Ruzafa, Golsteyn win XTERRA Norway

Complete Results / Gallery

Ruben Ruzafa from Spain and Maud Golsteyn from the Netherlands captured the elite titles at XTERRA Norway, held at the Norejfell Ski & Spa Resort in Noresund this afternoon.

For Ruzafa, a three-time XTERRA World Champion, the win is the 30th of his career and seventh this year. For Golsteyn, it’s her first win as an elite.

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

The story today is not that Ruben Ruzafa won. Again. The story is all about the lovely Maud Golsteyn, who won her first XTERRA since starting in Sardinia in 2009.

“I am so thrilled, the feeling is fantastic,” she smiled.  “I had a very good bike, but a not so good swim. I rode pretty fast and caught Louise. We stayed together for quite a while and when we got to that final, long 10K climb I was able to get away.”

Golsteyn led Great Britain’s Louise Fox by two minutes heading onto the run and it was beginning to rain.  The unknown Nicoline Sorensen was in her first mountain bike race but pushed hard on the last 10K and came into T2 just 30-seconds behind Fox.

“I was so surprised when I started catching her,” said Sorensen.  “And then I started to cramp up on the ridge, and I knew I had to stop. Then I looked ahead and Louise was also cramping!”

Indeed the second and third place women were within shouting distance and both stopped to massage out cramps.

“I saw her stopped and stretching her leg,” said Fox.  “I was able to get going before her and felt pretty good the rest of the way. I was worried because I broke my toe in Finland and had not been able to run very much.”

Tanya Sorensen led out of the water and the first 8K of the bike and finished in 4th. All that sounds fairly normal – except you were not here and you were not running on top of a mountain in a driving, and I mean a serious, rain.

The morning was cloudy and cool, but dry.  The swim and first loop of the bike were actually warm and several bikers were shedding their jackets and sweating.  Ruben came out of the water with young German Peter Lehmann, Kristian Rod (NOR) and Anders Mortensen (DEN).  Ruzafa quickly asserted himself and started riding away.  Lehmann was not giving up and was down only a few minutes onto the second lap of the lower course.

“I was riding really well but knew I could not catch Ruben so I wanted to keep my own pace,” said Lehmann.

We were all pulling for Peter as he has had a miserable season with mechanicals and even a bee sting that felled him in France.

“I felt good the whole way and was surprised when three other guys caught me and we all came into T2 together,” added Lehman.

Czech age grouper Tomas Matera, Olympian and age grouper Eskild Ebbesen and pro Espen Helgesen went up the first hill past the resort within 20 feet of each other.

Ebbesen was a beast on the bike.  A 5-time Olympian with 3 gold and 2 bronze medals, this man is fit and focused.  He simply out muscled the others up the long final climb.  He’ll be in Maui and I suspect he will put some fear in the 45-49 age group bunch. The crowd was yelling and banging the fences, it was all very exciting.  Quietly but efficiently Anders Bregnhoj was catching the second place struggle putting in the fastest bike time, two seconds faster than Ruzafa.

Up onto the mountain where racers start with about 3-kilometers of reasonable climbing and come face to face with a steep, next to impossible climb section.  “Here it is better to walk rather than try to run and lose lots of energy ending in deep mud or slip and finally end up going no faster,” said XTERRA Euro Tour director Nico Lebrun.

Lehmann began to use that energy he had saved on the bike.  Local pro Oivind Bjerkseth, who laid out the entire course, was catching the pack.  The difficult run and the beginnings of the rain fractured the bunch leaving Peter Lehmann a very happy 2nd about seven-minutes behind Ruzafa.  In 3rd overall was Matera (a pro adventure racer) and he was just 15-seconds ahead of Espen Helgesen.

“We had a great run together,” he smiled. “I was behind him on the last downhill but he started to slow and then I pushed.  When I got past him he did not come back.  I am headed to the USA next week for the adventure racing World Championship but I think I will try to race pro in XTERRA next year.”

Espen was a fine 4th overall on a very difficult day.

Ruzafa was gracious as always.  He controlled himself and the race.  “I have many races coming up in the next weeks so I wanted to race, not just train. This is a very hard course so it was perfect for me”.

As is often the case, we were all soaked at the 3-hour mark and it only lasted an hour.  Norway is an unqualified success.  The organization was great, the resort first-class and the challenge superb.  Combine that with spectacular nature and wildlife, and this race will get on everyone’s must do list.

