XTERRA Greece is making easy to say “yes” to travel to Lake Plastira on June 20. Leading XTERRA European Tour competitors are offered special travel packages that include race entry and 3-nights of 4-star accommodation, daily breakfast, transportation to/from the Athens airport and their famed pre-race Pasta Party. Special rates are available for pros and age groupers ranked in the top 20 of the 2014 European Tour. For reservations and more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The newest member of the XTERRA World Tour will take participants across the heart of the island of Tahiti, French Polynesia, from the west to the east coast.
The inaugural XTERRA Tahiti Championship on April 25 will start at Mataiea Beach, then traverse up mountains, past lakes, through historic sites, and across rivers and fords to where the fun really begins on the run.
“It’s the steepest bike course I have ever done,” said 2010 XTERRA World Champion Shonny Vanlandingham, who won the TransTahitienne off-road triathlon last year. “I had so much fun. Jean Michel Monot and his team do a wonderful job, and it’s a stunningly beautiful country and race course.”
With the finish line at the Papenoo River and an awards dinner party featuring local dance troops that will “take you to another world,” organizers are planning to showcase all the beauty and excitement of French Polynesia.
In addition to the XTERRA triathlon, a Run/Bike over 36 kilometers of spectacular terrain will be offered for two person teams. Team members must stay within 50 meters of each other throughout the event.
VSOP, the local club who produces the event, will donate a portion of the proceeds to support ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) research.
Two-time XTERRA World Champion and uber-legend Ned Overend, set another milestone in a career of milestones by winning the inaugural USA Cycling Fat Tire Nationals at Powder Mountain Ski Resort, just outside of Ogden, Utah.
Ogden, of course, is also the home of the XTERRA USA Championship race and a wonderful spot in both summer and winter. The conditions for the first-ever race were ideal, sunny with plenty of snow.
Results are here and you’ll see a number of familiar names listed.
The Grabouw Country Club will be a hub of excitement this coming weekend when multi-sport athletes young and slightly more senior gather to partake in the largest XTERRA triathlon in the world, the TOTALSPORTS XTERRA Grabouw presented by REHIDRAT® SPORT.
With reigning champion Dan Hugo announcing his retirement from racing earlier this year, competition will be rife in the men’s race with a number of top XTERRA Warriors toeing the line to take over the reins. Top SA contenders will include four times XTERRA World Champion Conrad Stoltz, Stuart Marais, Bradley Weiss and Theo Blignaut.
According to Stoltz, this just might be his final year of racing at this level. “Grabouw is the birthplace of XTERRA in South Africa. The course is a fantastic all round course – the perfect balance between fun, fitness and adrenaline. It has become an iconic event. Of course I would like to step out with a win on my home ground”.
For Marais, the crowd at XTERRA Grabouw is a huge highlight. “I love racing in Grabouw. The crowd is super amped and the SA competition is unmatched in XTERRA worldwide. I have always said that XTERRA Grabouw should be a world championship. It has climbs, single track, plenty of rocks and sand. Everything an XTERRA should be. I never start a race without wanting to win the XTERRA SA Champs is no different”.
Weiss has had a superb start to the XTERRA Season, snatching the title of Totalsports XTERRA Buffelspoort Champion in January followed by the XTERRA Philippines Championship title earlier this month. “My passion for XTERRA and Triathlon began at this venue,” says Weiss. “Being a home race XTERRA Grabouw couldn’t be more special to me. My goal is most definitely to win my first XTERRA SA Championship title”.
Reigning Totalsports XTERRA SA Women’s Champion and XTERRA World Champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda will be seen defending her title in Grabouw on Sunday. “I wouldn’t miss XTERRA Grabouw for the world,” said Duffy. “There are so many things that make Grabouw a special race. It is the best organized and biggest XTERRA on the circuit. I love that there is a children’s race, a trail run, an XTERRA Lite and an XTERRA Full. The whole community can get involved. My goal is to successfully defend my title”.
Top International XTERRA Warriors to look out for on the day will include: Jan Pyott (Switzerland), Roger Serrano (Spain), Jim Thijs (Belgium), Carina Wasle (Austria), Louise Fox (UK), Daz Parker (UK) and Sandra Koblmuller (Austria). There’s also a big contingent of XTERRA Warriors from Sweden that have made the journey to experience this iconic race.
