Returning Champs Smoke XTERRA Mine Over Matter

XTERRA Mine over Matter brought some heat to Milton, Ontario last weekend. On an unusually hot and humid day, Karsten Madsen and Heather Pady kept their feet to the fire and claimed top spots on the podium.

Both Karsten Madsen and Heather Pady have won this event several times before, although they both do it in a different manner,” said race director James Kowalewski. “Today Karsten led right from the gun, exiting the water about 20 seconds ahead of former training partner, Sean Bechtel, followed by amateur Steve Good – who had the race of his life – and French Polynesian pro Cedric Wane.”

From there, Karsten put down the hammer on the first and shorter mountain bike lap, opening up the gap from seconds to minutes over Sean and the rest of the field.

On lap two, Sean returned the favor and started to close the gap,” said Kowalewski. “Sean entered into transition only two and a half minutes behind Karsten, but in the end, that extra effort on lap two caught up to Sean. Karsten put in the fastest run time of the day to go along with the fastest swim and bike splits. He broke the tape in 1:56:29 with Sean finishing in 2:03:38.”

Photo by Christina Nolan

Cedric Wade made up a lot of time on the run, but experienced pro Sean Bechtel was able to hold him off in the final kilometer of the course, crossing the line only 12 seconds ahead of a charging Cedric Wane, who finished in 2:03:50.

Photo by Dick Winters

On the women’s side, returning amateur champion Heather Pady did what she has been able to do for so many races before.

“Heather put in a very strong swim followed by an absolutely crushing performance on the bike, finishing four minutes faster than her next competitor” said Kowalewski.  “She followed that up with the fastest run split for the women too. This proven formula was more than enough for her to finish over 10 minutes faster than runner up Molly Hurford.”

Age-grouper and XTERRA Ambassador Brad Scholtz finished eighth overall and first in his 45-49 age group. He shared his race experience:

XTERRA Mine over Matter was a blast! I came out of the water in the middle of the lead pack and moved quickly through T1. As I started the brutal climb out of the quarry, my heart rate was through the roof, but I knew it was crucial to hit the single track in front of as many bikes as possible due to limited places to pass.  The bike course has two loops, but each is a different set of trails and it’s all single track.

Despite the heat, I settled into my rhythm and was able to pick off a couple of people on the bike course. I was so impressed with how friendly everyone was. 

The climb out of T2 was particularly painful as I tried to stay with the faster runners. But as I settled into my pace at the top of the quarry, I had a huge smile on my face as we twisted and turned through all the trails!  I ran step for step with another guy in my age group for the first 3.5 miles.  

At that point I was feeling pretty good and decided to take a chance and try and gap my “new friend” who, incidentally, was celebrating his birthday.  When I took a glance over my shoulder I could see two athletes closing fast as we worked our way around the quarry toward the finish line.  I dug in deep for all I had, and pushed it all the way home, barely hanging onto my spot.

Photo by Christina Nolan

Since 2010, XTERRA Mine Over Matter has gone from a small, local race to the largest off-road triathlon in Canada. It is the first of two races in the XTERRA Ontario Points Series, in which athletes can compete for 14 spots at the XTERRA World Championship in Maui.

The second race in the series is XTERRA Parry Sound on August 12, 2017.

View complete results for XTERRA Mine Over Matter at

Photos courtesy of Christina Nolan, Dick Winters, and Nance Fleming. For copies of the photos, visit

Grieser, McAllister Win XTERRA Muleshoe

XTERRA Muleshoe kicked off summer racing on the shores of Lake Travis, just outside of Spicewood, Texas. 

The men’s champ, Kyle Griesercame out of the water in seventh place overall. His quick transition to the bike was followed by an uber fast ride to put him in first place with a time of 1:42:30. Runner up Hans Ryham was about eight minutes behind in 1:50:52 and Philippe Le Duffe was third in 1:53:54.

“Kyle had a very impressive race this past weekend taking first place overall,” said race director, Joel Grimmett. “He narrowly missed out on first place last year to Andy Lee, and last weekend, at XTERRA Gator Terra, he had a tire blowout. But today, there is no doubt that Kyle redeemed himself.”

The cedar-lined trail system at Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area includes limestone outcroppings and ledges, hairpin turns, gravel washes, compressed dirt, some stairs, and rock paths. Despite the technical sections and rain the night before, XTERRA Muleshoe remained fast for the race. 

