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Coddens, Erbenova win XTERRA Belgium

Photos / Complete Results

Namur, Belgium (June 11, 2016) – Kris Coddens and Helena Erbenova captured the inaugural XTERRA Belgium elite titles in Namur this afternoon.

The swim was cancelled due to the extraordinarily high water levels in the Meuse River and turned into a run-bike-run event instead.  XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas was on-site for the event and brings us this report…

A superb day for racing in Belgium.  Low 70’s with clouds and a slight breeze made it easy on the athletes to conquer a very difficult course.  Because of the heavy rains in France, the current in the Meuse River made the swim impossible and it became a run-bike-run, but not exactly duathlon distances.   Just over 650 athletes made a heavy jam of bodies running on the road around the compound before heading into the woods.  It was wonderful, it was chaos and everyone survived.

The first run was just over 4K.  Straight out onto the bike it was local favorite Kris Coddens shadowed by Kiwi Sam Osborne.

“I wanted to be sure to lead on the bike and went very hard on the first climb” said Coddens. “I figured soon it was too fast and backed down to save some energy.  In a moment, Sam was with me and I had to go again.”

Indeed, those two ran away from the field right from the start.  Damien Guillemet, Francois Carloni and Nicolas Fernandez were all together but already two-minutes back at the end of the first bike lap.  Namur is one of those trail systems where it just seems that everything goes up and very little comes down so it is easy to run out of energy early.  The other local favorite, Yeray Luxem clearly had problems and was mired back over five minutes at the end of the first bike lap.  You have to give him credit as he never bowed out, never quit and ended up an amazing 14th.

It’s well known that Helena Erbenova is not a great swimmer.  Equally well known is she can run.  The layout this weekend suited her perfectly and despite cramping on the first bike lap, she came out of the woods to start the second loop already four-minutes ahead.  The surprise was young French star Morgane Riou was up into 2nd followed by Carina Wasle, Maud Golsteyn, Elisabetta Curridori and Luxembourg’s own Isabelle Klein.

Out onto the second lap Coddens and Osborne were still within a few seconds of each other and suddenly Kris showed up almost a minute ahead.

“I saw this muddy spot coming up and Kris was being careful,” grinned Osborne.  “I decided to go for it, but then thought maybe not and that indecision caught me out.  I started sliding, caught it and then slid some more and had to get off the bike and run up the next hill.  I went hard but I just could not close the gap”.

That minute stayed constant and Coddens ran it home to a very loud crowd cheering for their own man.

There were spectators everywhere.  It sometimes caught the organizers out as nobody had planned on thousands coming.  We saw people walking up the crazy stairs that took bikers down to transition.  Fans lined the hills, they sat on the medieval walls surrounding the Citadel and they clapped and cheered and tooted horns.  It was great.

Helena runWeb (1)

Erbenova was dominant today and her cramps went away on the second bike lap and she never looked back, winning by seven-minutes over Wasle.  Morgane was completely exhausted, muddy and a bit bloody but over-the-moon happy.  She was a mess and talked about hitting the mud and falling.  “But I think a lot of people did the same thing” she laughed.

The rain stayed away; the local boy won the race; the location at the top of Namur overlooking the city and the Meuse River and mostly the fantastic Citadel, a huge stone fortress that has guarded Namur for centuries.  We could not have written a better script.

The action returns to Switzerland in a couple weeks.  This race will serve as the ETU cross triathlon championship as well as XTERRA Switzerland and will have just as big an entry in a very different but equally stunning setting.  We’re off to the after race dinner, awards and party which has been promised to be awesome.  The Belgians say they are famous for three things – Frites, Beer and Chocolates.  I think that makes for a pretty interesting evening.

