort is made for adventure and boasts a wide range of activities for guests from tennis, beach volleyball, archery, and a golf putting course, to its very own water park featuring a lazy river, and Asia’s only point break wave machine. Check it out at www.pacificislandsclub.com.
A FEW FROM THE FIELD: For family fun or racing fame – athletes from near and far are flying into the Northern Mariana Islands for a few weeks of multisport heaven.
For 44-year-old Paul Chetwynd it’s all about a good time…
Chetwynd, who hails from Canada originally – traveled to Japan to compete in a season of mountain bike races 13 years ago and never went back. He now does custom road and mountain bike tours for Freeride Adventures based in Nagano, writes for Outdoor Japan magazine, and designs the mountain bike course for XTERRA Japan.
“I first heard about XTERRA from (legendary U.S. mountain biker) Ned Overend and he told me he was retiring from XC racing and going to try XTERRA before he got too old (ha,ha). I thought that it sounded like fun, too bad I can’t run,” said Chetwynd. “Then I did a few XTERRA’s, including this one in Saipan, and I know just how fun they are. And it’s still a drag that I can’t run.”
Winning isn’t everything for Chetwynd, who will bring his wife Junco and two sons (Nesta, 5, and Dayna, 1) with him for a couple weeks of fun in the sun which includes taking part in the Saipan Sports Fest, PIC Double Competition, and lots of pool time.
“For me Saipan is perfect spot for a race, we are just coming out of a cold winter and a tropical island with a great race at a fabulous resort is a perfect way to start the season.”
For 25-year-old Ryan DeCook - it’s about making his mark…
The Rochester, Michigan native did his first XTERRA in 2002 and “was hooked for life”. As proof, he honed his skills to the point of excellence that peaked at last year’s Nissan Xterra USA Championship race when he won the national championship in the 20-24 division.
It was a year filled with success. DeCook also won the North Central Regional Championship for the second straight year, was second in his division at the East Championship in Richmond, won the Torn Shirt Trail Triathlon in his home state, placed 5th at the Midwest Championship in Milwaukee, and ultimately finished fourth in his age group at the XTERRA World Championship in Maui.
For his efforts DeCook was rewarded with his off-road professional racing license. Thus, XTERRA Saipan will be his first race as a pro and he hopes to make it a memorable one.
“XTERRA is the ultimate challenge of one’s skills to swim, bike and run that require a great deal of strength, speed, and patience as well as the ability to act and react to anything that might come your way,” said DeCook.
He’ll have plenty of things to react to in a couple weeks, that’s certain. From the maze of single track trails on the bike to the slippery jungle ravine of the run, it will be all senses go.
“Like everything we do in this age, XTERRA comes with a warning label…WARNING! XTERRA is a way of life that is so fun, you might just get addicted! Side effects may include loss of sleep from thinking about race tactics, spending hoards of money on bike gear, meeting really crazy and likeminded new friends, seeing some of the most spectacular places on earth, and achieving a fitness level you never dreamed of!”
DeCook will fit in just fine in Saipan.
XTERRA Italy Honored: Triathlete Magazine in Italy named the XTERRA Italy Championship - held in Villacidro, Sardinia - the “Event of the Year” in 2005. It’s the second consecutive year that XTERRA Italy has won the award. Olivier Marceau and Melanie McQuaid captured the pro divisions at last year’s race. This year’s event is set for June 4.
STARS IN SOUTH AFRICA: When the XTERRA South Africa Championship gets underway on March 25 several outstanding athletes will be joining Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz on the start line.
They include Nico Pfitzenmaier from Germany, who was sixth at the Nissan Xterra World Championship in Maui last October, Royce Kortekaas from the Netherlands – who was 5th at XTERRA Italy last year and was the first-ever XTERRA European Tour Champion in 2003, and Othmar Brueggar from Switzerland – who placed second at the World Championships of winter triathlon in 2004.
On the women’s side look out for Sibylle Matter from Switzerland – the 2005 XTERRA Spain Champion and second-place finisher at the XTERRA World Championship, Riikka Kelja from Finland – who finished second at XTERRA Japan last year and won the XTERRA World Championship in the 35-39 division in 2003, and local star Theresa Fourie from South Africa – a marathon champion and former world-class track, road, and cross country runner. Fourie will be racing in her first-ever XTERRA.
XTERRA TV: The hour-long 2005 Nissan Xterra USA Championship show continues its run in national syndication with airings in the following markets this weekend:
3/18 Fresno, CA - KFSN (ABC) 4:00pm
3/18 Honolulu, HI - KITV (ABC) 3:00pm
3/18 Traverse City, MI - WGTU (ABC) 3:00pm
3/18 Grand Junction, CO - KJCT (ABC) 2:00pm
3/19 Palm Springs, CA - KESQ (ABC) 1:00pm