LakeKanayama-1

XTERRA Japan Unveils New Venue in Hokkaido

Japan was one of the very first international races on the XTERRA World Tour when it made its debut in Shiobara back in 2000 and for 10 years, 2004 to 2014, it called Marunuma home.

This year the XTERRA Japan Championship, again led by triathlon legend Taro Shirato, is introducing the Tribe to a new destination.

XTERRA Pro and roving race correspondent Charlie Epperson (pictured above with Mieko Carey) is one of the hundreds of XTERRA warriors headed to Hokkaido for Saturday’s race and brings us this preview…

XTERRA Japan returns to kick-start the 2015-2016 XTERRA Asian Tour after a one-year hiatus.  During their break, race organizers secured a new venue that led them to one of the northern most prefectures in Hokkaido. A region renown for their snow skiing, cuisine, and pristine landscape, this year’s XTERRA Japan Championship promises to offer competitors a great new experience.

The resort is amazing… with more than dozen restaurants serving world class Hokkaido cuisine, golf courses, gondola ride, hot springs, and some crisp clean air- it feels more like I’m on holiday. Great venue for the race and the community has been equally amazing in their support of the race, course preparations, and general warmness toward the athletes.

The swim will start at the snow-fed and remote Lake Kanayama, home to the ancient & mythical Sakhalin taimen flying fish.   After a likely cool morning swim, racers will enjoy a two-loop bike course that climbs over 800-meters while navigating a floating bridge that leaves little room for error. Spectators will get to see runners twice on a two-lap course that takes competitors through Lake Kanayama Forest Park, an area commonly occupied by the Japanese brown bear (as many as 2,000 roam the Hokkaido region). No kidding!

With the last XTERRA Japan Champion Dan Hugo now retired, the men’s elite race is wide open for those of us hoping to be crowned the champion in the Land of the Rising Sun.  A late entry into the race, two-time Australian Olympian and XTERRA Australia Champion Courtney Atkinson becomes the clear favorite in this field. Japan’s Takahiro Ogasawara is the local favorite and stands a good chance to offer Atkinson a close race with his mastery of technical mountain bike tracks.

Cedric Lassonde of France, a veteran XTERRA racer, will arrive in peak form after crushing an Ironman distance race two weeks prior. Scotland’s Rory Downie passed on the XTERRA European Championship in London to compete in the mountains of Hokkaido. South Korea’s Kaon Cho will use XTERRA Japan to tune-up the inaugural XTERRA Korea race that will be contested the following weekend. Japan’s veteran racer, Taro Shirato, who has also been the driving force behind the new race venue, has enough course knowledge to be a factor. Rounding out the field is my Guam training partner, Cameron O’Neal, who competes for the Guam National Triathlon team and who is debuting in his first elite off-road race at XTERRA Japan. A number of other professional and seasoned XTERRA racers are rumored to be en-route include Slovakia’s Michal Bucek, Hong Kong’s Jason Hsieh, and Josh Kenyon of New Zealand.

The women’s elite race is shaping up to be a mano-a-mano affair. Four-time XTERRA Japan Champion Mieko Carey returns to her home country in search of her fifth title. Carey, who came face-to-face with a black bear during a pre-ride at the old course will no doubt have her “bear bell” (a required item for this course) in full jingle as she sets out on her quest. Her competition, the speedy Lizzy Orchard of New Zealand, had a great performance at XTERRA Malaysia in Langkawi this past May and looks to be in even better shape going into Saturday.

Competitors should come prepared for a wetsuit swim and expect some vicious climbs in the midst of the beauty of Lake Kanayama Forest Park. With bears, floating bridges, flying fish, and icy cold water, the outlook is pure adventure for the 2015 XTERRA Japan Championships.

Christophe Maury

XTERRA Denmark / England Double

XTERRA Warrior award winner Christophe Maury “the Frenchman” captured the hearts and imagination of the XTERRA Tribe last year with his relentless drive for adventure and racing.

He raced eight of the 11 European majors last year, the most of any amateur. This year XTERRA added another race to its XTERRA European Tour, so of course, Maury had to add another race to his schedule too.

The reigning 45-49 XTERRA European Tour Champion has done seven of the first 10 races this year and leads his division in points, but to make sure he can defend his title he’s doing an unprecedented Double … XTERRA Denmark on Saturday, August 29, and the XTERRA European Championship race in England on Sunday, August 30.

“I just finished making the plans,” Maury wrote earlier this week. “It’s crazy, I’m crazy, but I’ll do it because I love XTERRA.”

Here’s his plan. Race Denmark (Aug. 29).  Start at 10 a.m. Expect to finish not more than 4 hours later. Take one-hour to enjoy the atmosphere and pack the bike. Then one-hour drive to the airport in Copenhagen. Give back the car and catch an 8pm flight to London.

“I’ll prepare the bike when I get to Heathrow, then I’ll spend the night (a short one !!!) somewhere around the airport. Didn’t find anything yet. Have to work on it and find something cheap!” said Maury.

On Sunday he’ll wake up, hire a care, drive to Vachery Estate for the 12 noon race time.

“After the race I have an 11pm flight back to France then one more short night of rest because on Monday I have to be at work at 7 a.m. Then, I will rest.”

Eneko Llanos

Maui 2009: 3-Peat for Llanos / Dibens

It was smoking hot in Makena for the 2009 XTERRA World Championship. In the men’s race Eneko Llanos finished 55 seconds ahead of Nicolas Lebrun to collect his third XTERRA World Championship and first since winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004.

The men’s race was amazing, with all the sports heavy weights battling it out on the dusty slopes of Haleakala.  Seth Wealing and Eneko Llanos were the first two contenders out of the one-mile warm water Pacific Ocean swim, followed by Olivier Marceau, Franky Batelier, and Conrad Stoltz.

Per his Maui routine, Stoltz jumped to an early lead on the mountain bike and was the first to hit the infamous “Heartbreak Hill” section at about mile 4, but the chase pack was thick and persistent.

By midway through the 20-mile bike Stoltz was still in front but with a tail that included Batelier, Llanos, Marceau, and Lebrun – one-by-one and separated by mere seconds.   Just past the halfway point “Ned’s Climb” takes riders up some 1,400 feet in a matter of a mile to the highest point on the course at where the “Plunge” begins. It’s here where Stoltz’ has built his legend and the spot where in past years he could put guys away with his fearless downhill riding.  This year the course was as smooth as it has ever been and minimized the fear factor for his foes.  Not to say that the Plunge isn’t still a gnarly, loose, jagged lava rock riddled stretch, it is – just not as bad.