Tentative Elite Results

Pro Men      
Pl Name Points Time
1 Kris Coddens, BEL 75 2:33:35
2 Sam Osborne, NZL 67 2:34:41
3 Francois Carloni, FRA 61 2:38:10
4 Nicolas Fernandez, FRA 56 2:40:26
5 Damien Guillemet, FRA 51 2:43:04
6 Tomas Kubek, GER 47 2:43:53
7 Sebastian Norberg, SWE 43 2:44:25
8 Henry Sleight, GBR 39 2:45:43
9 Christophe Betard, FRA 36 2:47:07
10 Llewellyn Holmes, GBR 33 2:47:42
11 Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA 30 2:47:47
12 Yeray Luxem, BEL 27 2:48:31
13 Jim Thijs, BEL 25 2:51:28
14 Martial Schmidt, FRA 23 2:56:23
15 Boris Chambon 21 2:58:36
Also: Glenn Wesseling, Lars Van der Eerden, Max Sasserath, Jon Heasman, Joost Christiaans, Thomas Kerner, Jonathan Pybus, Kenny Van Laere, Anthony Verhamme
Pro Women    
Pl Name Points Time
1 Helena Erbenova, CZE 75 3:01:41
2 Carina Wasle, AUT 67 3:08:56
3 Morgane Riou, FRA 61 3:12:30
4 Isabelle Klein, LUX 56 3:26:41
5 Jessie Roberts, GBR 51 3:27:54
6 Maud Golsteyn, NED 47 3:29:56
7 Elisabetta Curridori, ITA 43 3:36:13
8 Lenka Cibulkova, CZE 39 3:37:39


Despite not racing Roger Serrano is still the top ranked athlete in the XTERRA European Tour, while Francois Carloni moved into the No. 2 spot ahead of Ruben Ruzafa.  In the women’s standings Helena Erbenova jumped past Brigitta Poor into the No. 1 spot after winning her third straight race on the European Tour this season.  For Erbenova, the 3x Euro Tour Champ, the win is her 7th straight in Europe dating back to last year,

Elite athletes count their best 4 Gold and 3 Silver finishes.  Next up is XTERRA Switzerland on June 25.
Standings pending confirmation of today’s XTERRA Belgium results.

After 4 – 6.11.16          
Men     S S S S
1 Roger Serrano, ESP 211 75 75 61 DNS
2 Francois Carloni, FRA 168 DNS 51 56 61
3 Ruben Ruzafa, ESP 142 DNS 67 75 DNS
4 Kris Coddens, BEL 122 DNS 47 DNS 75
5 Sam Osborne, NZL 118 DNS DNS 51 67
6 Brice Daubord, FRA 104 43 61 DNS DNS
7 Yeray Luxem, BEL 94 DNS DNS 67 27
8 Tomas Kubek, CZE 90 DNS 43 DNS 47
9 Pierre-Antoine Guilhem, FRA 82 61 21 DNS DNS
10 Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA 77 47 DNS DNS 30
11 Cedric Lassonde, FRA 69 30 39 DNS DNS
12 Hannes Wolpert, GER 69 36 DNS 33 DNS
13 Sebastian Norberg, GER 68 DNS 25 DNS 43
14 Jens Roth, GER 67 67 DNS DNS DNS
15 Christophe Betard 63 27 DNS DNS 36
16 Llewellyn Holmes, GBR 58 DNS DNS 25 33
17 Tim Van Daele, BEL 57 DNS 27 30 DNS
18 Maxim Chane, FRA 56 56 DNS DNS DNS
19 Arthur Forissier, FRA 56 DNS 56 DNS DNS
20 Nicolas Fernandez, FRA 56 DNS DNS DNS 56
21 Peter Lehmann, GER 51 51 DNS DNS DNS
22 Damien Guillemet, FRA 51 DNS DNS DNS 51
23 José Estrangeiro, POR 47 DNS DNS 47 DNS
24 Maximilian Sasserath, GER 43 DNS DNS 43 DNS
25 Dominik Wychera, AUT 39 39 DNS DNS DNS
26 Julen Loroño, ESP 39 DNS DNS 39 DNS
27 Henry Sleight, GBR 39 DNS DNS DNS 39
28 Jan Kubicek, CZE 36 DNS 36 DNS DNS
29 Rui Dolores, POR 36 DNS DNS 36 DNS
30 Fabien Combaluzier, FRA 33 33 DNS DNS DNS
31 Jan Pyott, SUI 33 DNS 33 DNS DNS
32 Max Neumann, AUS 30 DNS 30 DNS DNS
33 Gonzalo Orosco, ESP 27 DNS DNS 27 DNS
34 Markus Benesch 25 25 DNS DNS DNS
35 Jim Thijs, BEL 25 DNS DNS DNS 25
36 Julien Buffe, FRA 23 DNS 23 DNS DNS
37 Veit Hoenle, GER 23 DNS DNS 23 DNS
38 Martial Schmidt, FRA 23 DNS DNS DNS 23
39 Tiago Maia, POR 21 DNS DNS 21 DNS
40 Boris Chambon 21 DNS DNS DNS 21
Women     S S S S
1 Helena Erbenova, CZE 225 DNS 75 75 75
2 Brigitta Poor, HUN 203 75 67 61 DNS
3 Morgane Riou, FRA 179 67 51 DNS 61
4 Maud Golsteyn, NED 142 56 DNS 39 47
5 Carina Wasle, AUT 123 DNS DNS 56 67
6 Louise Fox, GBR 103 DNS 56 47 DNS
7 Myriam Guillot-Boisset, FRA 67 DNS DNS 67 DNS
8 Sandra Koblemueller, AUT 61 61 DNS DNS DNS
9 Ladina Buss, SUI 61 DNS 61 DNS DNS
10 Isabelle Klein, LUX 56 DNS DNS DNS 56
11 Alena Stevens, SVK 51 51 DNS DNS DNS
12 Renata Bucher, SUI 51 DNS DNS 51 DNS
13 Jessie Roberts, GBR 51 DNS DNS DNS 51
14 Diane Lee, GBR 47 47 DNS DNS DNS
15 Kristina Nec Lapinova, SVK 43 43 DNS DNS DNS
16 Sara Bonilla Bernardez, ESP 43 DNS DNS 43 DNS
17 Elisabetta Curridori, ITA 43 DNS DNS DNS 43
18 Danica Spiteri, MLT 39 39 DNS DNS DNS
19 Lenka Cibulkova, CZE 39 DNS DNS DNS 39


