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Last Week in Austin & Myrtle Beach

Last weekend on the XTERRA America Tour Kyle Grieser and Alissa Magrum took home the titles at the XTERRA ATX off-road triathlon in Austin, Texas.

Grieser, a long-time legend in Race Revolutions events, edged Chris Ellis-Ferrara by just 22-seconds to take the tape in 1:49:27. Magrum, who is a relentless proponent for Colin’s Hope – the children’s drowning prevention non-profit she runs – finished nearly seven-minutes ahead Keri Rimiel. Find full results here.

ATX was the second of five races in the XTERRA Texas Series. Next up is XTERRA Muleshoe in Spicewood on June 11.

Over in Myrtle Beach, South Caroline our favorite field reporter Marcus Barton was making his way through some of the new trails on offer to a third-place finish.

Daryl Weaver and Sophie Evans won the race, but for the real story, pictures, maps, quotes from other racers, and a dose of inspiration you’ve got to click this link through to Marcus’ story about the day: https://speedylizard.com/2016/04/28/hulk-got-some-upgrades-xterra-myrtle-beach/

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Family Fun at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champs

By Lauren Hall

Tough races like the XTERRA Asia-Pacific off-road triathlons and trail runs that took place last weekend in New South Wales, Australia take a lot of time, money, sweat, and tears to get ready for, and not many people commit to such a challenge … let alone a whole family.

While feeling accomplished at the end of the race is something we all look forward to, being able to share the joy of racing with the ones we love makes the experience all that much sweeter.

Just ask Jenny Hart, who finished 3rd in her division in Saturday’s tri then got to watch her boys Hamish, Lachlan, and Ethan (ages 10-to-14) finish first, third, and fifth overall in the 5-kilometer trail run the next day.

Although she says there are a lot of inspiring people in this world, Jenny sees her boys as her greatest inspiration.

“They inspire me to go out there and try, for age is just a number,” she said.

In return, Jenny hopes that by participating in these races she will show her boys that “anything can be achieved when you put your mind to it.”

She seems to have made an impact because since she started doing triathlons, her boys have competed in events where there are options to do so. Her two older ones have developed a love for triathlons, and hopes to one-day race at the XTERRA World Championship in Maui. Jenny said she loves watching her boys race, and “it’s fantastic to have them at the finish line too.”

Jenny is a primary school teacher that works with a number of schools in her area to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for her students in K-2 in more socioeconomic disadvantaged small schools.

She heard about XTERRA from her friends that raced pro at last year’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship, and when she won the prize drawing of a free entry while participating at Elite Energy’s Husky Long Course tri she decided to jump in feet first and do the championship race.

“XTERRA races seem to becoming a lot more popular with more people signing up for these races,” she said. “I thought it would be fun to do and something a bit different.”

In order to get ready for their family XTERRA race outing, Jenny continued her normal triathlon training while adding some mountain bikes rides in the mix. Her boys attending swim practice with a club team and have been also mixing in mountain bike rides with their mom. Jenny said that 12-year-old son’s cross country training has played an important part in Hamish’s training. Going into the race, they had no expectations. Jenny stated she “just wanted to go out there and have fun.”

One thing that worried her entering the race was the 30km mountain bike course. She worried the course might be too technical to start doing at her age. Jenny went for it anyways, and ended up finishing the XTERRA race with a time of 3:48:14 coming in 3rd in her 50-54 age group.

“Determination and perseverance are qualities that that can be transferred across all facets of our lives.”

Jenny hopes that through competing in the XTERRA Asia Pacific Championship triathlon race as she turns 50 will inspire not only her family, but others to have fun with life and do what makes them happy.

Through traveling as a family, they have made friends from all over the world and seen many beautiful new places. Jenny and her family encourages you and yours to take on the XTERRA race challenge so you too can be exposed to “the world of possibilities.”

Braden Currie

Currie, Orchard win XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship

Photo Gallery / Complete Results

(Jervis Bay, NSW) – Braden Currie and Lizzie Orchard captured the 3rd annual XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race on an unseasonably cool and windy day at Callala Beach in New South Wales, Australia this afternoon.

It’s the ninth XTERRA win of Currie’s career and for the second year in a row he won XTERRA New Zealand and the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship races on back-to-back weekends.

“For me it’s the end of five years of solid racing, and I’m just so stoked to finish on a good race,” said Currie.  “You know that feeling of being smooth and consistent the whole race and finishing with a good result, when you race professionally it doesn’t get much sweeter than that.”

For everyone, the day started with an eye-opening walk down the beach to find big waves, red weed, white caps, wicked wind, crazy currents, and downright blustery conditions at Callala Beach.  It was so rough getting in-and-out of the water race officials changed the swim course from two-laps with a beach-run in the middle to just one-lap that went with the current.

Even the pros had a hard time sighting buoys and swimming in straight lines.

APAC Swim

XTERRA’s surf-life saving guru Ben Allen used the rough sea conditions to his advantage and led everyone out of the water, followed close behind by Courtney Atkinson.  Impressively, Braden Currie and Sam Osborne came out together less than one-minute behind those two and quickly caught and passed Atkinson and joined a line of three with Allen into the Aussie bush.

“It was a challenging, tough course,” said Currie.  “That swim was amazing.  Probably good for us Kiwis because we can’t swim like Courtney can.  It was so rough he couldn’t see where he was going so we could just follow his feet and keep in close contact with him.  I knew coming out of the water it was going to be a good day if we were that close to him.”

By the midway point on the bike it was a three-man race with Currie and Allen trading leads and Osborne never far behind.

“That bike was absolutely unreal, Braden was drilling it,” said Osborne, who also finished 2nd behind Currie at XTERRA New Zealand last weekend.  “I was looking at that back wheel of his and just thinking don’t let it go, that’s my ticket to the front.  He was going so fast.”

Allen hit the run in second but Osborne wasn’t far behind, and moved into second somewhere around the 3K mark.

“The swim was alright,” said Allen, who finished in third and top Aussie to win the XTERRA Australia title.  “Towards the end of that run the legs were cramping up, I think the effort of laying it down on the bike with Braden caught up with me. I just tried to hang on as long as I could to Sam.  Full credit to Braden, he’s a phenomenal athlete, and Sammy too.”

Brad Weiss and Olly Shaw were fourth and fifth out of T2, but Atkinson in sixth posted the fastest run of the day (35:16) to leap-frog past both of them for fourth.

“It’s one of those bike courses where you warm up on it and you think it’s not so bad but then when you start riding it hard every single little step-up and hill kills your legs,” said Atkinson.  “These guys make it look easy, riding around in the mud.  It’s a bloody fun day.  I come out here to have a lot of fun, and try my hardest to keep the deficit as best I can but today Braden and these boys were absolutely flying and caught me very early on.  I wasn’t even in the race so I really want to know what happened up in the front.”

Up front Currie was showing what kind of a fast, tough athlete he is.  Remember he was the runner-up to Josiah Middaugh at XTERRA Worlds last year, and in doing that he became the only other guy along with Middaugh to upset Ruben Ruzafa in two years of racing off-road.  No doubt the Kiwi is looking forward to another crack at the Spaniard and American.

For Bradley Weiss, who held on to 5th by just eight seconds over Shaw, it was a disappointing day.

“I lost too much time on the swim,” said the South African who won the first four races he did this year. “I saw when I was running up to transition that Braden and Sam were together, and knew that Ben and Courtney were together in front of them, and there is a lot of drafting chances on this course and I ended up all by myself.  I caught Courtney eventually, but he’s become a much better mountain biker through the years so it wasn’t easy.  I’m disappointed in 5th, but the guys up ahead definitely deserved it today.”

After the race Atkinson, a two-time Olympian, told the crowd … “I’d like to congratulate everyone out here today.  It’s difficult for me, and for all the on-road triathletes that gave it their first shot off-road today I want to congratulate them.  It’s fun, but it’s a challenge.  I think we’ll continue to get people crossing over and tying this.  People tick off Ironman, tick off Olympic distance and all the rest of them, this is your next challenge.”

For Ben Allen, who worked so hard to help XTERRA establish roots in Australia, seeing the big field of international racers and the great vibe in Callala today made him choke-up a little.

“I’m absolutely stoked XTERRA is here, it’s been a dream come true for me to get XTERRA on the forefront of triathlon within Australia and this event, this day is just awesome,” he said.

ELITE MEN

Pl Name (Bib #) Time Swim Bike Run
1 Braden CURRIE (1) 2:11:46 0:16:57 1:15:49 0:35:31
2 Sam OSBORNE (12) 2:13:38 0:16:57 1:18:05 0:35:14
3 Ben ALLEN (4) 2:14:47 0:16:06 1:17:56 0:37:12
4 Courtney ATKINSON (2) 2:16:30 0:16:12 1:22:06 0:34:38
5 Bradley WEISS (15) 2:17:04 0:18:06 1:18:16 0:36:55
6 Olly SHAW (3) 2:17:12 0:18:45 1:18:16 0:36:13
7 Aiden DUNSTER (8) 2:23:10 0:18:39 1:20:16 0:40:12
8 Kieran MCPHERSON (6) 2:24:03 0:18:31 1:21:58 0:39:32
9 Brodie GARDNER (5) 2:25:06 0:18:35 1:23:43 0:38:39
10 Cameron PAUL (13) 2:25:35 0:18:43 1:21:54 0:41:02
Also: Alex Roberts, Noah Wright, Jason Hsieh, Barry Lee, Kaon Cho

Lizzie Orchard

ORCHARD GOES 3-FOR-3 IN 2016

Lizzie Orchard isn’t a surprise winner anymore.  Last year she finished an amazing 5th in a stacked field at the XTERRA World Championship.  To start this season she won her first XTERRA major in the Philippines, and just last weekend she won the XTERRA New Zealand Championship.  Today, she solidified all those results with her third win of the year to take a commanding lead in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour standings.