“This was a tough race, but the bike course was a little smoother, a little faster,” said Llanos, who became the first racer in 14 years to win XTERRA Worlds after competing at the Ironman World Champs.  “The course was a little less technical, and I went at a steady pace and it went really well.”

Stoltz cleared the section but didn’t put any time on the lead pack and at mile 15 Llanos and Batelier were right behind him with Josiah Middaugh pushing his way into the conversation just 30 seconds back, and Lebrun and Marceau within a minute.  There hasn’t been a race in recent memory here in Maui where six guys were this close this far into the race, and another big name was about to be added to the mix.

At the bike-to-run transition the spectators lining the lush luau grounds at the host hotel got to see for themselves just how exciting the racing action was with Stoltz, Llanos, and Middaugh all coming into and exiting together.  Llanos got the early jump and once he got in front he never gave it up.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect to be this strong,” said Llanos, who finished 14th at the Ironman World Championship in 8:37:55 and captured the Double award for the fourth straight time.  The award is given annually to the pro man with the fastest combined time at Ironman Worlds and XTERRA Worlds. “Just two weeks ago I was really disappointed in Kona, and now here I am so happy.  I came here with no pressure and just wanted to have fun and then I felt strong from the swim and had a good day.  When I crossed the finish line I couldn’t believe it, how fast feelings change, and something amazing happened and I’m just so happy now.”

Batelier was fourth into transition, then Lebrun, Marceau and Weiss.  Any given day and any of the seven could do something special on the run and win.  Lebrun did his best, and picked off everyone but Llanos on his way to 2nd place, his best finish in Maui since winning it all in 2005.  Middaugh, who hasn’t done a legit training run in nearly a year due to injury, dropped to 9th by the finish line.

Marceau was his usual professional self and had a solid run to finish 4th for his fifth top 5 in Maui, Stoltz slugged it out for 5th, Batelier hung on for 6th, Felix Schumann worked his way into 7th, and Seth Wealing came across as the top American in 8th.

In the women’s race Julie Dibens proved she is one cool cat … calm, collected, confident and an absolute monster on the Maui course.  She actually trailed in this race for the first time in two years, with Christine “Big Fish” Jeffrey coming out of the water 38 seconds up, but that lasted all of about five minutes and then Julie was Julie – making it look easy and putting more on more time on her competitors with every turn of the pedal.

By mile 11 she had a four-minute lead and was mixed in with the top 15 men.  A few seconds later Brian Smith (one of XTERRA’s all-time fastest men’s mountain bikers) rode by and said “Wow!” – referencing the fact that he was halfway through the bike and Dibens was still in front of him.

At mile 15 Dibens was up by nearly five minutes, it was more than that at transition, and when she finished with a women’s event record time of 2:56:42, the finish line crowd waited another seven-and-a-half minutes before seeing Lesley Paterson.  She had the day’s fastest bike split, even better than Marie-Helene Premont (an Olympic silver medalist in the 2004 mountain bike competition in Athens), Shonny Vanlandingham (NORBA’s all-time best) and Melanie McQuaid (a Canadian National Team rider for years).

091025-0906

Dibens is the first pro – man or woman – to win this race three years-in-a-row and joined the exclusive club of three-time winners with Conrad Stoltz, Melanie McQuaid, and Eneko Llanos.

“I felt good all day except for that last stretch of the run on the lava,” said Dibens.  “I was able to ride in control and run smart.  I’m delighted to be up here on the podium again and to win this race three times in a row is really special.”

In the ultimate display of class, Dibens deflected talking about her own race at the awards ceremony dinner but rather praised Paterson, who she had raced against on the ITU circuit nearly a decade ago, and told the assembled masses that this course was good for her and on any other course Melanie McQuaid could “kick my a#*”.

“To me, Melanie and Jamie Whitmore are still the Queens of XTERRA and I’m certain these guys out here in the audience feel the same way,” said Dibens.

Lesley Paterson is a rising star in the XTERRA World and had it not been for that one Brit – this race was hers.  She finished in the top 3 in all three championship XTERRAs she entered, however, this result was by far the most impressive and her run split was the fastest of the day by far at 49:50.

“I was real consistent on the bike today and was able to stay with Shonny until the plunge when she took off,” said Paterson.  “I worked so hard on the bike this year and it really paid off, and I’m really excited about my finish today.”

For McQuaid, the dream of an unprecedented fourth world title is still just that.  She didn’t have a bad day, it just wasn’t enough.

“I didn’t have an amazing day today and you have to in order to win here,” said the 3x World Champ. “I’m not happy with my performance, I just wasn’t snappy enough, but I had a good season.”

Carina Wasle had a breakthrough race in Maui to finish 4th, her best result in five attempts, and Shonny Vanlandingham raced through a cold to finish in the top five.

Fastest swim: Luke McKenzie (19:30), Christine Jeffrey (19:42)
Fastest bike: Michi Weiss (1:28:11), Julie Dibens (1:42:48)
Fastest run: Chris Legh (43:59), Lesley Paterson (49:45)

Daz Parker edged Martina Donner from Austria by just nine seconds to win the XTERRA amateur women’s world title.  In the men’s amateur race Tim Van Daele turned in a 2:53:46, more than a minute ahead of Cedric Lassonde from France.

Watch the Show / 2009 Results

EPC Tips Threshold

EPC Tips: Vo2 Max Bike Workout

Vo2 Max intervals are short to moderate length intervals performed at a high level of power; power you could sustain for maybe a 8-16 minutes max effort (read: pain cave). We’ll break this effort up into much smaller chunks of 2-4 minutes, with relatively short rests of equal duration, to make the effort more manageable and allow you to get between 15-30 minutes worth on work at your Vo2 Max power. HR will lag behind on these efforts since they are short, but will likely climb to a very high level, a little short of max HR, by the end of the last few intervals. RPE on these intervals is a 9 on the 1-10 scale. I like to do these on the trainer (controlled environment) or outside as hill repeats (6-8% grade) to allow for steady power output.

