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Psst! XTERRA is Awesome, Pass it On!

Over the past 20 years thousands of athletes have discovered the thrill of running trails and racing off-road with XTERRA.

In 2016 the goal is to get thousands more into the sport and expose the “Live More” lifestyle to a whole new generation of athletes.

“XTERRA is a great way to discover your own backyard, increase your fitness, live longer, and meet some really great people,” said XTERRA President Janet Clark.

To help newcomers get started this season XTERRA will roll out a 3-month “couch to trail” training program hosted by XTERRA veteran Amy Eck, post bi-monthly training tips from XTERRA World Champion Josiah Middaugh, and produce beginner and family-friendly super-sprint distance races.

The new beginner race, dubbed the “Xticer” (with thanks to our friends at XTERRA Guam) combines a 200-meter swim with a 10-Kilometer (6.2-mile) mountain bike, and 2km (1.2-mile) trail run.

Xticer races will be held at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama on May 21, and Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, Colorado on July 16 and it’s just $30 to enter right now.

There are more than 100 more options to race XTERRA at all kinds of distances and environments around the world.  Find a race near you at www.xterraplanet.com.

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Shonny V’s Next Adventure

XTERRA World Champion Shonny Vanlandingham may be “retired” but she’s not slowing down.

“I was recently asked to join this group of inspiring women on a mission to Nepal to help with their recovering economy,” said Vanlandingham.

Endure Nepal, a women’s mountain bike documentary, is using mountain biking as a vehicle to help the relief efforts in Nepal.

“I am honored to be a part of the Endure Nepal,” said Vanlandingham. “I will be able to utilize my degree in nutrition to help feed the people of Nepal through the greenhouse projects and use my background as a professional XTERRA and mountain bike racer as a platform to bring exposure through the film to others around the world.”

Shonny and the other members of the Endure Nepal team will ride Rocky Mountain Sherpa 650B+ bikes to a remote village in the Langtang Valley in Nepal to start a self-sustaining greenhouse project in the area. The project will help provide better nutrition and economic empowerment to the people of the region.

Film festival showings and sales of the finished full-length feature film will go toward the continued building of greenhouses and community recovery efforts from the devastating earthquakes of 2015. Endure Nepal is in the final days of a Kickstarter to raise funds for the project, where 65.5 cents of every dollar raised will go directly into Nepal. You can learn more and donate here.

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Middaugh Coaching Corner – Goal Setting

By Yaro Middaugh

Goal setting is the process of identifying something that you want to accomplish and establishing measurable goals and timeframes. Setting goals is done to give you direction, focus and hopefully motivation to stay on the path to eventual success. This typically happens with each new year. We rush to set new goals, perhaps write them down somewhere and tuck them away never to be seen again. As highly motivated triathletes, we come up with amazing goals. You want to win your region and qualify for the XTERRA World Championship, or maybe land an age group podium at a key race.

If you want to increase the chances of attaining your goals, you need to have these seven key ingredients:

Make them realistic and attainable

This sounds obvious, but it definitely needs to be emphasized. Too many times athletes set huge goals, that are not in the realm of possibility and are devastated when they can’t reach them.  A race schedule and a training plan always looks easier on paper.  After seeing Josiah’s ambitious race schedule, I am reminding him of this principle.  Remember this equation:

Satisfaction = Reality – Expectations

Setting attainable goals might take some research. Based on your results from last year, how far off of the goal are you now? The Law of Diminishing Returns states that the better you are, the harder it is to make gains. An untrained athlete new to the sport of triathlon can expect greater improvement that an athlete that has been competing for 10 years and regularly wins his or her age group, unless that person makes a drastic change in their preparation. Getting input from your coach and training partners is a great strategy.

Focus on Process goals rather than Outcome goals

This is hard to do in XTERRA since every course is different, making paces less relevant. However, those metrics are very important in your training and can give you confidence going into races.  For every long-term goal, there is a systematic attainment of short term goals.  Use those outcome goals as motivators, but use the process goals to guide your training.  Also use process goals that will help your measureable goals, such as “wake up early 3 days per week and workout before work”, or recovery based such as “in bed by 9:30 pm during the week”.  Be cautious not to have your only training solution to be more, more, more.  There are only so many hours in a day and remember your goal is to adapt to whatever training load you deem appropriate.  Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals as the season progresses.

Get your entire team on board

Once you think you have realistic goals, you need to check with your entire team to make sure they are supportive and 100% on board. Your team includes anyone that will be affected by your training and racing. This could include, but is not limited to your significant other, children, parents, coach and possibly even your employer. If you can get all of these people supporting your athletic endeavors, you will have just strengthened your support team. When those tough days come, and you know they will, your team will be there to help keep you motivated. They also will be more apt to understand when you miss a family or work function because you need to get in a 3-hour brick.

