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Big XTERRA Races on 3 Continents This Saturday
From the managing director of the XTERRA World Tour, "Kahuna Dave" Nicholas...
The XTERRA Pro year is starting out with a bang. You pick the Continent and we’ve got something happening. New Zealand, South Africa and Saipan are all on the same day (this Saturday, April 18).
Saipan has quite a world class field with Great Britain World Champion Julie Dibens coming back to challenge 4-time Saipan champion Renata Bucher. Dibens only losses have come at the hands of the little Swiss Miss. Bucher beat Julie in France in 2007 and Saipan in 2008.
Coming to challenge both is 2008 USA champion Shonny Vanlanginham. Saipan is heavily weighted towards the bike and Shonny, as a 15-time NORBA Champ, is a bike specialist. Second year pro Mieko Carey lives in Saipan and has the advantage of racing at home and knowing the course.
On the men’s side we have Mike Vine, the 2002 Saipan Champ coming back to see if his magic still applies in the tropics. He’ll have some stiff competition from last years champ Aussie Andrew Noble. Noble won the double last year by winning both XTERRA and Tagaman. England’s Sam Gardner and Jimmy McConnel will return to try and unseat Noble and stay in front of Vine. Gardner won last weeks Guam race and XTERRA Japan in 2008.
Germany’s Euro Tour racer Sasha Wingenfeld is making his first attempt at Saipan along with Philippine Champion Arland Macasieb, now living in New Jersey. Long time XTERRA competitor and friend, Taro Shirato will compete along with Takahiro Ogasawara who has finished 2nd twice in Japan.
It’s early in the year and much will depend on how fit Noble and Vine are after a long winter. Dibens, Bucher, Gardner and McConnel have been in the Pacific for a few weeks and all raced in Guam on April 4. We know they are acclimated to the weather, but Vine and Noble are fast.
The Championship? Renata has it and Julie wants it. Noble is the incumbent and Vine is there to recapture the throne. Throw in the European men and the American Champ woman and we’ve got one heck of a race in the making.
South Africa has the German duo of Felix Schumann and Nico Pfitzenmaier way down under to go after Dan Hugo and try to become the first non-South African to win in Grabouw. Hugo, Lieuwe Boonstra and Kent Horner are all there to defend their native turf.
A huge entry waits in New Zealand where 08 champ Terenzo Bozzone is the favorite, but Tim Wilding is back and has a big win from 07 behind him. Sonia Foote is not entered so this opens the door for Susie Wood and Nicola Leary.
In less than a week we’ll have Champions from three different races – invites to Maui and bragging rights for a year. Don’t you wish you were at one of these?
XTERRA SOUTH AFRICA FINALS IN GRABOUW
German multisport athletes Felix Schumann (pictured) and Nico Pfitzenmaier are no strangers to the XTERRA South Africa racing scene. In April 2008 Schumann and Pfitzenmaier placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively, behind local athlete Dan Hugo at the XTERRA South African finals in the Western Cape. Both athletes will return to Grabouw Country Club on Saturday where they will fight it out once again for the coveted title of XTERRA SA Champion.
According to Schumann, a final year medical student currently completing his internship at Tygerberg Hospital, the SA XTERRA race course is as good as XTERRA gets.
"The style of the South African event definitely rivals that of the World Championships in Maui and ranks in my top three races around the world. My favourite part of the race is the run course, as it's really beautiful and very challenging. I expect Dan Hugo to be the strongest competition on the day. He is among the best riders in XTERRA especially when it comes to the technical sections. I have, however, learnt that XTERRA is about always being prepared for the unexpected, so I won't underestimate any competitor. I am really looking forward to catching up with the XTERRA family and spending a legendary weekend with everybody. The XTERRA SA team really know how to put an awesome event together," says Schumann.