Vo2 Max intervals allow you to train above your race day steady state effort and get you more comfortable with digging deep to drop a competitor, bridge a gap, or get over a steep climb with power and then recover without blowing yourself up.

WARM-UP:

  • 10:00-20:00 easy
  • 5:00 build to threshold/race pace
  • 5:00 easy

MAIN SET:

  • 10x[2:00 hard (110-120% of threshold power/2:00 easy (50-60% of threshold power]
  • 5:00+ easy

AEROBIC SET:

  • optional additional aerobic riding to meet volume goals

(60-90+ minutes total time)

Written by Cody Waite, professional endurance athlete, endurance sport coach and founder of Endurance Performance Coaching. XTERRA Athletes, if you’re going to XTERRA USA and/or XTERRA Worlds this year join our XTERRA Championship Training Program that contains all the key training sessions that will have you in peak condition leading up to these two great events.  
Don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ the EPC Facebook Page and follow Cody on Instagram
Kapalua Run

T S Restaurants Enter 5th Year of XTERRA Partnership

Honolulu, HI – For the fifth straight year T S Restaurants Hula Grill, Duke’s Beach House, Kimo’s and Leilani’s will serve as title sponsors of the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs in Maui and this year they’re really dressing things up.

As luck would have it the runs fall on October 31st, Halloween!, so Leilani’s is adding some hocus pocus and a costume contest for participants in the Hula Grill XTERRA 5K Trail Run, Duke’s Beach House XTERRA 10K Trail Run, and Kimo’s XTERRA Keiki K.

“We’ve had an absolute blast with these runs over the last few years but are taking things to a whole new level this time around,” said Ross Anderson, Vice President of Hawaii Operations for T S Restaurants. “It’s Halloween, XTERRA is turning 20, and the vibe is going to be off-the-charts with thousands of people in costume running around our home turf in West Maui.”

The Leilani’s XTERRA Halloween Costume Contest will reward runners sporting the most creative, funniest, topical/pop culture, and Hawaiian costumes along with the best group theme and keiki costumes with goodies and $100 gift certificates to use at their restaurants (details online at www.xterramaui.com).

“I simply can’t wait,” said XTERRA President Janet Clark. “Our good friends at T S Restaurants are bound and determined to have the most outrageous Halloween-themed trail party ever staged and I get a huge smile on my face every time I think about all the ghouls and goblins we’ll see running around Kapalua.”

Superheroes and supernaturals alike will be treated to picturesque and challenging courses that will take them from the safety of the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua and into a spooky forest, up a torturous climb, along a trick-or-treat of a trail to a beastly beach run and finally a frightful finish line.

“We are going to have a lot of fun with this run,” explained race director Dave Nicholas. “And even though our PR guys are getting carried away with the prose it’s still a legit run for real runners to go fast. Costumes are optional, although I think we’d all love to see an alien win it all this year.”

In addition to the trail runs a Paul Mitchell cut-a-thon will be held at the site of the race where one-and-all are welcome to get their hair cut by professional Paul Mitchell stylists, with all donations benefitting the Challenged Athlete Foundation.

The Kimo’s XTERRA Keiki Run is for boys and girls ages 10 and younger. It is free, although parents must be present to sign a waiver form at the site of the race. Race distances will vary from 100 yards to 1 kilometer, depending on the age of the child. Parents are welcome to stay on the course as well.

More than 2,000 runners from around the world are anticipated to take on the spooky scrambles this year, and to drive home the partnership with its employees T S Restaurants created a race within a race dubbed “The T S Restaurants XTERRA Challenge.” Each of the four restaurants will field a team of five runners and the team with the fastest cumulative time in the 5K will take home the coveted T S Trophy.

Last year Kimo’s captured the perpetual trophy, which is proudly displayed at the restaurant all year round. Hula Grill won in 2012 & 2013 and Duke’s Beach House won the inaugural challenge in 2011.

All four T S Restaurants also sponsor local teachers with complimentary entries into the run.

“It’s been a blast to see the teachers, along with a great representation from their respective student bodies, join in the runs,” said Anderson. “This year we hope to see twice as many students and teachers get in the spirit.”

Hula Grill, Duke’s Beach House, Kimo’s and Leilani’s are four of Maui’s finest restaurants, and all are located within a short driving distance of Kapalua.

“The unique feeling and setting of West Maui is exhibited at each of these four restaurants, and it is in keeping with what the XTERRA athletes and their families have come to expect when they get to the island of Maui,” XTERRA President Clark said. “Dining at any, or all, of these restaurants can only enhance the experience for our athletes, whether it be eating a pre-race meal or celebrating with a post-race meal.”

Find more information, last year’s results, picture galleries, and links to registration online at: http://www.xterraplanet.com/maui/mauiTrailRun.html

About T S Restaurants of Hawaii and California

Founded in 1977 by Rob Thibaut and Sandy Saxten, T S Restaurants owns and operates 13 restaurants in Hawaii and California, including Duke’s Waikiki and Hula Grill Waikiki on Oahu; Kimo’s, Leilani’s on the Beach, Hula Grill Kaanapali and Duke’s Beach House on Maui; Duke’s Kauai and Keoki’s Paradise on Kauai; and Jake’s Del Mar, Sunnyside Restaurant and Lodge, Sandy’s, Duke’s Huntington Beach and Duke’s Malibu in California.  For more information about T S Restaurants visit www.tsrestaurants.com.

DSC_7488

Lesley Paterson to Race at XTERRA European Championship

Two-time XTERRA World Champion Lesley Paterson is the latest in a string of off-road greats to join the start list for the XTERRA European Championship race next Sunday, August 30, at Vachery Estate in Cranleigh, England.

“Pretty excited to race at the XTERRA European Championships,” said Paterson, who is undefeated with wins at XTERRA Costa Rica, the XTERRA West Championship and the XTERRA Southeast Championship that doubled as the USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championship race this year.

The “Scottish Rocket” is on a mission to make GBR’s Olympic team for mountain biking and in a stroke of good fortune will be in Europe competing in a world cup event the weekend before.

“I’ve got a MTB World Cup in Italy the week before so I figured, hey, dust off the XTERRA Wetsuits, find a pair of running On shoes, and hop on a short flight to give the legendary Conrad Stoltz the proper send-off he deserves — his final XTERRA as a pro! I’ve never done an XTERRA in the UK! It’s gonna be weird but super fun!”

