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XTERRA Southeast Championship in Alabama
An answer to the question, “Where have all our women gone?” Plus, a look ahead to the XTERRA Southeast Championship in Alabama, a look back on this weekend’s XTERRA European Championship in Italy, points series race results and this weekend’s XTERRA TV listings.
6/2 – XTERRA Bonneville Basher Trail Run (Salt Lake City, UT)
6/2 – XTERRA X-Country Trail Run (Chicago, IL)
6/3 – XTERRA ACE Big Canyon (Oak Hill, WV)
6/3 – XTERRA Deuces Wild (Show Low, AZ)
6/9 – XTERRA Northfield Mountain Trail Run (Northfield, MA)
6/9 – XTERRA Eureka Springs (Eureka Springs, AR)
6/8 – XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Run (Pelham, AL)
6/10 – XTERRA Trimax (Miffinburg, PA)
6/10 – XTERRA Southeast Championship (Pelham, AL)
6/16 – XTERRA James River Scramble (Richmond, VA)
6/16 – XTERRA Buffalo Creek (Buffalo Creek, CO)
6/17 – XTERRA Presidio Challenge Trail Run (San Francisco, CA)
6/17 – XTERRA East Championship (Richmond, VA)
Well, the good news is there’ll be a lot more little XTERRA racers running around pretty soon. Bad news is those lil’ buggers are keeping half of the best pro women in XTERRA out of the racing action this season.
The rather remarkable stat – five of the top 11 women in the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series last year are now pregnant. The mommy-to-be list includes Danelle Kabush (4th in Pro Series), Janae Pritchett (5th), Ingrid Rolles (8th), Jenny Tobin (9th), and Aracelly Clouse (11th). Add mountain bike phenom Jimena Florit (who’s having twins) and you’ve got an even half-dozen.
What an off-season!
In her last race back in October, Kabush was the runner-up to McQuaid at the XTERRA World Championship. With a due date in late September, it’s feasible (not really) she could be back for Worlds this year.
“Yah, I was thinking I could just go and do that one for fun,” joked Kabush, then added “but you don’t really do that one just for fun, do ya!”
Tobin, wife of former XTERRA World Champ and adventure racing legend Michael Tobin, is due in late July with her second.
“I wish I could be ready for XTERRA Maui but I’d have to be a freak of nature to do that,” said Tobin. “My husband is that kind of a freak (and Mike Kloser) but I most certainly am not!”
Rolles writes that she's expecting a girl in September, Clouse reports that her 3rd boy is on the way this October, and Pritchett says she is due in the month of Maui as well.
So although the women’s pro field isn’t as deep this year, the XTERRA family is still growing strong. And look for XTERRA to roll out the stroller division in 2008...
“I’m all over that,” laughed Clouse.
BACK IN ‘BAMA:
Last year the new course at Oak Mountain State Park in Shelby County (half-hour outside of Birmingham), located in the southernmost part of the Appalachian Chain, was praised by competitors as being one of the most fun, fast, scenic and difficult on the XTERRA schedule.
It starts with a swim in the warm water of Double Oak Lake - two 750-meter laps separated by a short beach shuffle in-between.
From there the long, single-loop mountain bike course starts at about 500 feet elevation, twists, turns, and rolls through the forest for seven miles then begins a gradual 700-foot climb to the summit. The descent is a fast, wild ride highlighted by the notorious “blood rock” section – a series of tricky to maneuver, uneven and jagged rocks.
“I think this is the best race venue ever,” said XTERRA Pro Jamie Whitmore after last year’s race. “It mixes East Coast mountain biking with tight turns, roots and rocks with a fast descent and rock garden area that’s totally West Coast. It’s just a blast!”
The run is simply punishing, with four major climbs - each progressively steeper than the one before. In between the climbs are a series of weaving off-road trails that meander through forested sections that provide shade, if not relief, from the heat.