“Liesel McAllister won the women’s race in her second XTERRA triathlon ever,” said Grimmett. “At XTERRA ATX in April, she finished just behind Melanie Etherton.  Today, Liesel was the fourth woman out of the water. She really excelled on the bike leg and then had a strong run. She finished in 2:15:42, about nine minutes ahead of runner up, Alissa Magrum who finished in 2:24:41.”

Martsel Emile Leiva was third in 2:29:49.

Age grouper, Jenny Burden, whose blog Cowgirls Tri is always entertaining, was the hero of the day and helped out a fellow competitor who was having an asthma attack. From her blog:

My friend Sara passed me a mile or so into the first loop, so I was very surprised to see her at the top of a hill not long after that. I won’t lie, I was hoping she had a flat tire or something so I’d have a miniscule chance of beating her (we are in the same age group) but when I got close, I could hear her gasping for air and knew she was having an asthma attack.

Say it with me, people: Respiratory distress is NOT to be messed with. If you pass someone on the trail, even in a race, who is having trouble breathing, you STOP, even if they are your competitor! She was struggling to get her inhaler with her gloves on thanks to the TINY pockets on tri tops, so I helped her find it and pull it out, and stayed with her until her breathing was back to normal and she was ready to go. She probably would have been fine on her own – she’s a smart, grown adult who knows what to do – but it’s never worth the risk. I’m not going to win at the expense of a friend needing a ride in the ambulance instead of on their bike.

Next up in the Pure Austin Fitness Texas XTERRA Series is XTERRA Magnolia Hill on July 15th.

View the complete results for XTERRA Muleshoe at


XTERRA for the Next Generation

John Hendricks realized early on that his family needed a special kind of sport.

“We have seven kids and one more on the way,” said Hendricks. “And we are adopting a child from Haiti later this year.”

For a while, his oldest two played baseball, but Hendricks quickly realized that three practices a week plus games was taking too much time. “Will was playing on one field and Sam was on another. I was running back and forth watching them, but they were just standing there in the outfield. I was burning more calories than they were.”

Hendricks had just begun training for triathlons, so instead of going to baseball practice, he started working out with his kids.

“We homeschool so are flexible during the day. I can take them on a mountain bike ride or go for a run. Soon, I was telling them, ‘Hey, there’s a kids’ race, do you want to sign up?’ For us, it’s not about being first. It’s about my kids having an active lifestyle. As an adult, it’s a lot easier to fit in a run than organize a baseball game.”

As Will and Sam began entering races, Hendricks’ younger children followed. “Two of them did a race when they were three. They did a small swim, rode on a strider bike, and then ran 400 yards. Of course, there was also ice cream afterwards.”

Sam is now into martial arts and making his way towards a black belt. But Will – who is going to be 15 – has become an XTERRA competitor like his dad.

“Will legitimately trains,” said Hendricks. “I got him a mountain bike for his birthday and he saved up for a road bike. He swims with a masters group every Tuesday and we do trail runs on our farm.”

At XTERRA ATX in April, Will competed in his first XTERRA triathlon with his dad. John was 9th in his 40-44 age group and Will was 4th in the 15-19 age group, completing the 800m swim, 13 mile mountain bike ride, 6k trail run in 3:20:21.

“If we are going to establish XTERRA as a sport for the next generation, we need to include them,” said John Hendricks, “And XTERRA does that. I love that XTERRA doesn’t just cater to today’s racers, but also caters to tomorrow’s athletes. My kids can meet a World Champ and shake hands with Josiah Middaugh. You can’t say the same thing about Lebron James.”

Hendricks’ advice to other parents is not to push. “We’ve all seen that parent at the ball games and on the soccer field. Sam has crazy talent but he doesn’t want to ride with Will and I. That’s fine. Karate is his thing.”

Hendricks adds that sometimes, it’s a balancing act to train, work, and spend time with his growing family.

“I have to be very intentional. But that’s fine. That’s what it’s about. I don’t know of any mother or father who said, ‘I wish I spent less time with my kids.’”


Andreev, Fox win XTERRA Finland

Complete Results / Gallery

Pavel Andreev (RUS) and Louise Fox (GBR) captured the inaugural XTERRA Finland Championship off-road triathlon race in Rauha this afternoon.

The event combined a 1.5 kilometer swim in the beautiful Saimaa Lake, followed with a 30-kilometer mountain bike in the forest surrounding the lake, and concluded with a 10-kilometer challenging trail run.

XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas was on-site to take in all the action and brings us this report…

I hate it when the weatherman is right.  And right on time the sprinkles began about 10am.  This small rain did not deter the Finns at all and it did help the temperatures were in the high 60’s.

