Andaz - Costa Rica

XTERRA Travel Adds Gem in Costa Rica

The award-winning Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort in Costa Rica has been added to the XTERRA Travel consortium, which connects active travelers with idyllic destinations.

Overlooking the serenely beautiful Bay of Culebra, Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, Costa Rica offers a wide variety of activities from stand-up paddle boarding and snorkeling to nearby zip lines, hikes and eco-adventure.

The resort was recently honored with the Prestigious Award of Excellence in the category of “Top Hotel Opening of 2014 in Mexico/Central America/South America” by Luxury Travel Advisor Magazine.

“Each year we proudly recognize the industry’s top luxury suppliers that make clients’ travel experiences so unforgettable,” said Ruthanne Terrero, founding editorial director of Luxury Travel Advisor and vice president of editorial for the Questex Travel Group. “We congratulate Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, Costa Rica for demonstrating outstanding customer service delivery and exceeding client expectations, time and time again.”

The Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, Costa Rica is home to 153 spacious rooms, including 21 suites, all of which are elegantly appointed in locally-inspired luxury. Full service Onda Spa’s nine treatment rooms invite guest to bask in restorative and rejuvenating treatments using local ingredients and practices, while the property’s three distinct restaurants indulge guests in the best flavors of the area with world-class service and style.

Learn more at


XTERRA France This Sunday

It’s about to get real on the XTERRA European Tour. Stop number six of 12 takes the tour to Xonrupt, Gerardmer in northeastern France for one of the World Tour’s most iconic races on Sunday.

The XTERRA France Championship is arguably the toughest and most popular off-road triathlon in Europe. The main event sold out in three months at 1,000 entries, the light race has 900 entries, and there are more than 200 kids racing as well.

Among this massive collection of XTERRA Warriors are 43 elites from a dozen countries, including some of the finest off-road triathletes on the planet. Just look at this list…

RUBEN RUZAFA, ESP – Reigning and 3x World Champ. Hasn’t lost a race since 2013 (11 straight W’s)
KRIS CODDENS, BEL – 2015 XTERRA Greece Champion
BRADLEY WEISS, RSA – 2015 XTERRA Philippines, Reunion, and Asian Tour Title in Malaysia
ARTHUR FORISSIER, FRA – 2015 XTERRA Switzerland Champion
FRANÇOIS CARLONI, FRA – 2014 XTERRA Greece Champion, Ranked No. 2 in Euro Tour standings


The women’s elite field is equally impressive:

KATHRIN MÜLLER, GER – 2015 XTERRA European Tour Champ, 2015 XTERRA Portugal Champ
HELENA ERBENOVA, CZE – 2015 XTERRA Spain & Greece Champ, 2x Euro Tour Champ
CARINA WASLE, AUT – XTERRA Guam and Switzerland Champ
MYRIAM GUILLOT-BOISSET, FRA – XTERRA Asian Tour Championship in Malaysia
BRIGITTA POOR, HUN – XTERRA Malta Champ, Ranked No. 1 in Euro Tour
LOUISE FOX, GBR – Ranked No. 3 in Euro Tour
JESSICA ROBERTS, GBR – Ranked No. 4 in Euro Tour
KARIN HANSEN, SUI – Ranked No. 5 in Euro Tour


Race organizer Paul Charbonnier believes the women’s race will come down to a big battle between two past winners – last year’s champ Kathrin Mueller and two-time winner Helena Erbenova (2012-13). “Each time these women won, they just destroyed the field,” he said.

The spoilers could be Carina Wasle who was super strong in Switzerland last weekend and young Brigitta Poor who is having a breakout season and sits atop the European Tour standings after the first five events.

In talking about the men’s race he wonders, like the rest of the XTERRA Planet, if anyone can catch Ruzafa. “I think the South African Brad Weiss will give him a tough challenge, along with the strong Frenchmen Francois Carloni, Arthur Forissier, and the fast Belgians Yeray Luxem and Kris Coddens.”

Ruzafa won last year’s race in front of Braden Currie and Coddens, but fell to hometown hero Nico Lebrun in 2013.

“That was the last time he lost a race in Europe,” explained Charbonnier. “He was passed by Lebrun in the last 2k of the run course. It’s rare for a rookie to win XTERRA France.”