Oak Mountain State Park is also home to the BUMP and Grind mountain bike race, one of the best mountain bike events in the Southeast now in its 13th year (this Sunday, June 3), as well as the popular Buster Britton Memorial road triathlon – which is part of the Best of the U.S. triathlon series (June 9).
XTERRA has teamed up with Buster Britton to provide special recognition for those athletes brave enough to do both races – aptly named the Bama Slamma Double Competition. A trophy will be given to the racer with the best combined time in the XTERRA Southeast Championship and the Buster Britton. Last year Craig Evans (who has since turned pro) won the Buster Britton then finished 9th overall (top amateur) in XTERRA to win the men’s double.
The XTERRA Southeast Championship race weekend (June 8-10) also includes a Friday night trail run, GU Charity Ride on Saturday, and a Sunday morning Duathlon to go with the full and half-distance XTERRA’s.
Learn more about the weekend at http://www.xterraplanet.com/races/race.cfm?race_id=533
MARCEAU, ERDELYI WIN XTERRA ITALY, EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP:
Olivier Marceau and Eszter Erdelyi won their respective pro divisions at the XTERRA European Championship (aka XTERRA Italy) in the Gulf of Orosei on Saturday. XTERRA rep Andrew Marsh was there and brings us this report:
Early rain, thunder, and lightning gave way to a spectacular day for XTERRA Italy 2007 – the XTERRA European Championship. A new venue for Sardinia’s holiday paradise, Orosei, welcomed 300 athletes from sixteen countries with a 10:00 start.
The Golfo Di Orosei was mirror flat for the wetsuit legal two-lap 1,500-meter crystal clear white sand beach swim. Jonathan Ciavattella took an early lead from the gun and held off all others posting a 16:57 swim split. Olivier Marceau (Switzerland) followed a super quick team swimmer into T1 with a 17:12.
First out of the water for the ladies was Sibylle Matter (Switzerland) in 19:16, besting the second quickest swimmer Eszter Erdelyi (Hungary) 20:33. The 100-meter run from the water was complete with a cheering crowd, jammin’ music, and a fresh water rinse.
Transition featured wall-to-wall carpet, XTERRA signage, and spectators making for quick Swim to Bike transitions. The men quickly formed a pack with Marceau, Franky Batelier (France) and Gianpietro De Faveri (Italy) swapping the lead position several times. Race reports from the two-loop bike course kept the fans fully informed as they spun thru Transition and headed back out on the Bike. The MTB featured a beautifully engineered temporary bridge that traversed a canal linking a small bay to the sea, however, athletes had little time to take in the vacation brochure cover quality scenery – complete with fishing boats and wading birds during the 30k adventure. Cactus, hike-a-bike, crank’n ups, ripp’n downs challenged athletes from the start. Midway thru the bike, five riders, led by 2005 XTERRA World Champion and defending 2006 XTERRA Italy champion Nico LeBrun (France) and 2006 XTERRA Warrior Nico Pfitzenmaier (Germany), formed a chase pack – closing fast.
At the bridge crossing the ladies bike race was spoke to spoke close with Austria’s Carina Wasle leading Matter back into the countryside and hills north of race central. Given that Wasle hit the bike course nearly three minute after Matter it was clear that Carina was out to challenge for the win - posting the ladies best bike split in 1:43:51. Erdelyi used the women’s 2nd best bike, 1:47:15, to gap distance to the leaders.
Marceau departed T2 first with Batelier close behind. De Faveri departed third onto the run with LeBrun having bested the chase pack back into T2 departing in fourth.
While there was little elevation gain on the run – this was definitely XTERRA. The first portion resembled the USA XTERRA Championship course with tight turns and dips in the woods. The second half is perhaps the most picturesque of all races with two shoreline beach segments, dunes, beautiful flowers, and a view so spectacular you’d kick yourself for not bringing a camera. Yet the scenery was deceiving – two swinging bridge canal crossings and the sugar sand kept your quads on the verge of cramping. Also challenging was the fact that this too was a two-loop course – knowing that you had to repeat it all was as much a mental game as physical.
