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XTERRA great Josiah Middaugh talks Winter World Championships
THIS WEEK: XTERRA great Josiah Middaugh talks Winter World Championships, “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas makes a case for doing the XTERRA Australia/New Zealand double in April, we take a look at the tentative ’08 XTERRA Global Tour Schedule, discover “Xduro”, and see if there are any XTERRA TV shows on in your hometown this weekend.
NOVEMBER TRAIL RUNS:
11/24 – XTERRA Topanga Turkey Trot (Topanga, CA)
11/25 – XTERRA Oconee Heritage Park Half-Marathon Trail Run (Farmington, GA)
JOSIAH MIDDAUGH ON WINTER WORLDS: There are many in our XTERRA family of racers who live two lives – one in the summer when they tear-up our off-road triathlon circuit – and another in the Winter where they do all kinds of crazy things in the snow.
Josiah Middaugh, a 29-year-old living in the mountains of Vail, Colorado, is one such creature. This summer he placed in the top 4 at all five XTERRA U.S. Tour stops and was the top American in the Pro Series. This winter, he’s aiming to be the inaugural winner of the XTERRA Winter World Championship.
His cold-season credentials include five North American Snowshoe titles, 4 Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon championships, two USSSA National Snowshoe Titles, and a USAT Winter Triathlon crown.
Here he gives us an inside look at what to expect out of this first-ever, never-been-done-before event to be held March 7-9, 2008 at Snowbasin Resort – home to the downhill events of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games:
The XTERRA Winter World Championship promises to be a true test of winter endurance and skill open to both amateurs and professionals. The championship event will include four disciplines in this order; 5k run on snow, 5k off-track snowshoe, 10k mountain bike on groomed snow, and 8k up and down cross country ski. Below are some tips on how to tackle each event.
Run: The first event will be a 5k run on snow. The course will be groomed and relatively hard packed. The obvious issue is traction so your choice of footwear can make a difference. I have raced on snow with everything from a racing flat to cross country shoe with ½ inch spikes and honestly the spikes didn’t seem to help much. Groomed snow is going to be soft so plan on slipping a little with each step. I have seen some people race in Yak Traks that add some weight, but probably do help with traction. For me the best approach is to just focus on being smooth and consistent over the ground. It is a strength race and it definitely takes more stability to get a good foot plant and push-off when you are slipping around.
Snowshoe: The second leg will be a true snowshoe race off the beaten path. Expect much deeper snow and more varied terrain. A lightweight snowshoe will still be your best choice and I plan on racing on a snowshoe that is 8 inches wide and 25 inches long. Northern Lites, Redfeather, Atlas, and Tubbs all make great racing snowshoes. If you thought that the run portion was a strength event, try running through powder on snowshoes. The good news is that it gets easier the further back you are because everyone in front of you will be packing down a trail.
Bike: Biking on snow…is that right? Any mountain bike should do the job either full suspension or a hard tail—it doesn’t matter. With no rocks or roots in the way full suspension is not necessary but I would say just ride what you have. The biggest issue will be rims and tires. A wider rim performs the best in the snow but for most of us a new wheel set is not practical. Go with a wide mountain bike tire 2.3-2.5 with an aggressive tread. Don’t worry about a fast rolling tire—go with something knobby! The most important thing of all is air pressure. There is a low risk of a flat tire so run low air pressure (ie under 20 lbs). Imagine you are selecting the best tire for a very sandy course. You need floatation and traction.
Ski: The ski portion is some form of cross country/ski mountaineering/randonnee/alpine touring – or whatever you want to call it - but that doesn’t mean you need to have a specific ski set-up. Cross country skis will work (classic or skate) as well as telemark skis. Expect steep climbs on the ski leg. Skins are highly recommended. A ski skin is a long strip of material with glue on one side that sticks to the ski, and directional “fur” on the other side that allows the ski to slide forward, but not backward (as long as you put it on right). If you don’t feel comfortable on the downhill, then you can just leave the skins on. If you are more confident in your downhill ability, then peel the skins off at the top and ski down. I would recommend the full-length skins over kicker skins.
Clothing: For winter events I always try to dress with just a little less than I think. With the Winter XTERRA there is going to be non-stop action so expect to heat up right away. Up top I usually use a thin base layer under a windbreaker. A basic pair of running or cycling tights should be fine for the legs. For most winter races a full-fingered cycling glove is usually enough unless it is very cold. You will need some finger dexterity so keep that in mind with your glove choice. You will be changing shoes several times so you want a good pair of socks. I recommend either a neoprene sock or a performance wool sock. If it happens to be crazy cold then consider cycling booties on your bike shoes and instant hand warmers in your gloves.
Transitions: Although it may sound like a logistically confusing race, XTERRA will do everything possible to keep it simple. Each leg of the XTERRA Winter Worlds will return to the same transition. This means all of your gear is in one spot and any additional nutrition can also be placed there. You shouldn’t need to worry much about nutrition out on the course since you will be routed though the base area four times.
Need help: XTERRA is hosting a ton of exhibitors, clinics, and equipment rental companies at the festival before the race, so if you don’t have everything or need more info, you’ll be o.k. The most important thing is to try something new and have some fun – and this event gives you the chance to do both.
AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND: I know it seems a bit premature to talk about races in April 2008 when most of us are worrying about how much turkey to eat or what our favorite person has asked Santa for; but we have a new set of events that simply need to be talked about.
On April 5th XTERRA will return to Australia at Daylesford in Victoria. Just a week later, and an easy flight, is XTERRA New Zealand in Rotorua on April 12th. If you’ve wanted to travel and you love XTERRA this could be the week of a lifetime.
Just 60 miles from Melbourne, Daylesford Lake is a wonderful tourist destination with accommodations from simple to deluxe. Best known for its mineral waters and spas the village also sits next to the high country of the Macedon Ranges. You can count on the water being chilly but the air warm – hey it is fall down under, and you can count on the course being tough as only the Aussies can make it.
Sitting east of Australia, with many daily flights, is New Zealand. You have a couple choices on how to get to Rotorua; fly into Auckland and drive down (about 3 hours) or fly Auckland to Rotorua. The race site for New Zealand is epic. A fantastic blue lake sitting deep in a green valley and all only 20 minutes from the center of town. Expect a busy day with over 2,000 runners and walkers taking part in XTERRA trail runs early and a big entry of your best Kiwi and international friends for the National Championship. Great bike and wonderful run around the blue lake.
Remember that when you head down under that you will go past the international date line, so you lose a day going over, but gain it coming back. So if you leave the US on Thursday it is already Friday down under. Some flights leave late at night and arrive early 2 days later. Example: leave Wednesday night at 11pm and arrive on Friday morning at 9am. But you can leave on Sunday night and get home Sunday morning… get my drift? Most major airlines can get you a good price traveling from the US to Melbourne, Melbourne to Auckland and Auckland back to where you started.
Two great races in two fabulous countries full of culture and sights – and they all kind of speak English. Both are qualifiers for Maui but don’t go there expecting to waltz your way in. There are few nations on earth where the athletes are as competitive as Australia and New Zealand. Did I mention the Aussies and the Kiwi’s surely know how to have a good time? Well, you’ll just have to go see for yourself.
TENTATIVE 2008 XTERRA GLOBAL TOUR SCHEDULE
March 8 - XTERRA Saipan Championship (Saipan, CNMI)
March 15 - XTERRA Argentina Championship (Bariloche, Patagonia)
April 5 - XTERRA Australia Championship (Daylesford, Victoria)
April 12 - XTERRA New Zealand Championship (Rotorua)
April 19 - XTERRA South Africa Championship (Grabouw, Western Cape)
May 17-18 - XTERRA West Championship* (Temecula, CA)
June 1 - XTERRA Italy Championship+ (Cala Ginepro, Sardinia)
June 7-8 - XTERRA Southeast Championship* (Pelham, AL)
June 14-15 - XTERRA East Championship* (Richmond, VA)
June 21 - XTERRA Wales Championship+ (Neath Valley)
June 28 - XTERRA Czech Championship+ (Hluboka nad Vltavou)
July 6 - XTERRA France Championship+ (Auron)
August 15-16 - XTERRA Mountain Championship* (Snowbasin/Ogden, UT)
August 16 - XTERRA Denmark Championship+ (Arhus, Jutland)
August 23 - XTERRA Austria Championship+ (Klopeinersee, Carinthia)
August 23 - XTERRA Brazil Championship (Ilhabela)
August 30 - XTERRA Japan Championship (Marunuma)
September 13 - XTERRA Germany Championship+ (Titisee, Schwarzwald)
September 20-21 - XTERRA USA Championship* (Lake Tahoe, NV)
October 19 - XTERRA World Championship (Makena, Maui)
Remember, this is TENTATIVE as of 11.11.07
THE XDURO: Xduro is a distance – a quest – a state of mind – and yet another word made up by the folks who created XTERRA.
An “Xduro” is an endurance trail run ranging from 18-to-27k in distance, and in most cases an off-road half-marathon (21k or 13 miles). There are tentatively 10 Xduro's in the U.S. and each one qualifies runners to compete in both the XTERRA Trail Running National and World Championship Xduro events. For this first year, runners qualify by simply finishing within four hours of their start time.
Xduro trail runs have also gone global with off-road half's in such exotic locations as Brazil, New Zealand, Japan, Italy, France, Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom. At the end of the year, runner's from all over the world will unite in the majestic Kaaawa Valley at Kualoa Ranch on the island of Oahu for the ultimate Xduro - the XTERRA Trail Running World Championship on December 7, 2008.
The first off-road half to qualify runners into the championship races will be held next weekend in Farmington, Georgia. More than 300 competitors are expected to toe the start line at the XTERRA Oconee Heritage Park “Xduro” Trail Run on Sunday, November 25th.
This 21k is an adventure of epic proportion – it mixes endurance with Mother Nature's finest elements: jumping over rocks and roots, ducking under trees and stream crossings.
Just in time for the holiday gift-giving season, proceeds from the event benefit the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign and entrants (and spectators too!) are asked to bring one unwrapped toy.
The complete 2008 XTERRA Trail Running Series schedule (which also includes a ton of 5k and 10k runs across the U.S.) will be available Dec. 5 at the new xterratrailrun.com website.
VIDEOS: A collection of photos and videos from the XTERRA World Championship can be found online at: http://www.xterraplanet.com/worldchampionship/videos.html.
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