The signature spot on the XTERRA France course is a huge man-made, twisting-and-turning bike ramp in the middle of the village to the delight of spectators and racers alike. This year they are running the bike course in the opposite director to give all those who have raced it before a whole new experience. Also new this year, Charbonnier is hosting the “XTERRA Eliminator” competition on Saturday before the main event. It’s all on and around the ramp with a mountain bike loop of 800-meters. Four mountain bikers race at a time and the winner advances, thus the name, Eliminator.

We caught up with former XTERRA World Champ Nico Lebrun to hear what he had to say about XTERRA France…

“XTERRA France is the best race of the Euro tour, off course, I’m French,” “With Zittau and Maui those three races are the biggest organizations I’ve seen, and from what I’ve heard we can add South Africa, New Zealand, and soon England to that list.

The Charbonnier Family have a great background organizing triathlons, a really professional staff, an amazing reputation, and they grow this race every year. Last year with the ramp they added something enormous I had never seen in XTERRA before. I won this race twice, and I’m really proud of it, first because it’s always special to win at home, but winning this kind of perfect and big event make it even better. Last year I was on the side, for XTERRA and my Organicoach team, and to see the campground with the huge ramp around a big screen, spectators all around, music and speakers lighting the fire when an athlete was riding it, showing him on the screen it made me speechless! We have to thank Paul and his family to bring XTERRA to this level, and invest in our sport like this!

So just for that this race is already special. Then you have the beautiful Vosges Forest, with the smell of pine, green foam. It’s a tough bike, maybe too much, but people look like they love to suffer, and to have a big challenge even if they are not sure to make the cut off time.

For the elites, I think Ruben will be again the freak of the day with young Forissier full off motivation, Coddens on a race he was strong last year, Carloni rest last week to be fresh on this one, and Fernandez want to show Malta was not an accident. For the women, another battle between Muller and Erbenova with Poor and Wasle stronger than ever and I bet on Guillot for a surprise on this one!”

Follow along on our XTERRA Europe Facebook page for updates as the race nears.

Clips from the 2013 XTERRA France Championship


Forissier, Wasle win XTERRA Switzerland

(Vallee de Joux, Switzerland) – Twenty-year-old Arthur Forissier from France in his first full season as an elite and veteran XTERRA racer Carina Wasle from Austria in her 11th year of racing took home the titles at the XTERRA Switzerland Championship in Vallee de Joux on Saturday afternoon.

“It was a beautiful day,” said XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas.  “The water was just cold enough for wetsuits and the air temp was in the low 70s with a breeze.   The winners were a comeback kid and a brand new kid.  Carina Wasle, in her second race after a big crash in Malaysia, took the win by 30-seconds over the vastly improving Brigitta Poor from Hungary.  Helena Erbenova was third, just under 30-seconds back of Poor.”

For Wasle the victory marks her 11th career championship title, but first on the European Tour since winning XTERRA Czech back in 2009.  She won her first title in her rookie season of 2005 at Germany, would go on to win two more there, plus two in Czech and South Africa, and one each in Brazil, Saipan, Guam, and now Switzerland.

“I was not fully trained last week at XTERRA Greece and could not go fast the whole race,” said Wasle.  “Here I felt good everywhere.”

Despite some rash on her right shoulder from coming off the bike, Wasle caught Poor just before T2 and managed a perfect run to take the tape in 2:29:42.


For the men it was all about the young blood.  Forissier is not an unknown, he was 7th overall and top amateur against a tough field at XTERRA France but was just 32nd in his elite debut at XTERRA Worlds last year (he was 5th in the 15-19 division at Maui in 2013).

“I am so happy,” said Forissier, who said he was really pushing his training for next week’s XTERRA France Championship but clearly had the chops today.  “I was riding close with Luxem and Pyott and started thinking this is so good.  Then Yeray and I saw Roger (Serrano) in the distance and we pushed even harder.”

Forissier headed out onto the run in the lead and posted the second-fastest run of the day to win his first XTERRA major in 2:07:10.

Last week’s XTERRA Greece winner Kris Coddens was close in second-place, just 35 seconds back.

“I had to work very hard this past week as it was the last week of school,” smiled Coddens, who works a full-time job on top of his elite racing schedule. “I just arrived last night so I am very happy with the results.”

“Indeed the tall Belgian posted the fastest run of the day but it was not enough to catch Forissier.  In fact, it was barely enough to hold off a hard charging Roger Serrano.  Roger was passed by Coddens early but reeled him back in on the last uphill,” explained Nicholas.

