Ben and Jacqui

Special for Sweethearts at XTERRA England

Pick up something dirty this weekend for Valentine’s Day … as in mud!

XTERRA England is offering a special Valentine’s Day promotion – half-off your partners entry fee – to couples who sign-up for the XTERRA England sprint or championship races, 10k or 20k trail runs.

XTERRA England returns to the Vachery Estate in Cranleigh, Surrey on August 29-30, and this year doubles as the XTERRA European Tour championship race.

2013 XTERRA England Champions Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack (pictured) are certain to be the highest-profile couple at this year’s race – but certainly not the only sweethearts with their sights set on Surrey.

To take advantage of the deal participants simply need to sign-up for XTERRA England between 00:01 and 23:59 on Saturday, February 14th. Those who enter in that time frame will automatically receive a chocolate treat and signed XTERRA poster (signed by legends) in their registration pack on the event weekend. To receive the discounted second entry contact Richie@beyondgoinglong.co.uk with “Proof of Love” and he will write back with a 50% off discount code.

Fine Print: The code must be used within 14 days of the promotion. One discount code per couple. Issue is at the discretion of Richard Campbell.

Conrad Stoltz

XTERRA South Africa on the Horizon

This weekend the organizers at XTERRA South Africa will host the inaugural Sanlam Cape Mile swim at the picturesque Eikenhof Dam at the Grabouw Country Club in Western Cape. Next week, it’s on to the biggest XTERRA weekend in the world with kids races, a sprint race, and the championship event playing host to some 3,000 XTERRA Warriors over three days.

“The bottle neck to XTERRA take up is still the swim,” explained Michael Meyer from Stillwater Sports. “By encouraging a mass swim we hope to make the path to XTERRA easier.”

“The Sanlam Cape Mile is great preparation for the Totalsports XTERRA Grabouw,” agreed XTERRA Philippines Champion Bradley Weiss.  “The championship race can often be an intimidating environment if you aren’t used to swimming amongst masses.  This is also the ideal opportunity to test out your race gear, while familiarizing yourself with the race venue.  I doubt that I will be in the running for a podium position at the Sanlam Cape Mile, but I will be using this event as one final opportunity to fine tune my open water swimming.”

One XTERRA champ who may not need much help with her open water swimming is Flora Duffy, who just returned from Luzon Island where she captured the XTERRA Philippines Championship.

“It was really cool to kick off my 2015 season in the Philippines,” said Duffy. “I’d heard such good things about the race from other pros on the circuit, that I knew I had to race there someday. Luckily, the opportunity arose this year, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. The location was beautiful, the volcano is incredibly striking, and the people warm and welcoming.”

Duffy came out of the water third overall behind only men’s pros Ben Allen and Mauricio Mendez in the Philippines.

“The race went well,” Duffy explained. “I find the first race of the season is always a little more nerve racking. You never really know what your form is like- plus being so early in the year, I was unsure I had the fitness to race! I had a solid ride, and survived the run, which went uphill for 4.5kms and downhill the rest of the way. It was challenging.”

The challenge next weekend at XTERRA South Africa will be for everyone else just to keep up with the 27-year-old XTERRA World Champion from Bermuda, who has won eight of the last nine XTERRA majors she has raced.

“XTERRA South Africa is my favorite XTERRA. It is truly a phenomenal race. Plus, South Africa has become my second home so I am really excited to race in my sort of home town race,” said Duffy.

Here’s a look at some of the elites scheduled to take part in next weekend’s XTERRA South Africa Championship:

Conrad “The Caveman” Stoltz: The 41-year-old from Stellenbosh is XTERRA’s all-time championship race wins leader with 51 (he has 55 all-told), is the only pro to win four XTERRA  World Titles, and has an unprecedented 10 XTERRA U.S. Pro Series titles (2001-03, ‘05 & ‘07-’12). He also won the 2011, 2012, and 2013 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships, and has inspired a whole generation of XTERRA Warriors. Last year he placed 3rd at XTERRA South Africa, won XTERRA New Zealand, was 2nd at the XTERRA East Champs, third at XTERRA Italy, 8th at XTERRA Germany / ITU Cross Tri Worlds, won XTERRA England and XTERRA Denmark on back-to-back weekends in August, and was 7th at XTERRA Worlds (where he missed finishing 5th by two seconds). The two-time Olympian started BMX racing at age seven, running at nine, biathlon at 13, triathlon and cycling at 14, and pro triathlon at 18…“It’s in my blood.” Stoltz burst onto the XTERRA scene and won three races, including the Pro Series and the World Championship, as a rookie in 2001. He won the first four XTERRA South Africa Championship races from 2004-to-2007, then again in 2012.