“I can’t believe it. I’m still me, it’s just me,” smiled Orchard, an XTERRA Tribe favorite for her big smile and friendly demeanor.  “I really like the hot races, and it wasn’t that hot today so I’m very pleased to have a good go today.”

From the very beginning of today’s women’s elite race it looked like the title belonged to Jacqui Slack, who lives and trains with her fiancée Benny Allen just up the road in Wollongong for much of the year.

Slack had the best swim of the day by more than one-minute, and took a minute lead on to the run.  Behind her Renata Bucher (who had the fastest bike split of the day, 1:32:20), Lizzie Orchard, and Carina Wasle started chasing.

“There were three or four of us within 40 seconds or so,” said Orchard.  “With the long beach section of the run we could all see each other.  It was a technical run, and Carina was about 50-meters behind me the whole way.”

After passing Bucher on the sand early in the run, it took Orchard and Wasle until about the 7K mark to catch up to Slack.

“We slowly, sloooowly caught Jacqui,” said Orchard, who had the fastest run of the day (41:14) to take the tape in 2:36:42, just 27-seconds ahead of Wasle (who won at XTERRA Reunion last weekend).

Slack came in third, gutted not to have won it.

“I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to win a race so much,” said Slack.  “I did everything I could do, I had the best race I could’ve had, the other girls were just stronger today.  I held them off as long as I could but they just had that bit on me at the end.  They’re both great runners and great athletes, and raced really well.”

Bucher held off a hard-charging Jessica Simpson on the run by just two seconds to finish in fourth, with Simpson taking home the XTERRA Australia title for the second year in a row as the top Aussie.

“I’m super proud of Lizzie,” said Bucher, who recruited her to be on her Aloha Racing Team. “She’s an amazing athlete, and a great person as well.  She smiles all the time, and really has a great Aloha spirit.”

ELITE WOMEN

Pl Name (Bib #) Time Swim Bike Run
1 Elizabeth ORCHARD (32) 2:36:42 0:20:01 1:31:34 0:40:41
2 Carina WASLE (33) 2:37:09 0:20:55 1:30:34 0:40:54
3 Jacqui SLACK (31) 2:37:40 0:18:37 1:31:33 0:43:16
4 Renata BUCHER (35) 2:41:05 0:22:24 1:28:23 0:45:32
5 Jessica SIMPSON (34) 2:41:07 0:19:46 1:33:31 0:43:19
6 Catherine STERLING (39) 2:45:45 0:19:03 1:38:04 0:43:14
7 Sarah BACKLER (36) 2:47:06 0:22:26 1:35:54 0:44:03
8 Penny HOSKEN (37) 2:51:26 0:20:45 1:38:24 0:47:04
9 Holly KHAN (38) 2:58:40 0:22:14 1:41:15 0:49:29

CURRIE, ORCHARD WIN XTERRA ANZ DOUBLE

Braden Currie and Lizzie Orchard won the elite XTERRA ANZ Double titles and Hayden  Wilde and Josie Sinclair won the amateur ANZ titles for posting the fastest combined times at XTERRA New Zealand and the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship.

WILDE, SLATER WIN AMATEUR TITLES

Hayden Wilde, the 18-year-old phenom from Whakatane, New Zealand who won the 15-19 division XTERRA World Championship last year, captured the overall men’s amateur title in Callala while Penny Slater was the fastest female amateur on the day.

Here’s a look at all the 2016 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Age Group Champions:

WOMEN
Division Name Hometown Time
15-19 Brooke Crossland Erowal Bay, NSW 3:40:35
20-24 Penny Slater Wamboin, NSW 3:04:01
30-34 Becky Mates Willoughby, NSW 3:19:12
35-39 Virginie Bernard France 2:57:57
40-44 Megan Arthur Hamilton, New Zealand 3:13:03
45-49 Catherine Ballantyne Sydney, NSW 3:07:28
50-54 Jenny Henville Loftus, NSW 3:25:46
55-59 Josie Sinclair Auckland, New Zealand 3:14:06
65-69 Lynne Pattle Auckland, New Zealand 3:38:32
MEN
Division Name Hometown Time
15-19 Hayden Wilde Whakatane, New Zealand 2:21:55
20-24 Taylor Charlton Manly West, QLD 2:35:19
25-29 Tim Fitzpatrick Echuca, VIC 2:39:36
30-34 Nicholas Moore Gold Coast, QLD 2:34:41
35-39 Matt Backler Taurange, New Zealand 2:26:49
40-44 Tod Horton Burleigh Heads, QLD 2:41:13
45-49 Simon Manson North Curl, NSW 2:33:27
50-54 Peter Walker Chatswood, NSW 2:48:51
55-59 Andrew Rutty Figtree, NSW 2:55:40
60-64 Richard Jeffrey Bingie, NSW 2:56:10
65-69 Alan Pattle Auckland, New Zealand 3:25:41
70-74 Ry Lichtwark Rotorua, New Zealand 3:30:45

MONTGOMERY, BERNARD WIN XTERRA WETSUITS SWIM PRIME

Tom Montgomery and Virginie Bernard each took home a brand new wetsuit from XTERRA Wetsuits Australia for posting the fastest amateur swim splits of the day, 15:29 and 20:59, respectively.

WEISS, ORCHARD LEAD XTERRA ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR STANDINGS

After five of the six races in the 2015-2016 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Bradley Weiss and Lizzie Orchard sit atop the elite standings.

Just one race remains, an important one that counts double points at XTERRA Malaysia in Langkawi on May 7.  Both Weiss and Orchard, and host of other pros, will be at the tour finale in Malaysia to chase the crown.

PL NAME JPN PHI SAI NZL AUS TOT
1 Bradley Weiss, RSA DNS 100 DNS 82 69 251
2 Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN 82 75 90 DNS DNS 247
3 Brodie Gardner, AUS DNS 82 100 DNS 49 231
4 Braden Currie, NZL DNS DNS DNS 100 100 200
5 Sam Osborne, NZL DNS DNS DNS 90 90 180
6 Kaon Cho, KOR 53 DNS 75 49 x28 177
7 Courtney Atkinson, AUS 100 DNS DNS DNS 75 175
8 Ben Allen, AUS DNS 90 DNS DNS 82 172
9 Charlie Epperson, USA 75 69 DNS DNS DNS 144
10 Olly Shaw, NZL DNS DNS DNS 75 63 138
11 Joe Miller, PHI DNS 53 82 DNS DNS 135
12 Kieran McPherson, NZL DNS DNS DNS 69 53 122
13 Cameron Oneal, USA 63 58 DNS DNS DNS 121
14 Cameron Paul, NZL DNS DNS DNS 63 45 108
15 Alex Roberts, NZL DNS DNS DNS 58 41 99
16 Jason Hsieh , HKG 58 DNS DNS DNS 34 92
17 Cedric Lassonde, FRA 90 DNS DNS DNS DNS 90
18 Barry Lee, MAS DNS 49 DNS DNS 31 80
19 Taro Shirato, JPN 69 DNS DNS DNS DNS 69
20 Michal Bucek, SVK DNS 63 DNS DNS DNS 63
21 Aiden Dunster, NZL DNS DNS DNS DNS 58 58
22 Lachlan Davey, NZL DNS DNS DNS 53 DNS 53
23 Kiley Momohara, NZL DNS DNS DNS 45 DNS 45
24 Noah Wright, USA DNS DNS DNS DNS 37 37
PL NAME JPN PHI SAI NZL AUS TOT
1 Lizzie Orchard, NZL x90 100 DNS 100 100 300
2 Mieko Carey, USA 100 82 90 DNS DNS 272
3 Carina Wasle, AUT DNS DNS 100 DNS 90 190
4 Jacqui Slack, GBR DNS 90 DNS DNS 82 172
5 Renata Bucher, SUI DNS DNS 82 DNS 75 157
6 Sarah Backler, NZL DNS DNS DNS 90 58 148
7 Rachel Challis, NZL DNS DNS DNS 82 DNS 82
8 Belinda Hadden, AUS DNS DNS 75 DNS DNS 75
9 Mary Gray, NZL DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS 75
10 Jessica Simpson, AUS DNS DNS DNS DNS 69 69
11 Catherine Sterling, USA DNS DNS DNS DNS 63 63
12 Penny Hosken, AUS DNS DNS DNS DNS 53 53
13 Holly Khan, AUS DNS DNS DNS DNS 49 49

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.  Presenting sponsors include John Paul Mitchell Systems, the world’s largest privately owned professional salon hair care company, Outrigger Resorts – one of the largest and fastest growing privately-held leisure lodging, retail and hospitality companies in the Asia-Pacific and Oceania regions, 220 Triathlon Australia/NZ, the Forestry Corporation of NSW, and XTERRA Wetsuits & Boards Australia – the official swim sponsor.

ABOUT TEAM UNLIMITED

TEAM Unlimited, founded in 1988, is the Hawaii-based television, events, and marketing company that brought off-road triathlon and trail running to the world under the brand name XTERRA.  From a one-off race held on the most remote island chain in the world XTERRA evolved into an endurance sports lifestyle with worldwide appeal. Over the past 20 years XTERRA transcended its status as ‘just a race’ to become a bona-fide way of life for thousands of intrepid athletes as well as an emerging brand in the outdoor industry.  In 2016 XTERRA will offer more than 200 off-road triathlons and trail running events in 30+ countries worldwide and produce 10 adventure television shows for international distribution.  Online at xterraplanet.com / xterracontent.com.

