Kathrin Mueller

Ruzafa, Mueller win XTERRA Germany, ITU Worlds

Ruben Ruzafa and Kathrin Mueller shared the top spot on the podium for the fourth time this season and the second time in as many weeks at the XTERRA Germany Championship / ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Zittau, Germany on Saturday.

The race was the 9th of 11 races in the XTERRA European Tour with just XTERRA England (Aug 24) and XTERRA Denmark (Aug 31) remaining. The victory is Ruzafa’s seventh straight on the Euro Tour this year (eighth straight overall since winning Worlds last year). He had already solidified his 2014 XTERRA European Tour Championship last week at XTERRA Czech as the best six scores out of 11 count.

Saturday’s win is Mueller’s fifth in six races and she leads the XTERRA European Tour in points with 590, however, defending and 2x Euro Tour Champ Helena Erbenova still has a chance should she win back-to-back races at XTERRA England and XTERRA Denmark.

XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas was in Zittau, serving double duty as the head of XTERRA and also the captain for Team USA. Here he tells us about the day…

XTERRA Germany has always been a first-class event. Benno Schwager and his men have grown this event from a fun thing for five buddies many years ago to this year, a world championship.

No expense was spared and the compound, expo area, food vendors, performance stage and huge TV screen made for an exciting experience for everyone.

If you have been following the European Tour you know it has threatened to rain every race. Finally the rain Gods got their way and it poured on and off all day. As with any ITU event, each class had its own race.

Team USA was well represented with 61 participants – the largest contingent outside of Germany. I had the pleasure of being the team manager (or mangler) and am proud to say we did a great job with Hannah Rae Finchamp bringing home gold in the 18-19 division (and she was the 2d woman overall).

Kathy Hudson got us a bronze in 50-54, John Royson a bronze in 60-64, Dave Rakita silver and Alan Moore bronze in 65-69; and the ever faithful G.L. Brown a bronze in 70-74. USA Elite champ Josiah Middaugh brought home silver in the elites and Emma Garrard a 5th in elite women.

Glad to say the podium was full of international XTERRA racers from 31 countries. Gosh, the ITU is getting almost as good as Maui!

Back to the racing. The field was absolutely stacked with Ruben Ruzafa, Conrad Stoltz, Braden Currie, Josiah, Leo Chacon, Michi Weiss, Francois Carloni, Asa Shaw, Kris Coddins, Yeray Luxem and on and on. The women’s field was no less impressive with Kathrin Mueller, Helena Erbenova, Flora Duffy, Erin Densham, Jacqui Slack, Carina Wasle, Renata Bucher, Chantell Widney, Emma Garrard and Suzie Snyder among the better known names.

Officials ruled the swim no wetsuit despite an air temp of mid 50’s (14 C) at best. Temp was 20.3 and the ITU folks held firm. This hurt Josiah as he can stay in contention on the swim with a wetsuit, but in cold water and without one – he was instantly back 1:15 on Ruzafa and 2 minutes from Currie and nearly 2 ½ minutes on Leo Chacon. German road stars Chris Otto and Faris Al-Sultan were in the lead swim pack with Chacon, Brice Daubord, Roger Serrano and Ben Allen. Organizers have made a scaffolding bridge for bikes to cross over the access path to the beach so that citizens coming to enjoy the park don’t need to stop for the race. Poor Ben Allen crashed there two years ago and this year hit something hard and had his rear tire ripped off the wheel and tangle itself around the hub and chain ring. Day over for the Aussie hope.

Ruzafa is simply unstoppable. He pedaled through the field and by the time the men hit the top of the highest hill had a solid lead of about 40 seconds on Chacon with Carloni in 3rd and a furious pack of Conrad, Braden Currie, Michi Weiss and Josiah another 30 seconds back. What was not so great was this pack was hitting the middle of the women’s field and having to pass them; often in difficult spots. These four men came around the feed corner on either side of South Africa’s Susan Sloan, went past her and flew down the fastest downhill still juking left and right trying to find an edge on one another.

Erin Densham and Flora Duffy are super-fast in the water and pulled together to get an edge on German favorite and Euro Tour leader Mueller. They carried about 1:30 coming out of T1 but by the time they got to the top of the hill, Mueller had 30 seconds on Flora, another 30 to Erin, and a minute over Garrard, Widney and Slack.

It was an amazing demonstration of power and skill from Ruben and Kathrin. They did it in horrible conditions – I mentioned the air temp. It had started raining hard during the age group race which went off at 9:30 – then the skies parted and the sun came out. Locals wagged their finger saying “just wait” and soon enough the gray returned with more showers. The trails were smushed from the 400 riders who had gone out early in the day and the elites were simply covered head to toe to the extent it was barely possible to see their uniforms!! Little white dots of eyes in a sea of dripping mud.

“I’ve been riding over 20 years and this was the toughest I ever had” said John Royson. Josiah seconded those thoughts. When asked what his strength was he replied “nothing went really wrong. I got through it without many problems.”

Ruben posted the fastest bike time but Josiah’s was second. Francois Carloni can sure ride a bike and came off in 3rd but our always happy Frenchman has suffered from a broken bone in his foot and was run down by Currie, Weiss, Leo Chacon and Kris Coddens to end up with a great 7th.

Michi Weiss is back and looking very strong. “I wanted to get back to XTERRA and see how fast these guys are” said the Ironman star. “The competition is super strong and I had better bring a better race to Maui if I want to get on the podium”.

Josiah chased hard after Ruben and put in a fabulous 4th fastest time on the run and took back a 1 ½ minutes but it was not enough. Ruzafa still remains The Man and even with that target on his back, he is dominating 2014. The same is true for Kathrin. Once she got the lead, nobody came close. Czech wonder woman Helena Erbenova put in the fastest bike but was, like Middaugh, hampered by the no wetsuit decision. Helena finished 3rd just four minutes out of first and sadly lost over five-minutes on the swim. Flora had a good race but the conditions certainly did not suit her. “I’m really happy with 2nd because it was so, so hard out there” she smiled. “I won’t have to deal with this at Maui”. Emma Garrard out-sprinted Slack in the last K or so for 5th, Canadian Chantell Widney ran her way into 4th.

