Swiss XTERRA to Host ETU Champs

The 2016 XTERRA Switzerland Championship race to be held June 25 in Vallee de Joux will double as the European Triathlon Union Cross Triathlon European Championship race.

“This is very good news for XTERRA Switzerland,” exclaimed race organizer Laurent Ardiet.  “This means the various titles of European champion will be awarded right here at Vallee de Joux, providing yet another reason for athletes from across Europe to participate in this great event.”

It’s the first time the ETU, the European governing body for Triathlon, has designated an XTERRA race as its cross tri title race.

XTERRA Switzerland is the fifth of 11 majors in this year’s XTERRA European Tour and falls a week before XTERRA France on July 3, making an attractive two-race in one-week “race-cation” opportunity for amateurs and professionals.

On August 20th, XTERRA Germany will host XTERRA’s one-day European Championship race, which boasts a $25,000 USD elite prize purse. The 2016 XTERRA European Tour concludes on September 4th at XTERRA Denmark.

Amateurs and professionals will count their best four Gold scores and three Silver scores to determine final standings in the XTERRA European Tour. New this year, athletes that race all five Gold events can count their best four scores at the 100-point Gold level and convert their lowest score to the 75-point Silver level.

2016 XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR HYPE VIDEO

Middaugh Bros. to Pen Tips for the Tribe

XTERRA World Champion Josiah Middaugh and his brother Yaro have signed on to write bi-monthly training tips for the XTERRA Tribe in 2016.

Their column, titled the MIDDAUGH COACHING CORNER, will feature a year-long series of training articles talking about everything from race preparation to sport-specific philosophy.

“What we hope to provide is practical training advice that is scientifically sound,” said Middaugh, an 11-time XTERRA National Champion. “There is so much misinformation or just plain bad advice on the Internet, our goal is to be a trusted source with advice that everyone can benefit from to get more out of their training and racing.”

The Middaugh brothers are certainly qualified to be the voice of reason and a source the XTERRA Tribe can trust.

“I have been training and competing in endurance sports since I was 10 and for the past 15 years coached athletes of all ages and abilities based on science and experience,” said the 37-year-old from Eagle-Vail, Colorado.

Josiah has a master’s degree in Kinesiology and has been a certified personal trainer for 15 years (NSCA-CSCS). Yaro also has a master’s degree and has been an active USAT certified coach for a decade.

The first installation of the Middaugh Coaching Corner column will debut in next week’s XTERRA Tribe Newsletter. This week we caught up with the champ for a quick QnA to learn more about his plans for the column, his racing season, and his coaching business…

XT: What’s new now that you’re the XTERRA World Champion?
JM: I tried to get my kids to call me champ but they insist on calling me Dad.

XT: Any changes for you in 2016?
JM: This year I am stepping back from my personal training in the gym to focus on Middaugh Coaching and my racing career.

XT: What will your race schedule look like?
JM: It’s pretty ambitious. While still a work in progress, here’s what I’ve got cooking:

Jan 30, Fat Bike World Championship
Feb 13, Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon
Feb 27, USSSA National Snowshoe Championship
Feb 27, USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championship
Mar 20, XTERRA Costa Rica
Mar 26, XTERRA Argentina
May 1, Whiskey 50 Off-Road MTB Race
May 7, 70.3 St George (probably not)
May 14, XTERRA Tahiti
May 21, XTERRA Oak Mountain
June 11-12, GoPro Mtn Games Ultimate Mountain Challenge
June 17-19, Carson City Off-Road MTB Race
June 25, XTERRA Mine Over Matter
July 4, Firecracker 50 MTB Race
July 16, XTERRA Beaver Creek
July 31, XTERRA Dominican Republic
Aug 6, XTERRA Mexico
Aug 20, XTERRA European Championship
Sep 10, Vail Outlier Mountain bike festival
Sep 17, XTERRA Pan American Championship
Oct 23, XTERRA World Championship
Nov 19, ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship

XT: Silly question, but how do you pronounce your last name?
JM: “Mid-daw” like the awe in awesome : )

XT: About your column, will athletes have to be hardcore to follow your advice?
JM: I think we are all hardcore in some ways, but no, the advice will be applicable to athletes of all levels.  It won’t be just excerpts from my training log.