Make them measurable and systematic

A well designed plan has systematic checks throughout to measure progress toward your end goal. You should know what pace you will have to run and swim as well as what type of power you will need to produce to reach your goal. If you have done the research and know that you will have to swim 1:25/100yd, run 6:30/mile and hold 230 watts for 60 min. well then you have yourself a measureable goal. Every 6-8 weeks you should be testing yourself in each discipline to make sure you are making progress towards your goals (Benchmark Testing coming soon). If not, meet with your coach right away to see if you are still on track or if changes need to be made if you have plateaued. Don’t panic and scrap your entire plan, but definitely have a conversation if you are not making progress every 6-8 weeks.

Train your weaknesses…and your strengths

I used to say “train your weaknesses, race your strengths,” but you can’t neglect your strengths.  Be honest with yourself when you identify weaknesses.  Every weakness is an opportunity to improve, but you can’t lose sight of your strengths.  I like to take sort of a “Money-Ball” approach to training.  Think about the specific demands of XTERRA.  Perform a needs analysis. Do your key races include hills?  Technical riding? Non-wetsuit swim? Identify where you have the greatest opportunity to make up the most time on race day.  Roughly 55-60% of your race time will be spent on the bike, so even if swimming may be a weakness–you also need to have a monster bike split.  Ten percent improvement in the swim might be 2-3 minutes, but ten percent improvement on the bike will be more like 8-12 minutes, and 4-6 minutes for ten percent in the run.  Don’t forget about “free speed” from improved biomechanics, technical skills, and transitions.

Put a plan in place

Now that you have a realistic goal and a support team, you need to come up with a plan to reach that goal. If you are using a coach, you need to make sure he or she knows exactly what your goals and expectations are for the season. How are you or your coach setting up your annual training plan to reach your goals? He or she should be able to tell you how they plan to get you there. What tune up races will you do? How does each race help prepare you for your goal? If you are self-coached, you need to be able to answer these questions for yourself. Prioritize your races and consider trimming your schedule if necessary.  A well-spaced schedule can allow for multiple peak performances in a season.  They can also serve as benchmarks to guide the course of your training.  If races are too tightly spaced than they may interfere too much with training.  Make sure that local races are serving a purpose and fit with your overall plan, not just digging you deeper into a fatigue hole.  Don’t underestimate the recovery required from racing, since races are almost always more fatiguing than a hard workout.  Even for low priority races, make sure you have some level of freshness going into them in order to get the maximum benefit.  If not, maladaptation will occur.

Write it down

The simplest ingredient is often the most important. I like to write my goals down, put them up where I see them every day, and graph my progress every 6-8 weeks. This visual helps keep you motivated and ensures you are making incremental gains toward your goal. It helps keep me mentally focused during my training as well. I see my last benchmark test and my end goal every time I leave the house for a workout. I may not always be on my game, but I’m less likely to slack with that reminder. If you are comfortable having it in a place that others can see it such as your refrigerator it can add an extra layer of accountability and support.

You would never bake a cake, leave out an ingredient and expect it to turn out right. The same goes for triathlon. Training hard and expecting to improve will only take you so far. Every ingredient in goal setting gets you that much closer to reaching your goals. If the end of the season comes, you hit all of your measurable benchmarks along the way, but do not qualify, the year is not a total loss. You did your job and put yourself in the best possible position to reach your goals, so no regrets.  Many aspects of XTERRA racing are unpredictable so focus on the elements that you can control. The journey is as important as the destination.

www.middaughcoaching.com

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XTERRA Early-Bird Rates End Jan. 31st

From now until January 31 XTERRA is offering early-bird prices on registration rates for its championship races and the trail runs held at select venues.

Rates start at just $85 for the full length off-road tris ($110 for teams), $55 for Sprint races ($70 for Sprint teams), $30 for the new “€œXticer”€ beginner off-road tris, and $40 for 21km trail runs, $30 for 10km races, and $20 for 5km runs.

Follow the registration links below for more information:
May 21-22 – XTERRA Oak Mountain – Pelham, AL
July 16-17 – XTERRA Beaver Creek – Avon, CO
Sep 17-18 – XTERRA Pan American Championship – Ogden, UT (Championship rates start at $150)
Oct. 22 – XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs – Kapalua, Maui
Dec. 4 – XTERRA Trail Run Worlds – Kaaawa, HI

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Swiss XTERRA to Host ETU Champs

The 2016 XTERRA Switzerland Championship race to be held June 25 in Vallee de Joux will double as the European Triathlon Union Cross Triathlon European Championship race.