Congratulations to a fine victory for Maud Golsteyn. This has vaulted her to 3rd in the season points standings behind only Helena Erbenova and Brigitta Poor.  Ruzafa is now nearly 200 points ahead of Francois Carloni and just over 200 ahead of Xavier Dafflon.  There are three races left and two of them are Gold offering 100 points to the winner and 90 to 2nd place.  Ruzafa does have a commanding lead, but certainly does not have a lock on the Championship.  For some reason neither Carloni nor Dafflon are entered in Poland next week and Ruzafa will not be there.  Hmm, change of mind anyone?

It can only get more interesting from here.

Elite men
Pos Name Nat Time Pts
1 Ruben Ruzafa ESP 2:41:27 75
2 Peter Lehmann GER 2:49:21 67
3 Oivind Bjerkseth NOR 2:53:28 61
4 Anders Bregnohj DEN 2:55:50 56
5 Kristian Rod NOR 2:59:10 51
Elite Women
Pos Name Nat Time Pts
1 Maud Golsteyn NED 3:22:44 75
2 Louise Fox GBR 3:28:28 67
3 Nicoline Sorensen DEN 3:30:05 61
4 Tanja Hultengren Larsson NOR 3:40:49 56
5 Lucie Materova CZE 3:47:51 51

RUZAFA, KARASKOVA-ERBENOVA REMAIN ON TOP OF EURO TOUR

Ruben Ruzafa the reigning XTERRA European Tour Champion is now almost untouchable after 11 of 14 races on this year’s tour. In the men’s chase Carloni retains his spot at No. 2, with Xavier Dafflon still in third position followed by Yeray Luxem in 4th and Rui Dolores remains in 5th place.

For the women, Helena Karaskova-Erbenova is still in the lead with Brigitta Poor in second as neither raced today in Norway. With her victory today Golsteyn moved up to third place, Carina Wasle dropped to 4th and Morgane Riou still at No. 5.