Super fun, and super challenging. The women’s field is stacked with the likes of 3x XTERRA European Tour Champion Helena Erbenova who has won four straight races and last year’s XTERRA European Tour Champ Kathrin Mueller who won both races she did in Europe this year at XTERRA Portugal and France.

Those three women have combined to win the last three ITU Cross Tri World Championships (Mueller won last year, Erbenova in 2013, and Paterson took the title in 2012).

Other notables include four-time XTERRA European Tour Champion Renata Bucher, who upset both Erbenova and Mueller to win the ETU Cross Tri European Championship in July and 2013 XTERRA England Champion Jacqui Slack who is excited to race on her home turf.

The men’s race is even more fun to think about with the legendary Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz from South Africa laying it all on the line one last time (or so he’s saying). He’s the most decorated off-road athlete of all time boasting an unprecedented 51 career majors, four XTERRA World Titles and three ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in his 15-year off-road career.

His final showdown matches him up against the undisputed fastest man on dirt right now, Ruben Ruzafa from Spain. Ruzafa, a three-time XTERRA World Champion, has won 14 straight majors since 2013 including the last two XTERRA World titles and last year’s ITU World Championship.

Then there’s Ben Allen from Australia, who placed third at the XTERRA World Championship in each of the last two years, and is hot off back-to-back wins at XTERRA Czech and Germany.

Download a PDF of the XTERRA European Championship press guide to read full profiles on the elite’s racing, view current Euro Tour rankings, past history, results, and more. Click here.

XTERRA European Championship Elite Start List, as of 8.20.15

Rank, Name, Age, Hometown
3, Ruben Ruzafa, 31, Málaga, Spain
4, Jan Pyott, 34, Oberägeri, Switzerland
5, Albert Soley, 28, Catalunya, Spain
8, Henry Sleight, 26, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
9, Tomas Kubek, 24, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
10, Ben Allen, 31, New South Wales, Australia
12, Nicolas Fernandez, 31, Pelissanne, France
28, Jim Thijs, 35, Huldenberg, Belgium
38, Llewellyn Holmes, 34, Somerset, United Kingdom
66, Matt Dewis, 23, Loughborough, United Kingdom
NR, Euan Adams, 29, East Sussex, United Kingdom
NR, Jimmy Archer, 43, Colorado, United States
NR, JP Donovan, 28, Nevada, United States
NR, Pete Dyson, 26, London, United Kingdom
NR, Chris Ganter, 37, Idaho, United States
NR, Doug Hall, 27, Bath, United Kingdom
NR, Jon Heasman, 40, Surrey, United Kingdom
NR, Richard Stannard, 41, Surrey, United Kingdom
NR, Conrad Stoltz, 41, Stellenbosch, South Africa
NR, Lee Williams, 31, Mid Glamorgan, United Kingdom
NR, Noah Wright, 41, Texas, United States

Rank, Name, Age, Hometown
1, Helena Erbenová, 37, Jablonec, Czech Republic
2, Brigitta Poór, 26, Sopron, Hungary
4, Louise Fox, 35, Berkshire, United Kingdom
5, Jessie Roberts, 26, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
7, Karin Hansen, 34, Lucerne, Switzerland
8, Kathrin Mueller, 31, Freiburg, Germany
9, Jacqui Slack, 32, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
10, Lenka Cibulkova, Czech Republic
12, Myriam Guillot-Boisset, 36, Rhone, France
13, Elisabetta Curridori, 24, Sardegna, Italy
16, Renata Bucher, 37, Lucerne, Switzerland
18, Verena Eisenbarth, 30, Arthaz, France
NR, Emily Bashton, 35, Virginia, United States
NR, Genevieve Evans, 42, California, United States
NR, Belinda Hadden, 36, Wandana Heights, VIC, Australia
NR, Christine Jeffrey, 42, Ontario, Canada
NR, Hana Kolarova, 28, Czech Republic
NR, Nienke Oostra, 38, Angus, United Kingdom
NR, Daz Parker, 47, London, United Kingdom
NR, Lesley Paterson, 34, Sterling, Scotland
NR, Alena Stevens, 33, Slovakia
NR, Jip Veelenturf, 23, South Holland, Netherlands

Rank = Rank on the XTERRA European Tour (after 10 events)
NR = Not Ranked

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

XTERRA Travel Adds the Best of Beaver Creek

Connecting active travelers with active destinations, XTERRA Travel reaches the rarefied air of Beaver Creek, Colorado with the addition of the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa.

Located in the heart of Beaver Creek Village, this true ski-in/ski-out resort continues to set the standard for luxury destinations.  All 190 – newly renovated guest rooms, are tastefully appointed with down comforters, marble bath amenities and signature products.

Experience 8100, a live action bar and grill specializing in local, natural and organic dishes featuring Colorado’s best microbrews, wines and spirits. Relax in the Water Sanctuary or one of 23 deluxe treatment rooms at Allegria Spa. Pamper yourself with gourmet s’mores served each day and signature ski valet service just steps from the gondola.

Whatever the season, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa offers an array of activities from snowshoeing and dogsledding to hiking and white water rafting during the summer months.

Now until December 10, 2015 enjoy a special XTERRA Travel introductory offer. Book two nights, and the third night is free with offer code:  SALEX3.

*Based on availability, this offer is valid from August 1 – Dec 10, 2015 Free night is removed from guest folio at time of check out.  Tax and resort fee apply to all 3 nights.

Plan your stay at www.parkhyattbeavercreek.com.

About XTERRA Travel

XTERRA Travel is a collection of travel partners and destinations connecting active travel with active people. From idyllic Indian Ocean island paradises to the snow-capped peaks of Utah’s Wasatch Range. XTERRA Travel will take you to your next #livemore moment. Learn more at www.xterra.travel.

Ben Allen

Allen, Erbenova win XTERRA Germany

(Zittau, Germany) – Ben Allen of Australia and Helena Erbenova of the Czech Republic captured the 13th edition of the XTERRA Germany Championship in Zittau on Saturday.

It’s the second week in a row those two have been on the top step.  Last week they both won the XTERRA Czech Championship.