And so the day ended with lots of Champagne showers to match Mother Nature’s rain showers. A truly great day for XTERRA and the ITU. Next up England and things are looking very solid for the next to last event of the season.

PHOTOS / COMPLETE RESULTS / ITU COVERAGE

Top 10 Men

Pl First Name Last Name Country Time Swim T1 Bike T2 Run
1 Ruben Ruzafa ESP 02:34:33 00:21:14 00:00:42 01:37:11 00:01:15 00:34:11
2 Josiah Middaugh USA 02:35:28 00:22:30 00:00:41 01:38:41 00:01:15 00:32:21
3 Braden Currie NZL 02:37:10 00:20:29 00:00:40 01:41:42 00:01:13 00:33:06
4 Michael Weiss AUT 02:38:28 00:20:44 00:00:57 01:43:21 00:01:24 00:32:02
5 Leonardo Chacon CRC 02:39:00 00:19:08 00:00:41 01:44:24 00:01:17 00:33:30
6 Kris Coddens BEL 02:39:28 00:22:37 00:01:02 01:42:33 00:01:20 00:31:56
7 Francois Carloni FRA 02:39:57 00:21:21 00:00:57 01:40:37 00:01:15 00:35:47
8 Conrad Stoltz RSA 02:40:42 00:20:08 00:00:41 01:43:15 00:01:15 00:35:23
9 Brice Daubord FRA 02:42:30 00:20:14 00:00:40 01:49:07 00:01:14 00:31:15
10 Pavel Andreev RUS 02:42:48 00:21:53 00:00:45 01:45:18 00:01:08 00:33:44

Top 10 Women

Pos First Name Last Name Country Time Swim T1 Bike T2 Run
1 Katrin Müller GER 02:58:35 00:22:01 00:00:41 01:57:52 00:01:11 00:36:50
2 Flora Duffy BER 03:00:53 00:20:25 00:00:42 02:02:02 00:01:15 00:36:29
3 Helena Erbenova CZE 03:02:32 00:25:53 00:01:00 01:57:09 00:01:28 00:37:02
4 Chantell Widney CAN 03:05:00 00:23:17 00:00:53 02:02:39 00:01:18 00:36:53
5 Emma Garrard USA 03:05:36 00:23:13 00:01:01 02:02:06 00:01:36 00:37:40
6 Jacqueline Slack GBR 03:05:46 00:22:47 00:00:54 02:01:47 00:01:28 00:38:50
7 Renata Bucher SUI 03:07:24 00:24:24 00:00:50 01:58:47 00:01:21 00:42:02
8 Suzanne Snyder USA 03:10:02 00:22:46 00:00:55 02:06:04 00:01:25 00:38:52
9 Brigitta Poór HUN 03:11:11 00:23:43 00:01:08 02:05:46 00:01:34 00:39:00
10 Maud Golsteyn NED 03:13:59 00:25:09 00:00:46 02:09:23 00:01:20 00:37:21

Tentative as of 8.17.14

2014 XTERRA European Tour Point Standings

Elite Men

Pl Name ESP POR GRE SUI FRA SWE ITA CZE GER TOT
1 Ruben Ruzafa, ESP 100 100 x 100 100 x 100 100 100 600
2 Braden Currie, NZL x x x 90 90 100 90 75 82 527
3 Francois Carloni, FRA x 90 100 x 31 x 75 x 58 354
4 Yeray Luxem, BEL x 82 x 69 75 69 x x x 295
5 Asa Shaw, GBR x 69 x 75 69 x 69 x x 282
6 Jan Pyott, SUI 75 x x 58 x 63 53 x x 249
7 Will Kelsay, USA 63 63 49 34 x x x 31 x 240
8 Kris Coddens, BEL x x x 82 82 x x x 63 227
9 Ben Allen, AUS x x x x 63 82 x 82 x 227
10 Albert Soley, ESP 90 x 82 49 x x x x x 221

Elite Women

Pl Name ESP POR GRE SUI FRA SWE ITA CZE GER TOT
1 Kathrin Mueller, GER 90 x 100 100 100 x 82 100 100 590
2 Helena Erbenova, CZE 100 x 90 63 x 100 100 82 82 554
3 Carina Wasle, AUT x x x 69 90 90 90 75 41 455
4 Renata Bucher, SUI x x x 75 82 82 75 69 58 441
5 Jacqui Slack, GBR 75 82 x x 58 x x 90 63 368
6 Brigitta Poor, HUH x x 82 x x 75 69 58 49 333
7 Sandra Koblmueller, AUT x 90 x 58 69 x 63 x x 280
8 Maud Golsteyn, NED 82 x x 82 x x x 63 45 272
9 Chantell Widney, CAN x x x 90 75 x x 75 240
10 Louise Fox, GBR x x 75 x x 69 49 45 x 238

Next up: XTERRA England at Vachery Estate on August 24 (registration still open at www.xterraengland.com, then the Euro Tour finale at XTERRA Denmark in Tisvilde on August 31.

2014 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS

The XTERRA Germany Championship was the 30th of 36 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26, 2014.