Next Up:  XTERRA Poland, August 13

Elite Points Standings

Elite Men
Pos Name/Nat Total MLT CYP GRE ESP POR BEL FIN SUI FRA ITA NOR
1 Ruben Ruzafa, ESP 565 DNS DNS 75 75 75 75 DNS 90 100 DNS 75
2 Francois Carloni, FRA 373 61 47 43 DNS 61 51 DNS 63 DNF 47 DNS
3 Xavier Dafflon, SUI 351 DNS DNS 47 DNS 56 67 DNS 69 37 75 DNS
4 Yeray Luxem, BEL 293 DNS 75 DNS DNS 67 61 DNS DNS 90 DNS DNS
5 Rui Dolores, POR 236 DNS DNS 39 36 47 DNS DNS 41 34 39 DNS
6 Arthur Forissier, FRA 233 DNS DNS 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS 100 82 DNS DNS
7 Oivind Bjerkseth, NOR 217 33 67 DNS DNS DNS DNS 56 DNS DNS DNS 61
8 Maxim Chane, FRA 214 30 DNS 36 DNS DNS 47 DNS DNP 45 56 DNS
9 Roger Serrano, ESP 203 75 DNS 67 DNS DNS DNF DNS DNS DNS 61 DNS
10 Sam Osborne, NZL 200 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 58 67 DNS
11 Xavier Jove Riart, ESP 171 DNS DNS DNS 67 51 DNS DNS DNP 53 DNS DNS
12 Jens Roth, GER 166 DNS DNS 61 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 DNS DNS
13 Hannes Wolpert, GER 149 DNF 43 DNP DNS 36 DNP DNS 37 DNP 33 DNS
14 Jan Kubicek, CZE 149 DNS DNS DNP 39 DNS 43 67 DNS DNS DNS DNS
15 Jan Pyott, SUI 145 56 DNS 25 33 DNS DNS DNS 31 DNF DNS DNS
16 Arthur Serrieres , FRA 143 DNS DNS DNS 61 DNS DNP DNS 82 DNP DNS DNS
17 Bradley Weiss, RSA 131 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 56 DNS DNF 75 DNS DNS
18 Maximilian Sasserath, GER 128 67 DNS DNS 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
19 Thomas Kerner, GER 127 DNS 61 33 DNS DNS 33 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
20 Peter Lehmann, GER 124 DNS DNS DNS 27 DNS 30 DNS DNS DNF DNF 67
21 Anthony Pannier, FRA 101 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 58 DNF 43 DNS
22 Mark Hamersma, NED 94 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS 23 DNS DNS 28 DNS DNS
23 Dominik Wychera, AUT 80 DNS DNS DNS DNS 39 DNS DNS DNS 41 DNS DNS
24 Theo Dupras, FRA 80 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 27 DNS 53 DNP DNS DNS
25 Julien Buffe, FRA 79 DNS 56 23 DNS DNS DNP DNS DNP DNS DNS DNS
Elite Women
Pos Name/Nat Total MLT CYP GRE ESP POR BEL FIN SUI FRA ITA NOR
1 Helena Karaskova-Erbenova, CZE 563 67 DNS 75 75 61 75 DNS 53 82 75 DNS
2 Brigitta Poor, HUN 512 75 75 67 67 75 DNS DNS 63 90 DNS DNS
3 Maud Golsteyn, NED 343 56 DNS 47 DNS 56 51 DNS 58 DNS DNS 75
4 Carina Wasle, AUT 317 51 DNS DNS DNS 67 67 DNS 69 63 DNS DNS
5 Morgane Riou, FRA 266 DNS 67 56 DNS DNS 61 DNS 82 DNS DNS DNS
6 Cecila Jessen, SWE 206 39 61 DNS DNS DNS 39 67 DNS DNS DNS DNS
7 Nicole Walters, GBR 205 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 69 DNS DNS
8 Louise Fox, GBR 185 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS DNS DNS 67
9 Myriam Guillot-Boisset, FRA 165 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 90 75 DNS DNS
10 Isabelle Klein, LUX 155 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 56 DNS 41 58 DNS DNS
11 Kathrin Mueller, GER 134 33 DNS DNS 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS 45 DNS DNS
12 Renata Bucher, SUI 104 DNS DNS 43 DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS DNF 61 DNS
13 Isabelle Ferrer, FRA 100 DNS DNS 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 DNS DNS DNS
14 Michelle Flipo, MEX 100 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 100 DNS DNS DNS
15 Laura Philipp, GER 100 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 100 DNS DNS
16 Rocío Espada, ESP 98 DNS DNS DNS 51 47 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
17 Ladina Buss, SUI 96 DNS DNS DNS DNS 51 DNS DNS 45 DNS DNS DNS
18 Kristina Lapinova, SVK 96 47 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 DNS DNS
19 Angela Niklaus, SUI 90 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 37 53 DNS DNS
20 Jessica Roberts, GBR 84 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS DNS 41 DNS DNS
21 Anna Pauline Sasserath, GER 79 36 DNS DNS 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
22 Elizabeth Orchard, NZL 67 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 67 DNS
23 Miriam Casillas Garcia, ESP 61 DNS DNS 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
24 Sara Bonilla, ESP 61 DNS DNS DNS 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
25 Elina Honkavuori, FIN 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS
XTERRA Norway was the 11th of 14 races on the XTERRA European 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 Arthur Forissier / Michelle Flipo
2-Jul XTERRA France * GOLD Ruben Ruzafa / Laura Philipp
9-Jul XTERRA Victoria # Silver Karsten Madsen / Suzie Snyder
15-Jul XTERRA Beaver Creek # GOLD Josiah Middaugh / Lesley Paterson
30-Jul XTERRA Abruzzo * Silver Xavier Dafflon / Helena Karaskova
5-Aug XTERRA Mexico # GOLD Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder
5-Aug XTERRA Norway * Silver Ruben Ruzafa / Maud Golssteyn
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

Matt Haley’s Favorite Workout

XTERRA Ambassador Matt Haley has been the XTERRA Georgia Regional Champ every year since 2013. 

One of the secrets to his success is fartlek training, or “speedplay.” In a fartlek workout, you alternate your steady-state pace with faster bursts. This is a great way to simulate race conditions and learn how to put in surges when you need them. Additionally, fartlek training reduces the chance of overuse injuries because it alternates high intensity with periods of rest.

Q. Matt, can you share one of your favorite workouts?
A. I typically hit the track once a week for an interval workout. I tend to like longer repeats where I can settle into a groove. Then I finish with something shorter and faster to get in some turnover.

