T-3 Days to the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run World Championship

The competition is strong and deep but once again the reigning and three-time XTERRA Trail Run World Champion Patrick Smyth is the man to beat.

The elite men’s race chase pack is headlined by Joe Gray, the 2016 World Mountain Running Champion who led the Team USA mountain running team to their first-ever Gold medal in Bulgaria this September.

Gray has had perhaps his best year ever on the trails in 2016. In addition to his World Mountain Running title he also won the 30K USA Trail Run National Title, the USA National Mountain Running Championship, and the North American Continental Champion in Sky Marathon and Vertical Kilometer.

“It’s been one of my best years so far and I’ve had a blast racing and experiencing different types of races and challenging my personal records at old races,” said Gray. “I’m ready to compete, and take on anybody who toes the line…I just wanna run.”

In 2012 Gray and Ben Bruce crossed the finish line at the same time at XTERRA Trail Run Worlds, and neither photo nor video could determine a clear winner so the two were declared co-champs. A year later, in 2013, Gray finished 2nd to Smyth and since then Smyth has won three in a row at the ranch.

Smyth, who finished 10th at the New York City Marathon earlier this month, said he’s looking forward to racing against Gray as well as the legacy of Max King.

“I’m really looking forward to racing Joe, it’s been awhile and he’s had an amazing 2016,” said Smyth. “For him to win the World Mountain Running Championship is really impressive. Even with Joe on the start line I probably won’t mix up my strategy too much. I’m as fit and confident as I’ve ever been and really just need to focus on racing tough.”

Smyth will also try to match Max King’s record of winning four straight XTERRA World Titles, a feat King accomplished from 2008-to-2011.

Then there is Ryan Hall, who has run a half-marathon faster than any American ever. While he says he won’t be a contender, how could you overlook the two-time Olympian?

Other men sure to be in the mix include Kiwi Niam Macdonald and top Hawaii runner Ken Stover, who placed 5th and 6th, respectively, at last year’s race. Japanese star Fujio Miyachi, who placed 5th at Worlds in 2009, is back as is Rivers Puzey, who was 3rd in 2010 and 4th in 2011. Other locals to look out for include Sergio Florian, who lives right there by the ranch and has gotten faster and faster, finishing 13th overall last year, and Jimmy Davis, who was 5th at the inaugural Trail Run World Champs and may still have some life in those legs.

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CARLSON HEADLINES WOMEN’S FIELD

In the women’s race Polina Carlson, who won the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Running World Championship women’s elite title in 2013, is the clear-cut favorite.

“I’m pleased with my training right now and I’m excited to test my fitness on race day,” said Carlson, who won the Great Aloha Run, the XTERRA Gunstock Half-Marathon, and the Fontana Half-Marathon overall with a PR of 1:13:35 this year. “I’m increasing my mileage every week and my workouts show that I am more fit than a year ago, and I’ll be ready to race on December 4th.”

Last year Carlson was 2nd only to Kimber Mattox, who won’t make this year’s event.

“The Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail World Championship is one of the most amazing and unique trail races in the country with the most breathtaking views of the mountains,” said Carlson, a former stand-out cross country runner at Hawaii Pacific University.

“It’s a tough course, but I enjoy the challenge and I try to embrace it. Every year I look forward to coming back, because it’s not a just typical race, it’s a true adventure!  Running the last few miles of the race are the toughest but the most memorable. The last hill is killer, but the breathtaking views definitely make up for it, and having cows mooing and spectators cheering as you approach the finish line is just epic!”

Four other women who finished in the top 10 last year are back for another try, including Ashley Jensen, who was 5th, 14-year-old Japanese sensation Kasuga Watabe, who was 7th, Kelly Wolf (9th), and Molly Ashkenas (10th).

Jensen, who ran cross country at both Providence and USC, said she’s hoping to improve on that 5th place showing last year.