Date Race Location / Pro Winners
23-Feb XTERRA South Africa Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
8-Mar XTERRA Motatapu Braden Currie / Nicky Samuels
15-Mar XTERRA Philippines Championship Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher
29-Mar XTERRA Guam Championship Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher
29-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica Leonardo Chacon / Shonny Vanlandingham
30-Mar XTERRA Great Ocean Road
Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack
5-Apr XTERRA Saipan Championship Ben Allen / Carina Wasle
12-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship Conrad Stoltz / Barbara Riveros
13-Apr XTERRA West Championship Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy
26-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
3-May XTERRA Malaysia Dan Hugo / Jacqui Slack
17-May XTERRA Southeast Championship Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy
24-May XTERRA Mauritius Sam Gardner / Karyn Southgate
24-May XTERRA Spain Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova
1-Jun XTERRA Portugal Ruben Ruzafa / Coralie Redelsperger
8-Jun XTERRA Brazil Championship Felipe Moletta / Sabrina Gobbo
15-Jun XTERRA East Championship Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
21-Jun XTERRA Greece Francois Carloni / Kathrin Mueller
28-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller
29-Jun XTERRA Norway Dan Hugo / Cecilie Overbye
5-Jul XTERRA Ontario Sean Bechtel / Heather Pady
6-Jul XTERRA France Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller
6-Jul XTERRA Victoria Brent McMahon / Melanie McQuaid
6-Jul XTERRA Freedom Fest Sergio Florian / Laurel Dudley
13-Jul XTERRA Sweden Braden Currie / Helena Erbenova
19-Jul XTERRA Mountain Championship Josiah Middaugh / Chantell Widney
26-Jul XTERRA Italy Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Helene Erbenova
2-Aug XTERRA Mexico Championship Irving Perez / Fabiola Corona
9-Aug XTERRA Czech Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller
16-Aug XTERRA Germany Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller
17-Aug XTERRA Canmore Alberta, Canada
24-Aug XTERRA England Cranleigh, Surrey
31-Aug XTERRA Denmark Tisvilde
31-Aug XTERRA Quebec Lac Delage, Quebec, Canada
7-Sep XTERRA Sleeping Giant Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
20-Sep XTERRA USA Championship Ogden/Snowbasin, UT
26-Oct XTERRA World Championship Maui, Hawaii
Hannah Rae Finchamp

High Hopes for Team USA in Zittau

More than 50 American athletes, reportedly the largest international contingent outside of Germany, are set to race for world titles at the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships tomorrow.

In addition to being the deepest, it also has to be considered the strongest.

Notable Americans include two-time ITU Cross Tri World Champ Kathy Hudson from Texas, and previous ITU winners Hannah Rae Finchamp (as a junior in 2012), Brad Moore, David Rakita, Brent Peacock and Alan Moore.

John Royson, a 4x XTERRA World Champ, will shoot for gold in the 60-64 division while Grayson Keppler, Daniel Molnar, and George Mainas are three of our best overall amateurs in the U.S.

Last night Team USA gathered at the Gondelfahrt Restaurant in Jonsdorf for a team dinner.

“A grand crowd of over 70 athletes and family joined in the fun and red wine, white wine, sparkling water and a choice of Pork Loin, Meat Lasagna or a Vegetarian dinner was on offer,” explained Nicholas.  “From what I heard the Lasagna was fabulous.  I had the pork loin and it was also great.  Team USA ITU Germany pins were handed out to all and even the German Race Director appeared for a beer and to thank the USA for the largest international team.  Old friends sat together, new friends were made.”

Here’s a look at the Team USA amateurs (alpha):
Alexandra Akemann (Northville MI); Brent Bieshaar (Highlands Ranch CO); Rodger Bivens (Tucson AZ); Michelle Blankenship (Durango CO); G L  Brown (Ada MI); Lisa Brummond (Tacoma WA); Matthew Carr (Phoenix AZ); Lori Cooper (Trophy Club TX); Steve Croucher (Vail CO); May-li Cuypers (Largo FL); Brett Edgerle (Kohler WI); Melanie Etherton (Austin TX); Steve Etherton (Austin TX); Scott Ewing (Shalimar FL); Hannah Rae Finchamp (Altadena CA); Jess Griffiths (Park City UT); Jeffrey Grynwald (Little Rock AR); Amy Henning (Appleton WI); Jennifer Higgins (Fort Collins CO); Janelle Holt (Oak Park MI); Joseph Horowitz (San Jose CA); Kathy Hudson (Highland Village TX); Grayson Keppler (Dallas TX); George Lester (Medfield MA); John  Lichtenfeld (Grapevine TX); Stephen Lohr (Dallas TX); Fernando Lopez (Houston TX); George Mainas (Greenbrae CA); Darrel McHugh (Acworth GA); Daniel Molnar (Bismarck ND); Brad Moore (Parsons TN); Alan Moore (Ada MI); Allison Moore (Boise ID);  Michael Nunez (Salt Lake City UT); Ken Ono (Johns Creek GA); Christian Otto (Webster TX); Brent Peacock (Jackson WY); David Rakita (Durango CO); Charlie Redmond (Tenafly NJ); Humberto Rivera (Chula Vista CA); John Royson (Albamy CA); Delania Sather (Albuquerque NM); Jessica Septon (Ogden UT); Dillon Shaffer (Lawton OK); Sharon Peachey Sheremeta (Tucson AZ); Oley Sheremeta (Tucson AZ); Patrick Smock (Liberty Hill TX); Jukka Valkonen (Piedmont CA); Willy Waks (San Francisco CA); Richard Wall (Colorado Springs CO)

swim_workout_beginners

EPC Tips – Swim Technique Workout

Try this big descending workout in the pool for technique work, endurance, and intensity all wrapped into one…

This workout was introduced to me recently at my masters swim group, and it’s become a personal favorite in short time. It’s built around sets of 4x100s with the intervals starting out very long (easy) and gradually descending to faster and faster intervals as you go, until you can go no more. Choose your starting interval to allow you to be able to swim very easily and have 15-20 seconds rest at the wall; this should be roughly 30-40 seconds over your tempo swim pace (say you’re tempo pace is 1:30 per 100, then start this set with a 2:10 interval). From here you will shorten the interval by 0:05 every 4x100s as follows…

4×100 @ 2:10
4×100 @ 2:05
4×100 @ 2:00
4×100 @ 1:55
4×100 @ 1:50
4×100 @ 1:45…

repeat this pattern until you can no longer make the interval time (you know you’re there when you’re basically doing an ‘open turn’, looking at the clock and going into your next 100).