Brad Weiss: The 25-year-old from Somerset West is now in his fourth year of racing XTERRA and started the 2015 season in style with wins at XTERRA Buffelspoort and the XTERRA Philippines Championship. Last year Weiss placed 4th at XTERRA South Africa, 2nd at XTERRA Philippines and XTERRA Guam, 3rd at XTERRA Saipan, 2nd at the XTERRA West Championship, 4th against a stacked-house at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champs, 2nd at XTERRA  Malaysia, 3rd at XTERRA Southeast, 4th at XTERRA East Champs, 17th at XTERRA Germany/ITU Cross Tri Worlds, 4th at the USA  Championship, and 10th at XTERRA Worlds. He finished the year ranked 2nd in the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series. Over the last three years Weiss has nearly 20 top 5 finishes around the world, and won the ITU U23 Cross Triathlon World Championship at Pelham, Alabama in 2012.

Bart Aernouts: The 31-year-old from Belgium did his first-ever XTERRA last year at XTERRA South Africa where he finished 5th behind local legends Dan Hugo, Stuart Marias, Conrad Stoltz, and Bradley Weiss. He placed ninth at the Ironman World Championship in 8:28:28 and sixth in 2:38:56 at the XTERRA World Championship last year to win the Outrigger Resorts double award for having the fastest combined time in the two races.

Jan Pyott: The 33-year-old from Oberageri, Switzerland, started his 2015 season at the TransHajar multi-stage mountain bike race in the Oman desert. He won the fifth and final stage of the event and placed 8th overall. Jan started racing triathlon when he was 16-years-old, but only made the transition to off-road a few years ago. In 2014 he finished 4th at XTERRA Spain, 7th at XTERRA Switzerland, 6th at XTERRA Sweden, 8th at XTERRA Italy, 8th at XTERRA England and 4th at XTERRA Denmark. He tied for fifth in the XTERRA European Tour, and placed 19th at the XTERRA World Championship.

Roger Serrano: The 24-year-old from Barcelona, Spain is in his third-year racing XTERRA. He had a career-best showing at XTERRA Greece last season where he finished 2nd. He was also the runner-up at XTERRA Great Ocean Road in Australia. In other results from 2014 he placed 5th at the XTERRA New Zealand Championship, 13th at ITU Cross Tri Worlds in Germany, 5th at XTERRA England, and 27th at XTERRA Worlds in Maui. In 2012 he captured the Spanish Cross-Triathlon Championship.

Jim Thijs: The 34-year-old from Huldenberg, Belgium (now living in Villacidro, Italy) has been racing XTERRA since 2006. He’s posted dozens of top 10 finishes through the years and his best result was a runner-up performance at XTERRA Denmark in 2007. Last year he placed 6th at XTERRA Italy, 13th at XTERRA Denmark, and 13th at the XTERRA World Championship. Although Jim has been to a few training camps in South Africa this will be his first XTERRA in Grabouw. He said, “I wanted to do this race for several reasons: it’s SA, it’s the biggest XTERRA, it’s a real mountain bike (technical) course, they treat the pros like rock stars, and they always have an amazing video!”

And in the women’s race…

Flora Duffy: The 27-year-old from Devonshire, Bermuda is the reigning XTERRA World Champion and won eight of the last nine XTERRA majors she has raced, including the XTERRA Philippines Championship on February 8 of this year. The two-time Olympian was perfect in the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series in 2014, winning the XTERRA West, Southeast, East and USA Championship races. She started her winning streak at XTERRA South Africa in 2014, and also won the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship title. Her lone blemish in 2014 was a runner-up performance to Kathrin Mueller at XTERRA Germany, which doubled as the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships. This is just Duffy’s third season of XTERRA. In her first-ever race she placed 7th at the XTERRA Mountain Championship in 2013 and swore she’d never do another off-road triathlon. Fortunately she did, and in her next race placed 3rd at the XTERRA World Championship. Since spending the off-season training in South Africa with the likes of Dan Hugo and Bradley Weiss in 2014, she has absolutely dominated the sport.