XT: Are you also taking clients for in-person coaching?

JM: My coaching business is evolving and I now do more long distance training programs through Middaugh Coaching, although I still teach a masters swim group and CompuTrainer classes.

XT: How do you manage long distance training programs?
JM: The platform I use is Training Peaks. It’s individual coaching based on your race schedule, training history, and time available.

XT: What do you share with your clients that I won’t find in your training column?
JM: The difference with the clients I coach is that I am detailing out their training program specific to their life schedule and based on their strengths and weaknesses. I get input and feedback from them and adjust as needed–no template training programs.

Learn more about the Middaugh brothers and their coaching business online at www.middaughcoaching.com.

XTERRA Philippines in Two Weeks

XTERRA Philippines, the first major on the 2016 XTERRA World Tour, is just two weeks away on Sunday, February 7th in the Bicol Region of southeastern Luzon.

“It seems like only yesterday we were crowning a new World Champion and a repeat Champion at Maui but that was three long months ago and we are now set to start another XTERRA World Tour in the province of Albay in the Philippines,” said Dave Nicholas, managing director of the XTERRA World Tour.

“This is our second year racing in the shadow of the perfectly shaped and still active volcano – Mayon.  You can see the volcano from nearly everywhere in Albay and the bike course runs through the local warning areas where Ms Mayon often hurls rocks.  Yes, there is an 8K circle around the volcano that is considered dangerous, as every day the tip spews clouds of steam. We’ve seen lava rocks as big as VW’s.  The entire experience is one that can only be described as the spirit of the Philippines.  Great trails, great hotel, good food, fun and inexpensive shopping and a host of other cool, interesting places to go see.”

Several of the sports biggest stars, including reigning XTERRA Asian Tour Champions Brad Weiss and Jacqui Slack, are headed back to Albay for the experience.

“This will be our 5th appearance at XTERRA Philippines, we just love this place” said Slack, who was engaged to Aussie XTERRA great Ben Allen in the off-season. “Fred, Sunrise events & the Filipino people are so welcoming we can’t say no. Plus, the Mt Mayon Volcano is the most stunning back drop for an XTERRA race.”

Slack, who finished second to two-time XTERRA World Champ Flora Duffy last year in Albay, will be racing against XTERRA Japan Champion Mieko Carey (4th last year), Dimity-Lee Duke (3rd last year), and the up-and-coming Kiwi Lizzie Orchard, among others.

“I’m really excited about XTERRA Albay, first time visiting and racing there,” said Orchard, who collected three runner-up finishes and an impressive 5th place showing at XTERRA Worlds last year. “The course looks great, transition two is setup in some amazing ruins, and the organizing team have been so welcoming and helpful already.”

XTERRA Philippines is the second of six races in the 2015-2016 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour where pros and amateurs count their best three scores (the finale in Malaysia counts double). Carey and Orchard got a head start on the series in Hokkaido, Japan last August where they notched first and second-place points, respectively.

“I really enjoyed the 2015 Asia-Pacific Tour Races I competed in (Jervis Bay and Malaysia), so I’ve decided to race and explore more of the 2016 Tour,” said Orchard. “Pleased to already have some points on the board from XTERRA Japan, and now will be looking to find some more in the Philippines! It would be a dream come true to clock a major win, with three 2nd places last year I’ve gained some belief that one day it could happen. There are so many talented ladies and I’ve learnt that in XTERRA – anything can happen. It will be interesting to see where we are all at a few months after Maui, and it should be fun to see how the Tour progresses.”

Slack said she’ll do her best to defend her tour title by racing the Philippines, XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Australia, and the tour finale in Malaysia.

As for the men’s race, the season-opener renews a great (and friendly) rivalry between Weiss and Allen. In their four head-to-head races in Asia last year Weiss won two (Philippines and Malaysia) and Allen won two (Saipan and Guam).

Allen, who won the 2012 and 2013 XTERRA Philippines titles, said he’s not thinking about that…

“I’m more excited just to get back to the Philippines to spend time with my friends and enjoy everything Albay has to offer.  XTERRA Philippines offers a good hit out leading into the Asia-Pacific Champs.”

