Koenig and Wagner Win Again in Florida Series

Even after a four-month break between races, the latest race in the XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series had a familiar finish last weekend.

Eric Koenig and Jessica Wagner were the overall winners of the XTERRA Trout Creek Trail Run at Thonotassa, Florida, on Sunday, March 24. They were also the winners of the previous race back in November.

Koenig, 23, completed the 15-kilometer course in 59 minutes, 51 seconds, and he was the only runner to beat the one hour mark.

“I took the lead a couple hundred meters into the singletrack, before or at about the half-mile mark from the start,” he said. “I kept up the pace, trying to hit low six-minute miles throughout the race and wasn’t keeping track of how far ahead I was.”

Koenig is originally from Colorado, but now resides in Lutz, Florida, as a graduate student at the University of South Florida. He said he has been training for the races by running in the Trout Creek Wilderness area, and that got him used to the varied terrain, humidity, and windy conditions that occurred on race day.

Pedro Meraz from Wesley Chapel, Florida, was second in 1:01:57, and Hector Guzman from Bradenton, Florida, was third in 1:02:21.

Jessica Wagner finished with a time of 1:13:26, and she was the first overall female.

“Incredible day; perfect weather in the 60’s and slightly overcast,” she said. “With the exception of the steep berm at the get-go, the course was a fairly consistent flat trail run, but with nice slalom-like turns so great for a new trail runner and allowed the seasoned to test their speed.”

Wagner, who works as a Senior Membership Director for the YMCA of Central Florida, has won the past two XTERRA Florida Trail Run events by convincing margins.

“I was sure I was in the lead when the wonderful volunteers cheered and told me so,” she said. “As for the gap? I had no idea until I read the results.”

Christina Chabrier from Wesley Chapel was second in 1:17:00, and Cindy Hazel from Tampa was third in 1:18:06. The top three females are all in the 40-44 age group.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS

The XTERRA Trout Creek Trail Run featured close to 300 runners, ranging in age from 7 to 67.

It was the second of three events in the 2012-13 season for the XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series. The final event in the series will be the XTERRA Claw Trail Run at Alafia, Florida, on April 28. To register for a race in the series or learn more about it, please visitwww.tamparaces.com.

Astell, Turner win XTERRA REAL

A trio of past and present XTERRA pros – Brian Astell, Matt Balzer, and Damian Gonzalez, finished 1-2-3, in that order, at the 11th annual XTERRA REAL off-road tri in Granite Bay, California on Saturday.

Brian AstellAstell, famous for winning the XTERRA Halloween Costume contest in Maui when he dressed up as the “naked cowboy” a few years ago, was well back out of the water but strung together the second-best bike split with the fastest run to take the win in 1:43:19, just 20-seconds ahead of Balzer.

In the women’s race three-time XTERRA 30-34 division West Region champ Sian Turner edged the reigning 25-29 XTERRA National Champion Kara LaPoint by a little over a minute.

Impressive performances were had by many in the early-season challenge, highlighted by 44-year-old Dave Cloninger from Bend, Oregon who posted the fastest bike split of the day and finished 5th overall. Also of note, Brent Bieshaar finished the 2nd of 24 XTERRA races on his schedule this season, Jim Meskimen won the 70+ division in 2:42:39 and finished ahead of 25 other racers, MMA stars Nick and Nate Diaz added some star-power to the race, and 16-year-old Jocelyn Vides won her division and placed fourth overall among women.

It was also the first XTERRA for roadie pro Erich Wegscheider, who finished 10th overall and wrote a really colorful (think funny) recap on his blog that is worth a read.

According to long-time race director Bill Driskill from TBF Racing, the race was held under ideal conditions. “We had some of the best weather for the XTERRA Real in the ten years that we have been holding the event. It rained, stormed, thundered and ‘lightninged’ all night, but on race morning it was a cloudy but warm 66-degrees on a course that I heard athletes call “perfect” all day,” said Driskill.

XTERRA REAL has long been one of Cali’s all-time finest and annually draws the best of the West Region age groupers and a handful of pros.

XTERRA REAL

 

Top 3 Men Time
Brian Astell, 32 1:43:19
Matthew Balzer, 32 1:43:39
Damian Gonzalez, 37 1:46:28
Top 3 Women Time
Sian Turner, 32 2:00:28
Kara LaPoint, 27 2:01:38
Debby Sullivan, 32 2:02:35

Complete Results

Mother Nature, Your Toughest Competitor

It’s well documented that in XTERRA, Mother Nature is your toughest competitor.  Look no further than the opening weekend of the XTERRA America Tour to find several stellar examples of this statement.