Carla van Huyssteen: The 30-year-old from Pretoria has been racing XTERRA for seven years and won the XTERRA South Africa Championship in back-to-back years in 2012-13. Last year she was third at XTERRA South Africa and placed 15th at XTERRA Germany, which doubled as the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships. In 2012 she was third at the XTERRA Southeast Championship, which doubled as the ITU Cross Tri World Championships that year. In 2011 she placed 3rd at XTERRA Italy, 5th at XTERRA France, 4th at XTERRA  Germany, and 7th at XTERRA Switzerland to finished 4th overall in the XTERRA European Tour standings.

Carina Wasle: The 30-year-old from Tirol, Austria has raced XTERRA since 2005 and is one of the most well-traveled pros in the sport. She says XTERRA South Africa is her favorite race, and has won in Grabouw twice, in 2009 and 2011. Wasle has been in the top four in each of the last four XTERRA South Africa Championship races, finishing 2nd last year and in 2012, and fourth in 2013. In other results last year Wasle finished 5th at XTERRA Switzerland, 2nd at XTERRA France, Sweden, and Italy, 4th at XTERRA Czech, 11th at XTERRA Germany, 4th at XTERRA Denmark, 2nd at XTERRA Philippines Championship, 3rd at XTERRA Guam Championship, won XTERRA Saipan Championship, was 4th at XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship, 3rd at XTERRA Malaysia Championship, 7th at the USA  Championship, and 10th at XTERRA Worlds. In her career Wasle has collected nine XTERRA championship wins.

Louise Fox: The 34-year-old from Reading, England is in just her second year racing XTERRA, and placed 8th overall in the final XTERRA European Tour standings last year. Her first-ever XTERRA was in Malaysia, where she placed 5th. In other 2014 results Fox finished a career-best 4th at XTERRA Greece, was 5th at XTERRA Sweden, 9th at XTERRA Italy, 10th at XTERRA Czech, 7th at XTERRA England and XTERRA Denmark, and 28th at XTERRA Worlds.

Sandra Koblmueller: The 25-year-old from Rohrbach, Austria finished 10th in her rookie season as a pro on the XTERRA European Tour last year.  She placed a career-best 2nd at XTERRA Portugal, was 7th at XTERRA Switzerland, 5th at XTERRA France, 16th at XTERRA Germany, 6th at XTERRA Italy, and was 14th at the XTERRA World Championship. Before turning pro Koblmueller won the 20-24 division at the Kitzbuhel ETU European Championship.

Susan Sloan: The 33-year-old from South Africa finished 4th at XTERRA South Africa last year, was 15th at the XTERRA USA Championship, and 18th at the XTERRA World Championship.

Other elites of note include Italians Simone Calamai and Bartoli Fabrizio, and South African stars Stuart Marais, Nico Sterk, Antoine van Heerden, and Natia van Heerden (who won the 20-24 XTERRA World Championship last year).

Learn more at stillwatersports.com.

Bradley Weiss

Weiss, Duffy win XTERRA Philippines Championship

Complete Results / Photo Gallery

February 8, 2015 (Albay, Luzon) - South Africa’s Bradley Weiss and Bermuda’s Flora Duffy captured the 5th annual XTERRA Philippines Championship race in Albay on Sunday.

The race was the first XTERRA World Championship qualifier of the season for amateurs, as well as the first race of the XTERRA Asian Tour.

It’s the second win of the season for Weiss and the eighth in nine races since last year for Duffy, the reigning XTERRA World Champion.

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

Let The Season Begin !!  Sharply at 7am the 2015 XTERRA World Tour season started here in Albay in the Philippines.  The black sand beaches of the Albay Riviera – honest that is what it is called – welcomed about 300 racers and over 1,000 spectators with some neat shore chop.  Not quite Maui, but it definitely had some local competitors concerned.

Sometimes it is nice when there is not a lot of drama to an event.  That’s what we had today.  A great event, well organized on a challenging course without a lot of drama.

We knew Bradley Weiss was coming off a win at Buffelspoort in South Africa, Ben Allen spent the winter in Australia and looked great and Mauricio Mendez is 19 and always ready.  For the women, World Champion Flora Duffy had also started her training in South Africa and Jacqui Slack was with Ben down under.  The question mark was Renata Bucher, last years winner in the Philippines, who had suffered a bad ankle sprain and had considered not racing at all.  Dimity-Lee Duke was looking quite slim and had been working on her biking skills, Mieko Carey lives in the tropics and was ready to race.  Daz Parker was here after working hard with Johnny Depp (actually trying to kill him in the film Out Of The Woods).