“I was happy with my performance but I did struggle on the hills and power walked for a bit on the super steep grade portion,” said Jensen. “I’ve added more hills to my training runs and speed workouts, so the goal is no walking this year! I also came back this year because it really is my favorite race I’ve ever run. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from racing it 2x in the past (she was 8th at the inaugural event in 2008) and think as they say, the 3rd times the charm. Also, Jurassic Park is one of my favorite movies and was filmed at the ranch! Sometimes I like to pretend I’m in the sequel and racing through the Dino park!”

Also of note is Kelly Wolf, 22, who graduated from Arizona State over the summer, won the Flagstaff 55K and was third at the National Trail Marathon Championship in Moab this year. She certainly has the endurance, but will she have the speed to keep up with Carlson?

Then there is XTERRA triathlon pro Sarah Graves, who was a star cross country runner when going to school at Montana State University – Billings. She won the tough XTERRA Beaver Creek half-marathon the day after racing the Mountain Champs triathlon this summer.

There are also several age group World Champions returning to the ranch to defend their crowns including some of the aforementioned runners like Kasuga Watabe (10-14), Niam Macdonald (15-19), Colton Barber, and Kelly Wolf (20-24), Smyth (25-29), Sergio Florian (35-39), Christian Friis (40-44), Wilhelm Northrop (45-49), Kawika Carlson (50-54), Todd Marohnic (55-59), Ed Bugarin (65-69), Nancy Andrade (65-69), and Ellis Andrews (70-74).

Ryan Hall

Ryan Hall to Run at XTERRA Trail Run Worlds in Hawaii

Ryan Hall, the American record holder in the half-marathon, is headed to Hawaii to run in the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run World Championship half-marathon at Kualoa Ranch on December 4.

While you might expect the 33-year-old, two-time Olympian to be considered the front-runner to win the upcoming trail championship, he begs to differ.

“Based on my 2:04 marathon PR you would think I would be the favorite but I have a completely different, more athletic and stronger body now,” said Hall, who ran the fastest marathon time ever by an American five years ago.  “I would have a better chance at winning America Ninja Warrior than winning this race.”

Hall, who retired from professional running in January after struggling with fatigue in the final years of his illustrious running career, set out to combat the lethargy with weight training and dietary changes.

“Since retiring I’ve gotten super into weight training,” he explained. “It’s really fun to do something so anabolic in nature and being able to see such rapid growth and improvement.  Weight training is my new passion but I can’t say it’s done a lot for my running.  I am kind of a lumbering giant these days so I am not putting out any impressive numbers anymore, but I am happy making my gains in the weight room rather than on the trails.”

His regime now includes “pouring down about 50 grams of protein every three hours, usually in the form of Alaska Salmon or Muscle Milk.”

“A year and a half ago I weighed 127 pounds.  Today, I weigh 170, and while I am not as lean as I was then I will say that I never had abs before, no matter how ridiculously skinny I would get.  And that wasn’t from a lack of core training.  Sometimes I would train my core hard for 30 minutes a day, but since bulking and getting into weights I noticed my abs starting to pop for the first time in my life. It’s fun to see how big and strong a 127lb, 2:04 marathoner can get.  I’d like to eventually get over 200lbs with somewhat low body fat.  Not sure if that’s possible, but I am having fun trying.”

Despite the muscle gain, one might still believe Hall could give reigning and three-time XTERRA Trail Run World Champion Patrick Smyth and reigning World Mountain Running Champ Joe Gray a good chase.

“In arm wrestling I’d dominate.  In running, not so much,” said Hall. “I used to train with Patrick in Mammoth, so it will be fun to see him and other familiar faces again but I will just be wishing them luck on the starting line, then enjoying my own run at my own pace.  It would take a massive miracle for me to be within 20 minutes of the winners.”

Instead of being “in it to win it” Hall says he’s just going to enjoy the run and later “challenge the winner to a bench press competition…that’s where I’ll have a chance.”

When Hall was a sophomore in High School in Big Bear, California he came to Hawaii for the first-time to watch his dad race in the Ironman World Championship.