Everything was perfectly organized and ready for a noon start and the bunch took off from a deep water start on a one lap 1500m swim.  We expected local triathlete Panu Lieto would be quick, but he destroyed the field and came out of T1 with a 3 minute lead.  Czech Jan “the fox” Kubicek and Russian Winter Tri World Champion Pavel Andreev left literally side by side in 2nd and 3rd.  The first K of the bike is on paved paths headed to the forest.  Riders cross a bridge and take a 270 degree circle under the road and onto the trails.  It is gravel and downhill and with the fresh rain – slick.  Kubicek locked his brake and fell hard.  “I was surprised by this and lost contact with Pavel” he said “But Pavel was so strong today I don’t think I could stay with him”

Indeed the Russian rode well putting in the fastest bike time by far.  With Kubicek’s having lost time on his fall, he never caught our Finnish triathlete until T2.  In a pretty slick move, Kubicek came in behind Lieto and left before him.   One of the favorites, Norwegian Oivind Bjerkseth had a bad day.  His first open water swim in his life was at XTERRA Malta and although he has been training, he lost over 8 minutes to Pavel and over 11 to Lieto.  Oivind did have the second fastest bike of the day but had lost too much in the beginning and ended 4th.

For the women, Louise Fox had a good swim and led Swede Cecilia Jessen by over a minute.  “Foxy” as we often call her rode well and made no mistakes.  She was able to pull out nearly another minute over Cecilia and she needed it as our Swedish woman pulled it back on the run for a very solid second place.

The weatherman had predicted the rain would stop in the afternoon but it never did.  It never came down hard but was on and off all day.  Great for the athletes as they stayed cool the whole race.  The now famous “Swamp” a typical Finnish bog was wonderful with people sloshing through, feet plunging into the bog up to the ankle.  Leader Pavel Andreev lost his shoe running through and had to stop, find it and put it back on.  I was there and stayed outside it but to no avail, my shoes went through the moss and I spent the rest of the afternoon with soaked feet.  I can only imagine what the runners feet were like having to run another 5K lap and through it again!

Rave reviews from everyone about the bike and the run.  Every trail was beautifully marked and despite the cloudy day and rain nobody got lost.  Dozens of volunteers were everywhere, aid stations manned by enthusiastic workers.

Finland will be held in August next year and this place will be rocking.  Imatra has a major league baseball team and you will not believe Finnish baseball.  The trails and lake are beyond great – women’s winner Louise Fox said it was the only swim she was ever in where she could drink the water !

St. Petersburg, Russia is only a few hundred K away and the Russian Border only 10K.  Get your VISA now.  Simply a great experience.


Xterra Finland 
Pos Time Points
1 Pavel Andreev  (RUS) 02:32:25 75
2 Jan Honza Kubicek  (CZE) 02:36:42 67
3 Panu Lieto  (FIN) 02:39:11 61
4 Oivind Bjerkset  (NOR) 02:48:57 56
5 Pavel Jindra  (CZE) 02:53:12 51
6 Pekka Nieminen  (FIN) 02:56:29 47
7 Samuli Heikkila  (FIN) 03:02:55 43
8 Jonne Mustonen  (FIN) 03:42:33 39
Pos Time Points
1 Louise Fox  (GBR) 03:08:28 75
2 Cecilia Jessen  (SWE) 03:10:25 67
3 Elina Honkavuori  (FIN) 04:01:12 61


No changes at the first 4 places of the elite men’s standings, after XTERRA Finland.
With his 2nd place today, Kubicek jumped to sixth. Bjerkseth, after having an operation in his hand 5 weeks ago, finished fourth and is back in 5th position. Those were the only big moves on the men side.

In the women’s standings, Poor is still leading wth 6 points ahead of Erbenova. Golsteyn holds on the third spot, but the move of the day was from Cecilia Jessen who moved to 4th after her second place in Finland. Fox was able to get some points with her win today and is now in 7th position.