ABOUT ELITE ENERGY

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race is produced by TEAM Unlimited LLC in conjunction with Elite Energy Events.  Elite Energy is a sports and athlete management-marketing firm, dedicated to lifestyle sports development, creating new standards in competition, format, equipment and competitor satisfaction. Established in 1999, Elite Energy manages mass participation sporting, music and entertainment events where their company has produced many of Australia’s leading multisport events. Elite Energy is one of Australia’s premier event management specialists.  Their mission is to “make events memorable”. Quality is a vital component in the development of their events and their goal is to satisfy the needs of sponsors, competitors, the triathlon industry and the public in a safe, healthy and memorable atmosphere.  Mark “Emo” Emerton, the founder and CEO of Elite Energy, served as the logistics manager for the Triathlon, Marathon, Race Walks, and Road Cycling events of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.  Learn more atwww.EliteEnergy.com.au

2016 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship was the 11th of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 21st annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Oct 23.

DATE WORLD TOUR EVENT LOCATION or WINNERS
7-Feb XTERRA Philippines Brad Weiss/Lizzie Orchard
21-Feb XTERRA South Africa Brad Weiss/Flora Duffy
5-Mar XTERRA Motatapu Olly Shaw/Mary Gray
12-Mar XTERRA Saipan Brodie Gardner/Carina Wasle
20-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica Karl Shaw/Myriam Guillot-Boisset
26-Mar XTERRA Argentina Josiah Middaugh/Myriam Guillot-Boisset
3-Apr XTERRA Malta Roger Serrano/Brigitta Poor
16-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Braden Currie/Lizzie Orchard
17-Apr XTERRA La Reunion Ruben Ruzafa/Carina Wasle
23-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Braden Currie/Lizzie Orchard
7-May XTERRA Malaysia Langkawi
7-May XTERRA Brazil Ilhabela, São Paulo
7-May XTERRA Greece Vouliagmeni
14-May XTERRA Tahiti Papeete
21-May XTERRA Oak Mountain State Park Pelham, Shelby County, AL, USA
21-May XTERRA Portugal Golega
11-Jun XTERRA Belgium Namur
25-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Vallee de Joux
25-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter Milton, Ontario, Canada
3-Jul XTERRA France Xonrupt
10-Jul XTERRA Victoria Victoria, B.C., Canada
16-Jul XTERRA Beaver Creek Beaver Creek, CO, USA
23-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound Ontario, Canada
31-Jul XTERRA Italy Lago Di Scanno
31-Jul XTERRA Dominican Republic Barahona
6-Aug XTERRA Mexico Tapalpa
7-Aug XTERRA Poland Krakow
13-Aug XTERRA Sweden Hellsgaarten, Stockholm
14-Aug XTERRA Canmore Canmore, Alberta, Canada
20-Aug XTERRA Germany – XTERRA European Championship Zittau
27-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
27-Aug XTERRA Korea Daeahn Reservoir, Wonju City
3-Sep  XTERRA Japan Hokkaido
4-Sep XTERRA Denmark Mons Klint
4-Sep XTERRA Quebec Quebec City, Quebec
11-Sep XTERRA Woolastook New Brunswick, Canada
17-Sep XTERRA USA / Pan Am Championship Ogden, Utah, USA
23-Oct XTERRA World Championship Kapalua, Maui
Ruzafa Reunion

Ruzafa, Wasle win XTERRA Reunion

Three-time XTERRA World Champion Rubun Ruzafa from Spain and Carina Wasle from Austria captured the 2nd annual XTERRA Reunion off-road triathlon on Sunday.

Ruzafa has now won 15 of his last 16 XTERRA majors and is 19-of-23 for his career.

Francois Carloni and Yeray Luxem finished 2nd and 3rd, and the “Caveman” Conrad Stoltz finished 9th in his first race since retiring.

“To me, “Retirement” does not mean “stay on the couch forever”, it means “train for fun and race for fun” – which meant I finished 20 minutes (9th place) behind winner Ruben Ruzafa,” posted Stoltz to his Facebook page. “Much fun was had. Stunning course, magical island and people.”

In the women’s race Wasle and South African Carla Van Huyssteen went back-and-forth all day until the Austrian pulled away at the end.

XTERRA REUNION PHOTOS // RESULTS

Brayden Currie, winner of  Paymark Xterra, Rotorua, New Zealand, 16 April 2016. Photo by John Cowpland / Marathon Photos

Currie, Orchard win XTERRA New Zealand

Photos / Complete Results / Quick Highlight Video

Braden Currie defended his title and Lizzie Orchard got her first big win in her home country at the 14th annual XTERRA New Zealand Championship on a beautiful day at the Blue Lake in Roturua on Saturday.

XTERRA media liaison Jordyn McLean was on-site to capture all the action and brings us this report (photos courtesy John Cowpland)…

Top Kiwi multisport athlete Braden Currie has defended his pro title at the Paymark XTERRA Rotorua Festival, crossing the line ahead of Rotorua’s Sam Osborne and South Africa’s Bradley Weiss at the Blue Lake today.

The 29-year old from Wanaka was neck and neck with Osborne out of the swim and into the mountain bike, but he managed to pull away towards the end of the bike leg.

“Yea me and Sam swim pretty similar and we ride pretty similar on the flat stuff and I just managed to get away on the big hill. It was great to go into transition with a little bit of a lead cause I knew we would have been real close in the run too,” said Currie. “I’m stoked with the win though. It was always going to be a hard day, I knew Sam was in real good condition and I knew how badly he wanted to win so it was never going to be easy. It was just fun to have a really good race and enjoy it.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Currie though.

“I had an epic crash and I’m really starting to feel it now. I was just sitting on Sam’s wheel and just scored a wrong line and went straight over the bars at full speed and slipped down the bank on my shoulder and head. I came to a stop and collected my bike and lost all my gels. In a way it was good because it made me refocus.”

Currie will head to the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championships next weekend in New South Wales, before taking a break to decide what he’ll do next.

Local athlete Osborne had a frustrating swim, but kept the pressure on Currie for the majority of the race.

“I didn’t have the best start in the swim, I actually had to swim back on which was a bit annoying. Braden and I were literally just battling it out the whole bike, but coming into the big climb he just let rip at the bottom of it and I just couldn’t go with his initial surge. It came down to a running race and I think I just burnt too many matches on the bike,” said Osborne.

Osborne had plenty of praise for the new layout of the course at the Paymark XTERRA Rotorua Festival.

“I think this course is a winner. Braden and I both think this would be the perfect World Champs course. It’s good, consistent riding and it’s technical enough that when you ride fast it is actually hard, but not ridiculous either.”

Whakatane teenager Hayden Wilde produced a remarkable result in the long course race, finishing in fourth place.

“I had one of the best swims I’ve ever had, and I came out with the likes of Olly Shaw and then from there I started a good bike, but about 5km into it I got a puncture. I had to stop and put CO2 in it and I lost about 2 minutes. Once I got going again I managed to pass guys who had passed me and then I passed a few others and then gunned it on the run,” said Wilde.  “I was stoked with the result but gutted to have got the puncture, but I guess it’s good to know where I am at. I’m going to the Asia-Pacific Champs next weekend and it will be my first elite race so I’m looking forward to it.”

Pro Men  
Pl Name Final
1 Braden Currie, NZL 2:05:42
2 Sam Osborne, NZL 2:07:23
3 Bradley Weiss, RSA 2:11:33
4 Olly Shaw, NZL 2:11:50
5 Kieran McPherson, NZL 2:17:27
6 Cameron Paul, NZL 2:20:03
7 Alex Roberts, NZL 2:28:08
8 Lachlan Davey, NZL 2:37:35
9 Kaon Cho, KOR 2:53:20
10 Kiley Momohara, NZL 3:25:11
Liz Orchard

Liz Orchard, womens winner, Paymark Xterra, Rotorua, New Zealand, 16 April 2016. Photo by John Cowpland / Marathon Photos

In the women’s pro race, Lizzie Orchard improved on her second place finish last year to take out the 2016 title. The 30-year old defeated Sarah Backler who finished second and Rachel Challis in third.

Orchard was delighted with the victory and says it was a long time coming.

“I’m super pleased to have won XTERRA in Rotorua. It’s the home town race and you always want to do well here. I’ve actually been coming here for over 10 years, starting as a teenager before eventually trying the full triathlon. It’s always great, loads of support and so many people cheering you on.”

Orchard made her charge in the run, after coming into transition off the mountain bike in third place.

“I don’t think I have ever come out of a bike ride in a triathlon in the lead, so I am used to being on the back foot and I enjoy running so it’s good to have your strength last. It’s also good to have the others a little bit worried sometimes, they know you are coming.”

Pro Women  
Pl Name Final
1 Lizzie Orchard, NZL 2:39:10
2 Sarah Backler, NZL 2:39:37
3 Rachel Challis, NZL 2:41:04
4 Mary Gray, NZL 2:41:38

Rio Olympics hopeful and National mountain bike champion Sam Gaze took out the 26km mountain bike race in a time of 1:07:50. He’s in good stead heading into next week’s World Cup event in Cairns.

“It went well out there. It was a great course, it was definitely a bit different from the other times I’ve done it but it was quite cool. I just came along with Dad just to enjoy it and test myself for the World Cup next week and everything looks pretty good for it.”

The Waikato rider has had two Olympic qualification races so far this year, one went well while the other didn’t got to plan because of health issues. But he’ll find out whether he makes the Rio Games after the third World Cup event in France around the 20th of May.

2,300 participants took part in the 14th edition of the Paymark XTERRA Rotorua Festival. As well as the XTERRA short and long course races, athletes could choose to walk or run a 5.5km, 11km or 21km distance, and the 26km mountain bike.

Event spokesperson Tony Sangster says they received great feedback on the new bike layout.

“The athletes loved the new bike course and we have seen some great performances. The people have enjoyed themselves. Having an event where you have the opportunity to go to two World Championships is fantastic as well. A lot of athletes are trying to get to Maui (XTERRA World Championships) and Lake Crackenback in Australia (ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships). This Rotorua event is great and it caters for all ages and abilities.”

