XTERRA TV Goes Global with ESPN International Broadcast Alliance

XTERRA TV has entered into an alliance with ESPN International to broadcast XTERRA programming throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and Oceania regions.

Chris and Ruzafa“XTERRA has continued its international expansion and now has more than 300 events in 26 countries and growing,” said Tom Kiely, XTERRA CEO. “As the popularity of XTERRA continues its march around the globe, so too will its media reach and impact with this alliance.”

The international broadcast schedule will expand on XTERRA’s existing U.S. distribution plan that includes airings on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and FOX Sports Network.

ESPN International is a division of ESPN, Inc., which has grown to include ownership — in whole or in part — of 47 television networks outside of the United States, as well as a variety of additional businesses that allow ESPN to reach sports fans in over 200 countries and territories across all seven continents.

The agreement includes broadcast dates for the hour-long 2012 and 2013 XTERRA USA and World Championship dates as well as the 2014-15 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship shows on ESPN International stations in Oceania, Canada, Latin America, Japan, and the Caribbean.

“We could not be happier to be reunited with the ESPN team as we continue to grow XTERRA events and media around the world. These regions, especially Australia and New Zealand in Oceania, have a tremendous and growing love for endurance sports and our alliance with ESPN International will help to drive that interest, awareness, and enthusiasm to even higher levels,” said Chris Bednarek, XTERRA TV manager.

TEAM TV has produced more than 300 adventure television shows resulting in three Emmy’s and 42 Telly Awards for production excellence since 1990.  View samples at www.xterra.tv, and for a complete broadcast schedule visit www.xterraplanet.com/television.

About ESPN International

ESPN International business entities include television, radio, print, internet, broadband, wireless, consumer products, and event management. The company and its holdings maintain offices or production facilities in key locations around the world including Bangalore, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Delhi, Hong Kong, London, Mexico City, Miami, Montpellier, Mumbai, New York City, Paris, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Taiwan, and Toronto. Since 1983, ESPN (originally founded in Bristol, Connecticut, in 1979) has been growing around the world, establishing itself as the leading global sports media brand. The company’s philosophy to global growth is to always serve sports fans and be locally relevant to them, with content and products that tap into their great passion and dedication.  ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN. The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with four business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment and consumer products.

A Race Every Weekend all Year ÷ 3

2013 Mr. XTERRA Brent Bieshaar of Colorado and a couple of his friends, Kevin Adams (Bethesda, MD) and Ben Dillon (Pensacola, FL), are planning on doing an XTERRA race every weekend of 2014.

Brent BieshaarNot all three will be at every race, but at least one of the three will be at an XTERRA all season long.  What they’re hoping for now is other adventurous teams to follow suit, and make it a competition.

Dubbed the XTERRA Across America Team Challenge; here’s how it works.  Each team can consist of no more than three team members.  Those two or three people will combine their efforts to complete an XTERRA triathlon every week of the 2014 XTERRA America Tour season from March 22-23 weekend thru August 24. (Note: XTERRA Key Biscayne on February 16 is not part of the deal).

How each team chooses to divide the races between themselves is entirely up to the team, and there is no requirement that each member compete in an equal number of races.

They’ll earn points based on finishing position within their division.

The carrot is this … the team with the lowest score at the end of the year will be named the winner and each member of the winning team will earn a qualifying slot into the XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 26 (not a free spot, but a spot nonetheless).

Bieshaar is pushing for XTERRA Across America to continue as a platform to raise money and awareness for the Blazeman Foundation and the War on ALS.  He has asked that each team in the competition raise $1,500 ($500 per team member); and in exchange he’ll provide members with an official XTERRA Across America racing kit.

Throughout the season, weekly stories about the teams will be posted on thewww.xterraacrossamerica.com web page and on Facebook, and teams will be encouraged to submit stories about their experiences.

Those interested in accepting the challenge or if you have any questions on how to actually pull it off, contact Brent at bbieshaar@msn.com.  Also, individuals who are interested in the team challenge, but do not have a team formed, should also contact Brent.  He will assist in hooking you up with others who have expressed an interest.