“I was training in the dry and cool mountains of southern California so my first experience in heat and humidity training was in Hawaii.  I felt like I suffered as much on my short 5-mile training runs as my Dad did during his Ironman,” said Hall.

This time around, Hall will be discovering Hawaii in a whole new way.

“This trip to Hawaii is going to be super special for me because I’ll have the whole family in tow,” he said.   “Sara and I adopted four sisters from Ethiopia a little over a year ago, and they are enjoying many new “first” experiences.  They have never been to any place tropical before so this will be a whole new world for them.  I am looking forward to showing them Hawaiian culture, the beautiful land, and spending some time on the beach and in the ocean.  Our oldest two girls like to run so it will be fun to go on some beautiful trail runs while we are in Hawaii.”

Hall, who heard about XTERRA Trail Run Worlds through his sponsors at Muscle Milk, said he was thrilled to get invited to come run in paradise and check out Kualoa Ranch.

“I was stoked when Muscle Milk said they wanted to bring me out for the event,” he said. “I’ve been going down my bucket list and running races for pure enjoyment in some of the most beautiful places in the world, and it’s been really fun for me to let go of the high-performance end of things and really just soak in the entire race experience without the high expectations.  When I saw the pictures from previous year’s XTERRA Trail Run Worlds I was instantly drawn to the event. I’m excited to see Kualoa Ranch, it looks stunning!”

Hall says he’s also happy to be back running trails, which he trained on almost exclusively while growing up in the mountains of SoCal.

“I love running trails because I love being out in the quiet of nature. Trail running goes by super-fast compared to the roads.  I just love being buried out in the middle of the forest.  Life just seems to make sense out there,” he said.  “Plus, trails are great for easy days because they are on soft surfaces so they keep the legs from getting beat up by the pounding.  They also slow you down so they let you stay in that easy running zone that you need to be in to recover from hard sessions.”

As for the prospect of starting a “new career” in running trails, Hall laughed, saying “Nah, it’s just a fun challenge.  I just run for fun now so I try and choose races that are in epic locations, offer an amazing adventure, and are fun atmospheres so I think I’ve found the perfect match for all that at XTERRA Trail Run Worlds.”

Hall added that his “new job” as a Dad keeps him plenty busy…

“I put in quite a few driving miles these days shuttling the kids around to the various sports they are involved in.  They play gymnastics, soccer, and running.  It’s great being a dad.  The kids have

brought so much joy to our lives.  We are blessed to be their parents. But, life certainly has changed from the days of watching movies in between training sessions.  The only movies I watch now are on airplanes.”

Hall will watch his next movie on the airplane ride to Hawaii, and those lucky to be on Oahu over the XTERRA Weekend (Dec. 3-4) are invited to take in a free XTERRA University running clinic with Ryan Hall on Saturday, December 3, at the Waikiki Beach Walk at 10 a.m.

For more information visit www.xterrakualoa.com.

DeSantis 16 in 16 Mission Accomplished

14291622_1745029532423754_6976058056916535321_nEarlier this year, 2015 XTERRA Warrior Award winner David DeSantis set out on a mission to race 16 XTERRA’s in 16 countries to raise $16,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Not only did he meet those goals, he doubled them.

DeSantis raised more than $34,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation this season and inspired the XTERRA Tribe daily with his strength and perseverance.

The mission, however, did not go so smoothly.  It started good.  His cancer was in remission and he quickly conquered XTERRA Philippines, South Africa, Costa Rica, and Malta, all by April 3.

Then the cancer came back and started wreaking havoc on his body and his race travels.

He went back into chemotherapy and traded exotic races in far off places for Northeast Region races closer to home.   When he couldn’t make a race, somebody stepped up and raced in his place, and all the while the donations for the Challenged Athletes Foundation kept rolling in.