If I had to pick a favorite though, it’d probably pick a fartlek workout. I’ve been doing 30-60-90 workouts since college at Keene State in New Hampshire and that’s always been a staple for me.

I pick a run between 7 and 10 miles and throw in three to five sets of alternating pick ups and rest. I go 30 seconds hard with 30 seconds rest and then 60 seconds hard with 60 seconds rest and then 90 seconds hard with 90 seconds rest.

After I finish five sets, I finish the run up-tempo to increase my lactic acid threshold. 

Countdown to XTERRA Nationals – Meet Runner Kevin Tuck

XTERRA Ambassador Kevin Tuck will be making his 9th trip to the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Utah this September. Last year, he won his 60-64 age group with a time of 1:37:23. This comes out to a speedy 7:26 per mile on a very challenging course at altitude! Even more impressive was that this was Tuck’s eighth straight age-group title.

We recently caught up with Tuck to learn more about his training, his love of running, and what keeps him coming back to Utah year after year. His humble and sincere responses are further evidence that you will meet the most wonderful people on XTERRA trails.

Q. How has your season been? 
A. It’s been a great year! I am lucky and have the opportunity to run in many desert races in Arizona during the winter season. I got to jump over a rattle snake on the trail, which was a highlight!

I have done about 10 races since January in the 13-18 mile range.Because of my racing during the winter months in Arizona, the summer has turned into my off-season and it’s when I hit the fun runs. 

Q. Can you talk a bit about your training? What kind of mileage do you log?
A. I am a very low mileage trainer, around 30 miles per week depending upon if I have raced recently.  I currently live and work in Sun Valley, Idaho during the summer, so I do what I call adventure runs – I pick a new trail each week and try to see the wild back country. By the time I do one a big run each week I’m all tapped out.

Q. What are your favorite workouts? Do you train by yourself or with a group?
A. I used to train with my best friend in Salt Lake City – Dr. Bob Evers, a six-time XTERRA National age-group champ.  We were very compatible and the old push pull really helps training efforts.  In addition Dr. Bob came up with creative training runs.

Currently I run independently. I think too many runners tend to run someone else’s program, and I believe that running should be more individual and more fun. The most important thing is to listen to our bodies. 

Q. How do you balance career and training?
A. Again, I’ve very lucky. I own a consulting company and my largest client offers me the flexibility to train on my schedule in spectacular locations like Sun Valley, Idaho; Flagstaff, Arizona; Salt Lake City, Utah; and even Snowbasin!  

Q. What are your goals for the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship
A. My goals are the same every year. I try to run as fast as the year before and avoid any nagging cramps. So far, I’m 0/9. My times keep getting slower and the cramps get worse!

Q. Can you share a favorite memory of XTERRA Nationals from the last decade?
A. Ha! I remember the first year I did XTERRA Nationals – it was still held in Lake Tahoe. I was so busy with work that year, I flew into Reno at around midnight. Early the next morning, I drove to Tahoe only to discover a course covered in snow. And it was raining. We ran through mud, jumped over logs, and dealt with the snow. I had a noon flight to catch out of Reno, and I swore I would never do that race again.

Here I am, over ten years later! XTERRA Trail Run Nationals has come a long way! I love the Utah course. It’s very challenging but I look forward to it every year. It is wonderful how XTERRA treats runners of all ages! That’s what it is all about: participating and having fun.

Sink Your Teeth Into XTERRA DINO, August 5th

XTERRA DINO might not be what you expect. (For one, it’s pronounced DEE-no.) For another, it has nothing to do with dinosaurs – although the course in Southern Indiana certainly has some teeth.

“I thought the course would be in a cornfield,” said Larry Klutenkamper, who drove from Missouri to race XTERRA DINO on July 15th. “Then we drove down a huge hill into Versailles State Park, which was incredible.” (It’s pronounced Ver – SALES.)

“Versailles is one of the best mountain bike trails around,” said race director, Brian Holzhausen. “I think people are surprised by how challenging it is.”

XTERRA DINO Southern Indiana is known for its tough mountain bike course and grueling run. Despite – or because of – this, the race is gaining in popularity. This year, XTERRA DINO had a record number of participants.

“On the bike, I was riding right next to a bluff,” said Klutenkamper, who was the 55-59 age-group champ. “And the run was crazy hard. I think I ran up a quarter mile of stairs. Up and down, roots and rocks.”