Once you can no longer make the interval, grab your paddles to help you ‘keep up’ and make the next set of 4×100. When you need more help to make the interval, slip your fins on and get in a final round (or two) of 4×100. Your final 4×100 is basically ends up as a straight 400 with everything you’ve got left.  Finish with some warm-down laps.

This is great workout as it starts out super easy and gets progressively harder and harder and harder and harder…

A great strategy to employ through this workout is to use the first few rounds of 4x100s as your easy warm-up and take the time to focus on your technique, by over extending and maximizing distance per stroke. Then as the intervals get a little tighter, focus on being smooth and picking up your stroke rate to achieve your goal time. As the intervals begin to get more challenging to make then you focus on going hard and bringing the power. Once you ‘don the gear’, it’s go-time to swim as hard as you can! This is a great workout to do in a group as well. The slower swimmers can see how long they can hang with the faster swimmers and really use them to help push themselves to new levels of discomfort. If you’re short on time, start the session with a faster interval so you can get into the fast stuff more quickly; if you have the time then start at a slower interval and you can get more yardage in overall. When I do this workout I typically get in 9-10 rounds so around 4000m of swimming. Good stuff!

The ‘Workouts of the Week’ are brought to you by coach, Cody Waite. Racing XTERRA USA and/or World Championships this Fall? Then checkout his XTERRA Championship specific Group Coaching Program for a complete XTERRA specific program leading up to the BIG races!

Conrad Stoltz

Stage is Set in Zittau

Tomorrow is a big day for the sport of off-road triathlon as the XTERRA Germany Championship – doubling as the fourth annual ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship – unfolds in the foothills of the Zittau Mountains.

The event has attracted a stellar elite field, arguably the toughest outside of the XTERRA World Championship.   Consider this … Ruben Ruzafa and Jacqui Slack won at XTERRA Germany last year.  Asa Shaw and Helena Erbenova won on this course in 2012.  Renata Bucher won in Zittau in 2009.   All of them are on the start list, as are the top 13 men and top seven women in the current XTERRA European Tour standings.

There’s more. The top six men from the 2013 XTERRA World Championship (Ruben Ruzafa, Asa Shaw, Ben Allen, Josiah Middaugh, Braden Currie, and Conrad Stoltz) are all ready to go as are six of the top 10 elite women (Flora Duffy, Emma Garrard, Chantell Widney, Helena Erbenova, Jacqui Slack, and Suzie Snyder).

The field also features the top four from ITU Cross Tri Worlds last year – Stoltz, Ruzafa, Brice Daubord, and Kris Coddens and four of the top 5 women – Erbenova, Chantell Widney (3), Bucher (4), and Slack (5).

Leonardo Chacon from Costa Rica – who was brilliant in winning the XTERRA USA Championship last season and took down a tough field in his home country this year  – is on the list and so is Kiwi Braden Currie, who has given Ruzafa all he can handle in Europe and won XTERRA Sweden last month.  South Africa’s Brad Weiss hasn’t won a major yet but he’s been in the top four at a dozen races with stacked fields over the past year.

The men’s start list also includes 2011 XTERRA World Champ Michi Weiss in his first XTERRA race since receiving a two-year suspension from competition by Austria’s NADA; and Ironman star Faris Al-Sultan.

Perhaps the most notably missing from the star-studded line-up for the men is South African Dan Hugo, winner of seven XTERRA World Tour championships this season, and for the women – Nicky Samuels, the defending women’s world champion (and certainly Lesley Paterson who has not raced this season).

Even with all those big names, the story line has to be carried by “The Caveman” Conrad Stoltz and the Spaniard Ruben Ruzafa.

Stoltz has won all three ITU Cross Tri World Titles so far – 2011 in Spain, 2012 in the U.S., and last year in the Netherlands.  He’s XTERRA’s all-time winningest pro with an unprecedented 49 championship titles and four XTERRA World Championships.

Then you have Ruzafa, winner of six straight on the European Tour and the defending (and two-time) XTERRA World Champion.

Team USA looks to reigning XTERRA U.S. Pro Series Champ and 9x National Champ Josiah Middaugh, buoyed by American greats Branden Rakita, Craig Evans, and Will Kelsay.

The women’s elite team is led by Emma Garrard and 2012 National Champ Suzie Snyder.

The focus for the women, however, will be on Flora Duffy from Bermuda.  Duffy has been perfect in 2014, winning XTERRA titles at XTERRA South Africa, the XTERRA West, Southeast, and East Regionals in the U.S., and taking down Samuels at the inaugural XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in New South Wales, Australia.

Duffy hasn’t raced against Europe’s best yet, however, and leading that charge is Kathrin Mueller – the lone elite women’s representative from the host country of Germany.  Mueller has won four majors on the Euro Tour this season, leading Helena Erbenova (three wins this year) who is a two-time Euro Tour and the reigning ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion.

The women’s start list is strengthened by the likes of Aussie Olympian Erin Densham, and European Tour standouts Carina Wasle, Renata Bucher, and Jacqui Slack, Canadian Chantell Widney (recent winner of the XTERRA Mountain Championship), and South Africa’s Carla Van Huysteen.

Rain and thunder is in the forecast for tomorrow’s race … and you can count on the competition being electric.  See complete start lists and find results at: http://www.triathlon.org/events/event/2014_zittau_itu_cross_triathlon_word_championships

XTERRA’s managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas is in Zittau for the XTERRA Germany Championship and also serving as the captain for Team USA’s efforts in the ITU Cross Tri World Championship. 