Hickory KnobIn Rocksprings, Texas it was a warm 86-degrees the afternoon before XTERRA Camp Eagle but during the night a strong front blew in and the temp dropped to 38-degrees with 30mph winds at the start.

“Luckily the spring fed water was still a warm 70-degrees,” said race director Joel Grimmett.

Weather aside, 26-year-old Grayson Keppler upset XTERRA’s Texas age-group legend Kyle Grieser by exactly one minute to win the men’s race while the better-half of the Etherton couple, Melanie, won the women’s race, placing 9th overall.  Etherton has won the SC 35-39 division two years running now, while her husband Steve (a regional champ himself) placed 5th overall and won the 40-44 division on a cold day at Camp Eagle.

XTERRA CAMP EAGLE

TOP 3 MEN  TIME
Grayson Keppler  1:48:39
Kyle Grieser  1:49:39
Jack Cartwright  1:52:02

TOP 3 WOMEN  TIME
Melanie Grote  2:05:24
Rebekah Trevelise  2:33:58
Lucia Colbert   2:45:48

Complete Results

Even colder, and perhaps more aptly described as “downright miserable” conditions, faced the fine folks at XTERRA Hickory Knob in McCormick, South Carolina.  Here’s how race director Andy Kennedy described it…

“The couple of days going into the race were gray, cloudy, and cold….high’s in the upper 40’s. On Friday, we had a sprinkling of rain; on Saturday around 2:00 pm, the skies began to crack a bit more and rain began to fall. The trails were a bit muddy heading into the race with the Saturday rain insuring that the bike ride would at least be a bit more difficult. The park service had been working to remove trees that were down on the trails due to prior storms but when the rains started, were hindered from removing them all. Three trees remained down on race morning making the 14.4 mile bike even a little more challenging.  The rain slacked off a bit Saturday evening giving a little hope of a respite from the ugly weather but that hope was short lived. Around 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning the rain started back….heavier than before. The thunder crept in and lightening streaks were dodging through the sky around 4:30 a.m. I headed out onto the bike trail for a dark run around 5:30 to see what it looked like. The trails had become downhill streams and there was still thunder rumbling in the distance. I kept checking radar and NOAA weather consistently…fingers crossed for a break.

The consistent theme weeks coming into the race was the swim water temperature. It had drifted between 49-53F for a couple of weeks and the freezing rain wasn’t going to help. Earlier I’d reduced the swim from 800m to 500m to cut down on the time of exposure. A couple of days prior to the race, I changed the start time from 7:30 am to 8:45 am, somewhat at the insistence of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and with hopes that the air temperatures would at least be out of the 30’s.  By 8:45 race morning, we had a little break in the weather, the air temperature was 41F-42F, the water temperature was 52F, and all were off! Oh, by the way, to be sure to get the race in with more severe weather approaching, the swim was cut down to 350m….no one objected…imagine that. The 14.4 mile bike and five-mile trail runs were mud baths that sent numerous competitors sliding and tumbling…..but I sure saw a lot of smiles out there!”

Dan Kimball and Marcus Barton from the newly formed Team Centimark-Tailwind tri team suffered the best on the day, finishing 1-2 for the men, with Misty Becerra of Clermont, Florida winning the women’s race.

“By all measure, it was a muddy, nasty, tough, successful race,” said Kennedy.  “All who even toed the start line are to be congratulated. I just told ’em all it’s an XTERRA…suck it up buttercup!”

XTERRA HICKORY KNOB

TOP 3 MEN  TIME
Daniel Kimball  2:18:53
Marcus Barton  2:20:01
Joshua Schaffer  2:20:36

TOP 3 WOMEN  TIME
Misty Becerra  2:56:24
Tanya Houghton  3:00:08
Lila Bowers  3:27:03

Complete Results

At XTERRA Miami they didn’t have much to complain about regarding the weather, except that it was perhaps “too hot” with a high right at 90-degrees.  Diego Corredor and Jen Moos were the ones on fire, winning the men’s and women’s races.

XTERRA MIAMI

Top 3 MEN TIME
Diego Corredor, 33  2:07:21
Rafael Lee, 37  2:10:51
Reinald Garcia, 41  2:11:20

Top 3 WOMEN TIME
Jenn Moos, 30  2:17:20
Beata Wronska, 38  2:30:39
Melissa Scott, 43  2:35:15

Complete Results

Introducing the XTERRA Epic Series

XTERRA racing fans that like to go long will have a series’ all their own this year as four epic-distance off-road triathlons have joined together to form the inaugural XTERRA Epic Series.