“This is very good news for XTERRA Switzerland,” exclaimed race organizer Laurent Ardiet.  “This means the various titles of European champion will be awarded right here at Vallee de Joux, providing yet another reason for athletes from across Europe to participate in this great event.”

It’s the first time the ETU, the European governing body for Triathlon, has designated an XTERRA race as its cross tri title race.

XTERRA Switzerland is the fifth of 11 majors in this year’s XTERRA European Tour and falls a week before XTERRA France on July 3, making an attractive two-race in one-week “race-cation” opportunity for amateurs and professionals.

On August 20th, XTERRA Germany will host XTERRA’s one-day European Championship race, which boasts a $25,000 USD elite prize purse. The 2016 XTERRA European Tour concludes on September 4th at XTERRA Denmark.

Amateurs and professionals will count their best four Gold scores and three Silver scores to determine final standings in the XTERRA European Tour. New this year, athletes that race all five Gold events can count their best four scores at the 100-point Gold level and convert their lowest score to the 75-point Silver level.

2016 XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR HYPE VIDEO

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Middaugh Bros. to Pen Tips for the Tribe

XTERRA World Champion Josiah Middaugh and his brother Yaro have signed on to write bi-monthly training tips for the XTERRA Tribe in 2016.

Their column, titled the MIDDAUGH COACHING CORNER, will feature a year-long series of training articles talking about everything from race preparation to sport-specific philosophy.

“What we hope to provide is practical training advice that is scientifically sound,” said Middaugh, an 11-time XTERRA National Champion. “There is so much misinformation or just plain bad advice on the Internet, our goal is to be a trusted source with advice that everyone can benefit from to get more out of their training and racing.”

The Middaugh brothers are certainly qualified to be the voice of reason and a source the XTERRA Tribe can trust.

“I have been training and competing in endurance sports since I was 10 and for the past 15 years coached athletes of all ages and abilities based on science and experience,” said the 37-year-old from Eagle-Vail, Colorado.

Josiah has a master’s degree in Kinesiology and has been a certified personal trainer for 15 years (NSCA-CSCS). Yaro also has a master’s degree and has been an active USAT certified coach for a decade.

The first installation of the Middaugh Coaching Corner column will debut in next week’s XTERRA Tribe Newsletter. This week we caught up with the champ for a quick QnA to learn more about his plans for the column, his racing season, and his coaching business…

XT: What’s new now that you’re the XTERRA World Champion?
JM: I tried to get my kids to call me champ but they insist on calling me Dad.

XT: Any changes for you in 2016?
JM: This year I am stepping back from my personal training in the gym to focus on Middaugh Coaching and my racing career.

XT: What will your race schedule look like?
JM: It’s pretty ambitious. While still a work in progress, here’s what I’ve got cooking:

Jan 30, Fat Bike World Championship
Feb 13, Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon
Feb 27, USSSA National Snowshoe Championship
Feb 27, USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championship
Mar 20, XTERRA Costa Rica
Mar 26, XTERRA Argentina
May 1, Whiskey 50 Off-Road MTB Race
May 7, 70.3 St George (probably not)
May 14, XTERRA Tahiti
May 21, XTERRA Oak Mountain
June 11-12, GoPro Mtn Games Ultimate Mountain Challenge
June 17-19, Carson City Off-Road MTB Race
June 25, XTERRA Mine Over Matter
July 4, Firecracker 50 MTB Race
July 16, XTERRA Beaver Creek
July 31, XTERRA Dominican Republic
Aug 6, XTERRA Mexico
Aug 20, XTERRA European Championship
Sep 10, Vail Outlier Mountain bike festival
Sep 17, XTERRA Pan American Championship
Oct 23, XTERRA World Championship
Nov 19, ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship

XT: Silly question, but how do you pronounce your last name?
JM: “Mid-daw” like the awe in awesome : )

XT: About your column, will athletes have to be hardcore to follow your advice?
JM: I think we are all hardcore in some ways, but no, the advice will be applicable to athletes of all levels.  It won’t be just excerpts from my training log.

XT: Are you also taking clients for in-person coaching?

JM: My coaching business is evolving and I now do more long distance training programs through Middaugh Coaching, although I still teach a masters swim group and CompuTrainer classes.

XT: How do you manage long distance training programs?
JM: The platform I use is Training Peaks. It’s individual coaching based on your race schedule, training history, and time available.