Hugo and Van Huyssteen Victors at Totalsports XTERRA Buffelspoort

Dan HugoTop South African XTERRA Warriors Dan Hugo and Carla Van Huyssteen claimed victory in the men’s and women’s categories respectively of the Totalsports XTERRA Buffelspoort Full presented by REHIDRAT® SPORT on Saturday, 25 January 2014.  Hugo completed this much loved off-road triathlon in a combined time of 02hours31minutes, while Van Huyssteen’s winning time was 02hours58minutes02seconds.

According to Hugo it was a weekend of firsts.  “I’ve been sponsored by Specialized for seven years now.  It is really special having them as the official bike partner of the Totalsports XTERRA.  I am also thankful to Totalsports and REHIDRAT® who are both my sponsors as well as the event sponsors.  I’m always positive when I’ve had a good swim.  There were surprises on both the mountain bike and trail run course.  These surprises always lend themselves towards character building.  Hendrico Burger and his route building team are sneaky that way. With Flora being here I look at the event from a tourist’s perspective, and we definitely got a true African Experience today,” said Hugo.  Nico Sterk came in second, while Bradley Weiss finished third.

Carla Van HuyssteenFour-time XTERRA World Champion, Conrad Stoltz was forced to withdraw due to mechanical issues.  “I’m really disappointed.  XTERRA Buffelspoort is such a special event and I really wanted to race well.  Although my bike suffered a sidewall puncture, I managed to plug it and was confident I could still pull off a win as I was feeling good.   But this being what I call the ‘Africa kind of course’ I soon picked up another puncture and knew that it was just a matter of time before my bike had another flat.  Unfortunately I’d run out of air and was unable to fix it.  I’ve had flats before and I’ve won races, I’ve broken a chain before and I’ve won races.  I’m always up for a challenge.  Going into the Totalsports XTERRA Grabouw in February, I will just give my best,” says Stoltz.

“I was so nervous coming into this event,” said Van Huyssteen.  “I actually felt nauseous and couldn’t help but laugh at myself.  When I got to the swim discipline I told myself to relax.  XTERRA is so much fun, no matter what happens whether I place first or last, I was just going to have fun.  The altitude was definitely in my favour.  In Pietermaritsburg I’ve been focussing on power building through hill training.  I really wanted to be the first South African girl across the finish line today.  I saw that Flora was suffering on the bike, so I decided to push really hard even if I ended up breaking myself.  It really is special winning in South Africa.  The support is extra special,” said Van Huyssteen.  Flora Duffy came in second, while Nicolette Griffioen finished third.

For further information on the TOTALSPORTS XTERRA Buffelspoort presented by REHIDRAT® SPORT please contact Stillwater Sport & Entertainment on 086 138 3591, emailentries@stillwatersports.com or visit www.stillwatersports.com.

Spotlight on Roberto Mandje

By Christian Friis – There are some athletes, when you read their bios you immediately get the feeling they are the embodiment of a typical XTERRA athlete.

Roberto MandjeRoberto Mandje is such an athlete. Born in Barcelona, Spain, Mandje is a world citizen having lived all over Europe and Africa before moving to the US with his mother in the 90’s. He represented Equatorial Guinea at the 2004 Olympics (1500 meters), speaks four languages – Italian, Spanish, French and English – and continues to travel all over the world to participate in races.

Mandje won the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas 21K last year in his only second race at the half-marathon distance ever. When asked about the course Mandje replied, “It had been described as running on the moon and although I’ve never been to the moon, I’d have to say that it was an apt comparison.”

“The course had sections where you felt like you were truly out there all alone while running through craters and in between valleys. I must say the last major climb of the course caught me off guard. It was ridiculously steep and at a point in the race where most people, at least me, are ready to be done. I certainly enjoyed the course and hope to race it again this year,” said Mandje.

The 31-year-old walked away from Vegas with not only the victory, but also the course record (1:24:17).

“I enjoyed some of the solitude of that race vs some other courses where you’ve got spectators and fellow competitors,” Mandje said.

Mandje placed fifth at the recent XTERRA World Championships on Oahu, then took some well-deserved time off.  Now, he’s back to training – Boulder weather permitting – and gearing up for 2014.

“Some of my favorites include Mount Sanitas, Chautauqua Park, Switzerland Trail and Wonderland Lake,” Mandje says.