The races include the XTERRA Epic – Rustman on May 3 (Ruston, LA), the XTERRA Epic – Marquette on Sept. 13 (Marquette, MI), the XTERRA Epic – ASP on Sept. 27 (Salamanca, NY), and the XTERRA Epic – Iron Mountain on October 18 (Arkadelphia, AR).

All four races will feature a one-mile swim, 30-to-35 mile mountain bike, and 9-to-11 mile trail run.  The Series will be scored in 10-year age groups starting from 18-29, where racers count their best two scores to vie for the 2014 XTERRA Epic Series Championship.

The four events will also award XTERRA Points Series level points into the XTERRA America Tour, with the Rustman counting for the 2014 season while the other three will count towards the 2015 season.

Fred Phillips from DLT Events hosted the first-ever XTERRA “Epic” distance race at Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston, Louisiana back in 2010, and the concept has gained traction since as other race directors expressed interest in hosting long-distance off-road events.

“As other XTERRA organizers have come forward it was only natural to tie the events together and make something our longer distance, endurance-minded athletes could compete in,” said XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas.

One such athlete is Kyle Grieser, a 10-time XTERRA South Central Region Champion from Marble Falls, Texas.  Grieser won three of the past four XTERRA Epic races, including the first two in Ruston and the inaugural Iron Mountain race in Arkansas this past October in a little more than four hours.

“What I like most about the Epic races is you really get a chance to see what you are made of; to see how your body will act when you have to push it longer than normal; to see how well you are really training and if it is paying off,” said Greiser.

Those taking part in the first Epic race this year in Ruston can also race in the XTERRA Gator Terra traditional distance off-road tri the very next day and double-up on points – assuming your body (and equipment) can handle the rigors of 40+ miles of dirt-inspired racing.

“The best advice I can give somebody is to really pace yourself,” said Grieser.  “You also need to have the right nutrition before and during the race.  As far as racing on the same course two days in a row, I really like that Ruston course – its fun and fast with some technical stuff, switchbacks, climbs, and some downhills – so getting on it twice in two days is no big deal.”

The Epic series is another step forward in bringing new and exciting events to the XTERRA family.

Kaytlynn Welsch wins Another Race in Texas Series

The 2013 XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series is fast becoming a showcase for Kaytlynn Welsch. The 12-year-old running phenom won yet another race in the series, placing first overall among all females in the XTERRA Camp Eagle Trail Run.

Kaytlynn WelschThe event was completed on March 23 at Camp Eagle in Rocksprings, Texas.

Christopher Chancey from Austin was the overall winner, completing the 21-kilometer (13.1 miles) course in 1 hour, 27 minutes, 5 seconds.

“I thought the course was great,” said Chancey, 32. “Plenty of rocks, roots, ups and downs with nice scenery. Weather was great as well – low 60s for the start.”

Chancey took the lead 10 minutes into the race, and then ran away from the rest of the field. He finished more than four minutes ahead of the other runners. “It was a small field, but it was also a good group of runners,” said Chancey, who works as a massage therapist. “I love racing no matter how large the field.”

Adrian Slusher from League City, Texas, was second in 1:31:11, and Jeffrey Rosser from Houston was third in 1:37:03.

Welsch placed fourth overall with a time of 1:39:30. It was her second overall female win in as many races in the XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series this year.

“The course was amazing, the scenery was beautiful, and when we went on top of the mountain on the jeep trail, the sight was breathtaking,” said Welsch, who is a seventh grade student at Alvin Junior High School in Alvin, Texas.

If a 12-year-old winning a 21-kilometer trail race was not impressive enough, Welsch rallied to this victory after falling in the first mile of the course. She ran the final 12 miles with cuts and scrapes on her left knee and thigh.

Her father, Rodney, was taking photos along the course, but he did not see her fall. “After she lost her footing, and went down, I am sure there was a struggle dealing with that, after all she is just a little 12 year old girl who had another 12 miles of trail in front of her to run,” he said. “Somehow she didn’t give up,  she found the heart and drive to go on. Regardless of the outcome of the race, she showed me that she’s a winner, and that she is a trail runner.”

The Welsch family made a six-hour drive to get to the race site from their home in Alvin, so Kaytlynn’s performance made the trip worthwhile.