XT: What do you share with your clients that I won’t find in your training column?
JM: The difference with the clients I coach is that I am detailing out their training program specific to their life schedule and based on their strengths and weaknesses. I get input and feedback from them and adjust as needed–no template training programs.

Learn more about the Middaugh brothers and their coaching business online at www.middaughcoaching.com.

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XTERRA Philippines in Two Weeks

XTERRA Philippines, the first major on the 2016 XTERRA World Tour, is just two weeks away on Sunday, February 7th in the Bicol Region of southeastern Luzon.

“It seems like only yesterday we were crowning a new World Champion and a repeat Champion at Maui but that was three long months ago and we are now set to start another XTERRA World Tour in the province of Albay in the Philippines,” said Dave Nicholas, managing director of the XTERRA World Tour.

“This is our second year racing in the shadow of the perfectly shaped and still active volcano – Mayon.  You can see the volcano from nearly everywhere in Albay and the bike course runs through the local warning areas where Ms Mayon often hurls rocks.  Yes, there is an 8K circle around the volcano that is considered dangerous, as every day the tip spews clouds of steam. We’ve seen lava rocks as big as VW’s.  The entire experience is one that can only be described as the spirit of the Philippines.  Great trails, great hotel, good food, fun and inexpensive shopping and a host of other cool, interesting places to go see.”

Several of the sports biggest stars, including reigning XTERRA Asian Tour Champions Brad Weiss and Jacqui Slack, are headed back to Albay for the experience.

“This will be our 5th appearance at XTERRA Philippines, we just love this place” said Slack, who was engaged to Aussie XTERRA great Ben Allen in the off-season. “Fred, Sunrise events & the Filipino people are so welcoming we can’t say no. Plus, the Mt Mayon Volcano is the most stunning back drop for an XTERRA race.”

Slack, who finished second to two-time XTERRA World Champ Flora Duffy last year in Albay, will be racing against XTERRA Japan Champion Mieko Carey (4th last year), Dimity-Lee Duke (3rd last year), and the up-and-coming Kiwi Lizzie Orchard, among others.

“I’m really excited about XTERRA Albay, first time visiting and racing there,” said Orchard, who collected three runner-up finishes and an impressive 5th place showing at XTERRA Worlds last year. “The course looks great, transition two is setup in some amazing ruins, and the organizing team have been so welcoming and helpful already.”

XTERRA Philippines is the second of six races in the 2015-2016 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour where pros and amateurs count their best three scores (the finale in Malaysia counts double). Carey and Orchard got a head start on the series in Hokkaido, Japan last August where they notched first and second-place points, respectively.

“I really enjoyed the 2015 Asia-Pacific Tour Races I competed in (Jervis Bay and Malaysia), so I’ve decided to race and explore more of the 2016 Tour,” said Orchard. “Pleased to already have some points on the board from XTERRA Japan, and now will be looking to find some more in the Philippines! It would be a dream come true to clock a major win, with three 2nd places last year I’ve gained some belief that one day it could happen. There are so many talented ladies and I’ve learnt that in XTERRA – anything can happen. It will be interesting to see where we are all at a few months after Maui, and it should be fun to see how the Tour progresses.”

Slack said she’ll do her best to defend her tour title by racing the Philippines, XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Australia, and the tour finale in Malaysia.

As for the men’s race, the season-opener renews a great (and friendly) rivalry between Weiss and Allen. In their four head-to-head races in Asia last year Weiss won two (Philippines and Malaysia) and Allen won two (Saipan and Guam).

Allen, who won the 2012 and 2013 XTERRA Philippines titles, said he’s not thinking about that…

“I’m more excited just to get back to the Philippines to spend time with my friends and enjoy everything Albay has to offer.  XTERRA Philippines offers a good hit out leading into the Asia-Pacific Champs.”

Learn more at www.xterraphil.com

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XTERRA World Championship Show Debuts This Weekend

The XTERRA World Championship TV show will celebrate its 20th year of showcasing the beauty of Maui to the world with its television broadcast debut airings in the U.S. this weekend.

“It’s always fun to hear from our friends who see the show at this time, especially those poor buggers who have a foot of snow on their doorstep,” said XTERRA President Janet Clark. “We hope seeing the sunshine of Maui and spirit of XTERRA helps warm them up a little bit.

We also hope it gets the whole nation excited to win their region, qualify for Maui, and join us this year!”

New York, New York is first to see the show on MSG Cable at 5:30pm Saturday (with a repeat at Noon on Sunday).   Columbus (OH), Albuquerque (NM), Fresno (CA), Spokane (WA), Idaho Falls (ID), and Des Moines (IA) are among the other markets first to see the show as it starts its national syndication run through the country.