Coddens said “I had a choice, either run the uphill or save it for the flats.  I knew Roger was there and it was not easy.”

Yeray Luxem was back and rode strong holding second place through the first lap of the run, but faded to finish 4th.  “On the second lap my body said, enough” grimaced Luxem.

Pro Results

Pl Name Time Points
1 Arthur Forissier, FRA 2:07:10 100
2 Kris Coddens, BEL 2:07:45 90
3 Roger Serrano, ESP 2:08:07 82
4 Yeray Luxem, BEL 2:09:01 75
5 Jan Pyott, SUI 2:14:01 69
6 Jan Kubicek, CZE 2:15:44 63
7 Henry Sleight, GBR 2:16:30 58
8 Veit Hönle, GER 2:18:41 53
9 Martial Schmidt, FRA 2:20:13 49
10 Lars van der Eerden, NED 2:29:45 45
Pl Name Time Points
1 Carina Wasle, AUT 2:29:42 100
2 Brigitta Poor, HUN 2:30:13 90
3 Helena Erbenova, CZE 2:30:38 82
4 Maud Golsteyn, NED 2:33:24 75
5 Myriam Guillot, FRA 2:35:14 69
6 Louise Fox, GBR 2:37:46 63
7 Ladina Buss, SUI 2:40:21 58
8 Jessica Roberts, GBR 2:42:29 53
9 Karin Hansen, SUI 2:43:03 49

Photo Gallery


XTERRA Switzterland was the fifth of 12 races in the XTERRA European Tour, and the second of seven Gold level events.  Elite athletes count their best four (4) Gold and three (3) Silver finishes.  Elites can compete in as many events as they wish, but will count only their best four Gold and three Silver finishes. How it Works.

Next up: July 5 – XTERRA France Championship, Xonrupt, Gerardmer*

Updated Standings after 5 events:

Men   S S G S G  
1 Roger Serrano, ESP 67 56 82 67 82 354
2 Francois Carloni, FRA 47 67 75 61 DNS 250
3 Albert Soley, ESP 43 39 90 47 DNS 219
4 Ruben Ruzafa, ESP DNS 75 100 DNS DNS 175
5 Kris Coddens, BEL DNS DNS DNS 75 90 165
6 Jan Pyott, SUI DNS 23 49 DNS 69 141
7 Yeray Luxem, BEL DNS 61 DNS DNS 75 136
8 Nicolas Fernandez, FRA 75 47 DNS DNS DNS 122
9 Henry Sleight, GBR DNS 25 DNS 33 58 116
10 Xavier Riart, ESP 36 DNS 69 DNS DNS 105
11 Tim Van Daele, BEL 25 27 DNS 51 DNS 103
12 Jan Kubicek, CZE 39 DNS DNS DNS 63 102
13 Arthur Forissier, FRA DNS DNS DNS DNS 100 100
14 Fabien Combaluzier, FRA 56 36 DNS DNS DNS 92
15 Tomas Kubek, SVK DNS 43 DNS 39 DNS 82
16 Lars Van der Eerden, NED 21 DNP DNS DNS 45 66
17 Gonzalo Bernal, ESP DNS DNS 63 DNS DNS 63
18 Brice Daubord, FRA 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS 61
19 Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA 30 DNS DNS 30 DNS 60
20 Ruben Salmeron, ESP DNS DNS 58 DNS DNS 58
21 Rory Downie, GBR 33 DNP DNS 25 DNS 58
22 Llewellyn Holmes, GBR DNS 30 DNS 27 DNS 57
23 Tomas Jurkovic, SVK DNS DNS DNS 56 DNS 56
24 Jose Borrino, ESP DNS DNS 53 DNS DNS 53
25 Veit Hönle, GER DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 53
26 Clement Briere, FRA 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS 51
27 Hector Guerra, ESP DNS 51 DNS DNS DNS 51
28 Martial Schmidt, FRA DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 49
29 Juan Gracia, ESP DNS DNS 45 DNS DNS 45
30 Markus Benesch, AUT DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS 43
31 Dominique Fernando, ESP DNS DNS 41 DNS DNS 41
32 Juan Marti, ESP DNS DNS 37 DNS DNS 37
33 Grigoris Souvatzoglou, GRE DNS DNS DNS 36 DNS 36
34 Carlos Martinez, ESP DNS DNS 34 DNS DNS 34
35 Jens Roth, GER DNS 33 DNS DNS DNS 33
36 Sergio Espejo, ESP DNS DNS 31 DNS DNS 31
37 Javier Oliver, ESP DNS DNS 28 DNS DNS 28
38 Arthur Serrieres, FRA 27 DNS DNS DNS DNF 27
39 Nicolas Corentin, BEL DNS DNS DNS 25 DNS 25
40 Matt Dewis, GBR 23 DNS DNS DNS DNS 23
41 Simone Calamai, ITA DNS DNS DNS 23 DNS 23
42 Rob Woestenborghs, BEL DNS 21 DNS DNS DNS 21
43 James Walker, GBR DNS DNS DNS 21 DNS 21
44 Pablo Navarrete, ESP DNS DNS DNP DNS DNS 0
Pl Brigitta Poor, HUN 75 61 90 67 90 383
1 Helena Erbenova, CZE DNS 67 100 75 82 324
2 Louise Fox, GBR 51 51 82 56 63 303
3 Carina Wasle, AUT DNS DNS DNS 61 100 161
4 Jessica Roberts, GBR 47 DNF DNS 51 53 151
5 Karin Hansen, SUI 43 47 DNS DNS 49 139
6 Maud Golsteyn, NED 61 DNS DNS DNS 75 136
7 Morgane Riou, FRA DNS 56 DNS 47 DNS 103
8 Kathrin Mueller, GER DNS 75 DNS DNS DNS 75
9 Myriam Guillot, FRA DNS DNS DNS DNS 69 69
10 Sandra Koblemueller, AUT 67 DNS DNS DNS DNS 67
11 Ladina Buss, SUI DNS DNS DNS DNS 58 58
12 Elisabetta Curridori, ITA 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS 56
13 Sofia Brites, POR DNS 43 DNS DNS DNS 43
14 Deniz Dimaki, GRE DNS DNS DNS 43 DNS 43
15 Danica Spiteri, MLT 39 DNS DNS DNS DNS 39


