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A Preview to the XTERRA European Tour Finale
THIS WEEK: Recaps from XTERRA Germany and XTERRA Costa Rica Championships, the GU Cruise for a Cause hits the Rim Trail, video training tips on Tahoe from XTERRA’s top pros, a preview to the XTERRA European Tour finale and the XTERRA Golden Gate Trail Run in San Francisco, and the weekend’s XTERRA TV schedule.
9/16 – XTERRA UK Championship (Neath Valley, Wales)
9/16 – XTERRA Golden Gate Park Trail Run (San Francisco, CA)
9/29 – XTERRA Nevada (Incline Village, NV)
9/29 - XTERRA National Trail Running Championships (Incline Village, NV)
9/30 – XTERRA USA Championship (Incline Village, NV)
XTERRA GERMANY REVIEW: Austria’s Carina Wasle and Frenchman Francky Batelier took home top honors at the XTERRA Germany Championship on Saturday. The managing director of the XTERRA Global Tour, Kahuna Dave Nicholas, was onsite and brings us this report…
Two great stories from the Black Forest in southern Germany. Carina Wasle is nearly impossible to beat on this mountainous course. She is the horse to bet on at this race. Francky Batelier has finished 2nd twice in two XTERRA’s. For him, the 3rd time was a charm as he chased down the very strong young German, Andreas Bocherer, on the last lap of the run for his first win.
I’ve seen lots of races, but this 6th chapter of XTERRA Germany had more passing and re-passing than any I can think of. Ironman Champ Faris Al Sultan led everyone from the swim with Bocherer and Batelier close behind. The two mountain bikers made quick work of the road rider with Andi simply thrashing the steep hills and putting 45 seconds on Franky. Nico Lebrun, Nico Pfitzenmaier and Belgium’s Jim Thijs were nose to tail at the end of the first lap with Lebrun having passed 16 riders.
Sibylle Matter was 2 minutes + up on Hungarian Eszter Erdelyi, 3 up on Carina Wasle and 4 up on Austrian champ Anna Baylis-Scheiderbauer coming out of the water. But Sibylle was a bit tired from finishing 2d at last weekends Monaco 70.3 race and tiny Carina was equally as impressive on the bike as Bocherer, pulling to within a minute of the lead at the end of the first runde. Eszter had a bit of the flu and dropped back to 5th with Anna Baylis coming forward with Carina in a very close race.
Andi Bocherer was having the bike race of his young career. Nothing Batelier, Lebrun or Pfitzenmaier tried could cut into his lead; and these are three very fast men. Bocherer arrived at T2 with over a minute in hand from Batelier. Lebrun, who finished the Monaco race in 3rd simply could not make up enough time on Franky and looked content to podium in third. Just back from Nico was German National Champion Felix Schumann and then a death struggle for 5th with Pfitzenmaier, Denmark Champ Ronnie Dietz (Germany) and Czech Jan Kubicek just inches apart.
The women’s race was just as good. Carina had put the hammer down and had a solid lead into T2. Sibylle had problems and was back in 4th with new Mom Katrin Hill up into third behind Anna Baylis-Scheidenbauer. Katrin won the Titisee race just 3 years ago and it was great to see her back racing and still very fast.
Unlike so many races, the competitors were not finished competing after the bike. Eszter may not have felt strong on the bike, but the girl can run, and she sped her way from 5th to 3rd with the fastest woman’s run by nearly 3 minutes. Bocherer came around the first lap still in the lead, but the bright green uniform of the Frenchman was just 100 feet behind and the writing was on the wall. Lebrun had his typical fastest men’s run but had lost too much on the swim/bike to challenge young Andi. Schumann was solid in 4th but the battle for 5th between Dietz/Pfitzenmaier/Kubicek was still hot with less than a minute between the 3.
The end to a very exciting race saw the Frenchman Batelier come home 45 seconds ahead of a very happy Bocherer. Schumann in 4th and a very tired and pleased Pfitzenmaier in 5th, Kubicek 6th and Dietz 7th, still with less than 2 minutes separating the three.
Carina had a sore right calf the past week and was only able to run on the Wednesday before the race. She said she felt good, but was not certain how it would hold up on the steep climbs and descents of the German running trails. Clearly it was good enough. Sibylle came on strong in the run to finish second, as mentioned Eszter flew to third with Anna Baylis-Scheiderbauer 4th and lovely Katrin Hill 5th.
This race in the Black Forest has now become a tradition. The Titisee-Neustadt folks love having the athletes in town, the hotels are full, the restaurants are busy and the race is colorful and loud with music and announcers keeping everyone entertained. A bunch of Americans made the trip this year and all loved the trails, the food, the folks and the party. Put this on your list To Do for next year.
XTERRA COSTA RICA REVIEW: The laidback town of Tambor, located in the northern Puntarenas province of Costa Rica, hosted the inaugural XTERRA Costa Rica Championship on Saturday.
Reigning XTERRA amateur World Champion (turned pro) Rom Akerson chased down long-time XTERRA pro Ben Travis on the run to take the men’s overall title in 3:00:36. Oscar Gutierrez was second in 3:04:08 and Travis filled out the podium in 3:06:32.
In the women’s pro race Viviana Chavarria won in 3:42:55 followed by Alejandra Gutierrez in 4:09:39. Race director Enrique Wong brings us this account of how the race unfolded…
The race started at 9:30 a.m. and the beach was nice and clear, but there were some 2 to 3-foot waves that made the entrance into the ocean a little rough. Once racers passed the wave line the ocean was nice and flat for the two 750 meter loop course. The first racer out of the water was Ben Travis with a time of 25:58.