XTERRA Belgium was the 17th of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 21st annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Oct 23.

7-Feb XTERRA Philippines Brad Weiss/Lizzie Orchard
21-Feb XTERRA South Africa Brad Weiss/Flora Duffy
5-Mar XTERRA Motatapu Olly Shaw/Mary Gray
12-Mar XTERRA Saipan Brodie Gardner/Carina Wasle
20-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica Karl Shaw/Myriam Guillot-Boisset
26-Mar XTERRA Argentina Josiah Middaugh/Myriam Guillot
3-Apr XTERRA Malta Roger Serrano/Brigitta Poor
16-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Braden Currie/Lizzie Orchard
17-Apr XTERRA La Reunion Ruben Ruzafa/Carina Wasle
23-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Braden Currie/Lizzie Orchard
7-May XTERRA Malaysia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Championship Ben Allen/Jacqui Slack
7-May XTERRA Brazil Albert Soley/Sabrina Gobbo
7-May XTERRA Greece Roger Serrano/Helena Erbenova
14-May XTERRA Tahiti Josiah Middaugh/Lesley Paterson
21-May XTERRA Oak Mountain State Park Josiah Middaugh/Suzie Snyder
21-May XTERRA Portugal Ruben Ruzafa/Helena Erbenova
11-Jun XTERRA Belgium Kris Coddens/Helena Erbenova
25-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Vallee de Joux
25-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter Milton, Ontario, Canada
3-Jul XTERRA France Xonrupt
10-Jul XTERRA Victoria Victoria, B.C., Canada
16-Jul XTERRA Beaver Creek Beaver Creek, CO, USA
23-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound Ontario, Canada
31-Jul XTERRA Italy Lago Di Scanno
31-Jul XTERRA Dominican Republic Barahona
6-Aug XTERRA Mexico Tapalpa
7-Aug XTERRA Poland Krakow
13-Aug XTERRA Sweden Hellsgaarten, Stockholm
14-Aug XTERRA Canmore Canmore, Alberta, Canada
20-Aug XTERRA Germany – XTERRA European Championship Zittau
27-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
27-Aug XTERRA Korea Daeahn Reservoir, Wonju City
3-Sep  XTERRA Japan Hokkaido
4-Sep XTERRA Denmark Mons Klint
4-Sep XTERRA Quebec Quebec City, Quebec
11-Sep XTERRA Woolastook New Brunswick, Canada
17-Sep XTERRA USA / Pan Am Championship Ogden, Utah, USA
23-Oct XTERRA World Championship Kapalua, Maui

XTERRA Pan America Tour Heads North

The next two stops on the XTERRA Pan America Tour are in Canada with XTERRA Mine Over Matter on June 25 in Milton (Ontario) and XTERRA Victoria in British Columbia on July 10.