Tracie Akerhielm from Denton, Texas, placed second in 1:43:00, and Jessica Scott from Webster, Texas, was third in 1:47:28.

Kaytlynn’s younger sister, Heather, did not race due to a toe injury. Heather, 10, placed third overall at a couple of Texas races last year.

The XTERRA Camp Eagle Trail Run was the second of seven races in the 2013 XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series. The next event will be XTERRA Bluebonnet Trail Run at Burnet, Texas, on April 20. To register for a race in the Texas Series, or to learn more about it, please visitwww.terrafirmaracing.com or www.xterratrailrun.com.

Arizona Series Closes Season With a Fast Finish

Nick Coury and Rachael Cuellar both had reason to celebrate at the XTERRA Black Canyon Trail Run last weekend.

Nick CouryCoury capped an impressive season in the XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series with his third consecutive victory, and Cuellar celebrated her 31st birthday on the day of the race (March 24) by dominating the women’s division.

Coury, 25, completed the 21-kilometer course in 1 hour, 31 minutes, 49 seconds, which was more than four minutes ahead of the other top runners.

“The course was in great shape,” said Coury, who resides in Phoenix. “The desert is extremely green at this time of the year, and the flowers are just starting to come out, creating a relief from the light browns we’re so accustomed to. The temperature was just edging on warm, but a breeze kept the air cool enough for a good race.”

Coury got in front after the first mile, and then gradually increased his lead over the remainder of the course. Coury is an experienced distance runner with the Aravaipa Running team in Arizona, but he said he rarely gets to run at Black Canyon. The only other time he ran on those trails was at the 2012 XTERRA Black Canyon Trail Run, when he placed second overall.

“Last year was my first and only time on this section of the Black Canyon Trail, but it helped me know what to anticipate,” he said. “The trail is constantly changing.  Last year, the twists and turns left me unsure how to pace for what was ahead.  This year I expected the roller coaster and ran accordingly.”

Coury skipped the first race in the 2012-13 XTERRA Arizona Series, but entered the last three races and placed first overall at all three.

Nathan Rath from Chandler, Arizona, placed second in 1:35:53, and Dan Kuch from Lake Havasu City, Arizona, was third in 1:36:11.

Cuellar was an impressive fourth overall with a time of 1:38:58 – which was nearly 12 minutes faster than the other top females.

Cuellar, her boyfriend Cornelius Puiulet, and their 4-month-old daughter made an eight-hour drive from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to get to the race and visit friends in Arizona. Puiulet placed second overall in the 9-kilometer short course race earlier in the day.

“Everything worked out perfectly,” Cuellar said. “There was a lot of climbing, more than 2,600 feet according to my Garmin watch.  The trail was rocky for most of the course and at the first river crossing we had to run through a bed of river rocks and some sandy sections.  There were a lot of switchbacks going up and down hill.  The scenery was picturesque and worth looking at if you dared to take your eyes off the trail.”

Cuellar said she was not aware of the other females behind her because she was focused on the tricky sections of the trail.

“From the start, I found myself running with the top males,” she said. “I could hear some ladies chatting behind me, but I was too focused on the rocky trail and keeping up with the guys in front of me that I slowly forgot about everyone else. It was nice running with some of the guys; they kept me motivated.”

This was Cuellar’s first time racing in an XTERRA Arizona Series event, although she is no stranger to XTERRA Trail Run success. She placed third overall at the 2011 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship.

Scottsdale runners Paulette Zilmer and Terri Antonio placed second and third, respectively. In the 9K short course, Arthur Lopez and Bree Bielenberg were the top male and female finishers. Bielenberg won all four short course races in the Arizona Series.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS

The entire field of more than 500 runners actually had reason to celebrate also, as it was the finale of a successful 2012-13 Arizona Series. The top runners in each age group from the overall series standings received a free entry to represent Arizona at the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Ogden, Utah, in September.