After 7 – 18 June 2017

Men S S S S S S S
1 Ruben Ruzafa, ESP 300 DNS DNS 75 75 75 75 DNS
2 Francois Carloni, FRA 263 61 47 43 DNS 61 51 DNS
3 Yeray Luxem, BEL 203 DNS 75 DNS DNS 67 61 DNS
4 Xavier Dafflon, SUI 170 DNS DNS 47 DNS 56 67 DNS
5 Oivind Bjerkseth, NOR 156 33 67 DNS DNS DNS DNS 56
6 Jan Kubicek, CZE 149 DNS DNS DNP 39 DNS 43 67
7 Roger Serrano, ESP 142 75 DNS 67 DNS DNS DNF DNS
8 Maximilian Sasserath, GER 128 67 DNS DNS 61 DNS DNS DNS
9 Thomas Kerner, GER 127 DNS 61 33 DNS DNS 33 DNS
10 Rui Dolores, POR 122 DNS DNS 39 36 47 DNS DNS
11 Xavier Jove Riart, ESP 118 DNS DNS DNS 67 51 DNS DNS
12 Jens Roth, GER 117 DNS DNS 61 56 DNS DNS DNS
13 Jan Pyott, SUI 114 56 DNS 25 33 DNS DNS DNS
14 Maxim Chane, FRA 113 30 DNS 36 DNS DNS 47 DNS
15 Julien Buffe, FRA 79 DNS 56 23 DNS DNS DNP DNS
16 Hannes Wolpert, BEL 79 DNF 43 DNP DNS 36 DNP DNS
17 Geert Lauryssen, BEL 75 36 DNS DNS DNS DNS 39 DNS
18 Pavel Andreev, RUS 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75
19 Mark Hamersma, NED 66 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS 23 DNS
20 Stephan Radeck, GER 64 25 39 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
21 Arthur Serrieres , FRA 61 DNS DNS DNS 61 DNS DNP DNS
22 Panu Lieto, FIN 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 61
23 Llewellyn Holmes, GBR 58 DNS DNS DNS 25 33 DNS DNS
24 Peter Lehmann, GER 57 DNS DNS DNS 27 DNS 30 DNS
25 Kris Coddens, BEL 56 DNS DNS 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS
26 Bradley Weiss, RSA 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 56 DNS
27 Tim Van Daele, BEL 52 DNS DNS 27 DNS DNS 25 DNS
28 Jörg Scheiderbauer, GER 51 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
29 Sebastian Neef, GER 51 DNS 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
30 Arthur Forissier, FRA 51 DNS DNS 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS
31 Pavel Jindra, CZE 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 51
32 Tomas Kubek, SVK 47 47 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
33 Albert Soley, ESP 47 DNS DNS DNS 47 DNS DNS DNS
34 Pekka Nieminen, FIN 47 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 47
35 Pau Botella Tarres, ESP 43 DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS DNS DNS
36 Mattia De Paoli, ITA 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS DNS
37 Samuli Heikkila, FIN 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 43
38 Jim Thijs, BEL 39 39 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
39 Dominik Wychera, AUT 39 DNS DNS DNS DNS 39 DNS DNS
40 Jonne Mustonen, FIN 39 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 39
41 Pierre Alain Nicole, FRA 36 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 36 DNS
42 Tiago Maia, POR 30 DNS DNS 30 DNS DNF DNS DNS
43 Guillaume Jeannin, FRA 30 DNS DNS DNS 30 DNS DNS DNS
44 Alejandro Tenorio, ESP 30 DNS DNS DNS DNP 30 DNS DNS
45 Doug Hall, GBR 27 27 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
46 Rafael Gomes, POR 27 DNS DNS DNS DNS 27 DNS DNS
47 Theo Dupras, FRA 27 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 27 DNS
48 Octavio Vicente, POR 25 DNS DNS DNS DNS 25 DNS DNS
49 Callum Hughes, GBR 23 23 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
50 Javier Oliver Vives, ESP 23 DNS DNS DNS 23 DNS DNS DNS
51 Markus Benesch, AUT 21 DNS DNS 21 DNS DNS DNS DNS
52 Zeus Gutierrez Ochoa, ESP 21 DNS DNS DNS 21 DNS DNS DNS
53 Morten Olesen, DEN 21 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 21 DNS
1 Brigitta Poor, HUN 359 75 75 67 67 75 DNS DNS
2 Helena Erbenova, CZE 353 67 DNS 75 75 61 75 DNS
3 Maud Golsteyn, NED 210 56 DNS 47 DNS 56 51 DNS
4 Cecilia Jessen, SWE 206 39 61 DNS DNS DNS 39 67
5 Carina Wasle, AUT 185 51 DNS DNS DNS 67 67 DNS
6 Morgane Riou, FRA 184 DNS 67 56 DNS DNS 61 DNS
7 Louise Fox, GBR 115 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75
8 Rocío Espada, ESP 98 DNS DNS DNS 51 47 DNS DNS
9 Kathrin Mueller, GER 89 33 DNS DNS 56 DNS DNS DNS
10 Anna Pauline Sasserath, GER 79 36 DNS DNS 43 DNS DNS DNS
11 Nicole Walkers, GBR 61 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