He filed this report on the eve of the race…

Wow.  The former East German city of Zittau has never seen this kind of spirit.  Hundreds of mountain bikes with thin, fit, uniformed riders bombing around town, zipping in and out of restaurants and shops.

Packet pickup was to open today at 1pm but the crowd was anxious and the tent walls were pulled back about 15 minutes early.  A dozen food vendors with everything from wurst to pizza to soft ice cream and crepes were ready.  Yes, several beer tents were open and doing fine business.

Rain ruined a bit of the day, but by the time the pasta party opened at 5pm followed by the parade of nations and opening ceremony it was cool but not raining.  A swanky VIP party where all the Elite athletes were invited, a fabulous rhythm drum band marched the hall, speeches and the Secretary General of the State of Saxony declared the games open.  One hell of a way to open the 2014 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships and XTERRA Germany and O See Challenge.

The field for both men and women is definitely world championship quality.  Conrad “The Caveman” Stoltz will be looking for his 4th ITU in a row; Ruben Ruzafa has not been defeated since Maui.  Former World Champion and 70.3 star Michi Weiss is here to represent Austria, the man who led Maui for better than half; Leo Chacon is here with his Costa Rican teammate Rom Akerson.  That would make a world class field by itself, but add Ben Allen, Francois Carloni, Kris Coddens, Brice Daubord, Ironman star Faris-Al Sultan, German champion Felix Schumann, Asa Shaw, Jan Kubicek, veteran Rob Barel and Americans Josiah Middaugh, Craig Evans, Will Kelsay, and Branden Rakita – whew – you see what I mean.

It is no less impressive for the women starting with German favorite Kathrin Mueller who has gotten big press this week.  She faces Aussie super star Erin Densham, many time XTERRA winner Helena Erbenova and the super-fast Flora Duffy.  Bring to the start line last year’s winner Jacqui Slack, Canadian Chantell Widney, Carina Wasle, Renata Bucher and Americans Emma Garrard and Suzie Snyder with another bunch like Maud Golsteyn and Carla Van Huysteen and this is a star-studded women’s field.

The course is fast with a fair amount of flat, a lot at the start.  Those quick swimmers could make a deal among themselves and team time trial the first 5K to try and gap the field.  OR, those in the second pack could team up, draft those first few miles and bridge it up to the swimmers.

The weather will play a big part.  It is muddy and wet out there but tonight’s wind could dry it out a bit.  Rain is forecast and if it happens, the technical riders will dominate on the slippery rocks and roots. Age groupers head out at 9:30 with women and then two waves of men.  Our XTERRA Age Group champions are here and I expect them to dominate the medals.

Elite women start at 2:15 and the men at 2:35.  I warned the organizers that the fast men are going to have to weave their way through – but it fell on deaf ears.

No matter what – the rain, the cold, dry or wet, traffic or not – tomorrow will have a series of great battles and the winner will have given his or her all.

Ruben Ruzafa

Ruzafa, Mueller win XTERRA Czech

(Prachatice) – Reigning and two-time XTERRA World Champion Ruben Ruzafa from Spain and Kathrin Mueller from Germany captured the XTERRA Czech Championship race in Prachatice on Saturday.

With the win, his sixth straight this year, Ruzafa also captures the 2014 XTERRA European Tour Championship.  The Tour title is awarded to elites with the best cumulative score in six of 11 championship races and Ruzafa posted the perfect 600 score.  And the 35-year-old from Malaga did it against the best in the sport.

He stormed through the fastest XTERRA men in Europe (Asa Shaw, Francois Carloni, Yeray Luxem), he held off the hard-charging Kiwi Braden Currie of New Zealand, he won against 7x World Champ Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz in Italy two weeks ago, and today he took it to America’s-best, Josiah “Beast Mode” Middaugh.

Ruzafa’s win streak is now at seven straight since winning XTERRA Worlds last October with 2014 championship victories at Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Italy, and Czech.

“Ruben took the lead early in the bike and that was that,” said XTERRA Managing Director Dave Nicholas.  “Ben and Braden were together early out of the swim and when Ruben went by, Braden went with him.  Alexander Haas caught and passed Josiah Middaugh and immediately crashed hard.  I suspect he broke his shoulder.  Josiah and Ben hung together until the second lap of the bike when Ruben just took off.   Josiah came into T2 just under two minutes behind Ruzafa and could not get close on the run.”

Ruzafa won by three minutes over Middaugh, with Ben Allen more than three minutes back of that in third.

Top 5 Men
Ruben Ruzafa, ESP – 2:40:44
Josiah Middaugh, USA – 2:43:53
Ben Allen, AUS – 2:47:25
Braden Currie, NZL – 2:48:24
Jan Kubicek, CZE – 2:54:06

Kathrin Mueller

In the women’s race Kathrin Mueller came out on top for the fourth time this season and increased her lead in the European Tour standings as well.

“Kathrin simply never saw anybody.  She was actually ahead of Ruben and Josiah coming out of the water.  Jacqui Slack had a great swim and stayed in 2d the whole way.  Helena was well back out of the swim, was good on the bike and ran well but couldn’t catch Slack,” said Nicholas.

Top 5 Women
Kathrin Mueller, GER – 3:05:18
Jacqui Slack, GBR – 3:10:23
Helena Erbenova, CZE – 3:12:58
Carina Wasle, AUT – 3:14:40
Renata Bucher, SUI – 3:16:20

With three races remaining in the European Tour Mueller leads Helena Erbenova 572 to 535 in the points standings.  At this stage only Erbenova has a mathematical shot at overtaking Mueller to win the title.

“All in all the XTERRA Czech Championship was a fabulous event,” said Nicholas as he headed to the awards ceremony.  “The course was beautifully marked with lots of vollies, wonderful bands and great food.”

Up next, the XTERRA Germany Championship race in Zittau on Saturday, August 16, which is doubling as the ITU Cross Tri World Championship.  After that XTERRA England and XTERRA Denmark on successive weekends to wrap up the European Tour.