XTERRA DINO Northern Indiana, which will be held August 5th in South Bend’s Potato Creek State Park, is a more beginner-friendly course.

“XTERRA DINO Northern Indiana is flatter than the course at Versailles,” said Holzhausen. “The hills are smaller and it’s a better course for beginners because the swim and run are shorter distances. On the other hand, it’s great for all levels because you can really get up some speed. It’s a playful course and with flowy trails.”

XTERRA DINO Northern Indiana is also the closest XTERRA event to Chicago, making it a key race for those in midwest and Great Lakes region.

Holzhausen and his wife Amanda have been putting on the DINO races since 2001. The series got its name from an earlier set of mountain bike races in the 1990s called “Do-INdiana Off Road,” or DINO.

They have a loyal following of athletes including Chris Scott, Mimi Stockton, and Russ Goodman, who have each won their divisions 10 times. (You may know Mimi from the XTERRA Couch to Trail Series.)

In XTERRA DINO Southern Indiana, the course took a bite out of Stockton’s tire, leaving it beyond repair. This left Kristen Wade the task of catching Amanda Frost, whose swim put her a minute in the lead. Wade did so in short order, gaining four minutes on the bike. 

Frost finished the race with Klutenkamper. On Facebook, Frost wrote about XTERRA DINO:

Decided to do a little swim in a lake, then a bike through the woods followed by a trail run in Indiana this morning. Ended up with a little hardware too. Finished 2nd overall but that wasn’t the best part.

On the run, I met a gentleman, Larry, who I ran with basically the whole race. We talked (sorta between gasps of air), learned about our families and about other races we had done. If it hadn’t been for him talking to me and encouraging me I would have gone much slower. It reminded me what these races are about. The journey, the experience, and the people that you meet.

In the men’s division, “Neal Ross went through T1 in the lead, but Dalton Guggemos absolutely crushed the bike split, catapulting him into the lead,” said Holzhausen. “It then became a matter of whether Guggemos could hold the lead on a steadily closing Ross, during the run. Near the end of the brutally difficult first half of the run, Ross made the pass and extended it for just over a one-minute win.” 

View complete results of XTERRA DINO Southern Indiana at www.dinoseries.com.

Learn more and register for XTERRA DINO Northern Indiana at www.dinoseries.com.

Photos courtesy of Lara Delaney Houseman and Amanda Frost

 

XTERRA Pan Am Tour Heats Up in Mexico

The heat is on in the chase for the XTERRA Pan America Pro Series crowns as the Tour heads to Tapalpa, Mexico for a showdown Saturday featuring the regions’ fastest off-roaders.

XTERRA Mexico, to be held in the mountains of Jalisco (Tequila country) is the eighth of 10 stops on the tour and one of four Gold races offering more points and prize money for elites. The following weekend, on August 13, is XTERRA Dominican Republic.

For reigning Pan Am Tour Champ Josiah Middaugh, currently ranked third in the standings behind Jean-Philippe Thibodeau and Branden Rakita, this trip is all about redemption.

“Last year I had a flat tire late in the race in DR, taking me out of contention, and then quickly fell ill with a case of appendicitis in Mexico missing that race for an emergency surgery in Guadalajara,” he explained.  “Luckily, I was in great hands and experienced great care during my surgery in Guadalajara.  Despite my misfortune I am excited to return to these races to challenge myself once again.  I will have my work cut out for me at each race with the likes of Francisco Serrano in Mexico and Leonardo Chacon in DR.  Nothing worth doing is easy.”

Serrano has won XTERRA Mexico twice, is a former Olympian and one of XTERRA’s long-time favorites.  He was in hot pursuit of Rom Akerson for the lead last year on the run before literally losing his shoe in the mud on the second lap, at which point Kieran McPherson jolted past him to finish in the runner-up spot.  McPherson is also back for another crack, alongside Julien Buffe from France, Cedric Wane from Tahiti, the resurging Brian Smith from Colorado, and Tour leader Branden Rakita.

“I am coming into both Mexico and DR on a good note,” said Rakita.  “Things have been going well and I am looking forward to putting it all out there.  Mexico will be a tough race, there is a lot of strong competition.  Josiah, Paco, Kieran, and Brian are all solid racers and Cedric Wane has been getting better and better throughout the season, and those are the guys that I know are racing.  I am sure there will be a couple more of Paco’s country men that will put up a good race as well.  My primary goal is to protect my lead in the Pan Am Series and go into the Championship race in Utah with as large a lead as possible. I have a lot to fight for and am not going to give up, but Josiah is a beast so I have a lot of work cut out for me to try to hold him off.”