XTERRA NEW ZEALAND ALL-TIME WINNERS
Year Men Women
2003 Sam Mallard Evelyn Willamson
2004 Hamish Carter Sonia Foote
2005 Hamish Carter Sonia Foote
2006 Hamish Carter Gina Ferguson
2007 Tim Wilding Gina Ferguson
2008 Terenzo Bozzone Sonia Foote
2009 Richard Ussher Nicola Leary
2010 Scott Thorne Nicola Leary
2011 Richard Ussher Karen Hanlen
2012 Ben Allen Jacqui Slack
2013 Ben Allen Renata Bucher
2014 Conrad Stoltz Barbara Riveros
2015 Braden Currie Suzie Snyder
2016 Braden Currie Lizzie Orchard

Up Next: The 3rd annual XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in NSW, Australia on Saturday, April 23

OGASAWARA, ORCHARD LEAD APAC TOUR STANDINGS

After four races Takahiro Ogasawara still sits atop the men’s standings and with the win today Lizzie Orchard moves to the top of the women’s elite standings in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour points series.

With two races remain (and they count three) it’s about to get interesting with the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship next Saturday at Callala Beach in New South Wales, Australia, then the finale at XTERRA Malaysia in Langkawi on May 7.  (See the press guide for the Asia-Pacific Champs here).

The top 15 amateur, Asian-elite, and professional racers at each event earn series points, with double points being offered at the finale in Malaysia.  Racers will count their best three scores to determine champions in each division.

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour will award a prize bonus of $10,000 USD to the top five pro men and women in the final standings ($2,000 for 1st, $1,500-2nd, $800-3rd, $400-4th, $300-5th).

The 2016-17 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour season will begin anew at XTERRA Tahiti (May 14, 2016), then continue at XTERRA Korea with an amateur-only race (no pro prize money or pro points) on August 27, 2016 in Daeahn Reservoir, followed by XTERRA Japan in Hokkaido on September 3, 2016.

Here’s a look at the tentative elite standings (pending NZ results confirmation) after four:

PL NAME JPN PHI SAIPAN NZL TOT
1 Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN 82 75 90 DNS 247
2 Brodie Gardner, AUS DNS 82 100 DNS 182
3 Bradley Weiss, RSA DNS 100 DNS 82 182
4 Kaon Cho, KOR 53 DNS 75 49 177
5 Charlie Epperson, USA 75 69 DNS DNS 144
6 Joe Miller, PHI DNS 53 82 DNS 135
7 Cameron Oneal, USA 63 58 DNS DNS 121
8 Courtney Atkinson, AUS 100 DNS DNS DNS 100
9 Braden Currie, NZL DNS DNS DNS 100 100
10 Cedric Lassonde, FRA 90 DNS DNS DNS 90
11 Ben Allen, AUS DNS 90 DNS DNS 90
12 Sam Osborne, NZL DNS DNS DNS 90 90
13 Olly Shaw, NZL DNS DNS DNS 75 75
14 Taro Shirato, JPN 69 DNS DNS DNS 69
15 Kieran McPherson, NZL DNS DNS DNS 69 69
16 Michal Bucek, SVK DNS 63 DNS DNS 63
17 Cameron Paul, NZL DNS DNS DNS 63 63
18 Jason Hsieh , HKG 58 DNS DNS DNS 58
19 Alex Roberts, NZL DNS DNS DNS 58 58
20 Lachlan Davey, NZL DNS DNS DNS 53 53
21 Barry Lee, MAS DNS 49 DNS DNS 49
22 Kiley Momohara, NZL DNS DNS DNS 45 45
PL NAME JPN PHI SAIPAN NZL TOT
1 Lizzie Orchard, NZL 90 100 DNS 100 290
2 Mieko Carey, USA 100 82 90 DNS 272
3 Carina Wasle, AUT DNS DNS 100 DNS 100
4 Jacqui Slack, GBR DNS 90 DNS DNS 90
5 Sarah Backler, NZL DNS DNS DNS 90 90
6 Renata Bucher, SUI DNS DNS 82 DNS 82
7 Rachel Challis, NZL DNS DNS DNS 82 82
8 Belinda Hadden, AUS DNS DNS 75 DNS 75
9 Mary Gray, NZL DNS DNS DNS 75 75

Learn more

2016 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS

The New Zealand Championship was the 8th of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 21st annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Oct 23.

DATE WORLD TOUR EVENT LOCATION or WINNERS
7-Feb XTERRA Philippines Brad Weiss/Lizzie Orchard
21-Feb XTERRA South Africa Brad Weiss/Flora Duffy
5-Mar XTERRA Motatapu Olly Shaw/Mary Gray
12-Mar XTERRA Saipan Brodie Gardner/Carina Wasle
20-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica Karl Shaw/Myriam Guillot-Boisset
26-Mar XTERRA Argentina Josiah Middaugh/Myriam Guillot-Boisset
3-Apr XTERRA Malta Roger Serrano/Brigitta Poor
16-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Braden Currie/Lizzie Orchard
17-Apr XTERRA La Reunion La Reunion Island
23-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia
7-May XTERRA Malaysia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Championship Langkawi
7-May XTERRA Brazil Ilhabela, São Paulo
7-May XTERRA Greece Vouliagmeni
14-May XTERRA Tahiti Papeete
21-May XTERRA Oak Mountain State Park Pelham, Shelby County, AL, USA
21-May XTERRA Portugal Golega
11-Jun XTERRA Belgium Namur
25-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Vallee de Joux
25-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter Milton, Ontario, Canada
3-Jul XTERRA France Xonrupt
10-Jul XTERRA Victoria Victoria, B.C., Canada
16-Jul XTERRA Beaver Creek Beaver Creek, CO, USA
23-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound Ontario, Canada
31-Jul XTERRA Italy Lago Di Scanno
31-Jul XTERRA Dominican Republic Barahona
6-Aug XTERRA Mexico Tapalpa
7-Aug XTERRA Poland Krakow
13-Aug XTERRA Sweden Hellsgaarten, Stockholm
14-Aug XTERRA Canmore Canmore, Alberta, Canada
20-Aug XTERRA Germany – XTERRA European Championship Zittau
27-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
27-Aug XTERRA Korea Daeahn Reservoir, Wonju City
3-Sep  XTERRA Japan Hokkaido
4-Sep XTERRA Denmark Mons Klint
4-Sep XTERRA Quebec Quebec City, Quebec
11-Sep XTERRA Woolastook New Brunswick, Canada
17-Sep XTERRA USA / Pan Am Championship Ogden, Utah, USA
23-Oct XTERRA World Championship Kapalua, Maui
Serrano

Serrano, Poor win XTERRA Malta

Majjistral Nature Reserve –  The reigning XTERRA European Tour champion Roger Serrano from Spain and the women’s tour runner-up from 2015 Brigitta Poor from Hungary got off to a quick start in 2016 by capturing the season-opener at XTERRA Malta this morning.

XET Technical Director Nicolas Lebrun was on-site to take in all the action and brings us this report.

Malta is a beautiful place to start the 2016 edition of the XTERRA European Tour.  The temperature today was around 20°C and the water 17°C, but the strong winds made the conditions a little bit tougher than it looked in the pictures.

The swim was two loops, starting with the tail wind then a 90° turn that made it hard on everyone to go straight. Jens Roth took the lead quickly and started the second loop with 15-seconds on Serrano, followed by new pro Pierre-Antoine Guilhem, age grouper Jean Marc Rimaud from Versailles, and Fabien Combaluzier who brought a big team with him to race here in Malta.

In the women’s elite race Diane Lee from the UK (she was 2nd at XTERRA Denmark last year) took the lead on local Maltese Danica Spiteri and Brigitta Poor, with Morgane Riou more than one-minute back.

At the start of the bike Roth had a 30-second lead on Serrano.

“I did a massive block of training this winter, and came here in good shape,” said Serrano, who broke a rib a few weeks ago but said he recovered quickly from that and was confident today.

Roth was stronger on the flat sections but Serrano was stronger on the downhills and technical pieces.

“I caught Jens after about 7km on a rocky downhill, then we collaborated a bit.  I improved my run this winter, lost some weight, and wanted to start the run with energy,” said Serrano.  “When I started this race today, compared to last year, I was much more confident in my running ability and wanted to prove that to myself today.”

Behind Roth and Serrano it was a race for third led by Guilhem, a new pro to XTERRA From the southeast of France, then Maxim Chane, who was making his pro debut but we know him from some great age group performances in Maui.  Brice Daubord and Jan Pyott both got flat tires today.  While Pyott did not finish as a result, Daubord rode the last few kilometers of the bike on his rim then ran his way to a 9th place finish.

In the women’s race Lee took a 30-second lead into the bike section, followed by last year’s Malta Champ Brigitta Poor and Spiteri, with Morgane Riou and Alena Stevens more than one-minute back.  After the first loop Poor put 2:30 on Riou, and five minutes to the third place rider Lee.

“I was very nervous this morning,” said Poor. “It’s the first race of the season, and you don’t know who did what, so I just pushed as hard as I could. I lost my bottle early on the bike and that added some stress to the day.”

Back to the men’s race, Serrano led the first 500-meters of the trail run but was only five seconds ahead of Roth. His face and attitude were confident, however, like somebody in control of the race while Roth looked like he was in “all-out” mode.

It was four minutes before Guilhem came by in third, chased by another new pro Hannes Wolper and Chané in 5th.  The top three stayed the same through the finish and Serrano won his first XTERRA after several 2nd place finishes on the tour last year.

“Of course I’m happy because I’ve been trying to get a big win like this for three years, but I also know that Brice had a flat, and Ruben Ruzafa wasn’t here,” said Serrano.  “So it’s nice but I know I still have a long way to go.”