After 3 kilometers on the bike a powerful hill (3.2k long with an elevation from 30 to 175 meters) faced competitors. In some parts many racers had to walk and actually rest before continuing the climb. A very technical downhill followed the climb and the course was mostly gravel and mud.
''Hard, muddy, dangerous, and scenic. It was perfect,” said one competitor.
After going through all this variety of terrain and having a luxury view of Bahia Ballena (Whale Bay) and the Pacific coast, Travis was the first to the bike-to-run transition with a bike time of 1:40:35 followed by Gutierrez and Akerson with a six minute delay.
The signature feature on the run course was a 3k upstream trek through a river in ankle deep water. As the trail run continued racers were challenged with crossing over big rocks, navigating loose gravel and mud, and alas, another river crossing (this one waist deep). The final stretch is on the sandy beach to the finish line and to everyone’s surprise Akerson was the first racer in sight, having passed Gutierrez and Travis for the victory.
Overall it was an incredible day with beautiful weather, great parties, and a lively atmosphere. I’m looking forward to a bigger field and even better experience next year and encourage the XTERRA family to come join us.
GU CRUISE IN TAHOE: The GU Cruise For A Cause at the USA Championship is a 13-mile charity mountain bike ride to benefit the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. It’s set for Friday, Sept. 28 at 3pm and is for experienced riders as it will take around an hour-and-a-half and includes roughly 2,800-feet of descending. A 30-minute shuttle from race headquarters at Village Green next to the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe will take riders and their bikes to a beautiful section of the Tahoe Rim Trail 8,700' above sea level at the Sheep Flats (aka Tahoe Meadows) on the Mt. Rose Highway above Incline Village. The first part of the trail parallels the highway and then descends through the meadows and briefly joins the Ophir Creek trail. After a 300' climb out of the meadows you begin to contour your way to Tunnel Creek road with many great vistas of Lake Tahoe as well as Washoe Lake in Nevada along the way. There are many small climbs and descents along the route and this section is moderately technical due to the many solo rock steps (Lofting your front wheel over the steps is a very useful skill to have in your quiver). At about mile nine you reach Tunnel Creek Road where we'll turn right and head down this fun and speedy sandy fire road for 2.4 miles to Ponderosa Ranch Road (then to Lakeshore Blvd. another mile back to Village Green). The ride is $25 and all proceeds will benefit the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. Space is limited so sign up now at http://www.xterraplanet.com/races/race.cfm?race_id=537 (go to Events tab and scroll down to the bottom).
XTERRA TAHOE TRAINING TIPS: Before the XTERRA Mountain Championship race in Utah last month we gathered four of the sport’s leading pro athletes – Conrad Stoltz, Melanie McQuaid, Josiah Middaugh, and Jamie Whitmore - and asked them a series of training, racing, nutrition, and technical questions specific to the USA Championship race in Nevada. Their collective advice is insightful, colorful, and sometimes hilarious and we’ve spliced them all together in a series of six short videos broken down by topic that you can download as a podcast or view on XTERRA’s YouTube channel. Four of the six videos (Tahoe bike and tire choice/Dealing with altitude and pre-ride strategies/Tahoe nutrition and hydration advice/Dealing with cold weather) are available now and the final two (Tahoe tire repair and mental preparation) will be ready on Friday.
XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR FINALE: This Sunday at the XTERRA UK Championship amateurs and pros will be racing for XTERRA European Tour titles. The championships go to the top points scorers in four of the five events (with UK being the last of 5).
In the men’s pro race Ronny Dietz has a 25-point lead over reigning Euro Tour Champ Nicolas Lebrun, however, Dietz’ 289 points counts four races so he can’t add very much whereas Lebrun’s 264 points includes just three races so everything he gets in UK will add to his total. Thus, even if Dietz wins on Sunday, Lebrun could still win the Series with a third-place performance.
On the women’s side it’s much closer with Sibylle Matter, Carina Wasle and Eszter Erdelyi all in position to seal the European Title with a victory in the Neath Valley. Point standings can be found at www.xterraeurope.com.
XTERRA GOES GOLDEN: This Sunday the final leg of the 2007 XTERRA Nor-Cal Trail Running Series will be held at beautiful Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA. As the third event in a trio of races, the XTERRA Golden Gate 5K & 10K serves as a final challenge before securing the title of "XTERRA Nor-Cal Champion" and/or earning a qualifying spot to attend the XTERRA National Trail Running Championship in Lake Tahoe, NV on Sept. 29.
This is no ordinary road race. The trek is a cross-country style course that takes competitors up, down and around rolling hills, through a mix of narrow and wide dirt trails, obstacles to jump over, run around and surprise hazards along the way. Mile markers will be posted and on-site water stations will be scattered throughout to quench thirsty runners.
Runners for both the 5K and 10K start and finish on the grass fields of Lindley Meadow. For individuals that desire a taste of anti-urban life, intake some fresh air and enjoy the scenery, the 5K-race is the way to go. Short and sweet, it consists of a single loop through the park. Athletes in search of a true challenge will favor the 10K adventure, looping the 5K-course a second time around. The circular set up makes this event perfect for spectating, picture taking and rooting for your favorite athletes.
Post-race activities include award ceremony, music, hosted BBQ, vender giveaways and discounts from XTERRA, Gatorade, Goody StayPut, Gu, O Water, Kinesys, Yankz and more! Join us in the park with over one million trees and "LIVE MORE" with XTERRA.
The XTERRA NorCal Series has teamed with Girls on the Run Bay Area -- a non-competitive, curriculum-based running program for girls from 3rd through 8th grade to help build self-esteem. By providing a safe environment where girls can express themselves and build confidence, GOTR is helping to prepare them for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.
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