And so things went in the big race.  Ben and Mauricio were first out of the water with Flora right with them.  Brad was not far behind and quickly took control out on the bike turning in the fastest time of the day a bit over 2 minutes faster than Allen.  Mendez is fast improving and came into T2 about 30 seconds behind Ben. His running is no longer a surprise after coming from 13th out of T2 to 5th at the finish on Maui and he dispatched the Aussie and set off after the Springbok.  Mo put in a 40 minute 9K and gained almost 2 minutes, but was still a minute behind Weiss at the finish.

PRO MEN          
Pl Name Total Swim Bike Run
1 Brad Weiss, RSA 2:28:00 16:53 1:29:25 41:42
2 Mauricio Mendez, MEX 2:28:58 16:21 1:32:36 40:01
3 Ben Allen, AUS 2:33:51 16:19 1:31:54 45:38
4 Brodie Gardner, AUS 2:40:35 18:31 1:37:50 44:14
5 Charlie Epperson, USA 2:51:20 21:04 1:46:28 43:48
6 Joe Miller, PHI 3:10:48 24:06 1:58:21 48:21
7 Michal Bucek, SVK 3:14:42 18:59 1:56:28 59:15

The run is reminiscent of Maui in that the first half is all uphill and the second half all downhill.  The difference being Maui’s sand is on a beach and Albay’s is on the way up Mayon volcano.

Flora Duffy

Flora was first woman out of the water and kept the lead with the fastest bike and fastest run.  Indeed our world champ was 5th overall of the individuals bringing to mind Lesley Paterson’s phenomenal 4th here a few years ago.  Jacqui was in great shape and similar to Flora had the 2nd best swim, 2nd fastest bike and 3rd fastest run for the women and a very solid 2nd step on the podium.  Poor Mieko Carey was in 3rd coming off the bike but was hurting on the run and Aussie Dimity-Lee Duke passed her for her first podium in an XTERRA.  She was simply bubbling with joy.

PRO WOMEN        
Pl Name Total Swim Bike Run
1 Flora Duffy, BER 2:43:40 16:28 1:42:15 44:57
2 Jacqui Slack, GBR 2:56:51 18:25 1:47:39 50:47
3 Dimity-Lee Duke, AUS 3:03:18 20:18 1:54:08 48:52
4 Mieko Carey, JPN 3:06:39 19:51 1:51:43 55:05
5 Renata Bucher, SUI 3:12:53 21:06 1:52:34 59:13
6 Daz Parker, GBR 3:19:16 22:15 2:01:41 55:20
7 Aya Stevens, SVK 3:20:07 20:23 2:07:07 52:37

So the expected happened.  A few nice surprises to start the year were Dimity looking very strong and young Aussie pro Brodie Gardner with an impressive 4th place.  Aya Stevens was back after an injury kept her out in 2014 and while not super-fast, did finish and finish healthy.

This is the 5th edition of XTERRA Philippines and it is a totally new location. Albay is an easy 30 minute flight out of Manila and sits on a beautiful Pacific Ocean bay.  The key feature is the most impressive Mayon Volcano.  Mayon is active and in the morning, before the clouds set in, you can see steam coming from the tip.  She has been active for hundreds of years (perhaps thousands) and is most responsible for the great black sand beaches and thousands of big and small lava rocks that sit everywhere.  Mayon is the history of Albay.

No matter where we go, the hospitality and organization of Sunrise events is simply superb.  Every foreign entrant is simply amazed at how easily things flow and the level or hospitality given to the athletes.  This includes local entertainers, singers, dancers at the athlete briefing and dinner and even at the awards stage. It is why a great age group champ like Dave DeSantis from Boston keeps coming back.  The Philippines is a very happy place to visit and an even better place to race.

XTERRA ASIAN TOUR UNDERWAY

The XTERRA Philippines Championship was the first of five races in the 2015 XTERRA Asian Tour that will crown series champions at the season finale in Langkawi, Malaysia this May.

The five majors are XTERRA Philippines, XTERRA Saipan on March 28 in the Northern Marianas, XTERRA Guam on April 11 in Piti, the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship on April 18 in New South Wales, Australia, and XTERRA Malaysia – which will double as the XTERRA Asian Tour Championship race – on May 2 in Langkawi. (Note: The XTERRA Japan Championship in Hokkaido on August 29 will serve as the first race of the 2016 XTERRA Asian Tour.)

The top 15 amateur, Asian-elite, and professional racers at each event will earn points, with double points being offered at the finale in Malaysia.  Racers will count their best three scores to determine champions in each division.