The 2015 TOTALSPORTS XTERRA Grabouw presented by REHIDRAT® SPORT boasts with a whopping prize purse increase of R80 000, taking the overall prize purse to an impressive total of R249 000.
The Grabouw Country club was buzzing with excitement on Friday, 20 February 2015 when just under 300 junior XTERRA Warriors toed the line to follow in the footsteps of their sporting heroes by taking part in the much anticipated Totalsports XTERRA KIDS presented by REHIDRAT® SPORT.
According to Nicola Collins, Event Manager, the excitement grows each year at the XTERRA Kids event. “We were blown away by today’s turn out. It really is special watching these junior warriors in action, not to mention seeing the phenomenal support that they receive from their parents. This is a key factor in any athlete’s sporting future. The XTERRA Kids event is the ideal opportunity to introduce the younger generation to the sport of XTERRA. One day we’ll be able to welcome these XTERRA Kids to the XTERRA Lite event and then eventually the XTERRA Full race, but for now we are happy that they were able to experience the XTERRA Vibe”.
With three age categories to choose from, 6 – 8 years (50m Swim, 1,5km Cycle, 1km Run), 9 – 11 years (100m Swim, 5km Cycle, 2km Run) and 12 – 14 years (200m Swim, 10km Cycle, 3km Run), the Totalsports XTERRA Kids Race is a source of much entertainment for both competitors and spectators alike!
NEXT ON THE CALENDAR FOR THE WEEKEND:
Saturday, 21 February 2015: PUMA TRAIL RUN
Forming part of the action of South Africa’s largest off road triathlon the PUMA Trail
Run incorporates the XTERRA trail run routes and will take place on Saturday, 21 February 2015.
|Venue:||Grabouw Country Club (Western Cape)|
|Distances:||6km and 12.5km|
|Start Time:||07:00 (both events)|
Saturday, 21 February 2015: Totalsports XTERRA Lite
|Venue:||Grabouw Country Club|
|Format:||400m swim, 12.5km mountain bike and 6km trail run|
Sunday, 22 February 2015: Totalsports XTERRA Full
|Venue:||Grabouw Country Club|
|Format:||1.5km swim, 27km mountain bike and 12.5km trail run|
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The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa in Henderson, Nevada has been named the official host hotel of the 2015 XTERRA West Championship race to be held April 25-26, 2015.
Both the off-road triathlons and trail runs (and the parties!) will be based out of the Westin, with the swim start taking place lake side at the Reflection Bay Golf Club.
Rates are $119/night for athletes – with resort fee waived ($25/night). Rates are good Apr20-Apr29 and available through April 20.
Learn more about the race at www.xterralakelasvegas.com.
We’re continuing in our thought process for our “6 Components for Endurance Sports Success,” our third component we’d like to address is Skill Proficiency (here’s components I. Aerobic Conditioning & II. Muscular Stability in case you missed those).
All sports, activities, and human movements are learned skills. As newborn babies, we are capable of only laying in one spot, with minimal skill to move. As humans grow and develop, we quickly gain strength and learn new physical skills, from supporting our own head, to sitting, to crawling, to squatting to standing and finally walking. From there the pace at which we learn new skills occurs rapidly and seemingly with minimal effort. We begin to learn more complicated, although still basic skills like running, jumping, skipping, throwing and catching a ball, and riding a bicycle. Then, if you’re fortunate enough to be introduced to higher level complicated movement skills, you might learn how to swim, swing a golf club, or perform gymnastics to name a few. Every one of these learned skills requires practice to be able to get to a point where they appear to happen effortlessly. For some people, this effortless appearance of skill comes more naturally than others. One thing that holds true is that the more skillful you are at particular movements the better you are able to become at the activity and the higher level of performance you can likely achieve.
Learning and practicing proper technique is crucial to mastering any skill.
Proper technique, in and of itself, can often be argued or debated within circles of experts in a particular area of movement. Regardless of the agreed upon “correct” technique, finding a technique that works for you and practicing to improve it leads to improved skill proficiency. In most endurance sports, the specific movements required to participate are relatively basic skills we learn as children (swimming, cycling and/or running being the most common). Unfortunately, with perhaps the exception of swimming, most endurance athletes feel they already ‘know how to’ pedal a bike and run from a mechanical standpoint, therefore neglect the aspect of developing effective technique in their sports. By learning effective movement techniques and spending time practicing them (as elite athletes do) you are able to improve your own strength, stability and range of motion specific to your movement, leading to improved movement efficiency. These factors enable you to perform your movements with more power, less energy, over longer periods of time and with less chance of injury.