12 Miriam Casillas Garcia, ESP 61 DNS DNS 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS
13 Sara Bonilla, ESP 61 DNS DNS DNS 61 DNS DNS DNS
14 Elina Honkavuori, FIN 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 61
15 Daz Parker, GBR 56 DNS 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
16 Isabelle Klein, LUX 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 56 DNS
17 Marika Wagner, SWE 51 DNS 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
18 Isabelle Ferrer, FRA 51 DNS DNS 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS
19 Ladina Buss, SUI 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS 51 DNS DNS
20 Kristina Lapinova, SVK 47 47 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
21 Aina Picas, ESP 47 DNS DNS DNS 47 DNS DNS DNS
22 Ine Couckuyt, BEL 47 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 47 DNS
23 Renata Bucher, SUI 43 DNS DNS 43 DNF DNS DNS DNS
24 Sheila Marques, POR 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS DNS
25 Jessica Roberts, GBR 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS
26 Anne-Sophie Marechal, BEL 36 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 36 DNS
27 Marta Menditto, ITA 30 30 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
XTERRA Finland was the seventh of 14 races on the XTERRA European Tour, and 21st of 40 on the XTERRA World Tour where amateur athletes from around the world can qualify to race at the 22nd annual XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 29.
Date Race Elite Winners or Location
25-Feb XTERRA South Africa Richard Murray / Flora Duffy
4-Mar XTERRA Motatapu Dougal Allan / Josie Wilcox
18-Mar XTERRA Saipan + Silver Sam Osborne / Carina Wasle
25-Mar XTERRA Argentina # Silver Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder
1-Apr XTERRA Thailand + Silver Kieran McPherson / Renata Bucher
1-Apr XTERRA Chile # Silver Felipe Barraza / Barbara Riveros
2-Apr XTERRA Malta * Silver Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor
8-Apr XTERRA New Zealand + Silver Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen
9-Apr XTERRA Costa Rica # Silver Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder
16-Apr XTERRA La Reunion Ruben Ruzafa / Carina Wasle
23-Apr XTERRA Danao + GOLD Bradley Weiss / Carina Wasle
23-Apr XTERRA Cyprus * Silver Yeray Luxem / Brigitta Poor
29-Apr XTERRA Langkawi + GOLD Osborne,Allen,Weiss,McPherson/Wasle
30-Apr XTERRA Greece * Silver Ruben Ruzafa, Helena Erbenova
6-May XTERRA Tahiti + Silver Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen
13-May XTERRA Brazil # Silver Felipe Moletta / Sabrina Gobbo
14-May XTERRA Spain * Silver Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova
20-May XTERRA Oak Mountain # GOLD Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder
27-May XTERRA Portugal * Silver Ruben Ruzafa / Brigitta Poor
10-Jun XTERRA Belgium * Silver Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova
17-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter ^ Karsten Madsen / Heather Pady
18-Jun XTERRA Finland * Silver Pavel Andreev / Louise Fox
24-Jun XTERRA Switzerland * GOLD Vallee de Joux
2-Jul XTERRA France * GOLD Xonrupt
9-Jul XTERRA Victoria # Silver Victoria, B.C., Canada
15-Jul XTERRA Beaver Creek # GOLD Beaver Creek, CO, USA
30-Jul XTERRA Abruzzo * Silver Scanno, Abruzzo, Italy
5-Aug XTERRA Mexico # GOLD Tapalpa
5-Aug XTERRA Norway * Silver Norefjell
6-Aug XTERRA Canmore ^ Canmore, Alberta, Canada
12-Aug XTERRA Quebec ^ Quebec City, Canada
12-Aug XTERRA Parry Sound ^ Ontario, Canada
13-Aug XTERRA Dominican Republic # Silver Barahona
13-Aug XTERRA Poland * Silver Krakow
19-Aug XTERRA Germany * GOLD Zittau
26-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant ^ Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
2-Sep XTERRA Japan + Silver Hokkaido
3-Sep XTERRA European Championship (DEN) * GOLD Mons Klint
16-Sep XTERRA Pan Am Championship / USA # D-GOLD Ogden, Utah, USA
29-Oct XTERRA World Championship Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