The Tribe was excited to see him fulfill his campaign at the XTERRA World Championship in Maui, but it wasn’t meant to be.  DeSantis made it to Maui, but soon after arrival the pain from the growth of new tumors inside and outside his rib cage proved too much to handle so instead of battling through the mud with his brothers he watched the action unfold online and was thrilled to see his designated racer Stephanie Landy win a world title in his honor.

While he accomplished his mission this season, DeSantis’ fight against cancer continues.

“But on a more positive note,” he said.  “I just finished building a new mountain bike so I’ll be ready for next season!”

Cheers to David DeSantis, our hero.  Photo courtesy Julien Hebert.

Here is his personal note to the Tribe…

“With Maui in the books and #16 complete it has been one hell of 2016 XTERRA season. I am so honored to have been able to make this 16 in 2016 campaign happen and with such incredible success. None of it would have been possible without all the help, guidance and support of each and every one of you.  Thank you for your generous donations and words of encouragement. I want to personally thank the five athletes, Ben Allen, Monica Metsky, Suzie Snyder, Alan Moore and Stephanie Landy, who stepped in for me to race when I was unable to. You kept the dream alive! A huge thank you to our sponsors, McLaren Boston and First Taunton Group. To my XTERRA family, especially Dave Nicholas, Janet Clark and Trey Garman, for embracing this campaign, it’s message and my goals. You all have been…..well, freaking awesome is what honestly comes to mind. Thank you to my Team Pegasus coach, Beth Lamie who has been so supportive and patient with me as both a coach and good friend. Lastly, I have to thank my niece Rachael and wife Kathy. Kathy has followed me around the world supporting every crazy goal I have come up with. I wouldn’t be here without you, Kath. With a final total of $34,152 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and 16 races complete, I want to end with a short video (https://vimeo.com/190756428) that really sums up for me why I had this goal and what I hope makes you proud to have been a part of this campaign.  See you all for the 2017 season!!  Dave”

Middaugh Coaching Corner – ‘Tis the Season for a Run Focus

 

In our last article, we talked about the transition period or the chunk of time after your last race of the season before your “offseason” program begins. At this point, you are probably nearing a month from your last race of the season or gearing up for the final race of the year. Either way you are trying to figure out what to do with your offseason program and juggle the busy obligations that often come with this time of year.

Evaluate your season and set new goals

This could be an entire article by itself, but for now sit down and evaluate your season. What were your strengths and weaknesses? Look at your performances and compare your results to your peers. What will it take for you to move up against your competition next year? This can be done on your own or with your coach. Take this information and set new goals for next year. Write them down!

Focus on a limiter

Take your limiter/s from this season and focus on them during your offseason. Many of us want to improve all three disciplines, but there are one or two that really stick out in comparison to our peers. Pick one mode to focus on for your offseason training and shoot for maintenance in the other two disciplines. If running is one of those limiters we highly recommend that you start with a run focus.

Why start with running

This time of year is extremely busy. We have guests coming to town for the holidays or we are planning trips to visit family. Pools are often closed for big chunks of time or you simply can’t find one while traveling, and your better half thinks the Pack ‘n Play is more important on your holiday travels than your bike. Psst…unfortunately he or she is probably right. Running is the one thing you can squeeze in just about anywhere and offers more bang for your buck. Running has the biggest fitness returns and the highest transfer of training for the amount of time you put in.  A run focus block can accomplish a lot with 4-6 hours per week and you do not have to worry about bike routes or pool schedules.

Run focus example

In general, we recommend a block that is about 8 weeks long.  The plan we detail, follows a 4-week mesocycle with 3 build weeks and one recovery/regeneration week.  Volume is tracked by time rather than distance to accommodate different running speeds.  Run volume ranges from 4 hr 10 min in week 1 to 5 hrs 35 min during week 7.  So, fast runners averaging 7:30 min/mi might be completing 32-44 miles per week, whereas a runner averaging 10 min/mi will complete 25-33 miles per week.