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XTERRA Managing Director Dave “Kahuna” Nicholas was at the race and brings us this report…

A body in motion tends to stay in motion and nobody seems to have a way to stop the motion of Ruben Ruzafa.  Another victory for the young Spaniard and a very convincing win it was.

The pro field was strong with several elites arriving early for next weeks ITU/XTERRA in Germany.  Josiah Middaugh proved to be the quickest of the lot doing both with an excellent 2nd   place.  “I came out of the water right next to Ruben and we left transition together but I had problems with my bike shoe and then had a small crash and could never get back up to him” said the many time USA Champ.

Ben Allen and Braden Currie took the lead immediately but it was not long before Ruzafa caught them.  “Ruben came past and Braden went with him” said Allen.  “Next thing I knew Josiah and Alex Haas were with me.”  Haas made a daring pass on Middaugh on a fast downhill but hit a rock, shredded his front wheel and had a nasty accident.  Last report is a broken shoulder.

Braden hung with Ruben for the entire first lap – both of them coming by me on a tight technical downhill at breathtaking speed.  Ben and Josiah were about a minute back and as close together as the front two.  American Branden Rakita was having a great race alone in 5th followed by 3 time Winter Tri World Champ Pavel Andreev of Russia and Czech Jan Kubicek.

Kathrin Mueller was equally dominant in the women’s race.  Kathrin is a very fast swimmer and she uses this advantage to the max.  Here, she was out of the water and on the bike even before Ruzafa and Middaugh!  She had over 4 minutes advantage on 2 time European champ and Czech favorite Helena Erbenova.  “Oh, I was so bad in the swim, I just could not get going on the bike and then the run was not the best” sighed Helena.  It was not that bad as she finished 3rd.  The great resurgence was for Brit Jacqui Slack.  “I’ve been racing so much this year I just was not motivated” she smiled with her great accent.  “After taking a few weeks off I really felt like racing today and it was fun”.  Indeed it was – Jacqui was the only woman to stay close to Mueller in the swim and followed it with very strong bike and run legs.  I was in the woods watching a neat grassy downhill on the run when it started to rain.  And it rained drops as big as dimes !  People were soaking wet and slipping and sliding down the grass.  Here comes Jacqui seemingly without a care in the world and smiling in the rain as she went past for a well-deserved 2nd place.  Carina Wasle put in another great European race to finish 4th and the ever quick Renata Bucher was 5th after posting the second fastest bike.  But today belonged to Kathrin.  Fastest swim, fastest bike, fastest run.  You simply cannot beat that trifecta.

Back in the mens race, Braden Currie had dropped back and Ruben came past me on his way back to T2 with nobody in sight.  Later Braden told me he had caught a bit of a flu bug after Italy and then the family’s travel plans went a bit sideways and while he had shaken the cold he had not had much chance to train.  Josiah was hanging tough on the bike and was still just over a minute behind Ruzafa  with Ben Allen a very fast 3rd.  Ben was hurt earlier in the year and being a stubborn Aussie he kept racing.  Finally taking some time off to heal, it appears now that he is back on form and on the podium.  Braden was hanging in 4th but looking a bit flat and local Czech hero Jan “Honza” Kubicek had passed Rakita for 5th.  Closing fast was another Czech Vaclav Holub who admits he can’t swim but can ride a bike.

At T2 Middaugh was just under 2 minutes behind Ruben with hopes of catching but it didn’t happen.  “I heard I was within a minute 20 of him but he kept going and I faded a bit” leaving the USA champ just over 3 minutes behind at the finish.  And so it ended with Ruzafa first, Middaugh 2nd, Ben in 3rd, Braden in 4th and a very happy Kubicek in 5th.

The big rain lasted about 15 minutes and the sun returned to this fabulous country village.  Prachatice is a picturesque little village in southern Bohemia that dates back to the 11th century.  The focus of the race is the town square that has a dozen architectural wonders to look at with shops and restaurants.  T2 is here as well as the finish, performance stage and lots of exhibitors.  It is a true Czech festival.

Costs here are very inexpensive.  A great dinner for two with wine or beer is about $20-$25.  Hotels are neat and clean and also a bargain.  The course is tough but fun and the local people are glad to have XTERRA in town.  The after after party is second only to Maui and was packed at 1am when your reporter fled the scene.  If you want a European experience to  include XTERRA you will not find any place that is a better value.  Fabulous steins of Czech beer for $1.50 !!  Great thin crust pizza for $4 !!

Excellent organization where things happen on time, courses are well marked and Michal always puts in some fun sections – this year a great downhill chicane leading to a 4’ drop (most walked it) and an “XTERRA family” atmosphere all week long.  The Czech race is back and among the top 3 anywhere.

2014 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS

The XTERRA Czech Championship was the 29th of 36 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26, 2014.