XTERRA Auckland Trail Run June 18th

On June 18th, XTERRA heads to the “Land of the Long White Cloud” for a day of trail running in Shakespear Regional Park.

No matter what your fitness level or running experience, the XTERRA Auckland Trail Run Series has something for everyone. You can choose a short course (5-8 km), mid course (10-14 km), long course (16-20 km) or super long course (20+ km). You can choose to walk or run on all courses except the super long course, which is for runners only.

“Shakespear Regional Park has it all,” said race director Frank Clarke. “You will head through farmland, run on awesome, well-groomed, and all-weather single track trails, take off into more open trail sections, pass a waterfall, and challenge yourself up hills.”

The park is located at the tip of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, and is named after the Shakespear family, who bought the land in the 1880s from local Maori.

This weekend’s race is the second of six races in Auckland Trail Run Series. The next race will take place in Waiuku Forest on Sunday, July 9th.

For more information on the courses, visit


Inaugural XTERRA Finland This Sunday

The XTERRA European Tour rolls on with stop number seven of 14 in Imatra, Finland on Sunday.

The inaugural XTERRA Finland Championship race takes place at Lake Sainaa, a three-hour drive from Helsinki airport. The lake is the largest in Finland, a country that boasts more than 1,000 lakes.

“From here in Sainaa one can navigate nearly 300K on water,” said XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas. “This lake alone is over 100K in length. The wind was whipping up some small waves yesterday that reminded me a bit of Lake Tahoe.           Our event coincides with the 100th anniversary of a free Finland.  On December 6, 1917 Finland became independent from Russia who had taken Finland from Sweden in 1809.  Prior to 1809, the area now Finland was under Swedish rule from the 13th century.  The Finns are a very proud and very strong people and are celebrating the entire year of 2017.”

XTERRA is held near a big resort named Holiday Club Sainaa, an all-inclusive club with a fantastic indoor swim park complete with slides, sauna’s, and fountains.

“There are game rooms, kids activities, even a full bowling alley with 6 lanes,” said Nicholas. “It’s really quite amazing. Three restaurants, a sports bar and a huge sundeck complete about everything you could want. There are dozens of small “Norwegian” fishing village houses all connected and near the lake and other condos that surround the resort.  A big choice of places to stay.  In winter, the huge lake is frozen over for skating or fishing.  Cross country ski, snowmobiles and sauna are the big features.  Yes, there are sauna’s right at the lakes edge.  Sweat it out and jump into the frozen lake.  As I said – the Finns are tough people.”

The mountain bike course in Finland features a very unusual three-lap course.  Transition is very close to the lake and bikes will ride up and past the resort before entering the forest, which is home to brown bears, fox, wolves and lots of moose. The run goes in a different direction and is two laps and dishes out more than 300m of climbing in just 10K.

In the elite men’s race Olli Miettinen, who won the Finnish Cross Triathlon Championship on this same course, will be the local athlete everyone is cheering for. Czech veteran Jan Kubicek will be strong, he was 7th last week in the middle of a big pro field at XTERRA Belgium. He will have competition from Pavel Andreev, the Russian winter triathlon champion who has done well in other XTERRA’s and Cross triathlons.  Like Kubicek, he is not a strong swimmer but will be very strong on the bike and run.  It will be nice to have him back, maybe again directly from Siberia where he lives.

Another strong athlete with the same profile is Oivind Bjerkseth from Norway.

“He started in Malta and almost sank on his first open water swim,” joked XTERRA European Tour director Nicolas Lebrun. “But then he finished second at XTERRA Cyprus, which was a duathlon.”

Other contenders include Pavel Jindra, and Barret Fishner from the USA who is hopefully recovered from an injury he had at XTERRA Portugal.

“I’m also curious to see the other four Finnish elite men, Nieminen, Heikkilä, Mustonen and Lieto, who might just surprise us on Sunday,” said Lebrun.

There are just two elite women in the field; Cecilia Jessen who has competed at Malta, Cyprus and Belgium and is 6th in the Euro Tour rankings currently.  She can jump to 3rd after this race if she wins.  Louise Fox from England will get her season started on Sunday, and could very well take the lead out of the swim and stay in front all day.

“We have about 20 age group women who will start and we may find some strong local mountain bikers or trail runners in the field.  This can happen when we start in a new country, as athletes new to our sport come in and compete quite well,” said Lebrun.