It was refreshing to see Serrano analyze his victory in this way, and I know a lot of people are happy for him tonight having got this win.

Roth was also elated with his runner-up showing, saying “it’s perfect, my condition is good and now I will start a big block of technical training on the mountain bike.  I’m improving and I’m having a lot of fun.”

Guilhem was happy too, and surprised he did so well in his first XTERRA.  It’ll be fun to follow his season and he’ll probably race next month in Greece as well.   Chane finished in fourth, and after the race said “I like these races that are a little bit shorter.  I’m really happy, especially to be able to run all the way home and forget my nightmare run from Maui last year.”

We will be watching Chane for many years to come.  Peter Lehmann from Germany, another first year pro, had a solid run to finish in 5th.  Lots of new guys out here today and I’m not sure if anyone in the top 10 was any older than 25!

Poor

In the women’s race Poor had a big lead on the run, but her boyfriend told her it wasn’t so big so she kept pushing and ultimately finished more than four minutes ahead of Riou.  Sandra Koblmueller had a great run to move up from 6th place to third by the finish line, then Golsteyn and Stevens.

“I’m really happy,” said Poor.  “I know I’m not yet at 100%, and clearly the goal is to try to win the Tour. I finished second last year, so I need to move up one more place.  I will try to race the whole tour, and give myself the best chance of winning it.”

Riou had a career-best performance in 2nd place, a result of a lot of hard work in the off-season to improve her mountain biking with the Organicoach crew.

Another highlight for the day was seeing David DeSantis finish his 4th race of the 16 he has planned around the world to raise money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.  “That was maybe the best trail running loop I ever did, this place is so beautiful,” he said.

If you’d like to congratulate him by donating $16 to his fundraising efforts go to: https://www.gofundme.com/desantis16in2016.

I had another great experience in Malta, and was happy to see all these new young and fast athletes.  Thanks Nathan, Deidre, Antonello, Ruben… and all the Hellfire crew, who doubled their entries this year!

Next stop in Europe: Greece!

Elite Results:

Pro Men      
Pl Name Time Points
1 Roger Serrano, ESP 2:16:44 75
2 Jens Roth, GER 2:17:48 67
3 Pierre-Antoine Guilhem, FRA 2:22:29 61
4 Maxim Chane, FRA 2:23:20 56
5 Peter Lehmann, GER 2:24:35 51
6 Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA 2:25:04 47
7 Brice Daubord, FRA 2:28:09 43
8 Dominik Wychera, AUT 2:28:41 39
9 Hannes Wolpert, GER 2:28:56 36
10 Fabien Combaluzier, FRA 2:29:15 33
Also: Cedric Lassonde (30), Christophe Betard (27), Markus Benesch (25)
Pro Women    
Pl Name Time Points
1 Brigitta Poor, HUN 2:40:15 75
2 Morgane Riou, FRA 2:44:21 67
3 Sandra Koblemueller, AUT 2:46:51 61
4 Maud Golsteyn, NED 2:48:12 56
5 Alena Stevens, SVK 2:50:55 51
6 Diane Lee, GBR 2:59:14 47
7 Kristina Nec Lapinova, SVK 2:59:45 43
8 Danica Spiteri, MLT 3:00:17 39

Photo Gallery / Complete Results

2016 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS

XTERRA Malta was the seventh of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 21st annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 23.

DATE WORLD TOUR EVENT LOCATION or WINNERS
7-Feb XTERRA Philippines Brad Weiss/Lizzie Orchard
21-Feb XTERRA South Africa Brad Weiss/Flora Duffy
5-Mar XTERRA Motatapu Olly Shaw/Mary Gray
12-Mar XTERRA Saipan Brodie Gardner/Carina Wasle
20-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica Karl Shaw/Myriam Guillot-Boisset
26-Mar XTERRA Argentina Josiah Middaugh/Myriam Guillot-Boisset
3-Apr XTERRA Malta Roger Serrano/Brigitta Poor
16-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Rotorua, North Island
17-Apr XTERRA La Reunion La Reunion Island
23-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia
7-May XTERRA Malaysia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Championship Langkawi
7-May XTERRA Brazil Ilhabela, São Paulo
7-May XTERRA Greece Vouliagmeni
14-May XTERRA Tahiti Papeete
21-May XTERRA Oak Mountain State Park Pelham, Shelby County, AL, USA
21-May XTERRA Portugal Golega
11-Jun XTERRA Belgium Namur
25-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Vallee de Joux
25-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter Milton, Ontario, Canada
3-Jul XTERRA France Xonrupt
10-Jul XTERRA Victoria Victoria, B.C., Canada
16-Jul XTERRA Beaver Creek Beaver Creek, CO, USA
23-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound Ontario, Canada
31-Jul XTERRA Italy Lago Di Scanno
31-Jul XTERRA Dominican Republic Barahona
6-Aug XTERRA Mexico Tapalpa
7-Aug XTERRA Poland Krakow
13-Aug XTERRA Sweden Hellsgaarten, Stockholm
14-Aug XTERRA Canmore Canmore, Alberta, Canada
20-Aug XTERRA Germany – XTERRA European Championship Zittau
27-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
27-Aug XTERRA Korea Daeahn Reservoir, Wonju City
3-Sep  XTERRA Japan Hokkaido
4-Sep XTERRA Denmark Mons Klint
4-Sep XTERRA Quebec Quebec City, Quebec
11-Sep XTERRA Woolastook New Brunswick, Canada
17-Sep XTERRA USA / Pan Am Championship Ogden, Utah, USA
23-Oct XTERRA World Championship Kapalua, Maui
Mimi Bike1web

Middaugh, Guillot-Boisset win XTERRA Argentina

Dique Ullum, San Juan – Josiah Middaugh and Myriam Guillot-Boisset captured the elite titles at XTERRA Argentina in San Juan on Saturday.

The victories put both Middaugh and Guillot-Boisset atop the leader board in the inaugural XTERRA Pan American Tour standings.

It’s the second win in as many weeks for Guillot-Boisset, who took home the XTERRA Costa Rica title last Sunday, and the first major XTERRA victory of the year for Middaugh, the reigning XTERRA World Champ.

When Middaugh caught Canadian Karsten Madsen on the bike he started yelling in Spanish … “I heard this Argentinian racer yelling he wanted to pass,” said Madsen. “I turned around to see who it was and there was Josiah with a big grin.”
Madsen said he hit some soft sand and bobbled a bit and Josiah was gone. On the podium Middaugh said “Karsten is getting faster and we all need to start worrying about him.” Middaugh finished a little over one-minute ahead of Madsen who came in 2nd.

Home country favorite Maximiliano Morales finished third, Oscar Galindez finished 4th, and Lucas Mendez was 5th.

Josiah Bike1web

In the women’s race Guillot-Boisset flew past Fabiola Corona just after T2 and put the hammer down.

“She went by me-zoom, so fast,” said Corona. “I just made a good run but could not catch her.”

Corona finished 2nd with Laura Mira Dias from Brazil in third and home country favorite Erika Simon from Argentina in 4th.

XTERRA Argentina (San Juan) March 26
   
Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Josiah Middaugh, USA 2:34:47 100
2 Karsten Madsen, CAN 2:36:04 90
3 Maximiliano Morales, ARG 2:40:40 82
4 Oscar Galindez, ARG 2:44:00 75
5 Lucas Mendez, ARG 2:46:54 69
6 Mario De Elias, ARG 2:50:05 63
7 Facu Medard, ARG 2:50:05 58
8 Ian King, USA 3:01:12 53
9 Mauro Ayesa, ARG 3:09:44 49
10 Victor Arenas, ARG 3:27:08 45
Also: Parada Penagos (41)
Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Myriam Guillot-Boisset, FRA 3:00:56 100
2 Fabiola Corona, MEX 3:06:28 90
3 Laura Mira Dias, BRA 3:48:49 82
4 Erika Simon, ARG 5:00:52 75

Photo Gallery / More pics at XTERRA Argentina Facebook / Highlight Video

THE OFF-ROAD TO UTAH

XTERRA Argentina was the second of ten races in the 2016 XTERRA Pan American Tour. The inaugural series for both amateur and professional athletes started last weekend at XTERRA Costa Rica and concludes September 17 with the XTERRA Pan American Championship race in Ogden, Utah.  In between are two majors in the U.S., two in Canada, and one each in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

The XTERRA Pan American Tour features Gold and Silver level events, where Gold events award points on a 100-point basis and Silver races award points on a 75-point basis.

The XTERRA Pan American Championship race in Utah will offer $20,000 USD for the race and distribute an additional $60,000 USD in prize money to the top 10 men and women in the final XTERRA Pan American Pro Series rankings.

Next up on the XTERRA Pan American Tour is XTERRA Brazil (May 7, 2016).

XTERRA Pan Am Tour Elite Standings (after 2)
PL NAME CRC ARG TOT
1 Josiah Middaugh, USA 67 100 167
2 Karsten Madsen, CAN DNS 90 90
3 Maximiliano Morales, ARG DNS 82 82
4 Karl Shaw, GBR 75 DNS 75
5 Oscar Galindez, ARG DNS 75 75
6 Lucas Mendez, ARG DNS 69 69
7 Mario De Elias, ARG DNS 63 63
8 Rom Akerson, CRC 61 DNS 61
9 Facu Medard, ARG DNS 58 58
10 Francois Carloni, FRA 56 DNS 56
11 Ian King, USA DNS 53 53
12 Federico Venegas, CRC 51 DNS 51
13 Mauro Ayesa, USA DNS 49 49
14 Greg Schott, USA 47 DNS 47
15 Victor Arenas, ARG DNS 45 45
16 Parada Penagos, ARG DNS 41 41
PL NAME CRC ARG TOT
1 Miriam Guillot-Boisset, FRA 75 100 175
2 Fabiola Corona, MEX DNS 90 90
3 Laura Mira Dias, BRA DNS 82 82
4 Erika Simon, ARG DNS 75 75
5 Kara Lapoint, USA 67 DNS 67
6 Sabrina Gobbo, BRA 61 DNS 61
7 Caitlin Snow, USA 56 DNS 56
8 Caroline Colonna, USA 51 DNS 51
9 Rebecca Blatt, USA 47 DNS 47

2016 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS

XTERRA Argentina was the sixth of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 21st annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 23.