The XTERRA Switzerland Championship was the 20th of 40 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world qualify for the 20th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Nov. 1.

8-Feb XTERRA Philippines Championship (Brad Weiss / Flora Duffy)
22-Feb XTERRA South Africa Championship (Stuart Marais / Flora Duffy)
7-Mar XTERRA Motatapu (Dougal Allan / Jess Simson & Simone Maier)
28-Mar XTERRA Saipan Championship (Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack)
29-Mar XTERRA Malta (Nicolas Fernandez / Brigitta Poor)
29-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica (Rom Akerson / Lesley Paterson)
11-Apr XTERRA Guam Championship (Ben Allen / Carina Wasle)
11-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship (Braden Currie / Suzie Snyder)
18-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship (Braden Currie / Flora Duffy)
25-Apr XTERRA West Championship (Francisco Serrano / Lesley Paterson)
25-Apr XTERRA Tahiti (Brice Daubord / Sarah Backler)
26-Apr XTERRA Reunion (Brad Weiss / Carla Van Huyssteen)
2-May XTERRA Asian Tour Championship (Brad Weiss / Myriam Guillot)
10-May XTERRA Brazil (Diogo Malagon / Sabrina Gobbo)
16-May XTERRA Southeast Championship (Braden Currie / Lesley Paterson)
16-May XTERRA Portugal (Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller)
7-Jun XTERRA Spain Championship (Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova)
14-Jun XTERRA East Championship (Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder)
20-Jun XTERRA Greece (Kris Coddens / Helena Erbenova)
27-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Championship (Arthur Forissier / Carina Wasle)
27-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter – Canadian Cross Tri Championships, Ontario, Milton, Canada!
4-Jul XTERRA Freedom Fest, Oahu, HI, USA =
5-Jul XTERRA Victoria, B.C., Canada!
5-Jul XTERRA France Championship, Xonrupt, Gerardmer*
11-Jul XTERRA Sweden, Hellasgaarden, Stockholm*
18-Jul XTERRA Mountain Championship, Beaver Creek, CO, USA#
25-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound, McDougall, Ontario, Canada!
26-Jul XTERRA Italy Championship, Abruzzo, Italy*
8-Aug XTERRA Mexico, Tapalpa
8-Aug XTERRA Czech Championship, Prachatice*
15-Aug XTERRA Germany Championship, Zittau*
16-Aug XTERRA Canmore, Alberta, Canada!
22-Aug XTERRA Adventure Fest Maui, Kapalua, HI, USA =
23-Aug XTERRA Quebec – Quebec City, Quebec, Canada!
29-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada!
29-Aug XTERRA Denmark, Tilsvilde*
29-Aug XTERRA Japan, Hokkaido+ (start 2016 Asian Tour)
30-Aug XTERRA England / European Championship, Vachery Estate, Surrey*
13-Sep XTERRA Woolastook, Upper Kingsclear, New Brunswick, Canada
19-Sep XTERRA USA Championship, Ogden/Snowbasin, Utah, USA#
1-Nov XTERRA World Championship, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

