Sam Gardner, a former master’s mountain biking National Champion from Surrey, England – home to the XTERRA England Championship – is playing a pivotal role in this year’s race scheduled for August 24th at Vachery Estate in Cranleigh.
Gardner has done XTERRA races in more than a dozen countries around the world (Spain, Austria, Denmark, Germany, France, Japan, Saipan, Guam, Philippines, Mauritius, Czech, Portugal, and all over the USA) and wants nothing less than a first-class experience for racer’s visiting his home town.
“I really just want to push the party side of it all,” joked Gardner, whose storied XTERRA career started back in 2006 (Note: He became the first Brit to win an XTERRA World Tour major when he claimed the XTERRA Japan Championship crown in 2008. Since then he went on to capture Japan again in 2009, and also won XTERRA Guam, XTERRA Saipan, XTERRA Philippines, and this year the inaugural XTERRA Mauritius crown).
Gardner has lined up several bands for the post-race party, got deals on great food and beer for participants, and is dialing-in the bike course alongside his crazy cast of friends. He’ll also be one of the colorful characters on the mic over the weekend.
“But mostly, I want to make sure everyone sticks around on Sunday night for the party,” said Gardner. “It’s a holiday on Monday and Vachery Estate is allowing campers to stay the night so there’s no excuses. Have a great race and then let’s celebrate.”
XTERRA England will be the 32nd of 36 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world can qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26. It’s also the 10th of 11 races in the 2014 XTERRA European Tour.
The main event consists of a 1.5km swim, 30km bike ride, and 10km trail run. There is also a shorter distance Sprint race on offer (750m swim / 15km bike / 5km trail run) and both races can be contested as part of a relay team.
The race will be held just one week after the XTERRA Germany Championship race which is doubling as the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships, enticing international elites and amateurs to extend their stay and race in both events. In addition, the XTERRA Denmark Championship will be held a week later in Tisvilde, offering another appealing two-race vacation travel opportunity.
The location for the event is noteworthy; secreted away in the beautiful ancient wooded countryside of the Surrey Hills at a private family home steeped in history.
“It’s a great course in the south of England just about an hour from Heathrow airport and 30 minutes from Gatwick,” explained Nicholas. “In the heart of Surrey and West Sussex this area is a postcard of England. Great pubs and B&B’s everywhere, country estates, small villages and even golf courses. Be prepared for typical British weather. Not cold but not warm, a bit of rain here and there and the friendliest folks you will find anywhere. It’s an absolute classic British experience.”
Sign-up and learn more at https://xterraengland.com/