Date Race Location / Pro Winners
23-Feb XTERRA South Africa Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
8-Mar XTERRA Motatapu Braden Currie / Nicky Samuels
15-Mar XTERRA Philippines Championship Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher
29-Mar XTERRA Guam Championship Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher
29-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica Leonardo Chacon / Shonny Vanlandingham
30-Mar XTERRA Great Ocean Road
Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack
5-Apr XTERRA Saipan Championship Ben Allen / Carina Wasle
12-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship Conrad Stoltz / Barbara Riveros
13-Apr XTERRA West Championship Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy
26-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
3-May XTERRA Malaysia Dan Hugo / Jacqui Slack
17-May XTERRA Southeast Championship Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy
24-May XTERRA Mauritius Sam Gardner / Karyn Southgate
24-May XTERRA Spain Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova
1-Jun XTERRA Portugal Ruben Ruzafa / Coralie Redelsperger
8-Jun XTERRA Brazil Championship Felipe Moletta / Sabrina Gobbo
15-Jun XTERRA East Championship Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
21-Jun XTERRA Greece Francois Carloni / Kathrin Mueller
28-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller
29-Jun XTERRA Norway Dan Hugo / Cecilie Overbye
5-Jul XTERRA Ontario Sean Bechtel / Heather Pady
6-Jul XTERRA France Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller
6-Jul XTERRA Victoria Brent McMahon / Melanie McQuaid
6-Jul XTERRA Freedom Fest Sergio Florian / Laurel Dudley
13-Jul XTERRA Sweden Braden Currie / Helena Erbenova
19-Jul XTERRA Mountain Championship Josiah Middaugh / Chantell Widney
26-Jul XTERRA Italy Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Helene Erbenova
2-Aug XTERRA Mexico Championship Irving Perez / Fabiola Corona
9-Aug XTERRA Czech Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller
16-Aug XTERRA Germany Championship Zittau
17-Aug XTERRA Canmore Alberta, Canada
24-Aug XTERRA England Cranleigh, Surrey
31-Aug XTERRA Denmark Tisvilde
31-Aug XTERRA Quebec Lac Delage, Quebec, Canada
7-Sep XTERRA Sleeping Giant Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
20-Sep XTERRA USA Championship Ogden/Snowbasin, UT
26-Oct XTERRA World Championship Maui, Hawaii
Shonny Vanlandingham courtesy XTERRA Mexico

Perez, Corona win XTERRA Mexico

Irving Perez and Fabiola Corona captured the XTERRA Mexico Championship in Tapalpa last weekend. It’s the first-ever championship race win for Perez and the third (second in a row) for Corona.

More than 600 racers took part in one of the World Tour’s most festive events.

“Great race, great fun,” said Rachel Challis, a pro from New Zealand who finished third on the day.  “Everyone was so nice, we had an amazing time.  And that mountain bike course was crazy, but really fun!”

Corona, who won her first Mexico title in 2010, had a high praise for the new race location in Tapalpa.   “It was great! New place and race venue near last one. The name is Los Reflejos. Incredible view, mountains, forest, excellent weather, valleys with good horses and cows, even wild boars.”

The day started with a two-lap swim that went through two different lakes and featured four exits.  They ruled it a non-wetsuit swim for pros, and that might have made all the difference for two-time Mexico Champ Shonny Vanlandingham (pictured above courtesy XTERRA Mexico).

“I froze!” exclaimed the former World Champ.  “I wore my swim speed suit for entire bike and really didn’t warm up till the run.”

Vanlandingham still finished 2nd and you can read her full account of the day at lunachix.com.

Corona caught swim leader Christine “Big Fish” Jeffrey, who ended up in fourth on the day, on the bike course and never looked back.

“I felt strong on the bike course with my new Fate S-works by Specialized,” said Corona.  “All my family and friends were there so I was pretty motivated. The run was two laps with a river crossing, trails going up and down, it was súper nice. I love this place and course.  Nothing better than having Mariachis at the finish line.”

Challis, who was visiting XTERRA Mexico for the first time, said the whole experience was excellent.

“Even my kids had an absolute blast, playing with match sticks that sparked in the centre square of Tapalpa for hours! The awards party was amazing. I especially like Leo (Moreno), one of the organizers. His smile and welcoming personality would attract anyone to the race.”

Two-time men’s winner and long-time XTERRA racer Francisco Serrano, who placed 3rd overall, said Perez and Sarmiento were just too tough.

“Those guys were pretty fast all-around, I didn’t have the bike legs and altitude kills me very time in there,” said Serrano.  “Great new venue in Tapalpa, and if you weren’t at the after-party – you missed it!”

Photos from XTERRA Mexico

Top 5 Pro Men
1 Irving Perez, MEX 2:22:49
2 Sergio Sarmiento, MEX 2:27:15
3 Francisco Serrano, MEX 2:28:48
4 Pablo Voigt, MEX 2:30:46
5 Fabian Villanueva, MEX 2:33:13
Top 5 Pro Women
1 Fabiola Corona, MEX 2:45:47
2 Shonny Vanlandingham, USA 2:58:50
3 Rachel Challis, NZL 3:00:59
4 Christine Jeffrey, CAN 3:02:55
5 Adriana Garcia, MEX 3:21:31

ALL-TIME XTERRA MEXICO CHAMPIONS
2014 (Tapalpa) Irving Perez, Fabiola Corona
2013 (Tapalpa) Leonardo Chacon, Fabiola Corona
2012 (Tapalpa) Francisco Serrano, Renata Bucher
2011 (Tapalpa) Seth Wealing, Shonny Vanlandingham
2010 (Valle de Bravo) Seth Wealing, Fabiola Corona
2009 (Valle de Bravo) Seth Wealing, Shonny Vanlandingham
2006 (Puerto Vallarta) Francisco Serrano, Jamie Whitmore

EPC Run Repeats

EPC Tips – Power Up Your Run Repeats

Power up your run with these longer hill repeats…

Longer than Vo2 intervals and shorter than typical tempo intervals, these mid-length hill intervals work well in developing running strength and mental fortitude. This is a great ‘base building’ session that prepares you for race specific training later on in your program.

WARM-UP:
5:00 dynamic warm-up
5-10:00 easy run

MAIN SET:
4-6x 6:00 hills at race pace effort, 1:00-2:00 walk/jog recoveries

You can gradually lengthen the work intervals over subsequent weeks, keeping the total work to around 25-40 minutes.

If you don’t have longer hills in your area, you can do these on the treadmill at 6-8% incline.

If you have really big hills in your area, you can do these as you climb a 30+ minute hill, with the walk/jog recovery intervals continuing up the hill before repeating.

WARM-DOWN:
5:00+ easy run
5:00 walk

The ‘Workouts of the Week’ are brought to you by coach, Cody Waite. Racing XTERRA USA and/or World Championships this Fall? Then checkout his XTERRA Championship specific Group Coaching Program for a complete XTERRA specific program leading up to the BIG races!