After the first seven races Rakita has racked up 347 points to Middaugh’s 275 points.  Mexico is scored on 100-point scale, DR is on a 75-point scale, the finale in Utah on September 16 is on a 200-point scale, and every race counts.  What all that means is anything is possible, and completely unpredictable.

Also unpredictable is the Tapalpa course itself.

“The Mexico course has some surprises,” said Rakita.  “The water is always right on the edge for a wetsuit-legal race, it really comes down to if it rains.  The bike gets tougher the further along, there is a nice steady first climb and then the second one is longer and steeper before a very steep descent that is sort of a choose your own adventure.  The run is a false flat run that you just try to open up and go and try not to lose a shoe in one of the two water/mud crossings.  The fiesta post-race and the awards fiesta are the highlight of the race for sure.  Tapalpa is a great quaint little town with a ton of character and always fun to explore.”

Middaugh agrees.  While he was sick as a dog last year he won here in Tapalpa in 2015 and said he loves the course and the experience.

“I really like heading south of the border for XTERRA racing,” he said.  “I think its a good way to get off the beaten path and experience the countries in a different way than the average tourist.  The two courses in Mexico and Dominican Republic are very different.  The race in Tapalpa, Mexico is at moderate altitude in the big hills about 2 hours from Guadalajara, so plan for afternoon showers and cooler than expected temps.  Tapalpa is a historical town with a vibrant culture and the race takes place at Los Reflejos, a community of small equestrian ranches.  There is a strong triathlon community in Guadalajara and they all show up to get dirty.  It’s a great time. I am looking forward to visiting our close knit, international XTERRA community, eating some good food, and getting in some good training and racing.”

ELITE MEN
XTERRA Pan Am Pro Series Rank, Name, Nationality
1 – Branden Rakita, USA
3 – Josiah Middaugh, USA
4 – Kieran McPherson, NZL
6 – Cedric Wane, TAH
7 – Brian Smith, USA
18 – Julien Buffe, FRA
19 – Francisco Serrano, MEX

SNYDER FAVORITE IN WOMEN’S RACE

Reigning women’s Pan Am Tour Champ Suzie Snyder heads into XTERRA Mexico looking to extend her lead in the Pan Am Pro Series and have some fun while she’s at.

“I think the best part of going to Mexico is the post-race festivities in town,” said Snyder.  “The restaurants have great food, there are some cute shops to get souvenirs for the kids/family and the fireworks show is spectacular!  Of course, the race is cool too.  I like how it is situated at the lake so there are competitors and spectators all the way around the lake all day.  The toughest part of the bike course is the rough terrain as it winds through a lot of farmland. The two climbs are enough to challenge you and put some fatigue in the legs but nothing like the big mountain courses! The run course is deceptively tough as it has some good false flat sections and rough footing that can also be quite wet in places and requires a fair bit of foot speed and agility which is tough when you’re fatigued.”

Snyder held of Myriam Guillot-Boisset by one-second last year, and will have another fast French woman chasing her again this year by the name of Morgane Riou, who sits third in the Pan Am Pro Series.

“I’m very happy to be back racing the Pan American tour here in Mexico, just one week after my “double” European Championship in cross-duathlon and cross-triathlon in Roumania,” said Riou. “It’s always a pleasure to visit new countries with XTERRA, and this year my boyfriend and I dedicated ourselves to this exploration. Moreover, I like speaking Spanish even if I’ve forgotten a lot of words in the past few years. With Argentina, Chile, and now Mexico and Dominican Republic, I’m very happy with this opportunity!  As for the race, I think one of the hardest challenges for me on Saturday will be dealing with the altitude. I hope not to suffer as much as I did in Beaver Creek, and with these two new races I will try to keep my place in the tour rankings.”

The elite women’s field is deep, with Kara LaPoint, ranked 2nd in the Tour, Laura Mira Dias from Brazil (5th), Annie Bergen from Canada (7th), Caroline Colonna (11th), Jessie Koltz (14th), and local hero/former Olympian Fabiola Corona.