Learn more at www.xterraphil.com

XTERRA World Championship Swim Start

XTERRA World Championship Show Debuts This Weekend

The XTERRA World Championship TV show will celebrate its 20th year of showcasing the beauty of Maui to the world with its television broadcast debut airings in the U.S. this weekend.

“It’s always fun to hear from our friends who see the show at this time, especially those poor buggers who have a foot of snow on their doorstep,” said XTERRA President Janet Clark. “We hope seeing the sunshine of Maui and spirit of XTERRA helps warm them up a little bit.

We also hope it gets the whole nation excited to win their region, qualify for Maui, and join us this year!”

New York, New York is first to see the show on MSG Cable at 5:30pm Saturday (with a repeat at Noon on Sunday).   Columbus (OH), Albuquerque (NM), Fresno (CA), Spokane (WA), Idaho Falls (ID), and Des Moines (IA) are among the other markets first to see the show as it starts its national syndication run through the country.

Learn more at www.xterraplanet.com/television
Highlights: https://vimeo.com/144325955

Finally! XTERRA in Belgium

Racers from Belgium have been a force on the XTERRA World Tour for more than a decade, boasting several of the sports fastest racers and biggest personalities, and now for the first time, on June 11, 2016 in Namur, they’ll have a championship race of their own.

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

“I’ve been racing XTERRA for 10 years now and it’s nice to travel, experience the culture, explore new places and make new friends. I love it, but on the other hand I love to share my performances with family and friends too, and now this is my opportunity to do that. Expect I’ll be bringing a big fan base to Namur :)”

Luxem isn’t the only Belgian racer who can’t wait until June…

“I’m really excited,” exclaimed Jim Thijs, who is famous for chronicling his racing adventures on This Is Thijs TV. “I used to train in Namur. They have an amazing downhill track and I used to spend days riding down the track with friends Nico Vink and Kristof Lensens. We got back up by shuttle and with my XTERRA and mtb friends we rode back up using the scenic road up to the Citadelle. Funny, I did my first XTERRA in 2006, as a pro, at XTERRA Italy in Villacidro. And that’s where I live right now. So ironically, I will have to travel in June from the place where I did my first XTERRA to Namur for XTERRA Belgium. And Namur is only a 40min drive from where I used to live.”

Kris Coddens, who won XTERRA Greece and XTERRA Denmark in 2015, said it’s “very nice to me because we have nice parts in our country to mountain bike. I also feel lonely in my discipline from time to time. I hope it will get a little bit more popular this way. Now my friends and family will have an opportunity to see what we actually do.  The area itself at the Citadel of Namur, is a very nice, unique, and historic location (see the pictures). Swimming around an island in a river will be something different. Bike course very hilly, also beautiful but not so technical. I thought about Xonrupt and Zittau while riding it the first time. The run course has a lot of climbing too, not the steepest but quite long climbs. Climbs on the bike and run are never longer than about 300ft elevation gain, but they are there.”

Organizers Denis Detinne and Florian Badoux are XTERRA racers themselves, and put a lot of thought and effort into the idea of XTERRA Belgium before committing to host the event this year.

“We started to discuss hosting an XTERRA in Belgium with Dave Nicholas in Greece,” said Detinne.  “Then we made a marked study interviewing 95 athletes to understand where are they coming from, how many XTERRA do they do per year, how many nights they spent in the country.  We discovered that the main nations participating in XTERRA were coming from France, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and Belgium… all the borders countries. Namur is also very accessible by car, by train, and by air with three Internationals airports connecting all the big cities around the world. XTERRA European Technical Director Nico Lebrun came also to see the route and was very positive, so after that we decided to organize XTERRA Belgium.”

Nicholas, the managing director of the XTERRA World Tour who developed the European Tour from one race to a dozen in the past decade, thinks Belgium is a great addition to the tour.

“We’re really looking forward to the new Belgium race,” he said.  “Nico Lebrun has been there and assisted with getting the trails and infrastructure to work well.  Plus, Denis and Florian are actually XTERRA competitors, so they know what our athletes expect. I have to bet this will be a great course.  Belgium is very centrally located in Europe so most people thinking about making the race can drive there.  For those flying, about an hour and a half from the Brussels airport.  For those who are not familiar – Belgium claims to have the absolute best frites on earth and they challenge Czech for the best beer.  What more do you want?”