The program starts with a running field test found on our Middaugh Coaching website:

http://middaughcoaching.com/running-heart-rate-and-pace-training-zones/

And descriptions on performing benchmark protocols is found here:

http://middaughcoaching.com/swim-bike-and-run-benchmark-protocols-2/

The first 4-week block of training is focused on endurance with key workouts in the Tempo zone as described in the zones spreadsheet.  The second 4-week block moves into threshold training at and around 10k race intensity.  Long runs progress from 80 minutes to the longest run at 2 hours.

Swim and bike workouts are also included with two days/wk in each discipline as well as run-specific strength training.

Set a goal

It is important to plan a test or race of some sort at the end of the block to measure your run gains and to keep you motivated. A 10k, half marathon, or trail race are great options.  If this is not possible because of weather, you could plan a snowshoe race, or competitive group run that ends at a local brewery or coffee shop to reward yourself for the hard work and keep you motivated.

Middaugh Coaching 8 week run focus program on Training Peaks:

https://home.trainingpeaks.com/products/trainingplans/plans/8-week-run-focus-intermediate

*Contact us through our website for a code that will give you 50% off!

Josiah Middaugh is the reigning XTERRA Pan America Champion and 2015 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. Read past training articles at http://www.xterraplanet.com/training/middaugh-coaching-corner and learn more about their coaching programs at www.middaughcoaching.com.

Carlson, Smyth Ready to Run for Another World Title

Polina Carlson won the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Running World Championship women’s elite title in 2013. Patrick Smyth took home the men’s titles in each of the last three years.  Both will be looking to add another crown to their trophy case at Kualoa Ranch on December 4.

“I’m pleased with my training right now and I’m excited to test my fitness on race day,” said Carlson, who won the Great Aloha Run, the XTERRA Gunstock Half-Marathon, and the Fontana Half-Marathon overall with a PR of 1:13:35 this year.  “I’m increasing my mileage every week and my workouts show that I am more fit than a year ago and I’ll be ready to race on December 4th.”

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Last year Carlson was 2nd only to Kimber Mattox, who won’t make this year’s event.

“The Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail World Championship is one of the most amazing and unique trail races in the country with the most breathtaking views of the mountains,” said Carlson, a former stand-out cross country runner at Hawaii Pacific University.

“It’s a tough course, but I enjoy the challenge and I try to embrace it. Every year I look forward to coming back, because it’s not a just typical race, it’s a true adventure!  Running the last few miles of the race are the toughest but the most memorable. The last hill is killer, but the breathtaking views definitely make up for it, and having cows mooing and spectators cheering as you approach the finish line is just epic!”

For Smyth, who finished 10th at the New York City Marathon last week, he said he’s looking forward to racing against Joe Gray and chasing the legacy of Max King.

“I’m really looking forward to racing Joe, it’s been awhile and he’s had an amazing 2016,” said Smyth. “For him to win the World Mountain Running Championship is really impressive. Even with Joe on the start line I probably won’t mix up my strategy too much. I’m as fit and confident as I’ve ever been and really just need to focus on racing tough.”

Smyth will also try to match King’s record of winning four straight XTERRA World Titles, a feat King accomplished from 2008-to-2011.  King, unfortunately, is still recovering from injury and will not make it to Oahu this season.  “He set the standard, so that’s what I’m chasing,” said Smyth.

Learn more about the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Running World Championship at www.xterrakualoa.com.

At-Large Opens December 1

At-large age group entry for the 2017 XTERRA World Championship will open December 1, 2016 at 11am Hawaii Time (1pm PST, 4pm EST, 7pm Brazil, 9pm in London, 8am, Dec. 2 in Sydney, 6am Dec. 2 in Tokyo and 5am Dec. 2 in Manila).  *Adjust to your time zone accordingly.

The event will be held on Sunday, October 29, 2017 at Kapalua, Maui.

To enter the at-large pool interested amateur athletes must register and pay for the race.  Slots are offered on a first-come, first-served basis until all slots have been filled.