Here is a list of the 2013 XTERRA Arizona Series champions:

 

Female 15-19 Sierra Robinett Phoenix, AZ
Female 25-29 Angela Axmann Phoenix, AZ
Female 30-34 Kristi Johnson Phoenix, AZ
Female 35-39 Terri Twarkins Paradise Valley, AZ
Female 40-44 Terri Antonio Scottsdale, AZ
Female 45-49 Dawn McKenzie Oro Valley, AZ
Female 50-54 Kelly O’Halloran Waddell, AZ
Female 55-59 Leigh Garvie Spruce Grove, CANADA
Male 15-19 David Buehler Peoria, AZ
Male 20-24 Foster Kleinstiver Goodyear, AZ
Male 25-29 Nick Coury Phoenix, AZ
Male 30-34 Nathan Rath Chandler, AZ
Male 35-39 Dan Kuch Lake Havasu City, AZ
Male 40-44 Jason Ford Gilbert, AZ
Male 45-49 Rob Decot Flagstaff, AZ
Male 50-54 Bob Platt Surprise, AZ
Male 55-59 Bruce Bornhurst La Canada, CA
Male 60-64 Steve Averill Glendale, AZ
Male 65-69 Ron Harding Jr. Chandler, AZ

Allen, Slack win XTERRA Guam Championship

Complete Results / Photo Gallery

Piti, Guam – Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack won the 2nd annual XTERRA Guam Championship race on an absolutely gorgeous tropical blue sky day in the Marianas this morning.

For Allen it marks the second straight season he’s swept XTERRA’s Triple Crown of championship races in the Philippines, Saipan, and Guam during the month of March.

Today’s race was likely his toughest test yet, however, as South Africa’s Dan Hugo came out of the water at the same time as Allen and they stayed neck-and-neck through the entire bike.  Their combined swim and bike times were just two seconds different so it all came down to the run, which Allen crushed in a race best 39:22.  Hugo’s split was second-best at 43:07.

“Today was the last race of the tour and I just laid it all on the line. I was so determined to get this win today, and I think it showed,” said Allen. “Dan is such a high-class athlete, and I have full respect for him. I even look up to him as one of those inspiring XTERRA athletes. It was guys like him and Conrad that were the driving force to inspire me to do races like this.”

For Hugo it’s the last of five big XTERRA races to start the season, noteworthy as a rejuvenating comeback following nearly a year off the circuit due to injuries he suffered when a dog crossed his path while riding at high speed on his road bike last May.

“It’s great to be racing again, but the story today starts and ends with Ben,” said Hugo.  “That was a pretty flawless effort. I can look in the mirror tonight and I’m OK with who I’ll see.  There is disappointment because I wish the body had enough to win.  It would’ve been great to end the trip that way, but Ben raced not just flawlessly, but confidently and positively.  We rode together and he was happy to come to the front, happy to make the plays.  I managed to gap him a few times on some of the technical stuff and I think the Specialized Epic is made for that top section of the course, but he had the strength to close back every time, and on the longer sustained climbs, without seemingly trying he had me on the ropes.”

It’s the first time in this set that the two have raced so closely on the bike, and Allen thinks that might have helped his energy reserves for the run.

“By working together on the bike I think I was able to conserve a bit for the run. In the other races I didn’t know where the guys behind me were so had to push really hard the whole way,” said Allen. “I felt good at the start of the run and just went for it, went as hard as I could from the get go.”

Before Hugo knew it Allen was out of sight, into the legendary jungles that have made this race into one of the true classics on the XTERRA World Tour.

“Amazing as a run is ever going to finish,” explained Hugo.  “If you haven’t seen it, it’s super hard to imagine how incredible this bamboo forest is so I made the conscious decision to sit up and start smiling and soak it in.”

Since winning the XTERRA Warrior award, along with his girlfriend Jacqui, for exemplifying the “Live More” spirit of the sport last year, Allen seems to be on a mission to defend that crown as well.  His positive attitude, friendly demeanor, and pure energy is truly what the healthy, active, outdoors lifestyle is all about.

“I’m fortunate to have had really good athletes to look up to when I was growing up, who taught me that it’s more about the race of life, than racing in sport,” said Allen.  “I’ve learned over the years to focus on my mental ability and trust that the physical ability will take care of itself. For us, Jacqui and I, we have such a unique situation, we get to live and breathe XTERRA every day and we love it.  But, we couldn’t do it without my friends and family back home in Australia. The support I get from them is phenomenal, and my win today – and the one’s before it – goes out to them.”

Behind Allen and Hugo was a great race for third between 24-year-old South African Brad Weiss and three-time XTERRA Guam Champ Sam Gardner from the UK.   Those two, along with Rory Downie from Scotland, rode much of the bike together; and just as Allen took off on the run to peel away from Hugo; so did Weiss to Gardner and Downie.

“I went out really hard, really pushed it on the run because you want to be out of sight by the technical parts,” said Weiss, who also finished third in Saipan.  “Ben and Dan are seasoned athletes, and you have to be realistic with your expectations, and I can’t really expect to beat them.  So, I’m extremely happy with third and to be on the podium twice in two weeks, I’m over the moon.”