Detinne said they chose Namur because “the location is just beautiful to organize such an event. The athletes will ride around the Citadel of Namur which is an historical site from the 17th century. Namur is also the capital of Wallonia and has a large offer of hotels, restaurants, shops, museums… and last but not least we live there so we know all the tracks of the region :)”

Last year Detinne and Badoux did four XTERRA races and qualified for Maui.

“It was a great experience.   We found this sport is amazing.  The combination of the three sport in the nature is very exciting, the people are very open and the atmosphere is friendly. Racing around the world is a kind of small vacation were we can meet people around the world and also doing our sport.”

Thijs says he has “no doubts XTERRA Belgium will be a huge success. The organization is doing a great job on all levels. I’m trying to convince everyone I know to participate. From the age groupers I coach to Ironman champions. And most of them say YES!”

“I also think the after-party will be one to remember,” added Luxem.

See images and watch a great highlight video on the new XTERRA Belgium at www.xterra-belgium.be and on their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/xterrabelgium/

Patrick Smyth

Honors for Trail Run Worlds

The 8th edition of the XTERRA Trail Running World Championship half-marathon staged at Kualoa Ranch on the northeastern shore of Oahu earned some well-earned heavy praise from the two leading running publications in the U.S. in the last two weeks.

Last week Trail Runner Magazine named the annual race to its prestigious bucket list of races “you’ll want to travel for.”

The article said, “The XTERRA Trail Run World Championship seems designed for runners who find themselves craving warm, sunny weather by the time December rolls around each year. The 21K (world-championship course), 10K, 5K, kids’ race and adventure walk take place amidst the dense rainforest, broad valleys, white sand beaches and verdant cliff faces of Kualao Ranch, a working, family-owned cattle ranch on Oahu Island, Hawaii, about an hour outside of Honolulu. As if the lush volcanic greenery and the consistently competitive field weren’t enough to put the XTERRA Worlds on every runner’s bucket list, movie and TV aficionados will delight in running against literally cinematic backdrops: Jurassic Park, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Five-O, LOST and other big- and small-screen hits have filmed scenes at Kualao Ranch.”

Then on Monday Competitor Magazine released its list of “America’s 21 Most Scenic Trail Races,” and Trail Run Worlds was on it. “Run amid dramatic rock formations and dense, tropical foliage with views of the clear, blue ocean and verdant valleys,” the article said.

This year’s XTERRA Trail Run World Championship is scheduled for December 4, 2016 and from now until January 31 registration fees for the 21K are just $50 ($35 for 10K and $25 for 5K and adventure walk).

Learn more at www.xterrakualoa.com.

XTERRA Nationals on TV

The hour-long feature presentation of the XTERRA USA Championship off-road triathlon, held Sept. 16, 2015 in Ogden, Utah, will air in the race venue’s home market on KSL this Sunday, Jan. 17, at 1:30pm.

No doubt women’s race winner Emma Garrard from nearby Park City, Utah, will be tuning in alongside her extended endurance sports family in northern Utah. You can also expect Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, who was the first-ever race director for the Ogden XTERRA race back in 2004, to take in the scenic beauty and exciting race staged in his backyard.

Last year’s USA show was seen by six million viewers and similar viewership numbers are expected for this season’s broadcast.

More than 700 racers from 41 states took part in the grueling challenge that combined a one-mile swim with an 18-mile mountain bike and 7-mile trail run.

Josiah Middaugh won the men’s race for the second time in four years in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 21 seconds, edging New Zealand’s Braden Currie in a thrilling side-by-side battle by just 26-seconds at the line.

The close race between those two, alongside some really great amateur racer interviews, made for one of the most compelling XTERRA race shows in recent memory.

For Garrard the win in Utah was her first on the America Tour after two years and eight straight runner-up finishes.

“This is the first time I’ve ever held the mic,” said an emotional Garrard at the awards ceremony that day. “I’m so happy to be on the top step.  Proud to be up here with these girls who pushed me so hard not just today but for the last 10 years.  It’s great to have my family here, and for XTERRA to be my family too.”