The limited number of slots sell-out in a matter of minutes.  If the At Large entry shows full, please list yourself on the free “Waiting List” option that will also be offered.

We look forward to seeing you on Maui.  Live More!

The Team to End Aids Gets Ready to Say Aloha!

By Devin P. Quinn

If you’re fortunate enough to attend the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run World Championship this December on the island of Oahu, keep your eyes peeled for a team of runners in red. You’ll be able to pick them out by their enthusiasm—no, those aren’t grimaces on their faces, those are smiles, even on the uphill stretches. They are the TEAM TO END AIDS (T2).

The story of this team begins roughly 35 years ago with the genesis of Aids Project Los Angeles (APLA) during the early days of the AIDS crisis. Initially an AIDS service organization, APLA evolved into APLA Health and has since significantly broadened its scope in the field of medical care, becoming a Federally Qualified Health Center in 2014. APLA Health’s mission is to achieve health care equity and promote well-being for the LGBT and other underserved communities and people living with and affected by HIV. They now run two state-of-the-art medical clinics in the Los Angeles area in addition to providing case management, food, transportation, dental care, behavioral health, residential services, and more.

The T2 program began in 1997 under a different name, assuming its current moniker in 2010. Since its inception, T2 has trained over 11,000 athletes and raised over $34 million in Los Angeles. This will be the team’s fourth appearance at Worlds.

“We recruit athletes of all fitness levels, from complete beginner to advanced,” explains Kerry Quakenbush, Director of Endurance Events for T2. Kerry has been involved with APLA’s endurance event training program since 2003 and has completed over 55 marathons, several half marathons, and various trail races, relays and 10K and 5K races. He is also an accomplished triathlete and two-time Ironman. “All of our Worlds athletes are enthusiastic amateurs who love coming together to train and raise funds for a worthy cause. We offer each person group training at least once a week (three times for triathletes) in exchange for their raising funds for the organization. Each runner at Worlds will raise at least $3500. To date (for Worlds) we have raised $105,000 and we expect to hit $125,000 or more.”

Kerry describes this year’s group as “Very easy to work with, very excited about Hawaii (who wouldn’t be?) and eager to enjoy the scenery of Kualoa Ranch. Our runners will not be the fastest on December 4, but they will likely be some of the most excited.”

So, if you’re one of the lucky ones headed to Hawaii for this year’s Worlds, be sure to look for those 37 runners in red. Cheer them on—they’re running for a cause.

The 2016 Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run World Championship takes place December 4th at the Kualoa Ranch on Oahu, Hawaii. More information can be found at www.xterrakualoa.com.

If you want to donate to this amazing group, visit https://www.t2eala.com/XT16/Donate.

The Bucket List

It’s time to start dreaming.  With more than 30 World Tour Championship races next year – all with qualifying spots to XTERRA Worlds – it’s just a matter of what your dream destination looks like.

XTERRA has races at sea level and altitude, with swims in lakes, rivers, and oceans – in big cities and small towns – from one end of the earth to the other.

While each race offers up its own unique set of challenges, there is one constant … the people. XTERRA is One Tribe, and an adventurous “Live More” spirit unites our community.  You’ll find that friendly, helpful, encouraging type of camaraderie everywhere you go on the XTERRA Planet … discover it for yourself!

Have a look at last year’s Off-Road To Maui Video and look below at our tentative 2017 XTERRA World Tour Schedule and start making some plans to discover the XTERRA Planet!

2017 World Tour Schedule

This schedule is tentative, as of November 03, 2016 and will most certainly have additions and changes.  Check back frequently for updates and the most current world tour schedule.