The XTERRA Asian Tour will award a prize bonus of $10,000 USD to the top five pro men and women in the final standings ($2,000 for 1st, $1,500-2nd, $800-3rd, $400-4th, $300-5th).

In all, more than $100,000 in prize money for pros will be awarded on the XTERRA Asian Tour.  There are $15,000 USD payouts at the Philippines, Saipan, Guam, and Malaysia races, and $50,000 AUD awarded at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Australia, plus the 10K bonus to the series’ top performers.

For further details on the 2015 XTERRA Asian Tour visit www.xterraasia.com, and for more on the XTERRA Asian Tour Championship in Malaysia visit www.xterramy.com, supported by Malaysia Major Event.

2015 XTERRA Asian Tour Standings

Pros count best 3-of-5, Malaysia counts double

PRO MEN              
Pl Name PHI Saipan Guam AUS MAS Totals
1 Brad Weiss, RSA 100
2 Mauricio Mendez, MEX 90
3 Ben Allen, AUS 82
4 Brodie Gardner, AUS 75
5 Charlie Epperson, USA 69
6 Joe Miller, PHI 63
7 Michal Bucek, SVK 58
PRO WOMEN            
Pl Name PHI Saipan Guam AUS MAS Totals
1 Flora Duffy, BER 100
2 Jacqui Slack, GBR 90
3 Dimity-Lee Duke, AUS 82
4 Mieko Carey, JPN 75
5 Renata Bucher, SUI 69
6 Daz Parker, GBR 63
7 Aya Stevens, SVK 58

2015 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERSThe XTERRA Philippines Championship was the first of 42 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe can qualify to race at the 20th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on November 1, 2015.

DATE RACE
8-Feb XTERRA Philippines Championship, Albay, Luzon+
22-Feb XTERRA South Africa Championship, Grabouw
7-Mar XTERRA Motatapu, South Island, NZL
28-Mar XTERRA Saipan Championship, CNMI+
29-Mar XTERRA Malta, Mellieha*
29-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica, Playa Reserva Conchal
11-Apr XTERRA Guam Championship, Piti+
11-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship, Rotorua
18-Apr XTERRA Australia
XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship, NSW, Australia+
25-Apr XTERRA Tahiti, Papeete
25-Apr XTERRA West Championship, Lake Las Vegas, NV#
26-Apr XTERRA Reunion, Saint Gilles les bains
2-May XTERRA Malaysia
XTERRA Asian Tour Championship,Langkawi+
10-May XTERRA Brazil, Ilhabela, SP
16-May XTERRA Southeast Championship, Pelham, AL# 
USA Triathlon Off-Road Nationals
16-May XTERRA Portugal, Golega*
7-Jun XTERRA Spain Championship, Extremadura*
14-Jun XTERRA East Championship, Richmond, VA#
20-Jun XTERRA Greece, Lake Plastira*
27-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Championship, Vallee de Joux*
27-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter, Milton, CAN!
4-Jul XTERRA Freedom Fest, Oahu, HI=
5-Jul XTERRA Victoria, B.C., Canada!
5-Jul XTERRA France Championship, Xonrupt, Gerardmer*
11-Jul XTERRA Sweden, Hellasgaarden, Stockholm*
18-Jul XTERRA Mountain Championship, Beaver Creek, CO#
25-Jul XTERRA Ontario Series – Parry Sound, Canada!
26-Jul XTERRA Abruzzo, Lago di Scanno, Italy*
1-Aug XTERRA Mexico, Tapalpa
8-Aug XTERRA Czech Championship, Prachatice*
15-Aug XTERRA Germany Championship, Zittau*
16-Aug XTERRA Canmore, Alberta, Canada!
22-Aug XTERRA Adventure Fest Maui, Kapalua, HI=
23-Aug XTERRA Quebec – Quebec City, Quebec, Canada!
29-Aug XTERRA Japan, Hokkaido+ (start 2016 Asian Tour)
29-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant, Thunder Bay, Canada!
29-Aug XTERRA Denmark, Tilsvilde*
30-Aug XTERRA England
XTERRA European Championship, Surrey*
13-Sep XTERRA Woolastook – New Brunswick, CAN!
19-Sep XTERRA USA Championship, Ogden/Snowbasin, Utah#
1-Nov XTERRA World Championship, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
* XTERRA European Tour // + XTERRA Asian Tour
# XTERRA America Tour // ! XTERRA Canada Series
Shonny RVA

RVA More Making Richmond Trails Better

RVA MORE, the Richmond, Virginia based Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts volunteer organization dedicated to improving the state of mountain biking in the Greater Richmond Virginia area, has done it again.