“My goals for Mexico are two-fold,” said Snyder.  “I want to win and secure another 100 points for the Tour, and get a good week of training in since ITU Cross Tri Worlds is coming up so soon. That means I won’t be tapering too much going into race day on Saturday which may hinder my speed but it’ll be worth it to peak at Worlds!   And, of course, I want to stay upright and accident free!”

ELITE WOMEN
XTERRA Pan Am Pro Series Rank, Name, Nationality
1 – Suzie Snyder, USA
2 – Kara LaPoint, USA
3 – Morgane Riou, FRA
5 – Laura Mira Dias, BRA
7 – Annie Bergen, CAN
11 – Caroline Colonna, USA
14 – Jessie Koltz, USA
NR – Fabiola Corona, MEX

ALL-TIME XTERRA MEXICO CHAMPIONS

2016 (Tapalpa) Rom Akerson, Suzie Snyder

2015 (Tapalpa) Josiah Middaugh, Fabiola Corona

2014 (Tapalpa) Irving Perez, Fabiola Corona

2013 (Tapalpa) Leonardo Chacon, Fabiola Corona

2012 (Tapalpa) Francisco Serrano, Renata Bucher

2011 (Tapalpa) Seth Wealing, Shonny Vanlandingham

2010 (Valle de Bravo) Seth Wealing, Fabiola Corona

2009 (Valle de Bravo) Seth Wealing, Shonny Vanlandingham

2006 (Puerto Vallarta) Francisco Serrano, Jamie Whitmore

Gonçalves, dos Santos Win XTERRA Ouro Preto

On July 22nd, XTERRA returned to Ouro Preto after two years and held the third race of the season in Brazil’s historic city. 

The champion of the half marathon (25.8k) on the trails was favorite Antônio Gonçalves who finished in 2:18:16. This is Gonçalves’ sixth win, but the 27-year old was surprised by his performance. 

“I had a stretch in my right thigh two weeks ago, and I did not think I would be able to do my best, so I did not expect to get first,” confessed Gonçalves. “This victory deserves to be celebrated in double.”

In the women’s division, Geisla dos Santos Moraes was the day’s champ, completing the test in 3:07:28. 

Both dos Santos and Goncalves won XTERRA Ilhabela Trail Run in May.

XTERRA Ouro Preto also featured a night run (10k), a kids race, a duathlon, and  a MTB Cup Pro race (46k). XTERRA Brazil Champ, Sabrina Gobbo, won the MTB Cup.

XTERRA Costa Verde, which is presented by SESI, will be held on August 12 and 13, in the region of Costa Verde, in Mangaratiba, Rio de Janeiro.

Learn more and register at www.XTERRAbrasil.com.

Nathan Helton on XTERRA Panther Creek Half Marathon

XTERRA Ambassador Nathan Helton hasn’t been running as much as usual this summer.

I sustained a stress fracture in my right foot during the Yamacraw 50k last April, and I have only been 100 percent back at trail running for two to three weeks now,” said Helton, who didn’t let the lack of training stop him from finishing in second place at the XTERRA Panther Creek Half Marathon on July 30th in Morristown, Tennessee.

Helton added that he would have started his training earlier. “But my regular training was slightly delayed by a trip to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.” 

One might think that anyone who doesn’t consider a 19,000 foot mountain summit to be “regular training,” might be a bit intense about his performance. However, Helton’s main goal is to have fun and encourage others on the trail.

Because of his injury, Helton missed the XTERRA Knoxville Half Marathon, but he was happy to volunteer “and spread good vibes.” And what pleased him most about the XTERRA Panther Creek Half Marathon was that his wife finished first in her age group.

She’s been working very hard to improve her running abilities, so such an award was well-deserved and it was quite a delight for me to see her hop on that podium for a picture,” he said.

Helton was also quick to praise his fellow Ambassador Nozomi Shinoda-Wade on her age group win and congratulate his mates on the podium: Trevor Turner – the XTERRA Panther Creek Half Marathon Champ – and Noah Kilgore, who finished 3rd.

“Noah is only 13,” said Helton. “He left it all out there on the trail, for sure, and it’s not an easy course.”

XTERRA Panther Creek is one of Helton’s favorite courses.

“Ryan Roma and the Dirty Bird Events crew do a masterful job at putting the race on and making all of the athletes feel accomplished and taken care of. I can’t say enough about it—it’s a perfect blend of hills, descents, flats, and wonderful scenic overlooks. It’s a 13.1 that pushes you to your limits and makes you a more well-rounded athlete.”