You will often overhear athletes and coaches talking about or read about the importance of an athlete’s Vo2 Max (the maximum amount of oxygen an athlete can utilize). This number is often used as a comparison between athletes or to measure the potential they may have in endurance sports.
While an athlete’s Vo2 Max is certainly an important value, another equally important (if not possibly more so) is the measure of an athlete’s efficiency.
Take two similar runners with identical Vo2 Max values; the runner with greater running efficiency will out-run the other with less efficiency because she is wasting less energy and therefore can sustain a higher percentage of her Vo2 Max for a longer period of time. In fact, movement efficiency is so important that a “hard working” athlete with a genetically lower Vo2 Max can out-perform the more “naturally talented” athlete with the higher Vo2 Max by being more efficient and wasting less energy. And the longer the test (or race) the more noticeable the effect of improved efficiency is.
It could be said that success in endurance sports is directly related to efficiency. In the study of physics, efficiency is the ratio of output to input. In the equation (r = P/C) P is the produced output and C is the consumed energy. The produced output (P) can never be higher than the consumed energy (C), therefore efficiency can never be higher than 100%, with the higher the percentage equaling less wasted energy (in endurance sports, energy not directly being used to move yourself forward). Your goal as an endurance athlete is to achieve the highest level of efficiency through skill proficiency so you can tap into the highest percentage of your given Vo2 Max. We do all the training we do to maximize our endurance, strength and speed to achieve the highest Vo2 Max possible, but if we neglect the skill proficiency piece of the puzzle, we are limiting the percentage of the trained Vo2 Max we can tap into. On race day, it eventually all comes down to minimizing the the amount of energy wasted that leads to fatigue that slows us down. Look at the elite fields at any high level endurance event and the abilities of the top level athletes are very similar; they all have similar Vo2 Max values and they all train and race at near similar speeds.
The athletes that cross the finish lines first are not always the fastest athletes in the race, but rather, they are usually the athletes that slow down the least.
They are the athletes who waste the least amount of energy and are the most efficient. Improving one’s skill and technique equates to less wasted energy, higher efficiency and faster race times.
Skill proficiency and the subsequent improved efficiency can be developed in two ways. The first being the concept of simply time spent performing an activity. This is in line with the “10,000 hour theory”; stating that if you spend enough time doing a particular activity (10,000 hours according to the theory) you will become highly proficient at it. But what if you don’t have 10,000 hours to wait for this improved proficiency and you want to get better at your sport in less time?
Good news, you can!
With specific and deliberate practice through technique drills you can accelerate your learning curve.
We can improve our individual muscular strength, stability, mobility and flexibility by performing an endless variety of exercises off the playing field in a gym or our own homes. While this practice is critical to long term development and success in sport (see previous article addressing this concept), these exercises are rarely specific to our exact movements we are trying to improve in our sport. Performing glute bridges for example, is a great exercise to improve hip stability, however we do not come anywhere close to performing a glute bridge in our actual competition. Performing technique drills however do just that; technique drills typically take you through a very specific movement pattern (often broken into a smaller segment or skill of the movement) pertaining to your specific sport. Technique drills effectively incorporate sport-specific development of strength, stability, mobility, flexibility, balance and/or coordination. For this reason alone, all elite level athletes perform technique drills in their training programs throughout their entire year and all age-group athletes should do the same.
We’ve all seen the poor swimmers at the pool with the wonky arms, sinking hips, or dropped elbow. We’ve also all seen the cyclists with the bobbing upper body, or crazy low cadence, not to mention the runners missing any knee lift, or dropping their hips with every step or extended ground contact time and loping strides. Don’t be that person! Your skill and technique can be easily developed with deliberate and consistent practice, throughout your entire training year. It’s in your control.
In fact, aside from dropping excessive body weight, improving your skill and efficiency of movement is probably the fastest and easiest way to improve your race times!
I’ve seen so many athletes come to me with technique issues, and by spending just a small amount of time every week addressing these weaknesses, they have seen enormous improvements in not only speed and endurance but also the enjoyment of their sport.
Written by Cody Waite, professional XTERRA athlete, endurance sport coach and founder of Endurance Performance Coaching. Check out EPC’s Personal Coaching, XTERRA Group Coaching, and Custom Training Plan options.
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.
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.