At T2 the women’s leaders had set themselves up for an epic XTERRA showdown on the run. Less than one half mile into the run, Wasle had taken the lead with Erdelyi on her shoulder. Matter was a close third - a hundred feet behind. Athletes returned to Transition and were taunted by the Finish Line as they headed out for a second lap. At this turn Carina and Eszter were still stride for stride.
Just a few hundred feet from the finish line – for the benefit of athletes and spectators alike – a wooden bridge traversed both the bike and run outbound chutes. It was a tough climb so close to end. At the tape Olivier Marceau repeated his 2005 XTERRA Italy victory in 2:23:45. Franky Batelier fought hard to catch up but ran out of race – taking second in 2:24:38. Nico LeBrun and Gianpietro battled to end with LeBrun, last year’s champ, taking the 3rd a mere 10 seconds ahead of Gianpietro.
Shortly after the half way point in the ladies run – Eszter Erdelyi dropped the hammer – taking the run prime nearly four minutes faster than all others en route to the XTERRA Italy title with a finish of 2:50:43. Carnia Wasle cruised to second place with a 2:53:49. Third went to Sibylle Matter in 2:55:01.
The men’s Age Group championship was just as hard fought as the Elite division. Lars Erik Fricke (Germany) out raced Dirk Pauling (Switzerland) with a 2:38:59 vs. 2:39:43 to become XTERRA Italy’s Amateur winner. Next up was Fred Wuhrmann (France) in 2:42:10. Stiff completion placed them 14th, 16th and 17th Overall.
Taryn Laurie (England) took the ladies title and secured her place at the XTERRA World Championship with a 3:15:54 finish. Daniela Schellenberg (Switzerland) took second in 3:23:04. Third OA AG Female and Italian National Champion was Valereia Curridori.
Team USA showed well with Lynn Armstrong (Sausalito, CA) taking the 35-39 Championship. Intercontinental XTERRA Ambassador and multi-time World Champion Barbara Peterson (Berkeley, CA) added to her trophy shelve with the 50-54 XTERRA Italy victory.
The finish line festivities rivaled all others – complete with extensive TV and press coverage, spectacular post-race lunch, and a ceremony fitting the XTERRA European Championship. A special highlight – all finisher medals and champion trophies were handcrafted from local marble and shall be treasured by all who earned them.
A special mille grazie goes to our most gracious hosts, the Island Group, the community of Orosei, and the all the wonderful people of Italy. The Race Directors and all the staff and volunteers deserve a huge round of applause. Without a doubt, this was an incredibly special event, in a beautiful location and we know that it will continue to be an XTERRA favorite for many years to come!
Top 10 Pro Men
Pos First Name Last Name Country Time
1 OLIVIER MARCEAU SWITZERLAND 02:23:45.70
2 FRANKY BATELIER FRANCE 02:24:38.00
3 NICOLAS LEBRUN FRANCE 02:27:21.00
4 GIANPIETRO DE FAVERI ITALY 02:27:31.10
5 FELIX SCHUMANN GERMANY 02:28:43.60
6 JIM THIJS BELGIUM 02:30:17.60
7 LIEUWE BOONSTRA SOUTH AFRICA 02:30:38.30
8 NICO PFITZENMAIER GERMANY 02:30:45.00
9 RONNY DIETZ GERMANY 02:31:43.50
10 FABIEN COMBALUZIER FRANCE 02:32:58.40
Top 5 Pro Women
Pos First Name Last Name Country Time
1 ESZTER ERDELYI HUNGARY 02:50:43.40
2 CARINA WASLE AUSTRIA 02:53:49.80
3 SIBYLLE MATTER SWITZERLAND 02:55:01.20
4 MICHELLE LOMBARDI SOUTH AFRICA 03:01:35.90
5 STEFANIA BONAZZI ITALY 03:04:25.00
XTERRA Dirty (5/20 – Canyon Lakes, TX)
Men’s Race (Hometown, Age Group, Time)
Note: XTERRA Pro Jamie Cleveland finished 2nd overall in 2:19:07.
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