Last weekend, with the help of 30 people, they built 300-feet of new trail heading east from the 22nd Street tower.

According to this article from RichmondOutside.com, “the new trail will make it possible to ride on dirt from 22nd Street directly to Railroad Avenue behind the SunTrust Building that stands guard over the foot bridge leading to the Manchester Wall overlook.”

This section is part of XTERRA’s annual off-road triathlon and trail running races, which will be held for the 17th straight year in Richmond this June 13-14.  The new section will eliminate the need for runners to come-up to Riverside Drive, and make some of the best trails on the XTERRA World Tour even better.

To join, donate or learn more about their efforts and success visit RVAMORE.org.

XTERRA SoCal Cup

XTERRA SoCal Cup to Honor Best Three at 3

The three XTERRA off-road triathlons taking place in Southern California this year have banded together to create the XTERRA SoCal Cup.

All racers who compete in the longest distance race offered at XTERRA Renegade (May 16 in San Dimas), XTERRA Laguna Beach (May 31 in Laguna Beach), and XTERRA Snow Valley (Running Springs) are eligible.

Points will be tallied using the same 75-point scale allocation used in the XTERRA America Tour and the top three scorers in each division will earn awards, plus there will be special finisher swag for everyone who completes all three races.

For more information visit renegaderaceseries.comxterralagunabeach.com, and xterrasnowvalley.com.

XTERRA Reunion Island

XTERRA on Reunion Island April 26

Reunion Island, a French island located in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, will host XTERRA for the first time on April 26, 2015.

The inaugural XTERRA Reunion race will combine a 1,500-meter swim in the pristine waters of the west coast lagoon with a hilly 30km mountain bike course through the savannah and sugar cane fields and a 10km trail run by the coast.

“We guarantee a challenging course, an astonishing landscape, creoles vibes and intense emotions,” said Yannick Desfarges, the technical director and island’s most notable XTERRA enthusiast.  “Come and join this brand new stage of the XTERRA circuit and discover the amazing environment of Reunion Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

The event offers 18 qualifying spots into XTERRA Worlds for the fastest amateurs and roughly $15,000 USD in prize money to the top six elite men and women.

“I went to la Réunion in 1999 and can tell you it’s the perfect place for an XTERRA,” said former XTERRA World Champion Nico Lebrun.  “It’s a tropical island with lots of mountains and all kinds of climate … it’s the French Maui.”

It’s also home to the Piton de la Fournaise, one of the most active Volcanoes in the world, which erupted just recently (February 4, 2015).

“It’s a great destination for outdoor sports and I would recommend athletes to leverage their trip for the race to experience trekking volcanoes, paragliding above the lagoon, scuba diving on the coral reefs and canyoning in world famous canyons,” said Desfarges.  “Reunion Island also offers good options for laid back family time on the mythical west coast beaches and a great opportunity to discover the Creole culture.”

To learn more visit www.xterrareunion.com, or write toxterrareunion@gmail.com.

Mauricio Philippines

XTERRA Philippines This Sunday

The 5th annual XTERRA Philippines Championship race will take place this Sunday in Albay, a province located on the southeastern side of Luzon Island.

Reigning XTERRA World Champion Flora Duffy from Bermuda highlights the women’s elite field that also features two-time XTERRA Philippines Champion Renata Bucher of Switzerland, British stand-outs Jacqui Slack and Daz Parker, Guamanian Mieko Carey, Aussie Dimity-Lee Duke, and Alena Stevens of Slovakia.

The men’s race boasts three elites that finished in the top 10 at XTERRA Worlds last year – Aussie Ben Allen (a two-time XTERRA Philippines Champ), Mexico’s Mauricio Mendez, and South Africa’s Bradley Weiss.  Others in the mix include home grown hero Joe Miller, Charlie Epperson from Singapore, Fabrizio Bartoli and Simone Calamai from Italy, Brodie Gardner from Australia, and Michal Bucek from Slovakia.

XTERRA World Tour managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas is on-site in Luzon to take in the first major on the 2015 XTERRA World Tour calendar and brings us this report …

XTERRA Philippines has made some big moves for 2015.  They moved its date to early February and changed the location from the island of Cebu to Albay on the far south of Luzon Island.

The feature of Albay – and it is huge – is the Mayon Volcano.  Sure there are a lot of big volcano mountains around, but this one is active!  Yes, one can see smoke coming from the top of its over 8,000′ peak.  Mayon is very active and had a major incident just last year.  The locals’ figure she blows up about every three years and nobody lives within about five miles of the crater.