* European Tour / + Asian Tour / # America Tour / ! Canada Series / = Hawaii qualifiers

Josiah Middaugh

XTERRA Mountain Championship – Back at Beaver Creek July 18-19

The XTERRA Mountain Championship triathlon and trail runs return to Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, Colorado for the seventh straight year on July 18-19.

Several hundred competitors from across the country will gather at Beaver Creek to take part in the various races. The main event, an off-road triathlon comprised of a one-mile swim in Nottingham Lake, a 16-mile mountain bike and 6-mile trail, awards $15,000 in prize money and attracts some of the world’s best athletes.

As the last of four regional championships in the nationwide XTERRA America Tour that features 70 races in 38 states, the Mountain Championship on Saturday, July 18 awards 50 qualifying slots into the XTERRA World Championship to the top amateur finishers in each age group.

In addition to the main event a half-distance off-road triathlon dubbed the “XTERRA Sprint race”, and 5km, 10km, and 20km trail runs will be offered. The best Paul Mitchell stylists in Colorado will be onsite giving haircuts in exchange for a $15 donation to the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and there are free kids races too.

“Of the plethora of endurance events on this state’s summer sports calendar, perhaps none screams “Colorado” as much as the XTERRA Mountain Championship triathlon,” wrote Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post. “You know, just a quick dip in a mountain lake, a mountain bike ride up a ski hill — with 3,600 feet of climbing — and nearly six miles of running on dirt trails through aspen and pine trees.”

Learn more at

Bear Lake

XTERRA Whitewater / Blackwater on Horizon

There are a couple cool races coming up on the XTERRA America Tour that are as different as black & white.

First up is XTERRA Whitewater, Saturday, July 19, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The U.S. National Whitewater plays host to this one and puts XTERRA triathletes to the test at the world’s premiere outdoor recreation facility.

“The race begins with a 1K flatwater swim split between the Catawba River and our man-made channel, followed by 23K on mountain bike across all difficulty levels of the USNWC trail system, and concluding with an 8K trail run to cross the finish line,” explains race director Brian Mister.

Over 500 acres of maintained woodlands along the Catawba River provide the ideal location for this challenging trail race as well as a weekend getaway for the whole family. Home to the world’s largest man-made recirculating river, the USNWC features over 25 unique activities available to all ages and skill levels, including whitewater rafting and kayaking, flatwater kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, mountain biking, rock climbing, zip lines, and ropes courses.

Learn more at

Next up is XTERRA Blackwater, a first-year race to be staged August 2 in Milton, Florida.

XTERRA age group standout Ben Dillon, who has done dozens of races around the world, saw the need for more opportunities in his home state of Florida and took it upon himself to bring the sport to the Northwest part of the state. Dillon is hosting the event alongside his buddies from SOML Racing (So Others May Live).

“SOML Racing is a non-profit organization consisting of Naval Aviation Rescue Swimmers, our families, and friends,” said Dillon, a rescue swim instructor out of Pensacola. “They’re an organization that strives to be a formidable force in the lives of those who seek to better themselves mentally and physically, as every Navy rescue swimmer knows, “So Others May Live!”

Staged in the beautiful Blackwater River State Forest at the Bear Lake Recreation Area, the race consists of an 800-yard swim, a 13-mile mountain bike and a 3.75-mile trail run.

“This is the first of its kind in NW Florida and the excitement leading up to has been astounding,” exclaimed Dillon.                                                             “This race is really going to challenge your skills and abilities in a rugged outdoor setting.”