The men’s race came down to an epic stride-for-stride battle between Allen and Bradley Weiss from South Africa.  Here is how Allen explained it…

“Rough swim for me this time round. I exited fourth behind Christian Otto, Jens Roth & Roger Serrano. I’m normally the one being chased, but this time I was doing the chasing. I caught Roger on the first long climb in the forest and then a couple of minutes later Otto. Roth was further away setting a solid pace.  Francois (Carloni) caught me at the top of the long climb and we worked together to hunt down Roth. Before reaching Roth, Brad (Weiss) joined our pursuit and the three of us managed to drop Roth on the last steep climb. Me, Francois & Weiss came into T2 altogether but I managed to have a speedy transition and exit first just ahead of the other guys. Brad ran up alongside me and we ran shoulder to shoulder, breathing down each other’s necks, nether one of us giving each other an inch! Brad surged a couple of times and I surged a couple each times, neither of us wanted to say die! It was like Mark Allen and Dave Scott battling it out in Kona!  Brad put in one last surge about 1km from the finish line on the flat section and I was able to respond, before I attacked on the last hill with 500m to go and the elastic band broke for Brad.  It was a race neither of us will forget for a long time, both laying it on the line and giving 100%. It was an epic battle and although I was first across the line. I believe after that race we are both worthy winners!  Let’s do it again sometime Brad, pleasure going toe to toe with you!”

Weiss was equally enthusiastic of the experience, saying “Wild race. So stoked I could be a part of that one! Went right down to the line. Ben and I were very evenly matched, I gave him everything I had. He showed his class and stayed composed right till the end. Learnt a few lessons out there from a seasoned athlete. Couple Germans took an early lead in the swim but after the main climb on the bike it was just myself Ben and Carloni left up front. We shared the lead and kept the pace honest up front. Once onto the run Ben took an early lead with a slick T2 but after a k or so I closed the gap. We ran toe to toe from them on. I made a few efforts to get away but Ben hung tough and made his sprint for the line count. Loved every minute out there. I will be back next year to try and climb one step higher.”

Roger Serrano ran his way into third, his seventh top three finish on the European Tour this season, with Carloni right behind in fourth and the German Jens Roth in fifth.

Helena Erbenova

In the women’s race Erbenova was more than three minutes behind Jacqui Slack, two minutes back of Brigitta Poor, and one-minute back of Carina Wasle coming out of the water but erased all those deficits with the fastest bike and run splits of the day.

It’s the fourth win in a row on the XTERRA European Tour for Erbenova and her sixth title this year.

Slack held on for second, with Brigitta Poor in third, Carina Wasle in fourth, and Lenka Cibulkova rounding out the top five.

XTERRA’s own Dave Nicholas was on-site and provided this report.

It was a wild west shootout in the mens race on Saturday. Ben Allen and Bradley Weiss ran shoulder to shoulder almost the entire run course. Neither man wanted to follow so they just stayed side by side. “It reminded me of those great Mark Allen and Dave Scott races at Ironman years ago” said an exhausted Ben. “I would try to go and Brad would come back; then he would go and I had to come back.” In the end it appeared as if the South African stumbled just a bit going up the last climb only 200m from the finish. Allen never looked back. While the record book says 10 seconds, once Brad could see he would not catch the Aussie he tried to back down just a hair. Both men collapsed after the finish tape. Exhausted but understanding they had just put on an epic show that we will remember for a long, long time.

Allen, Weiss Finish

Meanwhile, back on the course, Francois Carloni was feeling his inflamed knee and slowing. Just behind, The Beard Roger Serrano “it felt like needles sticking in my heel. Then I saw Francois and said Run Roger, Run”. The Spaniard did catch the Frenchman for 3rd place and the European Series Championship for 2015.

The day was wonderful. A bit hot for sure, but slightly less than the previous days. Literally thousands of spectators lined the water line, some standing waist deep to catch a glance. Europeans love their sport and with a huge and highly regarded pro field that included Germany’s best off roaders – they were everywhere on the course.

I was surprised to see Ben Allen back in 4th after the first swim lap and several seconds behind Roger Serrano who was in 3rd. Germany’s Jens Roth and Christian Otto led the swim. “Big Theo Blignaught caught me in the water and nearly swam over me” grinned Ben.

Out on the bike, Francois Carloni was flying. He caught all the leaders just after the fabulous Johannesstein party field and XTERRA downhill. Jens Roth was still leading at this point about half way through the bike. Over the top of the hill came Carloni with Ben Allen on his tail and they soon passed the quick German. Carloni’s ride on this section was magic. Not far behind was Bradley Weiss and he was also coming strong. Carloni told me “the last few K’s are flat and I wanted to save some energy for the run. I knew my knee is not good so I had to save some strength”. This meant that Carloni, Allen and Weiss all coming into T2 together. Ben had a great T2 and led everyone heading out but Weiss quickly caught him and the battle was joined. The rest is in the history books.

Jacqui Slack had a nice race last week in the Czech Republic and was happy with her finish. “I was tired from all the travel and it was all I could expect” she said. “I had a good week of training and felt much stronger today”. Indeed she had the fastest swim and came out of T2 with the lead. Hungarian Brigitta Poor has joined the elite this year with a win and podiums wherever she goes. Her biking is getting strong enough that she was catching Jacqui and came out of T2 in second. Helena Erbenova and Carina Wasle were together at the end of the bike, but the Czech woman simply does not understand conserving anything and passed into 3rd quickly. “Oof, I was not feeling great about anything today” she smiled while walking through the recovery area with her daughter. I remarked that her feeling good or bad – it still ends up with a win. She smiled again, looked at me and said nothing. A very classy lady.

Jacqui was not giving in at all. “Sometimes when Helena passes me I just kind of say There She goes” said the Brit. “Today I had something left and went after her on that last, flat gravel road. I gained some but it was not enough”. Jacqui fell short by just 33 seconds. Brigitta took 3rd place and our diminutive Austrian Carina Wasle came 4th.

Last year this course was a mudbath for the ITU cross championships. Today it was clear and dry and fast. The Johannesstein downhill was a slippery slope that not even the best could ride flat out last year. This year the top men were hitting 45kph and flying over the bumps.

The awards, big screen recap of the day and after party were the best. The compound was alive all weekend with a huge retail expo area and lots of choices to eat and drink. The night went very late with an excellent local band followed by the well known Irish Rockers “Hogan”.