Date Race Location
25-Feb XTERRA South Africa Grabouw, Western Cape
4-Mar XTERRA Motatapu South Island, New Zealand
18-Mar XTERRA Saipan Northern Mariana Islands
18-Mar XTERRA Colombia Paipa Boyaca
25-Mar XTERRA Argentina Dique Ullum, San Juan
2-Apr XTERRA Chile San Bernardo, Santiago
2-Apr XTERRA Thailand Phuket
2-Apr XTERRA Malta Majjistral Nature Reserve
8-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Rotorua
8-Apr XTERRA Costa Rica Playa Reserva Conchal
16-Apr XTERRA Reunion Reunion Island
23-Apr XTERRA Cyprus Lara Beach/Akamas, Paphos
23-Apr XTERRA Cebu Danao, Cebu Philippines
29-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Finale Langkawi, Malaysia
30-Apr XTERRA Greece Vouliagmeni
6-May XTERRA Tahiti Moorea
7-May XTERRA Paraguay San Bernardino
14-May XTERRA Brazil Ilhabela, Sao Paolo
20-May XTERRA Oak Mountain Pelham, Alabama, USA
27-May XTERRA Portugal Golega
4-Jun XTERRA Wales Atlantic College, Llantwit Major
10-Jun XTERRA Belgium Namur
17-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter Milton, Ontario, Canada
24-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Vallee de Joux
2-Jul XTERRA France Xonrupt
9-Jul XTERRA Victoria Victoria, B.C., Canada
15-Jul XTERRA Beaver Creek Beaver Creek, CO, USA
23-Jul XTERRA Finland Imatra
5-Aug XTERRA Mexico Tapalpa
6-Aug XTERRA Canmore Canmore, Alberta, Canada
6-Aug XTERRA Norway Location TBD
12-Aug XTERRA Parry Sound Ontario, Canada
13-Aug XTERRA Dominican Republic Barahona
13-Aug XTERRA Poland Krakow
19-Aug XTERRA Germany Zittau
25-Aug XTERRA Korea New venue TBD
26-Aug XTERRA Sweden Hammarbybacken, Stockholm
3-Sep XTERRA Japan Hokkaido
3-Sep XTERRA Denmark Mons Klint
16-Sep XTERRA Pan Am Championship Ogden, Utah, USA
29-Oct XTERRA World Championship Maui
Dafflon

Meet Rookie Sensation Xavier Dafflon

In his very first year of racing XTERRA Xavier Dafflon is on top of the World.

At the XTERRA World Championship in Maui two weeks ago he crossed the line in 17th place overall, the top amateur, and winner of the 30-34 division with a time of 3:08:35.

“I’m used to endurance sports, mainly mountain biking, but I was looking for some new challenges this year so I tried XTERRA for the first time in June and July for XTERRA Switzerland and XTERRA France,” said Dafflon, a 34-year-old from Fribourg, Switzerland.

The experiment worked out very well as he finished third overall in his first XTERRA at Switzerland, then was the top amateur in a very competitive field at XTERRA France.

“My swimming is not very good yet, but what motivates me is to make progress in this new sport,” exclaimed Dafflon, who has his sights set on earning his pro license for next year.

On race day Dafflon said he feared the big waves and the mud, but “everything went perfectly and I had a lot of fun because I was in very good shape.”

The week leading up to the race, however, was anything but perfect.

“I had a lot of bad luck right upon arrival,” he explained. “A few hours after landing, I went for a first swim in the ocean, but after less than 2-meters in the water I got a bad cut below my left foot from a rock or something sharp. I had to go to the emergency room and get three stitches badly placed below the foot. I was not sure the entire week whether I would even be able to race on Sunday, but luckily I could.”

Dafflon said he had no idea when he took the lead or even who is opponents were.

“I was passing other athletes during the whole race, you know, because I was very far behind after the hard swim,” he said.

His swim time was 29:45, well off the leader’s pace, but more than made up for it with the best amateur bike and run times, 1:52:16 and 46:34, respectively.

After the race Dafflon traveled all around the Hawaiian Islands with his wife, and said he loved it. Now, he’s back in Switzerland, “the country of mountains, chocolates, cheese and banks!” and the search for sponsors to turn his passion for XTERRA into a pro career is on.