Gardner held on for fourth-place, with Downie in fifth, XTERRA Japan Champ Takahiro Ogasawara in sixth and Filipino stand-out Arland Macasieb in seventh.

Up next, Allen heads home to race in XTERRA Australia on April 7, followed by XTERRA New Zealand on the 14th and XTERRA Malaysia on April 28.

“Really looking forward to going home and racing XTERRA Australia in Anglesea.  There are some Olympians coming, with Courtney Atkinson and Erin Densham, it’s in my hometown, my family is coming down to watch, I’m just super excited for that. Then New Zealand, then Malaysia, then over to Europe to start that Tour.  If I had it my way, I’d do ‘em all,” said Allen.

Many of the elites racing in Guam and the Triple Crown will also compete at XTERRA Malaysia, with the likes of Allen, Hugo, Gardner, Ogasawara, Slack, Renata Bucher, Carina Wasle, and Mieko Carey all on the start list.

 

Pl Name Swim Bike Run Time
1 Ben Allen, AUS 19:06 1:24:33 39:22 2:23:01
2 Dan Hugo, RSA 19:12 1:24:29 43:07 2:26:48
3 Bradley Weiss, RSA 20:34 1:29:39 45:53 2:36:06
4 Sam Gardner, GBR 21:54 1:28:13 47:41 2:37:48
5 Rory Downie, GBR 19:11 1:33:07 47:26 2:39:44

Also: Takahiro Ogasawara (JPN), Arland Macasieb (PHI)

SLACK BACK-TO-BACK

Last year Jacqui Slack did the Triple Crown as a test-run to see where she was at and how far she could take the dream of a professional racing lifestyle.  This year, it was about winning and proving she made the right decision to pursue a career in racing.  Mission accomplished.

“I’m really happy with way things have come along,” said Slack, who also won XTERRA Saipan earlier this month.  “I think my mountain bike and running skills have improved heaps.  Last year I came to gain the experience, this year I wanted to come back and see the difference.”

The difference was a wire-to-wire win at the XTERRA Guam Championship that combined the fastest swim, the second-best bike time, and the quickest run split.

“Last year Renata caught me early on in the bike, so every minute that went by and she wasn’t there was major motivation to keep me going,” said Slack.

Bucher, last year’s Guam and Triple Crown champ, did have the fastest bike split by almost a minute but it wasn’t enough to reel in the fast swimming Slack who got more than a two-minute cushion on Bucher coming out of the water.

Bucher, who has won 29 XTERRA Championship races in 12 countries in her career, finished second.

“It’s such great competition here with these women, and without them it wouldn’t be so satisfying,” said Slack, noting that Carina Wasle also has several European Tour wins under her belt.

Wasle finished third on the day, her second podium of the Triple Crown, with Daz Parker in fourth, local resident Mieko Carey in fifth, newbie pro Peri Gray in sixth, and Yasuko Miyazaki in seventh.

 

Pl Name Swim Bike Run Time
1 Jacqui Slack, GBR 21:22 1:41:39 49:43 2:52:44
2 Renata Bucher, SUI 24:04 1:40:44 50:47 2:55:35
3 Carina Wasle, AUT 23:57 1:45:18 51:50 3:01:05
4 Daz Parker, GBR 25:45 1:49:44 51:04 3:06:33
5 Mieko Carey, JPN 22:41 1:55:39 54:39 3:12:59

Also: Peri Gray (AUS), Yasuko Miyazaki (JPN)

AMATEUR RACE

Stefan Laursen from Denmark and Guam local Ayshalynn Perez won the amateur titles today, which was also an important day for many amateurs with dreams of competing at the XTERRA World Championship in Maui as 41 slots were awarded to the fastest racers in each division.

For all involved, today’s XTERRA Guam Championship race was a true celebration of life and friendship.  When the day starts out with a posed XTERRA (Harlem) Shake video and EVERYONE gets involved cheerfully, you know it’s going to be a good day.  No tension, no worries, just good times.  After the race, athletes hung-out, shared stories, drank cold Michelob Ultra’s, and enjoyed the perfect conditions and soothing ocean breeze.

Jamie “J-Dawg” Whitmore continues to inspire, and did the run this year without crutches and still crushed her time from last year’s race. She’s on a path to represent the U.S. at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016 and the entire XTERRA community (and beyond) is joyfully along for the ride.  Local Rick Leone is also an inspiration having come back from being hit by car less than a year ago to tackle Ironman New Zealand, and now XTERRA – an event he also sponsors.  Then there’s race director Eric Tydingco, a one-man show, who rallies a big enthusiastic crowd of volunteers and great sponsors to put on a big time event so Guam will have something to be proud of, an event with athletes coming in from all over the world that showcases the island’s beauty.