Pfitzenmaier recently place 1st in the mixed team category of the Cape Epic. " I currently have the best form since years and plan to race hard at XTERRA Grabouw. The XTERRA SA event is one of the most organized XTERRA events and offers amazing exposure to the sport. The route at Grabouw is one of the nicest with great single tracks and beautiful nature. I am really looking forward to the SA finals," says Pfitzenmaier. Top South African athletes competing on the day will include Kent Horner, Dan Hugo, Lieuwe Boonstra and Carla Germishuys.
XTERRA NORTHWEST CUP & ADVENTURE WEEK
The XTERRA Northwest Cup, featuring a 1-mile swim, 18-mile mountain bike, and 6-mile trail run with $10,000 in prize money, bigger points for amateurs racing in the Series, and most importantly, qualifying slots into the XTERRA World Championship in Maui, will be held at Farragut State Park just north of beautiful Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho on June 6, 2009.
The Northwest Cup is part of the inaugural 10-day long, 24-race Adventure Sports Week festivities that promises to be one of the premiere outdoor sports events of the year.
With activities ranging from four and eight hour mountain bike races to an orienteering meet, the official XTERRA Northwest Cup race, a short course off-road tri, a Duathlon (all with relay team options), six trail runs ranging in distance from 6-kilometers to 50 miles, five different adventure races (including one especially for kids!), a distance swim, a paddling event and many more, there’s something to satisfy the whole family – even great campgrounds!
“The courses have all been set, and we’ve had marvelous response from celebrity and pro athletes that are racing in the different events including Ian Adamson, Mike Kloser, Rebecca Rusch, Robyn Benincasa, Dean Karnazes, Conrad Stoltz, Dan Hugo, Mike Vine, Seth Wealing, Nico Lebrun, Shonny Vanlandingham, Danelle Kabush, Rebecca Rusch, and Michael Emde. I think between the festive atmosphere, great awards, gear, and the amazing scenery, this is going to be one of the highlight events on the national racing calendar,” said event director Dave Adlard.
All of the outdoor action is set to go down from June 5-14 at Farragut State Park.
CANADA HOSTS XTERRA TRI
The world’s leading off-road tri series is headed back to Canada, eh! The inaugural XTERRA Alberta off-road triathlon will be staged in Canmore, Alberta, Canada on August 23rd. Although it’s not a championship race (meaning no Maui slots) participants can rest assured that the “Live More” experience is alive and well in Canmore, which sits just west of Calgary.
The race site is nestled into the Northwest corner of Kananaskis Country, home to a multitude of Provincial (equivalent of state parks in the U.S.) and Wild-land Parks. Stand most anywhere in Canmore, turn around 360 degrees, and you will fully appreciate the term “Mountain” community.
Race headquarters at Canmore Nordic Centre was host to the '88 Winter Olympics, and regularly plays host to World Cup Mountain Bike and International Trail Running events. The swim leg of the event takes place at Quarry lake offering safe and secluded calm waters in a well protected location. The Rocky Mountains provide a magnificent backdrop to this spectator-friendly venue. The Quarry is an alpine lake but is much warmer than you may think. Average race day temperature is 19 degrees, wetsuits are recommended.
XTERRA TRAIL RUNNIN' IN SC
Not SoCal...it's South Carolina! Clemson’s Issaqueena Forest hosted the inaugural trail run in the XTERRA South Carolina Series on Saturday. The XTERRA Doug Harris Memorial Trail Run presented area runners with 10 kilometers of challenging hills and single-track trails, which were handled nicely by race winners Bryan McDewell and Erin Lovelace, both from Clemson.
The men’s race came down to a photo finish as McDewell, 20, recorded a time of 41:39, edging out Central’s David Roper, 38, by just one second. Joshua Mitchell was another 12 seconds back in third. Lovelace, a 21-year old junior performing arts student at Clemson University, crossed the finish line in just 49:13, a full five minutes ahead of Jess Greer.
While it was XTERRA’s first year with the event, this was the 3rd annual Doug Harris Memorial Trail Run. To honor Jerry Douglas Harris III, who died in a tragic accident in the fall of 2006, a memorial scholarship has been set up to benefit current and future Air Force ROTC students with tuition assistance. All proceeds from this weekend’s event were given directly to the fund.
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