Learn more at www.xterraplanet.com/television
Highlights: https://vimeo.com/144325955

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Finally! XTERRA in Belgium

Racers from Belgium have been a force on the XTERRA World Tour for more than a decade, boasting several of the sports fastest racers and biggest personalities, and now for the first time, on June 11, 2016 in Namur, they’ll have a championship race of their own.

“I can’t describe in words how much I’m looking forward to this race,” said Yeray Luxem, a 30-year-old elite from Merksem, Belgium who finished 7th at the XTERRA World Championship last year.

“I’ve been racing XTERRA for 10 years now and it’s nice to travel, experience the culture, explore new places and make new friends. I love it, but on the other hand I love to share my performances with family and friends too, and now this is my opportunity to do that. Expect I’ll be bringing a big fan base to Namur :)”

Luxem isn’t the only Belgian racer who can’t wait until June…

“I’m really excited,” exclaimed Jim Thijs, who is famous for chronicling his racing adventures on This Is Thijs TV. “I used to train in Namur. They have an amazing downhill track and I used to spend days riding down the track with friends Nico Vink and Kristof Lensens. We got back up by shuttle and with my XTERRA and mtb friends we rode back up using the scenic road up to the Citadelle. Funny, I did my first XTERRA in 2006, as a pro, at XTERRA Italy in Villacidro. And that’s where I live right now. So ironically, I will have to travel in June from the place where I did my first XTERRA to Namur for XTERRA Belgium. And Namur is only a 40min drive from where I used to live.”

Kris Coddens, who won XTERRA Greece and XTERRA Denmark in 2015, said it’s “very nice to me because we have nice parts in our country to mountain bike. I also feel lonely in my discipline from time to time. I hope it will get a little bit more popular this way. Now my friends and family will have an opportunity to see what we actually do.  The area itself at the Citadel of Namur, is a very nice, unique, and historic location (see the pictures). Swimming around an island in a river will be something different. Bike course very hilly, also beautiful but not so technical. I thought about Xonrupt and Zittau while riding it the first time. The run course has a lot of climbing too, not the steepest but quite long climbs. Climbs on the bike and run are never longer than about 300ft elevation gain, but they are there.”

Organizers Denis Detinne and Florian Badoux are XTERRA racers themselves, and put a lot of thought and effort into the idea of XTERRA Belgium before committing to host the event this year.

“We started to discuss hosting an XTERRA in Belgium with Dave Nicholas in Greece,” said Detinne.  “Then we made a marked study interviewing 95 athletes to understand where are they coming from, how many XTERRA do they do per year, how many nights they spent in the country.  We discovered that the main nations participating in XTERRA were coming from France, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and Belgium… all the borders countries. Namur is also very accessible by car, by train, and by air with three Internationals airports connecting all the big cities around the world. XTERRA European Technical Director Nico Lebrun came also to see the route and was very positive, so after that we decided to organize XTERRA Belgium.”

Nicholas, the managing director of the XTERRA World Tour who developed the European Tour from one race to a dozen in the past decade, thinks Belgium is a great addition to the tour.

“We’re really looking forward to the new Belgium race,” he said.  “Nico Lebrun has been there and assisted with getting the trails and infrastructure to work well.  Plus, Denis and Florian are actually XTERRA competitors, so they know what our athletes expect. I have to bet this will be a great course.  Belgium is very centrally located in Europe so most people thinking about making the race can drive there.  For those flying, about an hour and a half from the Brussels airport.  For those who are not familiar – Belgium claims to have the absolute best frites on earth and they challenge Czech for the best beer.  What more do you want?”

Detinne said they chose Namur because “the location is just beautiful to organize such an event. The athletes will ride around the Citadel of Namur which is an historical site from the 17th century. Namur is also the capital of Wallonia and has a large offer of hotels, restaurants, shops, museums… and last but not least we live there so we know all the tracks of the region :)”

Last year Detinne and Badoux did four XTERRA races and qualified for Maui.

“It was a great experience.   We found this sport is amazing.  The combination of the three sport in the nature is very exciting, the people are very open and the atmosphere is friendly. Racing around the world is a kind of small vacation were we can meet people around the world and also doing our sport.”

Thijs says he has “no doubts XTERRA Belgium will be a huge success. The organization is doing a great job on all levels. I’m trying to convince everyone I know to participate. From the age groupers I coach to Ironman champions. And most of them say YES!”

“I also think the after-party will be one to remember,” added Luxem.

See images and watch a great highlight video on the new XTERRA Belgium at www.xterra-belgium.be and on their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/xterrabelgium/