The swim is on a beach about six miles from the crater and is the most stunning black sand beach one can imagine. Soft, deep and very black, the beach is huge. Peppered along the sand are dozens of volcanic rocks that were either tossed this far from one of the eruptions of Mayon or brought down by the streams of fresh water that meet the ocean.  Red, gray, white and the usual black of all sizes.  The water is warm, the surf is small.

I can’t say too much about the bike yet as it is not completely marked.  At noon on Friday the first “recce” is organized for all competitors.  The bike is point to point from the beach to T2 at the ruins of Cagsawa where an eruption in 1814 killed roughly 2,000 people.  The bell tower of the church still stands and it is a major tourism area in the Albay area.  The run starts out through rice paddies and peanut farms – again it won’t be marked until Friday – and loops back to a very neat finish area at the church bell tower with the volcano in the background.

It was fun today taking young pro Mauricio Mendez around with me.  The town of Legazpi has huge banners that cross the main roads with the names and photos of all our pros. Even one of an older gentleman!  We pulled to the side of the street to take a shot of Mauricio’s banner and immediately had a police vehicle stop to question us.  When I told him the young man taking the photo was the guy on the banner he smiled and had to have his photo taken with Mo.
Later, a dozen school girls saw him and started giggling and pointing.  Naturally I told them who he was and they all wanted their pictures taken with our own young star.

I have to say the new location is great.  Cebu was also wonderful and I hoped Albay would measure up.  From the first day on it has.

XTERRA PHILIPPINES ALL-TIME PRO WINNERS
Year – Men / Women
2011 – Sam Gardner / Shonny Vanlandingham
2012 – Ben Allen / Renata Bucher
2013 – Ben Allen / Lesley Paterson
2014 – Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher

EPC Tips - Improved Strength

EPC Tips – Improved Strength and Stability

Our concept of “6 Components to Endurance Sports Success” was introduced at the first of the year (read about it HERE). The idea that there are six areas of development required for endurance athletes to maximize their fitness and racing performance came about from our years of working with amateur endurance athletes coming from all kinds of different backgrounds. One area that we continually see needing attention in nearly every athlete we work with (including ourselves) is improved strength and stability. Even the athletes coming from high levels of single-sport competition, and even some from weight lifting backgrounds (especially those coming from a weight lifting background), can seriously lack strength and stability in the areas required for successful endurance sport competition. We’re not talking about moving big weights around, making a lot grunting noises (well, maybe a little grunting), and using the word “bro” throughout your training dialogue kind of strength training; we’re talking about relatively light to no weight exercises performed in functional movements that apply to our sports.  Developing the core stability required to maintain form and function when you’re deep into your race should be the goal in your strength training and the following paragraphs will help you understand why.

Most endurance athletes are surprisingly weak.

Sure they can complete a marathon, an Ironman, or even a 100 mile foot race through mountainous terrain, but none of that necessarily equates to them being particularly strong or stable. Strong in will and determination, perhaps, but ask them to perform a one-legged squat and not have their knee track to the inside or execute a single-leg prone bridge and not have their hip drop, and more often than not, they can’t do it. Many will claim that endurance athletes don’t need to be “strong”, rather, they argue that aerobic fitness is the most important thing and that any time spent training outside of their primary sport is a waste of time. They say for example, “If you want to be better at running, you simply need to run more.” Aerobic fitness is certainly required to participate in endurance sports and it is true the more you run the better a runner you will become; however, time spent improving your muscle recruitment, strength, flexibility, and stability will improve your economy of movement. This means you will be able to move (with what fitness you have) more powerfully and efficiently while wasting less energy and minimizing potential injuries. All, which in turn, yield faster speeds and increased endurance at the same level of aerobic fitness.

Pure muscular strength, the muscle’s ability to apply force to a stationary object, is what allows us to move. When swimming, we apply force to the water, pulling ourselves forward with every stroke. When riding a bike, we apply force to the pedals while turning the cranks at high cadences to produce more power. When running, every foot strike applies force to the ground for the push off, and with appropriate stability and flexibility allowing increased stride lengths and stride rates, we run faster and faster. Through the implementation of resistance training you can increase the force-producing capabilities of the “major muscles” that contribute to forward movement. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, leg curls, leg extensions (to name a few) will train the force-producing quadriceps, hamstrings and glute muscle groups; exercises like pull-ups, pull-downs, chest press, rows, shoulder shrugs and presses will train the larger back and shoulder muscles for force-producing movement strength. A stronger muscle will be able to produce more force for the power required to move as well as fatigue at a slower rate, thus increasing your muscular endurance.