For the rest of the season, Helton is focusing on increasing his endurance and health from a holistic standpoint by incorporating yoga, CrossFit, and good nutrition into his training. In August, he is going to compete in a half-Ironman distance triathlon.

I’m also wanting to check out other XTERRA trail runs in neighboring states so that I can encounter some more great courses and have the opportunity to share the trail with a host of wonderful runners.”

To view the complete results for the XTERRA Panther Creek Half Marathon, visit www.dirtybirdevents.

Barton, Carver Win XTERRA Panther Creek

Marcus Barton and Amy Carver are no strangers to the podium steps. Both of them are having a fabulous season, so it wasn’t a surprise to see them on top at XTERRA Panther Creek last weekend.

The Morristown, Tennessee race was held in Panther Creek State Park, near Lake Cherokee. Eastern Tennessee is renowned for being a mountain biking playground, and XTERRA Panther Creek is no exception.

The men’s division gave us the exceptional level of performance and sportsmanship we have come to expect from the Southeast crew.

Chuck Olinger – who was the runner up in the 50-54 age group – was first out of the water in 13:51. Right on his heels were Yaro Middaugh (13:55) and Marcus Barton (14:15). This group headed into the first transition with Ali Arasta, Darren Cox, Brad Scholtz, and Dan Ballheimer.

Arasta – the day’s runner up – had the fastest time on the bike with 1:06:24. Darren Cox – 50-54 age group champ – and young Caleb Baity also finished the course in sub-1:07. Barton finished in 1:07:13, and Yaro Middaugh put in a solid 1:09:14.

“I was excited about Marcus winning and what a great finish by Ali Arasta!” said women’s champ, Amy Carver. “He has been fighting back issues and just killed it on Sunday.”

Middaugh also put in a great effort on the run for fifth place overall. Baity – third overall – had the quickest run split of 27:35, but it wasn’t fast enough to catch Arasta or Barton.

Barton’s final time was 1:51:05, Arasta was second with 1:52:53, and Baity was close behind with 1:52:59.

In the women’s division, Amy Carver had her fifth win of the season, remarkable in that she has only ever competed in six XTERRA events. Her overall time of 2:15:24 was just over three minutes faster than runner up, Jess White who crossed the line in 2:18:54. Elizabeth Skiba was third in 2:19:22.

“I had such a great group of women to race with today,” said Carver. “I would love to continue with XTERRA and qualify for Worlds. Regardless of the points, I have enjoyed every minute of the training and races and most importantly all the people I have met along the way. XTERRA has become a family to me.”

Next up for the Southeast Region is XTERRA Auburn on August 19th.

You can view the complete results from XTERRA Panther Creek at www.dirtybirdevents.com.

 

 

XTERRA Stays in Canada for XTERRA Parry Sound

On August 12th, XTERRA will be halfway through its Ontario racing series which includes:

XTERRA Mine Over Matter
XTERRA Parry Sound
XTERRA Sleeping Giant

XTERRA Mine Over Matter was a great success on June 17th at Kelso Quarry, and XTERRA Sleeping Giant will be held on August 26th in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The XTERRA Parry Sound full-length triathlon will feature a 1.5k swim, a 25k mountain bike, and a 10k run. The run course is identical to the course used in the XTERRA Parry Sound Trail Run, which will also be held on the 12th. Included in the day’s races are a sprint triathlon and relay and an off-road duathlon.

Fourteen qualifying spots for XTERRA World Championships will be up for grabs at the race and will be awarded to seven male and female age-group champions.

The XTERRA Parry Sound 5k Trail Run will be held at 9AM, before the triathlons and duathlon. All events will be held on the magnificent trails at the Georgian Nordic Ski and Canoe Club.

Located about 225k/140mi north of Toronto, the town of Parry Sound is a popular “cottage country” region for southern Ontario residents. The sound for which the town is named is also the world’s deepest, natural, freshwater port in the world. Perhaps more importantly, Parry Sound is the birthplace of Bobby Orr, making XTERRA Parry Sound a perfect weekend destination for triathletes, hockey fans, and anyone looking for a tranquil and idyllic summer holiday.

So pack those runners, eh?

Watch a preview of XTERRA Parry Sound. You can register at www.elementracing.ca.