Sunday are kids races and more family entertainment. This weekend is simply great with something for everyone. XTERRA is alive and very well in Germany.

Complete Results / Photos available soon at https://www.facebook.com/xterraeurope

Men    
Pl Name Time
1 Ben Allen, AUS 2:25:36
2 Brad Weiss, RSA 2:25:37
3 Roger Serrano, ESP 2:28:28
4 Francois Carloni, FRA 2:28:55
5 Jens Roth, GER 2:29:50
6 Tomak Kubek, SVK 2:31:04
7 Nicolas Fernandez, FRA 2:32:53
8 Pavel Andreev, RUS 2:33:11
9 Christian Otto, GER 2:33:36
10 Albert Soley, ESP 2:34:10
Also: Jan Pyott (41), Markus Benesch (37), Veit Honle (34), Vaclav Holub (31), Theo Blignaut (28), Dominik Wychera, Krzysztof Kokot, Martial Schmidt
Women
   
Pl Name Time
1 Helena Erbenova, CZE 2:51:58
2 Jacqui Slack, GBR 2:52:24
3 Brigitta Poor, HUN 2:53:27
4 Carina Wasle, AUT 2:54:36
5 Lenka Cibulkova, CZE 3:06:24
6 Corinna Choun, AUT 3:15:20
7 Emilie Lefur, FRA 3:57:49

ALL-TIME XTERRA GERMANY ELITE CHAMPIONS

Year Location Men’s Women’s
2015 Zittau Ben Allen Helena Erbenova
2014 Zittau Ruben Ruzafa Kathrin Mueller
2013 Zittau Ruben Ruzafa Jacqui Slack
2012 Zittau Asa Shaw Helena Erbenova
2011 Zittau Olivier Marceau Marion Lorblanchet
2010 Zittau Cancelled due to flooding
2009 Zittau Franky Batelier Renata Bucher
2008 Zittau Ronny Dietz Renata Bucher
2007 Titisee Franky Batelier Carina Wasle
2006 Titisee Sebastian Kienle Carina Wasle
2005 Titisee Nicolas Lebrun Carina Wasle
2004 Titisee Olivier Marceau Katrin Helmcke
2003 Titisee Nicolas Lebrun Jamie Whitmore
2002 Titisee Ronny Dietz Ute Schaefer

XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR UPDATE

Just one wild weekend remains on the XTERRA European Tour, Aug. 29/30, with XTERRA Denmark on Saturday and the XTERRA European Championship in England on Sunday.  Erbenova is the 2015 XTERRA European Champion and barring any unforseen circumstances Roger Serrano will win the men’s title.