His 2014 schedule includes the Marathon World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of March, several half marathons and several XTERRA races culminating at XTERRA Nationals and Worlds.

“A typical training week for me (when fully into training) consist of a lot of running, gym work and cross training. Typical mileage could be between 90 – 120. I’ll typically workout on Tuesday and Friday with a medium long run on Wednesday (90 – 105 mins) and a longer run on Sunday (120-130 mins). All other days are nice and easy recovery runs,” said Mandje.

Mandje, who is married to Molly, is also an avid surfer, guitar player, computer programmer and a fan of FC Barcelona (the soccer club).

Follow along on all his adventures at http://robertomandje.com.

Richmond XTERRA to Host USA Triathlon Off-Road Nationals

The 16th edition of the XTERRA East Championship on June 15 in Richmond, Virginia will double as this year’s USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championship race, USAT announced Wednesday.

As such athletes will have the chance to be crowned USAT National Champions as well as XTERRA East Champions. The race, which combines a 1000-meter swim in the James River with a 32-kilometer mountain bike and 10-kilometer trail run, will also serve as a qualifier for both the 2014 XTERRA World Championship and the 2015 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship.

USA Triathlon Offroad National ChampionshipIn addition, Luck Stone Corporation returns as a presenting sponsor for the fourth consecutive year.  Luck Stone is one of the few remaining privately held, family-owned and operated mid-size companies in the surface mining industry, and has done great things through the years with live race coverage and community support.

There will be 47 spots into the XTERRA World Championship to be held October 26 in Maui up-for-grabs as follows:

QUALIFYING SLOTS

AGE GROUP MALE FEMALE
(15 – 19) 1 1
(20 – 24) 1 1
(25 – 29) 2 2
(30 – 34) 3 2
(35 – 39) 3 2
(40 – 44) 3 2
(45 – 49) 2 2
(50 – 54) 2 2
(55 – 59) 2 2
(60-64) 1 1
(65+) 1
(65-69) 1
(70-74) 1
(75+) 1
Challenged 3 3

In addition, the top 18 finishers (rolling down to 25th place) in each age group will qualify for a Team USA slot for the 2015 International Triathlon Union (ITU) Cross Triathlon World Championships, the date and location of which will be announced later this year by ITU.

Team USA is comprised of amateur athletes who represent the U.S. at each ITU World Championship event.

“We’re excited to partner with USA Triathlon and proud to bring a national championship event to our friends in Richmond,” said XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas.  “Our history runs deep in Richmond and anyone who has ever been there knows it is a very cool town. Tons of great restaurants and bars, great history from both revolutionary and civil war, and easy to get to by flying into Richmond or Dulles in DC.”

The course itself is hailed as XTERRA’s greatest urban adventure, from the swim in the unpredictable James River to the epic trails in the James River Park System – where a raucous bunch of bike and trail fanatics known annually throw a trail party at the trickiest section in Buttermilk Heights known as “Rock Face.”  They blast music, BBQ, dress in costumes, scream, shout encouragement, and blast on vuvuzela’s to the delight of riders all day long.  As for the run, it has been best described as the “Fugitive 10K” because of its similarity to some of the chase scenes in the movie The Fugitive including river crossings, rock jumpings, the “Mayan Ruins” stair climb, and train track crossings.

For an in-depth preview of the course check out the “100 Richmond photos” blog created by last year’s amateur champ and 2013 Enve Performer of the Year winner Alex Modestou.  Modestou also recently posted a helpful article for newbies on “racing your first XTERRA“.

In addition to the main event, XTERRA will also host a half-distance sprint race, relay-team competitions, and 10 and 21-kilometer trail runs.

Registration for the 2014 USA Triathlon Off-Road Nationals/XTERRA East Champs, sprint race, and trail runs is currently open, and an early-bird rate of $75 for the big race is available until Feb. 15.

Click here to register, and visit www.usatriathlon.org/offroadnationals andwww.xterrarichmond.com for more information.

To stay abreast of all the latest trail news from Richmond visit www.richmondoutside.com.