“We have also some famous European Tour age group racers coming here to chase some big points,” added Lebrun. “Didier Bucheler, despite a bad day at home in Belgium, is leading the 50/54 category, and will come here to secure even more points to add to his top ranking.  Same with Christophe Maury, who was not in Belgium, but did the first five races on the tour. The “The Frenchman” is smart and knows where he can get big points.  Marco Lanzetta from Switzerland is leading the 55/59 division with four races in his basket, and with another good race here in Finland could be almost untouchable. For the women we have Maria Kring and Maria Sturluson, who were 2nd and 3rd on the 40/44 Euro tour ranking last year and are coming from Denmark.”

Follow the race online at

Elite Men

XET Rank – Name, Nationality

13 – Øivind Bjerkseth, NOR

14 – Jan Kubicek, CZE

NR – Olli Miettinen, FIN

NR – Barret Fishner, USA

NR – Pekka Nieminen, FIN

NR – Simone Calamai, ITA

NR – Samuli Heikkilä, FIN

NR – Pavel Andreev, RUS

NR – Jonne Tuomas Mustonen, FIN

NR – Panu Lieto, FIN

NR – Pavel Jindra, CZE


Elite Women

XET Rank – Name, Nationality

6 – Cecilia Jessen, SWE

21 – Louise Fox, GBR

XTERRA Couch to Trail – Transition Tips

By Mimi Stockton, 4x 40-44 Division XTERRA World Champ

It’s the day before the race. You’ve done all the training and eaten your fruits and veggies. You’re feeling strong. You’re ready to roll. Now it’s time to pack your triathlon bag and think about the transition area. 

Below is the check list I use to make sure I have everything I need on race day:

The Bag

The best way to show up at a race with everything you need is to use a dedicated triathlon transition bag. They really do make a difference, with pockets and partitions for everything from your wetsuit and shoes to keys and phone (so after your epic day you can tell the world about it). There’s a place for everything and everything’s in its place.


Make sure you have a clean and scratch-free pair of goggles for the swim.  It’s always a good idea to have a pair with clear lenses (for overcast days) and ones with darker lenses (for bright, sunny days).

Bring your wetsuit.  Always.  Even if you know you won’t need it. Pack your skin suit (if you have one). If wetsuits aren’t allowed, you can always wear your skin suit. 


As is good practice before any bike ride, do a quick maintenance check the day before the race.  You do not want to show up on race day with a broken derailleur.

Some races have tents from local bike stores set up on site to help with mechanical problems.  They are there to help you, but you should never rely on them to fix something big 30 minutes before the race start.       

Bike Maintenance Check List:

  • Inspect the tires for wear and trail debris, and inflate the tires to your preference (tire pressure will depend a lot on the trail conditions).
  • Check that the front and rear suspensions are properly tuned.
  • Lubricate the chain.
  • Check that the wheels are true, spinning freely, and that there is no play in the hubs, also check for even spoke tension.
  • Check the brake pads for excessive wear and check your brake power.
  • Shift through your entire gear range to make sure the shifter cables are working properly and front and rear derailleur are properly adjusted.
  • Make sure all bolts are properly tightened and there is no play in the crankset.

If you don’t already have a tubeless setup, making the switch may be the biggest performance enhancement you can make to your current bike. Riding with tubeless tires eliminates the risk of pinch flats and allows you to ride with lower air pressure, which greatly improves traction and control. 

For the race, make sure you’re prepared for a flat.  You’ll almost always see a novice racer walking his or her bike back to the transition area.  Don’t let that be you.  The last thing you want is to be stuck 6 miles from transition with a flat tire.  Carrying your bike over obstacles is fun but carrying or pushing your bike for miles on end is not.

Consider carrying tools like a CO2 cartridge and tire levels. You can easily stick a tube in a saddle bag or tape it to the seat post.  Alternatively, you can store tools in a hydration pack or empty water bottle. 

Pack your helmet

Clean and pack your sunglasses

Pack your gloves

If you are riding with clipless pedals, check the cleats on your bike shoes 

Clean out your hydration tube and pack so you aren’t drinking out of a gross, moldy straw


Don’t run in brand new running shoes the day of the race. But do make sure your shoes are clean and dry.

You never know what the weather will be like, so it’s always good to have a hat or visor.

Pack the race belt you train with so you can easily access your nutrition and avoid chafing.

Photo by Georgia Schofield


Nutrition – Pack lots of it!  It’s better to have more than you need than not enough.  The night before, tape your gel packs to the bike frame.  It’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about on race day.  Remember to race with what you train with.

Water bottles

Sunscreen and lip balm

Towels – Bring several.  Use one to lay your gear on next to your bike; others can be used to dry off after a warm-up swim or to wipe your feet after the swim and before you put on your bike shoes. 