2015 XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR POINT STANDINGS                
After 10 – 8.15.15                      
                         
Men     S S G S G G S G G G
Pl Name, NAT TOTAL MLT POR ESP GRE SUI FRA SWE ITA CZE GER
1 Roger Serrano, ESP 526 67 56 x82 67 82 DNS DNS 82 90 82
2 Francois Carloni, FRA 497 47 67 75 61 DNS 82 DNS 90 DNS 75
3 Ruben Ruzafa, ESP 375 DNS 75 100 DNS DNS 100 DNS 100 DNS DNS
4 Jan Pyott, SUI 347 DNS 23 49 DNS 69 DNS 61 63 82 x41
5 Albert Soley, ESP 264 43 39 90 47 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 45
6 Kris Coddens, BEL 232 DNS DNS DNS 75 90 DNS 67 DNS DNS DNS
7 Jan Kubicek, CZE 222 39 DNS DNS DNS 63 DNS 51 DNS 69 DNS
8 Henry Sleight, GBR 210 DNS 25 DNS 33 58 49 DNS 45 DNS DNS
9 Tomas Kubek, SVK 208 DNS 43 DNS 39 DNS DNS DNS DNS 63 63
10 Ben Allen, AUS 200 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 100 100
11 Markus Benesch, AUT 186 DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS DNS DNS 69 37 37
12 Nicolas Fernandez, FRA 180 75 47 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 58
13 Bradley Weiss, RSA 180 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 90 DNS DNS DNF 90
14 Arthur Forissier, FRA 175 DNS DNS DNS DNS 100 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS
15 Veit Hönle, GER 165 DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 37 DNS DNS 41 34
16 Yeray Luxem, BEL 136 DNS 61 DNS DNS 75 DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS
17 Martial Schmidt, FRA 132 DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 34 DNS 49 DNS DNP
18 Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA 118 30 DNS DNS 30 DNS DNS DNF 58 DNS DNS
19 Pavel Andreev, RUS 106 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 53
20 Xavier Riart, ESP 105 36 DNS 69 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNF DNS DNS
21 Tim Van Daele, BEL 103 25 27 DNS 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
22 James Walker, GBR 102 DNS DNS DNS 21 DNS DNS 47 34 DNS DNS
23 Jens Roth, GER 102 DNS 33 DNS DNS DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS 69
24 Malte Plappert, GER 100 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 69 DNS DNS 31 DNS
25 Fabien Combaluzier, FRA 92 56 36 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
26 Vaclav Holub, CZE 80 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 31
27 Sam Osborne, NZL 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS DNS DNS
28 Jim Thijs, BEL 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS DNS
29 Michael Szymoniuk, AUT 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS
30 Lars Van der Eerden, NED 66 21 DNP DNS DNS 45 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
31 Gonzalo Bernal, ESP 63 DNS DNS 63 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
32 Damien Guillemet, FRA 63 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 63 DNS DNF DNS DNS
33 Brice Daubord, FRA 61 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
34 Ruben Salmeron, ESP 58 DNS DNS 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
35 Rory Downie, GBR 58 33 DNP DNS 25 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
36 Damien Derobert, FRA 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS
37 Lubos Truhlar, CZE 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 58 DNS
38 Llewellyn Holmes, GBR 57 DNS 30 DNS 27 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
39 Tomas Jurkovic, SVK 56 DNS DNS DNS 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
40 Lars Erik Fricke, GER 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 56 DNS DNS DNS
41 Jose Borrino, ESP 53 DNS DNS 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
42 Tomas Jiranek, CZE 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS
43 Fabio Guidelli, ITA 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 DNS DNS
44 Clement Briere, FRA 51 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNF DNS
45 Hector Guerra, ESP 51 DNS 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNF DNS DNS
46 Christian Otto, GER 49 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 49
47 Juan Gracia, ESP 45 DNS DNS 45 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
48 Florian Luquet, FRA 45 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 45 DNS DNS DNS DNS
49 Jan Francke, CZE 45 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 45 DNS
50 Christopher Schwab, AUT 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS DNF DNS
51 Dominique Fernando, ESP 41 DNS DNS 41 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
52 Antonello Pallotta, ITA 41 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 41 DNS DNS
53 Juan Marti, ESP 37 DNS DNS 37 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
54 Marc Pschebizin, GER 37 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 37 DNS DNS DNS DNS
55 Marco Spadaccia, ITA 37 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 37 DNS DNS
56 Grigoris Souvatzoglou, GRE 36 DNS DNS DNS 36 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
57 Carlos Martinez, ESP 34 DNS DNS 34 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
58 Pavel Jindra, CZE 34 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 34 DNS
59 Sergio Espejo, ESP 31 DNS DNS 31 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
60 Dr. Felix Schumann, GER 31 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 31 DNS DNF DNS DNS
61 Javier Oliver, ESP 28 DNS DNS 28 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
62 Sebastian Veith, GER 28 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 28 DNS DNS DNS DNS
63 Theo Blignaut, RSA 28 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNF 28
64 Arthur Serrieres, FRA 27 27 DNS DNS DNS DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
65 Nicolas Corentin, BEL 25 DNS DNS DNS 25 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
66 Matt Dewis, GBR 23 23 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
67 Simone Calamai, ITA 23 DNS DNS DNS 23 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
68 Rob Woestenborghs, BEL 21 DNS 21 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
69 Jon Heasman, GBR DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
70 Krzysztof Kokot, POL DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
71 Peter Lehmann, GER DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
72 Dominik Wychera, AUT DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNP
Wom     S S G S G G S G G G
Pl Name, NAT TOTAL MLT POR ESP GRE SUI FRA SWE ITA CZE GER
1 Helena Erbenova, CZE 617 DNS 67 100 75 x82 x90 75 100 100 100
2 Brigitta Poor, HUN 555 75 61 90 67 90 x63 x61 DNS 90 82
3 Carina Wasle, AUT 469 DNS DNS DNS 61 100 DNF 67 90 69 82
4 Louise Fox, GBR 340 51 51 82 56 63 37 DNS DNS DNS DNS
5 Jessica Roberts, GBR 259 47 DNF DNS 51 53 45 DNS 63 DNS DNS
6 Sandra Koblemueller, AUT 211 67 DNS DNS DNS DNS 69 DNS DNS 75 DNS
7 Karin Hansen, SUI 197 43 47 DNS DNS 49 DNF DNS 58 DNS DNS
8 Kathrin Mueller, GER 175 DNS 75 DNS DNS DNS 100 DNS DNS DNS DNS
9 Jacqui Slack, GBR 172 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 82 90
10 Lenka Cibulkova, CZE 168 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 41 DNS DNS 58 69
11 Morgane Riou, FRA 156 DNS 56 DNS 47 DNS 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS
12 Myriam Guillot, FRA 151 DNS DNS DNS DNS 69 82 DNS DQ DNS DNS
13 Elisabetta Curridori, ITA 138 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 82 DNS DNS
14 Maud Golsteyn, NED 136 61 DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
15 Coralie Redelsperger, FRA 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS
16 Renata Bucher, SUI 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS DNS
17 Olga Parfinenko, RUS 69 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 69 DNS DNS
18 Verena Eisenbarth, GER 63 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 63 DNS
19 Corinna Choun, AUT 63 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 63
20 Ladina Buss, SUI 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
21 Becci Kaltenmeier, GER 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS
22 Emilie Lefur, FRA 58 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 58
23 Sabina Rzepka, POL 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 DNS DNS
24 Elke Innerebner, ITA 53 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 DNS
25 Celine Augueux, FRA 49 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 DNS DNS DNS DNS
26 Genziana Cenni, ITA 49 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 DNS DNS
27 Sofia Brites, POR 43 DNS 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
28 Deniz Dimaki, GRE 43 DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
29 Danica Spiteri, MLT 39 39 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS

XTERRA European Tour Points Rules Document

2015 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS

The XTERRA Germany Championship was the 31st of 40 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world qualify for the 20th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Nov. 1.

DATE WORLD TOUR EVENT (Pro Winners)
8-Feb XTERRA Philippines Championship (Brad Weiss / Flora Duffy)
22-Feb XTERRA South Africa Championship (Stuart Marais / Flora Duffy)
7-Mar XTERRA Motatapu (Dougal Allan / Jess Simson & Simone Maier)
28-Mar XTERRA Saipan Championship (Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack)
29-Mar XTERRA Malta (Nicolas Fernandez / Brigitta Poor)
29-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica (Rom Akerson / Lesley Paterson)
11-Apr XTERRA Guam Championship (Ben Allen / Carina Wasle)
11-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship (Braden Currie / Suzie Snyder)
18-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship (Braden Currie / Flora Duffy)
25-Apr XTERRA West Championship (Francisco Serrano / Lesley Paterson)
25-Apr XTERRA Tahiti (Brice Daubord / Sarah Backler)
26-Apr XTERRA Reunion (Brad Weiss / Carla Van Huyssteen)
2-May XTERRA Asian Tour Championship (Brad Weiss / Myriam Guillot)
10-May XTERRA Brazil (Diogo Malagon / Sabrina Gobbo)
16-May XTERRA Southeast Championship (Braden Currie / Lesley Paterson)
16-May XTERRA Portugal (Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller)
7-Jun XTERRA Spain Championship (Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova)
14-Jun XTERRA East Championship (Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder)
20-Jun XTERRA Greece (Kris Coddens / Helena Erbenova)
27-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Championship (Arthur Forissier / Carina Wasle)
27-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter (Karsten Madsen / Heather Pady)
4-Jul XTERRA Freedom Fest (Sergio Florian / Laurel Dudley)
5-Jul XTERRA Victoria (Brent McMahon / Zoe Dawson)
5-Jul XTERRA France Championship (Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller)
11-Jul XTERRA Sweden (Sam Osborne / Helena Erbenova)
18-Jul XTERRA Mountain Championship (Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy)
25-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound (Sean Bechtel / Heather Pady)
26-Jul XTERRA Italy Championship (Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova)
8-Aug XTERRA Mexico (Josiah Middaugh / Fabiola Corona)
8-Aug XTERRA Czech Championship (Ben Allen / Helena Erbenova)
15-Aug XTERRA Germany Championship (Ben Allen / Helena Erbenova)
16-Aug XTERRA Canmore, Alberta, Canada!
22-Aug XTERRA Adventure Fest Maui, Kapalua, HI, USA =
23-Aug XTERRA Quebec – Quebec City, Quebec, Canada!
29-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada!
29-Aug XTERRA Denmark, Tilsvilde*
29-Aug XTERRA Japan, Hokkaido+ (start 2016 Asian Tour)
30-Aug XTERRA England / European Championship, Vachery Estate, Surrey*
13-Sep XTERRA Woolastook, Upper Kingsclear, New Brunswick, Canada
19-Sep XTERRA USA Championship, Ogden/Snowbasin, Utah, USA#
1-Nov XTERRA World Championship, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