The broadcast in the Salt Lake City market is one of several airings for the show across the nation on Sunday. It can also be seen in the San Francisco market on FOX at 10:30am, and in Idaho Falls, Sioux City, Takima, Madison, Bowling Green, and others.  To see when it’s on in your market visit http://www.xterraplanet.com/television/broadcast-schedule/

South Africa XTERRA Season Starts Now

The 2016 Fedhealth XTERRA South Africa racing season kicks off this month with the much anticipated Fedhealth XTERRA Buffelspoort race in the North West Province on the weekend of January 22-24, followed by an exciting introduction to Port Elizabeth with the Fedhealth XTERRA Nelson Mandela Bay Jan. 29-31.

The 13th annual XTERRA South Africa Championship race follows Feb. 19-21 at the Grabouw Country Club, about 40 minutes outside of Cape Town.

Veteran XTERRA South Africa star Carla Van Huyssteen will kick off her racing season by partaking in all three XTERRA SA events.

“XTERRA is a challenging off road triathlon, this is what attracts me to the sport,” says Van Huyssteen. “The nature of the sport sees the events being held in uniquely beautiful parts of the country. XTERRA SA events can be likened to a well-oiled machine. The organization is very professional, you know that you won’t be disappointed from registration, to on route experience, venue set up and finish.  I cannot wait to see what Stillwater Sports has planned for us at XTERRA Nelson Mandela Bay. The more XTERRA’s the better. It’s a really nice change to once again have an ocean swim at an XTERRA SA event. The stronger swimmers will definitely have a bit of an advantage if they can read the sea conditions well. It is going to be great.”

According to Stellenbosch based trail runner/multi-sport athlete, Antoine van Heerden, in order to thrive at XTERRA one needs to be committed on many levels.  “One major difference is the technical aspect that mountain biking and trail running brings to the sport.  Every XTERRA course is different and will suit a certain athlete more than the other. I enjoy this added dimension that XTERRA racing brings. I enjoy both the mountain bike and run route of XTERRA Buffelspoort. The bike route is fairly flat and fast, with one or two short and steep climbs at the end. The run route crosses under the Buffelspoort dam wall, which is a beautiful sight. I am also excited about the introduction of the Fedhealth XTERRA Nelson Mandela Bay.  I really like the concept of combining all three races to form a series.  It’s a big step for the sport of XTERRA in South Africa.”

Learn more at www.stillwatersports.com or www.Fedhealth.co.za.

2015 T’was the Night Before XTERRA

T’was the Night Before XTERRA

And all around the Ritz;

Some athletes were sleeping,

Others at the end of their wits

 

800 strong were on Maui to race

Tomorrow would go at a furious pace;

Would the surf be crashing or would it flat,

Would the bike be muddy or sticky with tack

 

They dreamed of speeding downhill like Conrad Stoltz

And hoped for no flats or broken bolts;

Could they climb like Ruzafa and drop the field,

Would the technical pieces make them yield

 

The moon on the racks of the big, bold transition

Sparkled and twinkled as the dew made them glisten;

Those looking outside saw a wonderous sight

A kindly old gent was working late at night

 

Then all of Kapalua heard a jolly old laugh,

Old St. Nicholas was there with the XTERRA staff;

“Go to sleep my family, tomorrow is near

Be rested and ready and have no fear”

 

“The surf will be fine, the trails sticky and fast

From 9 o’clock on you’ll be having a blast;

Remember blue is for bike, red is for run

Keep yourself hydrated, go out and have fun”.

 

They were suddenly gone, as quick as a flash

The fields back to pristine not one piece of trash;

But the racers all knew as they yawned with a smile

That the race would be great, mile after mile.

 

This was XTERRA and for the last twenty years

There’d been happiness and joy, and sadness and tears;

Sometimes they won and sometimes they lost

But our racers gave it all, regardless of cost.

 

It made no difference if from lands near or far

They would fight like warriors and then drink at the bar;

It’s our way to Live More, a family that is right

Brothers and Sisters who argue and fight.

 

As they all left their windows and went back to bed

The old mans words echoes inside their head

“tomorrow’s the race we’ll be ready and right

Happy XTERRA to All and to All a Goodnight”.