More information can be found at

EPC Tips - Power Run

XTERRA Training Programs for National and World Championships

Here we are just about midway through the XTERRA World Tour racing season and hundreds of athletes have qualified themselves for the USA and World Championship races. For those looking to do their very best, and race as fast as they possibly can at one or both of the marquee events; a personally tailored training program is a valuable tool.

“It’s time to get serious with your training and make the most out of your preparation for the big end-of-season championship events,” says professional XTERRA racer and Endurance Performance Coaching head coach Cody Waite, who has once again put together a proven program of key training sessions to get you ready to rip on the XTERRA courses come fall.

“With this program you join our already successful XTERRA Group Coaching programs that have gotten many athletes qualified for these races,” he says. “This program consists of four 4-week training blocks building up to XTERRA USA and the XTERRA World Championships plus a two week travel/taper schedule for Worlds. Along the way athletes receive their specific training plan delivered via Training Peaks along with a downloadable audio recording to explain the key training sessions and goals of each training block. On top of that, email support is included to answer any specific questions athletes have as they follow the program.”

The program officially begins June 29th, allowing for a 12-week build to XTERRA USA Champs, followed by a 6-week build to XTERRA World Champs.  Late registrants are also welcome to jump in at any point along the way.

For more info visit


Poland, Korea to Join XTERRA World Tour

The XTERRA European and Asian Tours are breaking new ground and adding compelling venues to their series of events in 2016.

In Europe, XTERRA Poland ( will debut in August 2016 in the historic town of Tyniec on the western outskirts of Krakow. The race will be staged either before, after or in-between XTERRA Czech and Germany, creating an ideal race vacation block for international travelers.

“There are a lot of great attractions in the area and one could easily spend a week visiting all the tourist and outdoor sights,” said Kris Kowal, one of the event organizers. “Old town is on the UNESCO list, as are the Wileiczka salt mines and Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp.”

Krakow lies on the Vistula River, the largest river in Poland, and on the boundary between Kraków-Częstochowa Upland and the Carpathian Mountains. Its history dates back to the Paleolithic period.

Organizers are hosting a test race this year, on August 23, and have been granted two qualifying slots to XTERRA Worlds for the men’s and women’s overall winners. Learn more at and find a video from their 2014 event.

South Korea will also welcome an officially sanctioned XTERRA championship race in 2016, and like Poland, will host a test event this year.

The XTERRA Korea preview event will take place September 5th at Daeahn Reservoir in Wonju City, Gangwon Province.  The date for the championship race in 2016 has yet to be announced.

“For international athletes from both inside and outside of Korea, we will offer English, German, and Japanese languages at registration, the race briefings, and in the announcements,” said Daeik Kim, Manager of Planning & Marketing at SJ Company in Seoul, Korea. “Competitors will fly into Incheon International Airport, and the race site is about three hours away. If requested we can book an English speaking taxi or express bus.”

Learn more at,, or by emailing


XTERRA Switzerland This Saturday

XTERRA Switzerland on Saturday serves as stop No. 5 of 12 on the 2015 XTERRA European Tour.

Managing director Dave Nicholas and technical director Nico Lebrun were out-and-about in Vallee de Joux on Thursday and bring us this update…

“A beautiful day in the Vaud area of southwest Switzerland,” writes Nicholas. “The Vallee de Joux means the valley of the watches.  Not literally, but that is what this gorgeous area is known for.  The past two days have been wonderful and the farmers are out in force cutting the tall grass to make hay while the sun shines.

The whole compound is looking fabulous.  There is a great work crew and transition is up – the big registration and pasta party tent is up and the bike and run courses are marked.  Perhaps not 100% but it is easy to find your way around.  Laurent Ardiet has improved the Swiss event every year and his experience has made this a truly world class event.

The lake is clear and refreshing at about 19C or 66F.  There is a beautiful white swan who is guarding the swim entrance that simply adds to the allure of the place.

I did the run course today.  It is relatively flat and fast starting in the main compound and running through some nice, tall wild flower fields.  Then along railroad tracks for a bit and then it traverses around the swim lake on a fun, fast, twisty gravel and dirt path.

Nico Lebrun did the bike course and had this to say about the day and conditions on the trails.