* European Tour / + Asian Tour / # America Tour / ! Canada Series / = Hawaii qualifiers

Julie-Dibens-runs-by-Nils-Nilsen

XTERRA Worlds Circa 2008

While Julie Dibens prepares to take on the Leadville 100 mountain bike race we look back on her second of three straight XTERRA World Championship runs in 2008. It was the same year a young Spanish mountain biker straight out of the world cup shocked the off-road world and won his first-ever XTERRA on the biggest stage possible.

Ruzafa, just 24-years-old at the time, became the youngest racer to win the crown.

“I decided to do this just two months ago after talking with Eneko Llanos,” said the Spanish mountain biking champion that day. “I didn’t know I could do so well, but I thought if I didn’t lose too much time on the swim I would be able to catch up on the bike and hopefully hold on during the run.”

That’s exactly how it played out. Ruzafa, who only started swimming a year earlier, came out of the swim more than two minutes behind a tight pack of leaders – Brent McMahon, Craig Evans, Branden Rakita, Eneko Llanos, Olivier Marceau, Seth Wealing, Hektor Llanos, Franky Batelier, and Conrad Stoltz – but was able to work his way to the front of the pack by about mile 14 on the bike and never looked back.

Early on, this race showed all the signs of a Stoltz world championship run. The “Caveman” was out of the water with the leaders, passed everyone by the fourth mile of the bike where he had already put 30 seconds on Marceau, Dan Hugo, Batelier, and Eneko Llanos. From there he extended the gap, and was up 1:30 by mile 10 and with less than two miles left of heavy climbing before “The Plunge” steep downhill section where Stoltz’ is at his best, it looked like he was well on his way to a 4th World Title.

“I felt really good today, best I’ve felt in a long time. I was relaxed and riding really fast on the technical stuff, and even had quite a bit in the tank for the run, but then it came down to luck,” said Stoltz, who got a slow-leak somewhere around mile 13 or so that forced him to stop, repair, and watch as Ruzafa went by.

To compound matters, at mile 17 Stoltz’ back tire was completely gone, and he was dangerously riding on the rim coming down the lava fields. “It’s the last race of the season and I wanted to see what I could salvage,” said Stoltz.

Stoltz bad luck aside, Ruzafa came in with heavy mountain bike credentials and lived up to every bit of it – posting the fastest split in 1:30:25. To put that in perspective, American Josiah Middaugh who had the fastest split on this course two years ago – had the third best time in 1:33:39.

“The Euro guys were flying,” and “new faces and stiffer competition” were common sentiments from the veteran XTERRA bunch.

The run belonged to the speedy Brent McMahon who turned in a 43:18 (two minutes quicker than anyone else). McMahon passed a half-dozen others and finished in third, same as in 2005.

One of the last guys McMahon passed was Vine, who settled in for fourth place, and the consummate pro Olivier Marceau rounded out the top five. Eneko Llanos was sixth and won the Hawaiian Airlines Double for the third straight year, and Middaugh came in as the top American in 7th.

Dibens dominated the women’s race for the second straight year, taking the lead from the very start of the swim all the way through the finish line with a winning time of 3:03:57, a full minute ahead of runner-up Danelle Kabush from Canada. Dibens became just the second woman to win the XTERRA World Championship in back-to-back years (following Melanie McQuaid’s 2005/2006 titles).

“I think this one was harder, it definitely took more out of me,” said the former All-American swimmer at Louisiana State University and 2004 Olympic triathlete after the race. “I was hurting out there on the run and the heat really got to me, and just before the finish a guy passed me and said that Danelle was right behind so I had to sprint to the finish and that was murder. Despite that, XTERRA is awesome. I just wished I would have got into this earlier. It’s just something where everyone who tries it loves it, and then it’s just plain addictive.”

Melanie McQuaid was supposed to provide Dibens stiffest competition, but “some kind of intestinal thing” turned out to be her chief rival.

“I want a mulligan, can we race tomorrow,” said the three-time World Champ after the race. “I tried to keep going but just kept catapulting backwards, it was the worst. I only thank goodness that there were two other Canadians that pulled up the slack for me today.”

McQuaid is referencing Danelle Kabush who had the third-best bike and fastest run by far to finish in second place for the second time in three years (and she took off last year to have a baby).

“I was feeling leaner and meaner this year after having that child,” smiled Kabush.

Shonny Vanlandingham solidified her reputation as being the best women’s biker this course has seen by turning in the fastest bike for the third time in four years. That bike pushed her to the front of the pack and even on a bad ankle she still held off all but Kabush on the run to finish in third place and top American.

Renata Bucher, the three-time XTERRA European Tour Champ, was solid all around and finished fourth, and in the top five in her third straight Maui race. Christine Jeffrey, in just her first-year of XTERRA racing, put together her best effort yet to finish in 5th.

Fastest swim (1-mile): Brent McMahon (18:13), Linda Gallo (18:16)
Fastest bike (20-miles):
Ruben Ruzafa (1:30:25), Shonny V (1:48:12)
Fastest run (7-miles):
McMahon (43:18), Danelle Kabush (49:55)

Francois Carloni was the overall amateur champ and Keri Grosse edged out Charlotte McShane to win the women’s amateur crown.

Watch the Show / 2008 Results

2008 XTERRA World Championship from XTERRA TV on Vimeo.