What that means is for the first-time ever Canadian XTERRA Pro Karsten Madsen gets to race on his hometown trails in front of his family and friends in an important Pro Series event.

“It’s pretty amazing to get to race at home,” said Madsen, who is currently ranked 2nd in the XTERRA Pan Am Pro Series.

“When you’re younger and don’t really travel much to race you dream of being on the road and racing all over the place,” Madsen said.  “Now that I have done that the last few years I really enjoy when I can race at home. I love to sleep in my own bed. Milton is also a place that I do most of my training at. I know every turn and every bit of the climb. Having the home advantage is amazing and many of my family friends and sponsors can come out and see me live so I need to make sure I’m in top shape and ready to lay down a big race.”

Madsen, who has won XTERRA Mine Over Matter three times since 2010, will be facing a much deeper field this time around as American elites Branden Rakita, Cody Waite, Greg Schott, Dan Molnar, Brian MacIlvain among others are making their way to Toronto for the event.  Suzie Snyder, Debby Sullivan, Caroline Colonna, and Canadian elite Joanna Brown are confirmed in the women’s race.

As for the course, Madsen says it has a little bit of everything.

“First the distance is a bit shorter then a normal XTERRA. The swim is a 1000m, the bike is 21km and the run is 9.8km. It really gives a good opportunity to go harder then you normally would as the race is fast!

The weather is usually around mid-20’s (mid 70’s for my U.S. friends) but we can get hot, it just depends.  The swim is in a quarry with calm, warm water.  On the bike you hit some very high paced single track. You also have some rock gardens and flowy sections. It’s a course that gets harder the faster you take it, but if you go slower it really is something that everyone could do. This year we will climb the escarpment once, it has a few places that it kicks up, but this climb takes me about 4:10 from bottom of the trail to the last chairlift. Since we don’t have any mountains this way I spend a lot of time in my training going up and down this ski hill! The elevation at the highest point of the race is around 1000-feet so nothing crazy. The run course is kind of like XTERRA Alabama. It’s pretty flat (for an XTERRA) so you can really give it a good fast effort. Kelso has world class trails and I would suggest that visiting athletes take some time after the race to see all the trails it has to offer (there are some pretty technical area’s that we don’t use in the race).”

Madsen suggested the Flying Monkey Bike Shop, which is close to the venue, as a good place for bike work and added that “another great thing about this race is you are about 45 minutes away from downtown Toronto and it truly is an amazing city with something always going on, amazing places to eat and sights to be seen.”

For those who like a good Pilsner, be sure to visit the Steam Whistle Brewery at Roundhouse Park next to the Rogers Centre.

Deuces Wild

Angel, Nelson win Deuces Wild

XTERRA Ambassador and six-time World Champion Cindi Toepel and her hubby Circ took to the trails in Show Low, Arizona over the weekend and brought us back this report…

This race normally starts at an earlier hour than most XTERRA’s. We were all happy with that as the heat was breaking records in Arizona this year! We even started 2 minutes early due to the superb race organization – when does that ever happen?!

The swim was probably closer to 1000 meters based on times but very pleasant at 71 degrees in one of clearest lakes on the circuit. The bike course has many interesting features; rolling single track, steep rocky climbs and descents, two track, tunneling through a culvert and some gravel road for easy passing. The run may be only 5 miles, however it is not easy. Between the steep hills appropriately named the Eliminator and Mini Eliminator, the rocks, soft sandy dirt and sun exposure, there was no relief until you came to the water crossing near the end. The water was refreshingly cool being waist deep but it was a slog through a very muddy bottom.

Ashley Robota came out of the swim in 15:05 but the women’s race was dominated by Ashlie Angel. She came into T2 with an insurmountable lead. Second off the bike was Katarina Marks, who posted the fastest run of the day in 39:56, but still came up short at the finish. T2 became a flurry of activity as 3rd through 6th place entered in rapid succession, all within 30 seconds of each other. The final order at the finish was Ashlie Angel in 2:21:23, Katarina Marks in 2:23:52, and Katie Norem in 2:26:07.

In the men’s race, Silvio Lopez was first out of the water in 13:26. However, with the fastest bike and run of the day, Kirk Nelson crushed the field to finish in 2:01:11. Silvio was able to hold onto 2nd with a final time of 2:06:11. The battle for 3rd place between Kyle Herrig and Brian Grasky went back and forth all day. Kyle was finally able to put a little distance on the run rounding out the podium with a finish time of 2:10:02.