Tobins

A New Wild Ride on Tap in Idaho

The XTERRA Wild Ride off-road triathlon is featuring a new mountain bike course at beautiful Ponderosa State Park in McCall, Idaho on Aug. 24, 2014.

“The new course is set to be a thrill for all levels!” exclaimed raced director Darren Lightfield.  “Situated one mile high on beautiful, sub-alpine Payette Lake, the XTERRA Wild Ride is exactly like it sounds. On the edge of the largest designated wilderness in the lower 48 states, the City of McCall is a little known resort paradise.”

The XTERRA Wild Ride off-road triathlon has been evolving since 2006 and is known for its rowdy mountain bike segment. Lightfield wanted a new mountain bike course that could be accessed easily for medical extraction.

“I feared the old MTB course, because there was a 7-mile section through rough terrain that could only be reached by helicopter in the event of serious injury incident. This new course routes entirely in Ponderosa Park and is still challenging for every level of rider.”

The route was made possible by volunteer hours from Wild Rockies Racing and Central Idaho Mountain Bike Association in conjunction with Park staff and equipment.

The race itself starts on the sandy shore of  Payette Lake which covers ¾ mile in brisk mountain waters. Typically, most people are in wetsuits, but some hearty souls prefer to go sans suit. Temps are usually in the low 60s and the lake is clean, deep, glacial carved and gorgeous. From there the MTB course departs the visitor’s center to the Northern point of  the park peninsula. Racers will complete two 9.3 mile laps.

“Much of the course is in the shade and parallels the water,” said Lightfield.  “Mostly it’s a super-fast, rolling course, there are some gut shot climbs that will leave you on the gas the whole time.”

To top off the Wild Ride there is a 6.2 mile trail run that follows some of the FIS Masters World Cup XC Championship sections.

“This is the absolute crown of trail runs in Idaho! There are wooden bridges and sections of rocky, root infested, inclines and declines. Plenty of H2o and Aid support out on course are a definite highlight for this bad boy of XTERRA,” said Lightfield.

Long time stalwarts and World Champions of XTERRA, Michael and Jenny Tobin are present every year. They describe this course as National Championship quality and love to throw down whether they are competing as a team or individual. Whenever they are coaching or competing, the Tobins’ make sure to add the Wild Ride as a part of their athletes and their own personal racing program.

The venue is a world class set-up with all amenities on-site. There are fully furnished cabins and yurts for rent, as well as tent and RV camping.

“Reserve your spot early as it fills up 100% in August,” said Lightfield. “There are many hotels and restaurants nearby so plan on staying awhile and checking out this amazing area. Hotel McCall is a must for those who want the stellar balcony views and proximity to the venue. Boise is the nearest regional airport with small commuter planes coming straight to McCall. The drive is approximately 1hr 45min North from Boise on HWY 55.”

In addition, there is an awesome Kids Triathlon starting at about 1:30 pm on Sunday August 24th. The Kids Tri. follows the main event and occurs prior to awards and raffle. Two distances are available for kids under 14 with goodies bags and other prizes for all participants. A portion of the proceeds supports McCall Winter Sports Group, which helps fund the Nordic team and other kids activities! Register now at www.wildrockiesracing.com

Sam Gardner

Party with Sam at XTERRA England

Sam Gardner, a former master’s mountain biking National Champion from Surrey, England – home to the XTERRA England Championship – is playing a pivotal role in this year’s race scheduled for August 24th at Vachery Estate in Cranleigh.

Gardner has done XTERRA races in more than a dozen countries around the world (Spain, Austria, Denmark, Germany, France, Japan, Saipan, Guam, Philippines, Mauritius, Czech, Portugal, and all over the USA) and wants nothing less than a first-class experience for racer’s visiting his home town.

“I really just want to push the party side of it all,” joked Gardner, whose storied XTERRA career started back in 2006 (Note: He became the first Brit to win an XTERRA World Tour major when he claimed the XTERRA Japan Championship crown in 2008.  Since then he went on to capture Japan again in 2009, and also won XTERRA Guam, XTERRA Saipan, XTERRA Philippines, and this year the inaugural XTERRA Mauritius crown).

Gardner has lined up several bands for the post-race party, got deals on great food and beer for participants, and is dialing-in the bike course alongside his crazy cast of friends.  He’ll also be one of the colorful characters on the mic over the weekend.

“But mostly, I want to make sure everyone sticks around on Sunday night for the party,” said Gardner.  “It’s a holiday on Monday and Vachery Estate is allowing campers to stay the night so there’s no excuses.  Have a great race and then let’s celebrate.”

XTERRA England will be the 32nd of 36 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world can qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26.  It’s also the 10th of 11 races in the 2014 XTERRA European Tour.

The main event consists of a 1.5km swim, 30km bike ride, and 10km trail run.  There is also a shorter distance Sprint race on offer (750m swim / 15km bike / 5km trail run) and both races can be contested as part of a relay team.

The race will be held just one week after the XTERRA Germany Championship race which is doubling as the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships, enticing international elites and amateurs to extend their stay and race in both events.  In addition, the XTERRA Denmark Championship will be held a week later in Tisvilde, offering another appealing two-race vacation travel opportunity.

The location for the event is noteworthy; secreted away in the beautiful ancient wooded countryside of the Surrey Hills at a private family home steeped in history.

“It’s a great course in the south of England just about an hour from Heathrow airport and 30 minutes from Gatwick,” explained Nicholas.  “In the heart of Surrey and West Sussex this area is a postcard of England.  Great pubs and B&B’s everywhere, country estates, small villages and even golf courses.  Be prepared for typical British weather.  Not cold but not warm, a bit of rain here and there and the friendliest folks you will find anywhere.  It’s an absolute classic British experience.”

2013 XTERRA England Race Show

Sign-up and learn more at https://xterraengland.com/