2013 XTERRA Triple Crown in the Western Pacific: Thirty racers took part in two or more of XTERRA’s Triple Crown in the Western Pacific events. Sixteen competitors (9 pro, 7 amateurs) from nine countries and the Territory of Guam took part in all three, another 13 did the Marianas Double (Saipan and Guam); Olivier Marceau raced in the Philippines/Saipan combo and Arland Macasieb competed at Philippines and Guam.

Triple Crown racers are Ben Allen (Australia), Dan Hugo (South Africa), Sam Gardner (England), Bradley Weiss (South Africa), Renata Bucher (Switzerland), Rory Downie (Scotland), Jacqui Slack (England), Carina Wasle (Austria), Daz Parker (England), David Desantis (USA – Boston), Hector Yuzon (Philippines), Rafael Zamora (Philippines), Makoto Katayama (Japan), Mark Cruz (Guam), Ayshalynn Perez (Guam), and Erin Johnson (Guam).

Mariana Doublers (XTERRA Saipan and Guam) include Takahiro Ogasawara (Japan), Yasuko Miyazaki (Japan), Mieko Carey (Japan), Peri Gray (Australia), Chuck Fortier (Canada), Richard Santiago (Philippines), Yoshimi Yasue (Japan), Charlie Epperson (Guam), Mark Walters (Guam), Lewie Tenorio (Saipan), Michael Stewart (Guam), Alan Moore (USA – Michigan), and William Escobar (Guam).

Next on the XTERRA World Tour: The XTERRA Guam Championship race was the fifth world tour event to qualify amateur athletes into the XTERRA World Championship to be held in Kapalua, Maui (Hawaii) on October 27, 2013.  Next up, the XTERRA Australia Championship in Anglesea.

Date – Race, Location
Feb 24 –  XTERRA South Africa Championship, Western Cape
Mar 2 – XTERRA Philippines Championship, Cebu
Mar 9 – XTERRA Motatapu, South Island, New Zealand
Mar 9 – XTERRA Saipan Championship, Northern Marianas
Mar 23 – XTERRA Guam Championship, Piti
Apr 7 – XTERRA Great Ocean Road, Anglesea, Victoria, Australia
Apr 13 – XTERRA New Zealand Championship, Rotorua
Apr 28 – XTERRA Malaysia Championhip, Putrajaya
June 2 – XTERRA Spain Championship, Cieza, Murcia
June 15 – XTERRA Greece, Lake Plastira
June 29 – XTERRA Switzerland Championship, Vallee de Joux
July 7 – XTERRA France Championship, Xonrupt, Gerardmer
July 20 – XTERRA Brazil Championship, Ilhabela, SP
July 20 – XTERRA Abruzzo, Lago di Scanno, Italy
Aug 3 – XTERRA Mexico Championship, Tapalpa, Jalisco
Aug 10 – XTERRA Czech Championship, Prachatice
Aug 17 – XTERRA Germany Championship, Zittau
Aug 24 – XTERRA Japan Championship, Marunuma
Sept 8 – XTERRA England, Cranleigh, Surrey
Sept 21 – XTERRA USA Championship, Ogden/Snowbasin, UT
Oct 27 – XTERRA World Championship, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

Triple Crown “Good for the Soul”

Saturday’s XTERRA Guam Championship race is serious business.  At stake is prize money, titles, pictures in magazines, qualifying spots into the XTERRA World Championship, points in the America Tour, bragging rights, and that simple, golden feeling of having all your hard work rewarded.

Daz ParkerYet look around the beautiful beaches of Tumon Bay and all you’ll see here are a bunch of super tan, happy, smiling triathletes.

“I tell people that it is so much more fun and friendlier than the average triathlon,” said Daz Parker from the UK, who originally had planned on just competing at the first race in the Philippines but ended up finding a way to stick around for all four.

“You get to meet amazing people and see such amazing, remote places that you would never know about otherwise.  We’re running through jungles, WW2 caves, waist-deep rivers, in fact through history, it’s a beauty that you can never experience in a normal triathlon.  Before and after the race, it is a big happy family and addictive, as soon as you get here and experience it for yourselves you want to come back again and again.”

XTERRA President Janet Clark was at the second stop of the circuit in Saipan, and said the experience was good for her soul.