Bike Pump – Don’t rely on the guy next to you.  Be self-sufficient and bring your own to top off the air in your tires on race morning. 

Photo ID and USAT card

Baby Powder -to keep your feet dry in your bike and running shoes

Dry socks, shoes and clothes for after the race – don’t over look this.  You will love having something that is “not” your running shoes to wear when you are finished. 

Toilet Paper – There’s more than enough stress on race morning than to have to deal with finding no TP in the porta-potty. 

This may seem like a lot to pack, but if you use a dedicated transition bag, you will simply have to update and refill your bag for each race. And there is nothing like the feeling of being prepared and ready for anything.

The XTERRA Couch to XTERRA training series is presented by SheriAnne Little, Jeffrey Kline, and four-time XTERRA age group world champion Mimi Stockton of PRS Fit.  Their new 12-week “Couch-to-XTERRA” training program is designed to do just that, get aspiring athletes off the couch, into training, and to the start line of an XTERRA.  Read past training articles from PRS Fit at and learn more about their coaching programs at

Why I Run – Emma Kosciak

Emma Kosciak is currently leading the 30-34 age group in the XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series with 300 points. In February, Kosciak won the XTERRA Pedernales 10K and 25K Trail Run by 20 minutes and in April she won the XTERRA ATX 21K Trail Run. She continued her winning streak last weekend by taking the tape at the XTERRA Muleshoe 21K Trail run.

We recently caught up with Kosiak to talk about field hockey, backpacking, friendship, and of course – trail running.

Q. How long have you been running?
A. I was a collegiate field hockey player, so I’ve always run as part of training. However, I got into running as a sport in my mid 20’s, and started doing focused training about 5 years ago. 

Q.What do you love about running?
A. Honestly, my favorite part of the sport is supporting my friends. It’s so rewarding to put yourself completely out there for someone else, whether it’s helping a friend get through a track workout or pacing a friend in an ultra. Like most things in life, running is most enjoyable when shared.

Q. What brought you to the trails?
A. I grew up playing in the woods, and got into backpacking in college. So when I started running, hitting the trails was a no-brainer.

Q. What is your training like? 
A. I’m completely spoiled, because my fiance is a Ph.D. in a sports science program and is a coach for my team, Endurance Underground. With him guiding me, I completed my first Ironman last year.

So even though I am much more of a runner than triathlete, he still has me do quite a bit of swimming and biking. Other than it’s simply fun, the cross training helps keep my running volume relatively low (anywhere from 25-50 miles per week) which helps with injury prevention, but keeps my total workload high. I can’t say I have a favorite workout, because I like doing too many different things. But I’d say any workout that I can do with a friend is always the best.

Q. Will we see you at XTERRA Trail Run Nationals this year?
A. I hope so! We’ll see how my fall schedule shapes up. But I have XTERRA Nationals penciled in my calendar right now. I have lots of little goals. But I’d like to ramp up for something big this fall or winter. 

Q. What is your favorite thing about XTERRA?
A. I am new to Texas. So I love that XTERRA gives me an excuse to visit new parks and places all over this huge state. It’s been a great way to explore.  

Photo Courtesy of Endurance Underground Photography

XTERRA Lory June 17th

XTERRA Lory, in Bellevue, Colorado is one of those races adored by both beginners and experts. The two-lap, 12.2 mile bike course flows over rolling terrain and the challenging 4.8 mile run will get your adrenaline pumping, even if you’ve been racing for years. The half mile swim in the clear waters of Horsetooth Resevoir (Eltuk Bay) is one of the most scenic swims in the state of Colorado with steep canyon walls on either side.

Oh and did we mention the 25-foot Slip n’ Slide waiting to cool you off at the finish line?

Last year Brad Zoller was the XTERRA Lory Champ in 1:38:15. He was followed by 2016 XTERRA Pan Am Champs Nelson Hegg in 1:40:17 and Garren Watkins 1:41:09.

Elite racer Elizabeth Gruber was the 2016 women’s champ in 1:52:06. Megan Riepma and Jennifer Razee fought hard for second, finishing in 1:54:35 and 1:54:56, respectively.

This year, Elizabeth Gruber and Nelson Hegg will be racing again for the honor to be the first on the Slip n’ Slide. Mr. XTERRA 2014, Craig Vogtsberger, will also be racing in the physically challenged category.

Watch a preview of XTERRA Lory and learn more at

Photo Courtesy of Adam Hodges