The Deuces Wild Festival is not just a race but a true festival of events. There is something for everyone during the weekend. There is a kids Tri for the future of our sport, an Olympic and Half Ironman for the roadies and saving the best for last, an XTERRA for the off-road junkies.

The food at Deuces Wild provided by Chow Hound was superb. Possibly the best BBQ chicken and baked beans we have ever tasted. Also of note, one of the most innovative awards ever presented, your finishers medal was designed to magnetically attach to the award trophy. With TriSports sponsoring this event, the raffle is legendary. From Zipp Wheels to wetsuits to shoes, all you needed was a winning ticket!

Baity, Barton

Baity, Barton Perfect Already

Photo courtesy Ani Roma

We’re just 15 races into the 2016 XTERRA America Tour but Caleb Baity (20-24 from Boonville, NC) and Marcus Barton (45-49 from Waxhaw, NC) have already racked-up perfect scores of 325-points.

Baity, a first-year XTERRA racer, and Barton, a season-vet of the sport, have each done and won their division in five races including the 100-pointer at XTERRA Oak Mountain last month.

Over the weekend Baity picked up his first overall race win at XTERRA Knoxville, while Barton finished in the top 3 for the third time this year.

About the race in Knoxville, Baity said…

“The conditions were loose and slick, it reminded me of when I used to race downhill at Beech Mountain in the pouring down rain.  I got to a point where I rode 3 or so miles without seeing another racer and it made me worry that I may never catch the lead pack. When I finally started to catch the racers who I knew were in the front I felt a rush of extra energy.  The run was an absolute blast. I loved how technical it was by having us weave in and out of trees and going over rock piles which made it feel like a true trail run.  When I was climbing up the steepest hill and saw the current leader, Alex, I felt another wind of energy because I knew it was possible for me to win.  After passing Alex and putting myself in first I gave it everything I had left, sprinting down the hill while trying to keep myself from slipping and eating it hard.  Once the trail flattened out I looked back and saw no one in the distance.  It was the best feeling to cross the finish line for my first ever 1st place overall win and think to myself that I was the fastest person racing that day.”

Barton summed-up his day a little bit differently… “I crashed 8 times, 4 of them on bridges and once into a poison oak patch.  We’ll see if it “hatches” in a couple of days.  Didn’t talk to a single person that didn’t go down on a bridge.  I tried walking one and still slid off of it.”

Barton also caught up with the women’s winner at XTERRA Knoxville, Katie Rowinski, who said…

“This was my first XTERRA race.  It was incredibly fun and rewarding, but also very grueling.  The bike portion was the hardest because it was so slick and muddy and I also struggled on the very last hill/climb on the run portion going around Mead’s Quarry. Overall it was a very difficult race course. I’ve done road triathlons and road races before, but the XTERRA Knoxville event was definitely the hardest race I’ve ever done.”

View the XTERRA America Tour Standings and race results at:


XTERRA Belgium on Saturday

World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas is in Namur for XTERRA Belgium this Saturday and has some big news on the eve of the inaugural event…

“The normal flow of the Meuse River at our swim point is 50 cubic meters of water per second. Today it was running at 350 and is expected to go up to near 400 cubic meters of water flowing per second on Saturday! The organizers, technical director Nico Lebrun and I met with the River Meuse navigation office, and we all worked hard to figure how to save the swim but conditions are simply too dangerous.  The readout used to assist the huge barges that go up and down the river from the North Sea to France showed currents were at a 30-year high.  If anyone remembers Hood River when the dam was opened by mistake; that is how fast the river is running.

We are working on a 3.4 to 4K run to start the event.  Everything will now start and finish at the very impressive XTERRA Village at the Citadel de Namur.

Who are the favorites?  No Ruzafa or Serrano but because this is the first XTERRA Belgium we have both Kris Coddens and Yeray Luxem very motivated to put their name on the winner’s trophy.  There are several other Belgian pros who will also be motivated to show well at their home event.  Standing in the way will be Francois Carloni, Sam Osborne, Brice Daubord and Arthur Forissier as the most apparent.  Nicolas Fernandez is making his first appearance of the year and there is a full field of 24 elite men to mix things up.  With a different format we could see a very unusual winners podium.