“Agreed,” said three-time XTERRA South Africa Champ Dan Hugo.  “The month away, especially time on Saipan and Guam, have been at “island speed” which is a full notch calmer than usual day-to-day back home. Have enjoyed the people that choose this quieter way. People make a place, and we’ve met some terrific characters on this trip. Plenty ocean sunsets, stellar views, and even some snorkeling.”

Jacqui Slack, the XTERRA Saipan and PIC Double champ, said “the races here are not just about the awesome courses. It’s about getting involved with the local lifestyle and inspiring the people.  The young kids on the island are in awe of what we do and it’s very humbling to know we can be roles models and help them accomplish their dreams.”

As for the courses themselves, from the Philippines to Saipan to Guam – they are pure adventure.

“Adventure to say the least!” replied Ben Allen, the king of the Triple Crown two years running now.  “Imagine the toughest, roughest, most grueling race you have done. Now add in heat and humidity and unexpected down pours to make you push and challenge yourself to the limit and beyond.”

“Cebu, Saipan and now Guam – they share a common thread of non-commercialized, homely, raw untamed race routes that are quite out there,” added Hugo.

Slack says it’s exactly that untamed nature of the beast that makes it so rewarding.

“These races are the most extreme triathlons I’ve ever done. It’s not about the fastest swimmer, biker or runner, it’s about the challenge both mentally and physically and how you deal with those challenges.  Everyone comes back with a story, and these are the races you remember for that reason,” said Slack.

Come Saturday the 30+ triathletes from around the world that have taken part in the tropical trio will put their race faces on and give it their best, but trust that for better or worse they’ll be sharing a laugh in the hours, days, and months to follow.

“Anyone who wants a holiday with adventure together with training should think about coming over. Those who love the chance to come out of their comfort zone and experience another culture far removed from their own, with smiling friendly faces should join us,” said Parker.

“Save your pennies and make these races a goal for the season,” added Slack.  “I will guarantee you will have the time of your life. Do your research, speak to one of the pros and plan your trip well.  You will most certainly make friends for life and it will be the best race/holiday experience you’ve ever had.”

ALL-TIME XTERRA GUAM CHAMPIONS

Year  Men  Women
2006  Courtney Cardenas  Jamie Whitmore
2007  Olivier Marceau  Julie Dibens
2008  Andrew Noble  Mieko Carey
2009  Sam Gardner  Julie Dibens
2010  Sam Gardner  Renata Bucher
2011  Sam Gardner  Mieko Carey
2012  Ben Allen  Renata Bucher

The Return of Ruzafa: June 2 at XTERRA Spain

In 2008 Ruben Ruzafa, a 24-year-old from Malaga, Spain, became the youngest and most unexpected XTERRA World Champion in race history.

Ruben RuzafaThe Spanish mountain biking champion had only started swimming a year before, and had never done an XTERRA, but after words of encouragement from fellow countryman Eneko Llanos, a three-time XTERRA World Champion, he gave it a shot.

“I didn’t know I could do so well, but I thought if I didn’t lose too much time on the swim I would be able to catch up on the bike and hopefully hold on during the run,” said Ruzafa after the race.

It turned out he didn’t lose too much time in the swim (just two minutes) and was able to make his way to the front of the pack by mile 14 of the bike.  While race favorite Conrad Stoltz had suffered a flat that ultimately took him out of the hunt, Ruzafa’s race-best bike split and strong run carried him to victory and took the triathlon world by surprise.

Trust he will be overlooked by nobody in his return to XTERRA at the European Tour opener in Cieza, Spain on June 2nd.

Following his retirement from professional mountain biking in the off-season Ruzafa said he would turn his attention to triathlon and XTERRA.

“I am very proud and excited to race XTERRA Spain,” said Ruzafa.  “It is a great start to the season and a good way to become more familiar with the format and also to discover the rest of my rivals.”

Ruzafa will collect a full cast of rivals with his planned XTERRA schedule this year that includes races in his home country of Spain, Germany, plus the U.S. and World Championships.

While Ruzafa has been dedicated to the World Cup mountain biking since winning XTERRA World in 2008, he has dabbled in local triathlons and was the runner-up at the ETU Cross Tri championship in ’09. With a full season of focus on the sport only time will tell just how fast Ruzafa can be.

One thing is certain; the addition of Ruzafa adds even more excitement to the XTERRA Spain Championship.  To learn more about the event and see some truly amazing images of the countryside in Cieza like their Facebook page.