About USA Triathlon
Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon – the fastest growing sport in the U.S. Olympic Movement – as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with more than 550,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

Renata Bucher to Race Asia-Pacific Champs

Four-time XTERRA European Tour Champion Renata Bucher from Switzerland has confirmed her participation in the inaugural XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship scheduled for April 26, 2014 in Australia.

The race will be held just a few hours south of Sydney in the beach side town of Callala, on pristine Jervis Bay, New South Wales.

Renata BucherIt’s no surprise that Bucher, perhaps the most well-traveled XTERRA professional in the last decade, has put the first-time event on her docket.  She has been a regular at XTERRA’s Asia-Pacific races, and during last year’s tour placed second at XTERRA Philippines, Saipan, and Guam before winning three straight at the XTERRA Great Ocean Road off-road tri in Australia, XTERRA New Zealand, then XTERRA Malaysia (and would go on to win the first European Tour race of the year at XTERRA Spain).

This will be Bucher’s 10th year of XTERRA racing, as she got her start in the sport at XTERRA Germany in 2004.  During that stretch the “Swiss Miss” has won 31 XTERRA Championship races in 14 countries, the U.S. Territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan).

We caught up with Bucher to get her thoughts on racing in New South Wales.

XTERRA: You trained during the off-season in Australia, and will again this year…why Down Under?

Renata Bucher: Australia…what a huge country.  The people are open minded, and is one of the biggest triathlon nations. Every time I go to Australia I discover a lovely place to train, to explore, and to enjoy.  I’ve had great times in Caloundra, Noosa, Gold Coast, and then Torquay, which is my training base this year again, and I totally love it there.  The conditions for training are perfect (if it is not raining) – training outside, swimming in the ocean, every weekend a race if you want to, there is lots of sunshine, markets on the weekends, BBQ’s, good wine, and an abundance of beautiful beaches.

XT:  Why do you think XTERRA is a good fit for Australia?

RB: Aussies are a bit crazy about endurance stuff :)  And, they are very helpful and in general “good mates!”

XT: Have you been to Jervis Bay?

RB: No, but I have heard great things about it and the pictures are looking very nice.

XT: Are you excited about this new XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship?

RB: Yes! A lot of the XTERRA pros are doing a several races on the Asia-Pacific Tour so having a big finale race in Australia makes the Tour more attractive and interesting. For sure, it is hard work. At the end it is not all about who is the most super fit athlete, it is a lot about how to manage the travel, to recover quickly, and to get through these crazy races injury free and happy.

XT: What is your schedule like for 2014; will you race all the Asia-Pacific events?

RB: Yes, that is always my favorite tour, the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour.  An XTERRA season without a stay in Saipan, it just wouldn’t be the same.

XT: What do you like about XTERRA?

RB: Not sure what it is exactly, but I’m still totally passionate about it.  I have already spent so many years doing it, and I just don’t ever want to miss-out on XTERRA in my life.

XT: You’ve traveled all over the world with XTERRA, is it a fun way to adventure?

RB: Oh yes, I have traveled a lot, and for sure it is a fun way to adventure. It’s not always easy, but traveling and especially traveling solo, you can learn some good life lessons. It helps to prioritize what really matters, and I’ve learned to have more patience. I know I can’t control everything, like delays, missing bags, extra bike charges, etc… And sometimes in a race you also can’t control everything (weather, mechanical…..).

XT: Why should other people join you at Asia-Pacific Champs?

RB: It is the chance to join a high-class XTERRA event in a beautiful area, not too far from a big city, Sydney, with tough competition, good timing before the XTERRA Euro Tour, plus I’ll be there : ) … there are thousands of reasons!

Follow along with Renata and her “Aloha Racing” team at www.aloha-racing.com.

Caveman Returns to XTERRA Buffelspoort

Conrad StoltzWhile it’s downright cold across most of the U.S. right now it’s summer time in South Africa and that’s where race No. 1 of the 2014 XTERRA worldwide racing schedule takes place tomorrow.

Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz will be there to defend his XTERRA Buffelspoort title and ring in his 14th year of XTERRA racing.

“XTERRA is fun, outdoors, challenging and involves great people,” says Stoltz.  “I love racing and there are only two Totalsports XTERRA events in South Africa that include a swim, mountain bike and trail run discipline.  If there were more I would take part at those too.”