The women here are the usual protagonists with Helena Erbenova chasing Brigitta Poor.  Myriam Guillot-Boisset is not here, but Brits Diane Lee and Jessie Roberts return along with Elisabetta Curridori.  Maud Golsteyn will hope for better luck than in Portugal and steady Louise Fox is sure to gain valuable points.

Having no swim can make for strange races.  Carloni is a decent swimmer but the run is his worst segment.  Luxem and Coddens can both run very well and a run/bike/run may suit them best.  For the women, Brigitta is the best swimmer and this will hurt her early speed.

With everyone knowing the swim is cancelled this far in advance you can bet the competitors are scrambling to figure out a new strategy.

All that aside, XTERRA Belgium is still the biggest first-time XTERRA ever.  Registration closed at 1,000 entries combined between the Championship and Decouvert (discovery) races.

The city of Namur is our host.  Located in the middle of Belgium, this medieval city of over 100,000 sits at the confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers and is the east/west and north/south center of the Ardennes.  Because of its location, Namur was a central part of both WWI and WWII including the Battle of the Bulge.  Napoleon came and went, the Habsburgs came and went and now peace rules this grand Belgian city.

A major part of our race is the “Citadel”.  This fortress was originally built in the 900’s and was last rebuilt in the late 1600’s.  This fabulous and historical setting is where our T2 and Finish compound will be located.  The bike and run are both two loops for Championship and one for Decouvert.  The setup and work are simply incredible for a first time event.  Organizers Denis Detinne and Florian Badeaux head the team and both are experienced XTERRA racers and know what it takes to make it perfect.

The run is very hard with nearly 1,200m of elevation for the champ race.  Some short and steep climbs, some with stairs and right now – a lot of it is muddy from the rains.  The bike is also hilly with 1,500m of elevation and also quite muddy as of today.  The weather forecast is for sun and pleasant days leading up to the race, but rain is forecast for Saturday.  It is central Europe and rain can happen at any minute.  The Decovert race starts at 10am and Championship at 1pm.  The awards are scheduled for 8:30pm and after party is scheduled to go until 2am!!  If you know Denis and Florian, you know this is the truth.

We’ll bring you more info tomorrow…

XTERRA Blackwater

XTERRA Back at Blackwater August 7

After a successful, sold-out inaugural event in 2015 the XTERRA Blackwater off-road triathlon returns to beautiful Blackwater River State Forest in Milton, Florida on August 7, 2016.

The race combines an 800-yard swim with a 13-mile mountain bike and 3.75-mile trail run, and it’s poised to sell-out once more with just 20+ spots still available. Rest assured those spots will go as Blackwater is the 11th of 12 races in the highly competitive Southeast Region and by August the serious racers will be fighting for regional championships and the Maui qualifying spot that goes with it.

“It challenges triathletes’ skills and abilities in a rugged outdoor setting and it’s comfortable for first-time XTERRA athletes as well,” said Ben Dillon, the race director and SOML (So Others May Live) Racing President.

“SOML Racing is a non-profit organization consisting of Naval Aviation Rescue Swimmers, our families and friends,” said Dillon. “We’re an organization that strives to be a formidable force in the lives of those whose seek to improve themselves mentally and physically, as every Navy rescue swimmer knows, “So Others May Live!”

As the only XTERRA in Florida this year racers can expect perfect weather, and for those looking for the perfect beach to go with it the white sands of Pensacola Beach are just down the road.

More information can be found at


XTERRA Granite Man Kicks Off Racing in Northwest Region

The inaugural XTERRA Granite Man off-road triathlon at Applegate Lake, Oregon is the first of four races in the Northwest Region this year.

Race weekend is set for June 11-12, and also includes a duathlon, kids tri and du races, a 10-mile mountain run, 5-mile poker run, youth scavenger hunt, and a 17.5-mile time trial xc mountain bike race.  There’s even a “dual day” award for those that do XTERRA on Saturday, and the 10-mile mountain run on Sunday. Plus, there’s camping!

The XTERRA Granite Man race combines a .75-mile swim, 13-mile MTB, and 5-mile trail run.

“The views across the lake of the majestic peaks of the Red Butte Wilderness and surrounding Rogue River National Forest lands are spectacular,” said Chad Wikander of the Rogue Valley Race Group, LLC.