“It’s a beautiful area, especially when it’s sunny,” exclaimed Lebrun. “It’s really close to France and it’s a part of the Jura Mountains: maybe the coldest Swiss place in the winter! Known for cross-country skiing and Telemark (the ancestor of skiing)!”

“There are cows everywhere, and a lot of field doors to open and close on the course because of the herds of cows. The Swiss farmers would not be happy if we let the cows escape! On race day, they will all be open.

Here you’ll find beautiful single track trails with flowers, pine forest and lots of wild strawberries. There is a lot of up and down but the climbs are never too long so the race will be very fast. It took Louise Fox 45-minutes to recognize one lap of the 14-kilometer bike course (racers will do two laps). This might be the fastest bike race on the XTERRA European Tour.

The transition area is on a big green lawn, perfect for a triathlon, and only 10-meters from the lake. The water is great about 18°C clear perfect mountain lake.

Now with 12 races on the Euro Tour it’s hard to get all the top athletes in one race, but it’s good to see athletes chasing points, looking who is coming or not, then decide at the last minute to get some big points, because here it’s a gold race.

I saw Helena Erbenova and Carina Wasle, and we believe Brigitta Poor will race as well. In Switzerland we expected to see the Swiss Miss Renata Bucher but she is having knee surgery. Fox is here, and also Karin Hansen in her home country.   Also Jessica Roberts, good to see some new faces following the tour!

“For the men, I will put a Swiss Franc on Kris Coddens again this week,” said Lebrun. “He found the way of victory last weekend and this is again a good race for him. Yes, he will have to fight hard with Roger, who has entered at the last minute in order to get some big points. With a short bike, Roger the fish will stay a long time in front with no Carloni to ride him down. For the podium also Yeray Luxem can be really strong, and maybe thinking I can and want to win one too. Jan Pyott will be on fire at home, and I’m sure he will be not far from the podium if he is not on it. Okay, I’m French, so I will finish my top 5 with Arthur Forissier, a young athlete with a big talent.”

Be sure to visit the XTERRA Europe Facebook page for more updates prior to the race, which starts at 2pm on Saturday.

Conrad and Ned

Two Thousand One: The Caveman Era Begins

The 2001 XTERRA World Championship marked the beginning of the “Caveman Era.”

It was the rookie season for Conrad Stoltz, a year in which he won the first of his record-setting 51 championships, 10 U.S. Pro Series crowns, and four XTERRA World Titles.

There is one scene in the race’s televised broadcast that stands out amongst the rest. It’s of Stoltz, midway through the bike on the first real downhill, fearlessly flying past Eneko Llanos and into the lead. His speed and grace on the sharp, jagged lava rock of a course was unmatched and back in those days there was no pre-riding allowed so it was the first time he’d ever ridden on that terrain.

It was also the first time he was riding his very own mountain bike. In his previous four XTERRA races that season he was on borrowed bikes but just before Worlds two-time XTERRA Champ Ned Overend had the foresight to get Stoltz on a Specialized and in a matching jersey to boot. It was the start of something big.

Stoltz wasn’t the only South African to crush it that day, as the women’s race went to Anke Erlank. And those two didn’t just win, they dominated. Stoltz won by more than eight minutes over Kerry Classen, and Erlank won by more than 10-minutes over Cherie Touchette. To this day, those are the two biggest margins of victory ever posted in Maui.

Two thousand one was also a year of grit, carnage, and mechanicals. The opening montage showed racer after racer bloodied and battered. The narrator describes the event as a “torturous challenge” and a “brutal confrontation between man and nature.”

CBS broadcaster Bill Macatee would go on to explain how racers are “confronting that moment of epiphany that often defines their character. Do I go on and suffer, or do I quit. That, at its core, is the essence of XTERRA,” he says.

There are tears of determination as Kerstin Weule vows to fight through injury to defend her title, tears of resolve as Navy Captain Doug Perry recounts being at the Pentagon on September 11, and tears of prophesy in Melanie McQuaid’s words “there’s always next year.” (McQuaid, of course, would go on to win Maui three times.)

There’s also quite a few humbling moments – Jody Mielke’s bad luck, Mike Vine’s mechanical, Eneko Llanos chain disaster, and even Deadly Nedly trying to get his jersey on at T1 … “Biking is his specialty, dressing, apparently, is not.”

Watch the 2001 show / 2001 Results

2001 XTERRA World Championship from XTERRA TV on Vimeo.