Dan HugoAnother familiar name on the start list is Dan Hugo, recent winner of the Totalsports Challenge and face of the January issue of Triathlete Magazine.  Expect another great battle between those two in advance of the big SA showdown at the XTERRA South Africa Championship race in Grabouw on February 23.

“By taking part in both the Totalsports XTERRA Buffelspoort and Totalsports XTERRA Grabouw, participants will obtain firsthand experience of just how different the two venues are,” continues Stoltz.  “Each venue has its own ambiance and challenges.  This is why I still enjoy XTERRA after so many years.”

For more information visit www.stillwatersports.com and to see a teaser video from last year’s race click here.

XTERRA Nordic, the Latest Addition to the XTERRA Family

The latest addition to the XTERRA family is XTERRA Nordic. Running26, a Danish based company has added a whole series of races to the calendar in Denmark and Sweden, Norway will follow shortly.

The Denmark races begin May 11 with an off-road duathlon and continues with the main events August 29, 30 and 31 in an area called Tisvilde Hegn. Events include a mountain bike race, a 10km trail run and an off-road triathlon.

The events in Sweden will take place July 11, 12 and 13.

According to organizer Steen Walter, himself a multiple danish champion in cross country, athletes can expect well designed courses, with races of high quality, and “they will cover the varied scandinavian nature that can be found in Sweden, Denmark and Norway” Walter continued.

Despite the fact that Denmark is flat with its highest point at 300 feet the terrain will still provide enough challenges for the participant to make it a real XTERRA event. Just a few hundred kilometers to the north in Sweden you will find totally different terrain that will create a unique nordic experience.

Walter expects that an actual XTERRA Series for the Nordic countries will come in 2015.

With the addition of Denmark to the XTERRA family you now have the opportunity to experience the place that inspired the happiest place in the world. True there has been plenty of stories about Danes being the happiest people in the world, but we were thinking of Tivoli Gardens, build in 1843 this is the second oldest amusement park right after Dyrehavsbakken (by 260 years), which is just about 10 miles North of Tivoli Gardens.

Yes, 260 years is not so much in a country where things are kind of old. Right up the coast from where the XTERRA race is to be held “Hamlet’s” castle Elsinore is located, build in 1420.

If you go to Sweden you will have plenty of different choices for sightseeing. With 978 miles from North to South you will spend some time on the road and with a museum dedicated to ABBA how could you not like a city like Stockholm? If you want to get out of the city, you can go north to the mountains, and go all the way up to the arctic circle, or you can head down south toward the more populated areas.

Patrick Smyth – Not Your Average Trail Novice

At XTERRA Nationals in September Patrick Smyth took everyone by surprise when he went ahead and won with a commanding performance and by a large margin ahead of Joseph Gray, whom he also met later at XTERRA Worlds in Hawaii. The biggest surprise might have been to Patrick Smyth himself, this was his first try at XTERRA and trail running.

Patrick SmythWe sat down with Patrick to talk about his latest success.

XTERRA: What is your background in running?

Patrick: I ran collegiately at Notre Dame where I was a 7-time All-American across cross-country, indoor and outdoor track. In 2010, I signed with Nike and ran primarily on the roads (10k-marathon) but dabbled in cross country and track as well.

XT: How did you end up at XTERRA?

PS: In the fall of 2012, I enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Utah in my hometown of Salt Lake City. I rediscovered the thrill and escape of trail running around that time. Having logged a pretty good summer on the trails this past year, I decided to try my hand at the XTERRA U.S Champs held at Snowbasin. I was fortunate to get the win there and was able to keep the momentum going and win again at the XTERRA World Champs in Hawaii. Needless to say, I was hooked.

XT: What was your expectations of racing at XTERRA?

PS: I expected the races to be competitive, and knew it would be a dog fight to win at the U.S and World Champs. That was very much the case, as both were tough won battles.

XT: Tell us a little bit about your training.

PS: I am fortunate to have a lot of trails out my door in Salt Lake City, though most are covered in snow at the moment, so I utilize them often. I run a lot of hills in general, do a weekly long run and mix in some strength training when I can.

XT: Where will we see you in 2014?

PS: Hopefully another trip to Hawaii to defend my title!