“Applegate Lake is at its best this time of year, full with fresh spring run-off. You may compete as a Granite Man individual or as a three-person team with each team member doing one of the segments.”

Nestled at 2,000-feet in the Rogue River National Forest, Applegate Lake has long been a favored destination in southern Oregon for mountain bikers, trail runners, and swimmers alike and the XTERRA Granite Man is the only multisport race held at the venue.

The swim is in Applegate Lake and starts and ends at the Hart-Tish park beach. Hart-Tish is one of the few Forest Service parks with several acres of beautifully groomed lawn down to the water’s edge. The mountain bike section starts at Hart-Tish Park and goes clockwise around the lake to Seattle Bar. At Seattle bar, participants will rack their bikes and complete the course with a 5 mile run back to Hart-Tish Park.

“On the bike and run, participants will utilize 12 miles of single-track, 3.5 miles of pavement and 2.5 miles of forest roads that follow the fingered shoreline. It includes many short, moderately difficult climbs and a lot of very fun undulating terrain. The trail is never too technical but it is definitely challenging,” said Wikander.

Learn more at


For athletes living in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska the chase for regional titles starts at XTERRA Granite Man.

New in 2016, for the first-time ever, XTERRA Regional Champions will earn a qualifying spot into the XTERRA World Championship on October 23 in Maui. And, athletes that can’t make it this year have an opportunity to defer until 2017 to allow more time to get faster, fundraise, and plan their trip.

Athletes aiming to win their region simply have to score more points than any other athlete in their division (based on your age as of Dec. 31, 2016).

– You score points by finishing in the top 15 in your age group (75pts for 1st, 67 for 2nd, etc.)

– You can do as many races as you want.

– You count your best four finishes.

– You must compete in at least one (1) race in your Region.

– You must count at least two (2) races in your region.

– There are three races –XTERRA Saipan Championship (March 12 in the Northern Marianas), XTERRA Oak Mountain (May 21 in Alabama), and XTERRA Beaver Creek (July 16 in Colorado) that offer 100 points.         In those three you can get 100-points for 1st, 90 points for 2nd, and so on. If you do two or three of those races, just your best finish counts at 100 points, and others revert to 75-point scale.

Read full rules doc here:

Other races in the Northwest Region this year:

July 16, XTERRA Hammerman (Anchorage, Alaska)

Aug 6, XTERRA Portland (Gaston, Oregon)

Aug 21, XTERRA Wild Ride (McCall, Idaho)


Middaugh Coaching Corner – Threshold Training

For the past dozen years, my early season XTERRA calendar has always included courses with lots of twists and turns, but limited elevation gain or sustained climbing (think Alabama and Richmond). The second half of the season shifts to mountainous courses with long sustained climbs on the bike and the run.  XTERRA Beaver Creek, the XTERRA USA Championship in Ogden, and the XTERRA World Championship in Maui all fit this mold.  Success in these events depends on your ability to climb continuously.  Specifically, your output relative to your body weight at anaerobic threshold is the discriminating factor.  The answer to increasing your performance is to raise your output (power, speed, VO2) at anaerobic threshold.

Threshold training is very demanding physically and psychologically. Compared to VO2 max interval training, the interval lengths are much longer. Most athletes avoid this type of training even though a race demands it.  Few have the focus and attention span to suffer in the most effective way.

There was an interesting study that examined the physiological effects of different interval lengths. There were three well-trained groups, each performing two quality sessions per week for 7 weeks.  The hard workout for group 1 was 4 x 4 min at maximal tolerable intensity. Group 2 performed 4 x 8 min at maximal tolerable intensity. Group 3 performed 4 x 16 min at maximal tolerable intensity. As the interval length went up, naturally the average intensity was lower.  I would classify group 1 as VO2 max intervals, group 2 performed threshold Intervals, and group 3 performed tempo bouts. This was by no means the perfect study, but the group that increased all physiological parameters of performance more than the others was group 2, which performed the 4 x 8 minutes. To achieve the proper peripheral adaptations, the bouts need to be well paced, performed at a steady-state intensity very close to anaerobic threshold, and sustained for a period of time.  Rest and repeat as long as quality can be maintained.