DATE WORLD TOUR EVENT LOCATION or WINNERS
7-Feb XTERRA Philippines Brad Weiss/Lizzie Orchard
21-Feb XTERRA South Africa Brad Weiss/Flora Duffy
5-Mar XTERRA Motatapu Olly Shaw/Mary Gray
12-Mar XTERRA Saipan Brodie Gardner/Carina Wasle
20-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica Karl Shaw/Myriam Guillot-Boisset
26-Mar XTERRA Argentina Josiah Middaugh/Myriam Guillot-Boisset
3-Apr XTERRA Malta Majjistral Nature Reserve
16-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Rotorua, North Island
17-Apr XTERRA La Reunion La Reunion Island
23-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia
7-May XTERRA Malaysia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Championship Langkawi
7-May XTERRA Brazil Ilhabela, São Paulo
7-May XTERRA Greece Vouliagmeni
14-May XTERRA Tahiti Papeete
21-May XTERRA Oak Mountain State Park Pelham, Shelby County, AL, USA
21-May XTERRA Portugal Golega
11-Jun XTERRA Belgium Namur
25-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Vallee de Joux
25-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter Milton, Ontario, Canada
3-Jul XTERRA France Xonrupt
10-Jul XTERRA Victoria Victoria, B.C., Canada
16-Jul XTERRA Beaver Creek Beaver Creek, CO, USA
23-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound Ontario, Canada
31-Jul XTERRA Italy Lago Di Scanno
31-Jul XTERRA Dominican Republic Barahona
6-Aug XTERRA Mexico Tapalpa
7-Aug XTERRA Poland Krakow
13-Aug XTERRA Sweden Hellsgaarten, Stockholm
14-Aug XTERRA Canmore Canmore, Alberta, Canada
20-Aug XTERRA Germany – XTERRA European Championship Zittau
27-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
27-Aug XTERRA Korea Daeahn Reservoir, Wonju City
3-Sep  XTERRA Japan Hokkaido
4-Sep XTERRA Denmark Mons Klint
4-Sep XTERRA Quebec Quebec City, Quebec
11-Sep XTERRA Woolastook New Brunswick, Canada
17-Sep XTERRA USA / Pan Am Championship Ogden, Utah, USA
23-Oct XTERRA World Championship Kapalua, Maui
Karl Shaw

Shaw, Guillot win XTERRA Costa Rica

Playa Conchal, Costa Rica – Karl Shaw from Great Britain and Myriam Guillot-Boisset from France won the elite races at the inaugural XTERRA Pan American Tour season-opener on an amazing “Pura Vida” morning in Costa Rica on Sunday, March 20.

It’s the first career XTERRA win for Shaw, who had a one-minute lead out of the swim, was seconds in front of last year’s XTERRA Costa Rica Champion Rom Akerson and reigning XTERRA World Champion Josiah Middaugh coming off the bike, and responded to a late surge from Middaugh with one of his own in the deep sand just 2K from the finish to take the tape in 2:05:52.

Middaugh came in 17 seconds later, followed closely by Akerson 9 seconds after that.  It was one of the closest 1-2-3 finishes in sport history.

“I would’ve been happy with 3rd so to come away with the win is great, especially mentally to start the season,” said Shaw, who was racing his first XTERRA in four years.

“I’ve just come off 2-3 months of good training, and two weeks of camp here in Costa Rica with my friends, so it’s just been really good.  Costa Rica is a lovely country, very good course, hot, and hard on the legs.  It’s a beautiful place and I’ll be back next year to defend the title.”

Shaw’s brother Asa, who was the runner-up at XTERRA Worlds three years ago, was on-site to see the big win and even though Karl had a good lead out of the swim Asa wasn’t sure it was enough. It turned out that when Akerson and Francois Carloni caught up with Shaw on the bike the three starting working together and effectively held-off the world champ.

For Middaugh, who escaped a winter snowstorm in Colorado on Wednesday only to be greeted by the warm air of the Province of Guanacaste on Thursday, it wasn’t so much the humidity but rather a late crash on the last downhill of the bike that might’ve been the difference.

“I had caught Francois and closed to about five seconds behind Rom and Karl, but after that crash it was more like 30 seconds. It was tough racing today,” said Middaugh. “Every year its hard here. I thought I was feeling a little more fit and would have had an easier time catching that front group on the bike. I came close but not quite close enough.”

Akerson, who lives nearby on the beach, was set on defending his title and knew that keeping Middaugh behind him on the bike would give him his best shot.

“It’s just a matter of time before beast mode breaks out with Josiah,” said Akerson. “I gave it all I had to keep him behind me but couldn’t do it.”

When asked if he was surprised by Shaw’s strong showing, Middaugh replied, “I was surprised with Karl.  I knew he was strong on the bike but I didn’t know he would be that strong on the mountain bike, but he was.  He did a very smart race, and they were able to work together and he raced really strong.  It was hot this year, a little dryer and a little faster and I was really worried about the heat but it seemed okay. I felt I managed it okay.”

This is the third straight runner-up for Middaugh in Costa Rica, and when reminded that it took him 15 years to win Worlds, he said “Well, you don’t learn anything from winning and second keeps you hungry so I’ll be back.”

Next stop for Middaugh is XTERRA Argentina, the 2nd stop on the Pan America Tour, this weekend.

Last year’s XTERRA European Tour runner-up Francois Carloni finished 4th, followed by Frederico Venegas from Costa Rica in 5th and Greg Schott from the USA, racing his first pro race, in 6th.

Miriam Guillot-boisset

EMOTIONAL WIN FOR GUILLOT

Two years ago here in Costa Rica Myriam Guillot-Boisset was on top of the world having just won the adventure racing world championship, and to make it even better her Dad was in Costa Rica with her to see it happen.

And then sadness set in…

“My Dad was very sick when he came here, and when he took the flight to go back home he passed away,” said Guillot, with tears in her eyes.  “It was the last time I saw him, here in Costa Rica, and the first time I’ve been back since.  This one is for him.  I thought of him out there today.  We were at the same place.”

Guillot-Boisset said she could feel her Dad with her during the race and it made her confident, and happy.  “So happy, and I’m sorry to share this, normally I keep it to myself, but it’s overwhelming right now”

Guillot-Boisset, who won XTERRA Malaysia and was 4th at XTERRA Worlds last year, dominated the women’s elite race.  She came out of the water together with Kara LaPoint from the U.S. and Sabrina Gobbo from Brazil, and the three of them caught IM star Cait Snow early on the bike.

Guillot-Boisset then pulled away from the rest of the field and finished strong in 2:34:48, nearly 15 minutes ahead of LaPoint in 2nd, and Gobbo in third.  She will now head to Argentina in her chase to win the XTERRA Pan American Tour title this season.

“The race today was better than I expected,” said Guillot-Boisset. “It was an amazing swim, everybody would dream to swim here and the run is really exciting. I enjoyed the course, it has so much variety and it’s such a good way to experience Costa Rica.”

For LaPoint, the adventure of racing in Costa Rica mixed with a career-best runner-up performance left her with a great big smile.

“It feels amazing … now that I’m not suffering,” said LaPoint. “The last two miles of the run was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  I was so tired, it was so hot, and I knew Sabrina was doing great behind me.   Having to run on the sand was such a challenge. I did everything I wanted to do here today and I’m very happy with that.”

LaPoint was 2nd out of the water “but 4th out of transition, doh!” but was able to get past Gobbo and Snow and rode in 2nd until about mile 15 when Gobbo passed her back and came into transition 2nd.  LaPoint then regained the 2nd position at about mile two of the run and held on until the finish.

“It’s been a really fun experience. A new race, a new country, everything was new. The water was great, course was awesome, everything was neat.  It’s been a blast to be here. I was literally thinking to myself in Spanish the whole race,” said LaPoint, who impressively also did her TV interviews in Spanish.

Gobbo said she tried to go with LaPoint when she passed her on the run, but “she was running really fast and I couldn’t keep up.”

Snow finished smiling in fourth in her XTERRA debut, and said “XTERRA is awesome, just a hair-bit dirtier than Ironman. I had a blast, and even though I came off the bike so many times, I was able to laugh about it and that is the key.”

Caroline Colonna posted a career-best 5th place showing, and Rebecca Blatt followed in sixth.

Pos Name, NAT Time S B R Points
1 Karl Shaw, GBR 2:05:52 18:40 1:09:52 35:27 75
2 Josiah Middaugh, USA 2:06:09 20:22 1:08:37 35:23 67
3 Rom Akerson, CRC 2:06:18 19:43 n/a 35:48 61
4 Francois Carloni, FRA 2:11:21 19:45 1:09:41 39:54 56
5 Federico Venegas, CRC 2:25:25 19:48 1:22:51 40:51 51
6 Greg Schott, USA 2:26:07 21:02 1:21:14 41:29 47
Pos Name, NAT Time S B R Points
1 Miriam Guillot-Boisset, FRA 2:34:48 24:56 1:24:37 42:31 75
2 Kara Lapoint, USA 2:49:20 24:14 1:33:25 48:01 67
3 Sabrina Gobbo, BRA 2:51:29 25:57 1:33:20 51:02 61
4 Caitlin Snow, USA 2:56:01 23:58 1:46:52 43:35 56
5 Caroline Colonna, USA 2:58:35 30:09 1:40:52 46:19 51
6 Rebecca Blatt, USA 3:06:38 29:49 1:37:32 57:52 47

FULL RESULTS | PHOTO GALLERY

XTR_0895

AMATEUR RACE

Harold Ramos and Shannon Greenhill won the overall amateur titles in Costa Rica and age group champions from every division earned a spot on the starting line for the 21st running of the XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 23.