There are several other factors to consider when addressing the concept of muscular strength. Equally important, and perhaps even more valuable to the endurance athlete is the concept of muscular stability. This concept focuses more on the “minor muscles” that don’t necessarily contribute directly to forward movement. These muscles include, but are not limited to, the collection of core muscles that surround the hips, including the lower back and deep abdominal muscles. Stability and power in all sports initiates from the hips and extends outwards to the limbs that make the movement happen.

Excess movement beyond that which is required to execute forward movement is wasted energy and this excess movement occurs from lack of stability.

Wasted energy occurs in running when your hips drop from side to side with each stride, or your knee dives inward or outward with each step, for example. “Fish-tailing” when swimming indicates lack of core stability and wastes energy as you move down the lane wiggling from side to side with each stroke. Rocking hips and/or upper body movement when cycling is another example of wasted energy that stems from a lack of stability in the hips. Along with hip stability, shoulder stability is another critical area that requires attention for swimmers (or any activity involving power production from the arms). Stabilize the hips and shoulders with specific training movements and you improve your form, efficiency, power production and endurance. Time well spent.

A factor that coincides with stability surrounding a joint is flexibility. Joint flexibility contributes to range of motion which is essential to producing power for movement. Anyone with inflexible joints can attest to the limited power and speed that is attainable. On the contrary, hypermobile joints that are “overly flexible” can create issues of instability and possible injury. An increase in muscular strength surrounding the hypermobile joint can often improve the stability for those individuals. Just like strengthening muscles with specific exercises, you can improve your flexibility and range of motion with specific exercises. By honing your flexibility (either minimizing or maximizing) your surrounding joints will become more stable and powerful, and in the long run, be less prone to injuries.

Being able to perform an endurance sport event requires your muscles to repeat movement over and over for many minutes to several hours. Overuse injuries are a major cause of missed training and unmet goals for endurance athletes. If your muscles are not functioning in the way they were designed, you are putting increased stress on your other soft tissue and joints.

Training muscles to function or ‘fire’ correctly when called upon, and for longer periods of time, requires specific training.

We engage our larger ‘primary mover’ muscles very easily when training, but often the smaller supporting muscles get overpowered or neglected causing them to ‘turn off.’ These muscle ‘imbalances’ often lead to frustrating niggles, if not full blown injuries, that can derail an athlete’s training and racing objectives. By activating these smaller muscles with stability training exercises, you allow them to ‘turn on’ in conjunction with your dominant muscles both improving your economy of movement and resistance to injury.

Fortunately, many endurance athletes embrace the idea of strength training. Most athletes typically include some form of strength training for several weeks during their off-season. Unfortunately, most athletes end up dropping their strength training sometime early in their pre-season training, either because they are bored due to limited knowledge of core exercises or they feel it gets in the way of their sport-specific training. This is an unfortunate occurrence. For long-term continuing improvements to occur from year to year, it is critical to include strength and stability training throughout the entire year. Your return on investment in strength and stability training includes increased force and power production with decreased rate of muscular fatigue for forward movement, increased economy of movement with less wasted energy and ability to tap into more of your given aerobic capacity, and more consistent training and capacity for higher training loads due to increased injury resistance. For these reasons alone, endurance sports athletes should make strength and stability training a high priority in their overall annual training program in order to reach their highest level of performance.

Written by Cody Waite, professional endurance athlete, endurance sport coach and founder of Endurance Performance Coaching. Looking for help with your training for 2015? Check out EPC’s Personal CoachingGroup Coaching, and Custom Training Plan options created to fit your needs and budget.

Emma and Suzie

Last Chance to Save with Early Bird Rates

This Saturday, January 31, is the last day for early bird registration rates at select U.S. venues. It’s just $85 for the regional championships ($110 for teams), $55 for Sprint races ($75 for Sprint teams), $40 for 21km trail runs, $30 for 10km races, and $20 for 5km runs.

Follow the registration links below for more information:

April 25 – XTERRA West Championship – Lake Las Vegas, NV

May 16 – XTERRA Southeast Championship – Pelham, AL

June 14 – XTERRA East Championship – Richmond, VA

July 18 – XTERRA Mtn Championship – Beaver Creek, CO

Sep 19 – XTERRA Utah – Ogden/Snowbasin Resort, UT