How to perform a threshold workout

Let’s simplify. Ideal interval lengths for threshold training should range from 6-12 minutes. Recovery time between bouts should be about 50% of the work, so for an 8 minute effort, use 4 minutes for recovery. Intensity for cycling should be right around your threshold power or around your 1-hour race intensity. For runners you can use your 10k race intensity or slightly slower as a starting point.  Total volume of hard work should be 30-40 minutes. So 5 x 6 minutes gets you to 30 minutes of total work, or 4 x 10 minutes puts you at 40 minutes. The goal is repeatability so don’t confuse yourself with too much variation. You want to be able to see if you can maintain the same power, or cover the same distance at a steady pace each time.  Remember that variety is for the weak minded J.

Make it specific

If you are lucky enough to live in the mountains, you can perform these intervals uphill, repeating the same climb each time to ensure the quality and recovering on the downhill.  I find I get more consistent power and heart rate if the climb is smooth and a steady grade. On the CompuTrainer, you can block up your front wheel and use smaller gears at threshold power to simulate climbing.

For running you can either find a long hill or use the treadmill with incline. For 10% grade try backing off the speed 2.5-3 mph from your flat running pace. To be prepared for the speed of the downhills, you can perform some of the intervals at uphill and some flat.

Fine points

– Typically I usually use slightly shorter interval lengths for running and less total volume compared to cycling.

– It is important to evenly pace each effort to achieve a steady state. If you use heart rate alone, allow it to ramp throughout each bout.

– Try holding back a bit on your first effort, make a line in the dirt, and see if you can repeat or surpass the mark each time.

– For advanced athletes you can try going beyond the 40-minute mark on the bike as long as power can be maintained. Another advanced option is to perform 30-40 minutes of hard work on the bike, followed by 15-20 minutes of hard work running.

– To make a measurable change, it works best to focus on threshold workouts for a block of training with 2 or 3 of these types of workouts per week.  Keep total minutes of threshold training under 20% of your total training volume.

Intuitively threshold training makes sense.  Essentially you are asking yourself to train at intensities similar to what you will experience in a race. After a solid block of threshold training I find that even if threshold power does not increase much, I am able to sustain that power longer with less fade late in a race. Threshold training has been my bread and butter for many years and I hope it works for you.


Example: Cycling workout 4 x 9 min at 100% threshold power. Notice the steady ramp in heart rate as power stays the same.

Seiler, S. (2013). Adaptations to aerobic interval training: Interactive effects of exercise intensity and total work duration. Scand J Med Sci Sports, 23(1), 74-83.


Josiah Middaugh is the reigning XTERRA World Champion. He has a master’s degree in kinesiology and has been a certified personal trainer for 15 years (NSCA-CSCS). His brother Yaro also has a master’s degree and has been an active USAT certified coach for a decade. Learn more about the two and their coaching programs at


Bring on XTERRA Belgium

XTERRA Belgium, the fourth of 11 stops on the 2016 XTERRA European Tour, is sold-out with more than 1,000 triathletes signed-up to take on the inaugural event in Namur next Saturday, June 11.

There are 650 racers registered for the championship event, 350 on board for the half-distance race, and 50 little ones rearing to get their feet wet with the XTERRA Kids Aquathlon.

Among those 1,000 are four of Belgium’s finest and most influential XTERRA racers – elites Kris Coddens, Yeray Luxem, Tim Van Daele, and Jim Thijs.

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

The local boys will have heaps of competition, however, led by a formidable contingent of elites from France with Francois Carloni, Brice Daubord, Arthur Serrieres, Nicolas Fernandez, and others.  Kiwi Sam Osborne is also keen on making a splash on the XTERRA European Tour this year.

XTERRA European Tour Champ Helena Erbenova highlights the women’s field, alongside Carina Wasle, Louise Fox, and Jessie Roberts who all finished in the top five in the 2015 tour standings. In all there are more than 30 elites racing in Namur next Saturday.

Coddens, who won XTERRA Greece and XTERRA Denmark in 2015, said it’s “very nice to me because now my friends and family will have an opportunity to see what we actually do.”

Coddens added that “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.”

Dave 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 this one,” he said.  “Nico (Lebrun) assisted with getting the trails and infrastructure to work well.  The organizers Denis Detinne and Florian Badoux are actual XTERRA competitors, so they know what our athletes expect. I have to bet this will be a great course.”

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 :)”

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 and on their facebook page at