There were lots of great story lines in the amateur race.  Marco Amador won the 30-34 division on a fat bike that he’ll take with him to Worlds this October. Heart Akerson (Rom’s Dad) did the race barefoot as usual and got a big cheer from the crowd upon his arrival. He won his division and qualified for Maui and said he plans to go back and do better in that one this year as well.

Nat Grew did not make the race due to illness but he was there in spirit and his extended XTERRA Family talked about him constantly. His son Daniel did race, however, and finished 5th in the 25-29 division while racing on a fat bike as well.

David Desantis finished his 3rd XTERRA World Tour race of the season and is well on his way towards his goal of racing 16 XTERRAs in 16 countries to raise $16,000 or more for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Jump along on his journey at https://www.gofundme.com/desantis16in2016.

In all, racers from 20 countries took part in the event and each one can honorably call themselves XTERRA Warriors. The race got rave reviews from athletes, who spoke highly of the volunteers, organization, and beauty of the nature from the beach to the monkeys to the iguanas.

“It’s a fantastic place to train, to race, to visit, and I plan on doing that every year,” said the men’s champ Karl Shaw.

XTERRA COSTA RICA AMATEUR CHAMPIONS

Division   Men, Nationality                   Women, Nationality

15-19         Marco Gomez, CRC

20-24         Sebastian Salas, CRC

25-29         Harold Ramos, CRC

30-34         Marco Amador, CRC

35-39         Fabio Duque, COL                  Xiomara Brenes, CRC

40-44         Jorge Alpizar, CRC                  Shannon Greenhill, USA

45-49         Keith Schumann, USA

50-54         Roman Urbina, CRC

55-59         Scott Sullivan, CRC

60-64         Steve Cole, USA

THE OFF-ROAD TO UTAH

XTERRA Costa Rica was the first of ten races in the 2016 XTERRA Pan American Tour. The inaugural series for both amateur and professional athletes started at XTERRA Costa Rica and concludes September 17 with the XTERRA Pan American Championship race in Ogden, Utah.  In between are two majors in the U.S., two in Canada, and one each in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

The XTERRA Pan American Tour features Gold and Silver level events, where Gold events award points on a 100-point basis and Silver races award points on a 75-point basis.

The XTERRA Pan American Championship race in Utah will offer $20,000 USD for the race and distribute an additional $60,000 USD in prize money to the top 10 men and women in the final XTERRA Pan American Pro Series rankings.

Next up on the XTERRA Pan American Tour is XTERRA Argentina (March 26, 2016).

XTERRA PAN AMERICAN TOUR ELITE STANDINGS, tentative after 1 event

Pos Name, NAT CR AR BR OAK MOM VIC BC DO MX UTAH Total
1 Karl Shaw, GBR 75 75
2 Josiah Middaugh, USA 67 67
3 Rom Akerson, CRC 61 61
4 Francois Carloni, FRA 56 56
5 Federico Venegas, CRC 51 51
6 Greg Schott, USA 47 47
Pos Name, NAT CR AR BR OAK MOM VIC BC DO MX UTAH Total
1 Miriam Guillot-Boisset, FRA 75 75
2 Kara Lapoint, USA 67 67
3 Sabrina Gobbo, BRA 61 61
4 Caitlin Snow, USA 56 56
5 Caroline Colonna, USA 51 51
6 Rebecca Blatt, USA 47 47

2016 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS

XTERRA Costa Rica was the fifth of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 21st annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 23.

DATE WORLD TOUR EVENT LOCATION or WINNERS
7-Feb XTERRA Philippines Brad Weiss/Lizzie Orchard
21-Feb XTERRA South Africa Brad Weiss/Flora Duffy
5-Mar XTERRA Motatapu Olly Shaw/Mary Gray
12-Mar XTERRA Saipan Brodie Gardner/Carina Wasle
20-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica Karl Shaw / Miriam Guillot
26-Mar XTERRA Argentina Dique Ullum, San Juan
3-Apr XTERRA Malta Majjistral Nature Reserve
16-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Rotorua, North Island
17-Apr XTERRA La Reunion La Reunion Island
23-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia
7-May XTERRA Malaysia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Championship Langkawi
7-May XTERRA Brazil Ilhabela, São Paulo
7-May XTERRA Greece Vouliagmeni
14-May XTERRA Tahiti Papeete
21-May XTERRA Oak Mountain State Park Pelham, Shelby County, AL, USA
21-May XTERRA Portugal Golega
11-Jun XTERRA Belgium Namur
25-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Vallee de Joux
25-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter Milton, Ontario, Canada
3-Jul XTERRA France Xonrupt
10-Jul XTERRA Victoria Victoria, B.C., Canada
16-Jul XTERRA Beaver Creek Beaver Creek, CO, USA
23-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound Ontario, Canada
31-Jul XTERRA Italy Lago Di Scanno
31-Jul XTERRA Dominican Republic Barahona
6-Aug XTERRA Mexico Tapalpa
7-Aug XTERRA Poland Krakow
13-Aug XTERRA Sweden Hellsgaarten, Stockholm
14-Aug XTERRA Canmore Canmore, Alberta, Canada
20-Aug XTERRA Germany – XTERRA European Championship Zittau
27-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
27-Aug XTERRA Korea Daeahn Reservoir, Wonju City
3-Sep XTERRA Japan Hokkaido
4-Sep XTERRA Denmark Mons Klint
4-Sep XTERRA Quebec Quebec City, Quebec
11-Sep XTERRA Woolastook New Brunswick, Canada
17-Sep XTERRA USA / Pan Am Championship Ogden, Utah, USA
23-Oct XTERRA World Championship Kapalua, Maui
Dave Spence

Saipan By Spence

Brodie Gardner and Carina Wasle won the pro races at the XTERRA Saipan Championship on Saturday (read report here/watch highlight video here) but to get a real feel for the charm of the island and the camaraderie of the XTERRA Tribe we turn to the one-and-only David Spence.

“Disco Dave” had a memorable day in Saipan.  He won the amateur title (not bad for a guy representing the 55-59 division) and finished 8th overall and now leads his division in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour standings with two wins (Saipan and the Philippines) and one 2nd place finish (Japan).

On top of being a die-hard racer Spence is also the course designer and race director for XTERRA Malaysia, and is never at a loss for words.

Here is his story about Saipan…

The story of my race on the lovely Island of Saipan is a little (aka massively) different to Brodie Gardner’s the Pro Male winner. He arrived in the dead of night immediately before the race set up his bike and then with no sleep went out and smashed a course he’d never seen before to take the win.

If I’d have tried to do the same I would have probably seriously hurt myself from either falling asleep on the bike or falling off of it due to a lack of bike handling skills on the gnarly descents that would have come up too quickly for me to react to.

Fortunately for me I was blessed with Elsa Ng & Navin and Jaz Wathan who between them helped look after the “shop” and my dogs for me so that I could leave for Saipan on Thursday, 3 March.

That doesn’t mean I had over week to prepare though as from my current base in Ipoh, I went to Singapore, then Subic Bay & Manila for work opportunities. I then had a brief but pleasant overnight in Guam on Tuesday, 8 March where I stayed with Mark Cruz one of my XTERRA friends and his family. In this brief time Mark educated me on not only the fascinating naval military history that this area of the world has but also the status of the sport of triathlon in the area given his position as “El Presidente” of the Guam Triathlon Federation.

As a result though I did arrive on Saipan at 8am on Wednesday 9 March. This gave me a full 3 days to prepare for the race.

Mark suggested I contact Brad Ruszala one of his friends on Saipan. Brad could probably be Mayor of Saipan based on how well known he is. He certainly has the friendly and warm nature to charm the spots of a Leopard and it was a real pleasure to meet him.

He set me up at Bike Pro  https://www.facebook.com/bikeprosaipan/?fref=ts where Romeo (the owner) and Ariel (the chief mechanic) set about lovingly rebuilding my bike that had been broken literally into little bits to try and avoid the charges of United for having the audacity to travel with a bike. Thanks guys your attention to detail and friendly service was really appreciated.

While Ariel was working his magic Brad took me to The Shack, a cool café that became my second home whilst on the Island in terms of honest simple wholesome food https://www.facebook.com/TheShackSaipan/?fref=ts

He also took me to “Swim the Tanks” an interesting swim just off of the beach at The Kanoa Resort (the race resort hotel) http://www.kanoaresort.com where you swim from 3 abandoned Sherman tanks that didn’t make to the beach when the US Marines invaded Saipan to reclaim it from the Japanese.

By then Ariel at Bike Pro had worked his magic and I spent the rest of the day checking out the bike course and catching up with Jim Lovell XTERRA’s ‘resident’ Race Timing guru over dinner.

Jim has timed all 15 of Saipan’s XTERRA’s and was a wealth of knowledge about not just the Island but also the race course too. Heck he had even help mark the run course this year, which is what I call really, going the XTERRA Mile!!

Thursday morning saw me spend most of it checking out the run course as closely as I had the bike course the previous day. After doing so I came to the conclusion that my goal for the race was to try and cover the entire course in under 3 hours and 45 minutes. This was 15 minutes slower than the goal I had set for XTERRA Philippines but I felt it was fully justified given the seriously more technical sections on the run and bike courses and the 3,300 feet of elevation making this was a much more challenging course.

That evening, I attended the mixer and race briefing, which was delightfully informal, and Eric, Kelly and Kaz the organizers treated me to a few beers before I politely called it a day.

Early on Friday morning my roommate for the rest of the trip James Sardea joined me. He was another friend from the Guam Triathlon Federation and whom I’d like to thank for his company and camaraderie as well as his very civilized sleeping habits versus mine!!! I’d also like to thank him for the setting up the best airport transit ever by organizing an impromptu beach picnic for my 8-hour layover in Guam on the way home J

That evening I joined Jim again for an early dinner on and having checked my bike into transition that evening he also kindly gave me a lift to the start line 1st thing on Saturday morning.

All of the above meant that, unlike Brodie, I arrived at the start line of the race not only well rested and refreshed for race day but as well informed as I could be so that I was ready to rock n’ roll…

The start of the race had been brought forward to 6:30am and after setting my bike up in pole position the night before, I was able to set up the rest of my gear and do the usual last minute checks and re-checking of equipment with time to spare.

After lots of mistakes and oversights in the past this mental checklist has now become embedded into my DNA and I was one of the last to leave transition for the short walk to the beach start but in good time for the start.

The Swim:

Like many of the world’s best XTERRA athletes I now know that the swim is always going to be probably my weakest discipline. As a result, not only do I accept this but I also accept like these guys and girls the need to work really very hard on the bike and run to try and compensate for this weakness.

As well finishing inside my target time of 3:45 I also wanted to finish as close as possible to Yuji Ono who I was tipping to take our age group (the 55-59 age group).

This might sound a bit defeatist but I’d remembered seeing his name in the results of last years’ World Championships where he had come 5th in the 50-54 age group versus my 19th position when I raced in that category as a ‘young’ 50-year-old. As a result, I was really grateful to be in the same race as him as a means of pushing me hopefully to new limits and to assess how much better I have become compared to the best in the world for my age group in the last 5 years.

The swim course was not set up until the morning of the race so known of us knew much about this. We did know it was low tide so I knew like everyone else that the start of the swim was going to be shallow for at least the 1st 50 meters.

As a result, my strategy was to run as hard and as far in the shallows as I could then and then “dolphin” as much as possible to get to the deep water as fast as possible. What I and I think every other racer had not anticipated though was that the water depth did not get much deeper than mid chest height and before we knew it we were all still “dolphining” as we approached the 1st buoy.

At this point, I realized that the strategy thus far e.g. the 1st 200 meters or so, had paid off as I was at the head of a small group that was almost drafting the Pro’s!!!

As we neared the buoy and the turn I started to ready myself psychologically for the faster swimmers to start passing me as the depth after the turn to the next buoy would surely prevent “dolphining” from continuing to be an option until we rounded the 2nd buoy, some 400 meters away, and turned for the beach again on the 750m triangular swim course.

That turned out to be mostly an unnecessary thought though as the water’s depth remained pretty consistent along this stretch of water too and, as the Pro’s (who I could still amazingly see!!) were only having to swim occasionally. As a result, I also only occasionally swam and, as a consequence, thanks to my “dolphining” technique clearly being stronger than my swim technique, I remained in the chase pack immediately behind the Pro’s.

This situation persisted on the turn back to the beach and in fact, given the rhythm that I was now getting into I had started to sense that I was in a smaller group of racers chasing the Pro’s and even nibbling away at the gap of the Pro racers in front of me. As a result, by the end of the second lap the last swimmer in the leading group ahead of me (turns out that was Carina Wasle, the eventual Ladies Champion) only exited onto the beach a little over 30 seconds ahead of me!!

As I ran into transition I remember glimpsing at the race clock and seeing 18 something minutes!!! Which I confess made me grin like a Cheshire Cat! After the race I spoke with others about the swim and some of them felt a bit cheated about the fact that the swim course was so shallow.

In fairness to the race course designers the low tide and new sand bar that had been created after last year’s massive Typhoon left them with little choice unless they’d started the race some 6 hours later at high tide. This probably would not have been acceptable to the local traffic cops nor to the racers who would have then been racing in the real heat of the day with what would have been a Midday start to catch the High Tide!

Despite these facts, I did have a degree of sympathy for their point of view but I also believe that in the same way that swimming is about adapting to an environment that you are not familiar or naturally designed for, so is racing. This was demonstrated admirably by the Pro’s and, whilst I know my, Ben Allen like, swim time of 17:58 was not indicative of my usual swim times, it was in the context of the conditions being the same for everyone, ethical, fair and correct.

So with that thought in my mind of no regrets and of making the most of this better than expected start I set to work on the bike after a steady rather than stunning transition split.

The Bike:

The opening 10 or so minutes of the bike course is on road and involves a serious but steady rather than steep ascent up what is known as Navy Hill.

After picking off a couple of other riders that had clearly had a faster transition than me on the first half of this hill another rider drew up alongside me and took a good look at me, as I did them.

He was a Japanese gentleman and after a little hesitancy asked me the obvious question in a rather stern and heavily accented way “Your Age Group?”

This was necessary as numbers were allocated randomly rather than by age groups for this race. I obliged with an honest and clear answer knowing what his response would be which came immediately back as “Me too” I then said “Nice to meet you Yuji san my name is Dave” J

Momentarily he was a little shocked then smiled and said “Nice to meet you too David san”. I then said “Have a great race Yuji san” and he replied with a respectful “You too”.

After that exchange a bond had definitely been created but so to had the terms for our duel as a proverbial couple of gloves had been thrown down on that road and we had both picked them up and accepted the challenge to race each other.

The race was now most definitely “On, On” as my hashing Mates like to say.

We completed the road climb side by side for most of the way but by the time we crested and were preparing to turn into the trails I had assumed the position I’d keep for most of the next 15 kilometers namely sucking Yuji’s back wheel and benefiting from any drafting opportunities and, most importantly, his exceptional bike handling and decision making skills in terms of the lines he selected J

As a result, I don’t mind admitting Yuji san helped me ride the 1st half of the bike course better and faster than I had envisaged I would.

For much of this time I knew I was on the edge of my limits and I suspect that Yuji san did too. The reason I suspected this was that he kept inviting me to take the lead (as I would have done had I been in his shoes) and other than on two occasions when I could, I kept declining.

Amusingly, he even challenged me to chase down a rider who was in front of us saying that “I think you can do it”. I knew that I could too but I also knew it would elevate my heart rate and compromise my race. I responded with words rather than action by saying with as cheeky a grin as I could muster “I think you can do it too” 😉

Just before we arrived at the start of the final ascent up to the peak of Mount Tapochau he stepped up a gear and got out of the saddle as he did on most climbs and did just as I had challenged him to do by catching and passing the rider ahead of us. He did this with consummate ease and it took him into about a 200 meters lead on me by the time I summited the steepest section of the climb which is affectionately known as “The Bitch”.

He continued to slowly and steadily edged away from me and as I started the final climb to the summit of Mount Tapochau I was also caught and passed by Ryan Snow from Guam who was riding very strongly.

As he passed the thought crossed my mind to try and grab his wheel to help me get back on Yuji’s wheel. I knew that was not going to happen today though as Ryan was too strong and I’d risk “puncturing” myself rather than the bike on the run or even before then.

So, instead, I’m pleased to report that ‘Mr. Sensible‘ stayed on the racecourse rather ‘Mr. Madman’ and I continued to spin with a heart rate that was as controlled and calm as my head and at a pace that I knew I was able to sustain.

After summiting Mount Tapochau Yuji, Ryan and the other riders ahead of me turns out this was Charlie Sendin & Furuya Toshiyuki by this stage were out of view and gone over and down a section of trail that is aptly named the “Sound of Music”. It’s named so because the winds and grasses here replicate the famous hillside where Julie Andrews blasted out her rendition of the hills are live with the “Sound of Music” J

At this point ‘Mr. Madman’ made a brief reappearance by injecting the thought in to my head that perhaps I should try to catch them now on the descent. Thankfully, a very assertive ‘Mr. Sensible’, who articulated these cautionary words… “Don’t be Firkin Stupid Spencie! Race your race and stick to plan!” silenced his nonsense. The plan being, to race clean and smooth and not to smash or crash so that I could not push the pedal to the floor on the run.

As a consequence, not being that experienced at serious technical downhill I’m pleased to report that I executed this plan perfectly riding everything smoothly but as fast as someone with my limited skill and experience could do so that I stayed within myself and most importantly on my bike. That was until one of the last sections before T2 where the off-road section switched to smooth wet asphalt and where the final water station was located.

Deciding intuitively to take a cold bottle of water to help keep my core temperature under control I touched my brakes to slow down to make a pick up from the water station volunteer but as I was still making the tight turn that transitioned on to the slick wet asphalt the next thing I knew was that both wheels and frame had disappeared from under me and I was skidding down the road on my belly with my hands and knees acting as the wheels on the longboard that was my body.

After about 5-10 meters I came to a halt and thankfully with only superficial wounds and after taking the water bottle that I needed I was instantly back on the bike and on my way into T2.

On reaching T2 which again was steady rather than stunning, I realized that with a bike split of 1:53:32 comfortably under my target time of 2 hours I knew now what I knew at the start of the race. Namely, that for me, breaking 3:45 was going to come down to the run!

The Run:

Before I left my bike the wonderful Jim Lovell came over to offer me words of encouragement and what I’d hoped would be an estimated time between me and Yuji san.

Instead, as well as telling me how great I was doing (I didn’t really understand this at that time in terms of how well I was going relative to the rest of the field) that I was actually leading my age group!!

As I ran out of T2 I told him to double check that, as I knew that Yuji (whose number I had forgotten) was ahead of me. My last words were that I was off to try and run him down and by the time I got over the line needless to say that Jim had tracked him down in his system and corrected that minor oversight so that once again he could deliver yet another brilliant set of faultless race results.

Back on the run course I started about my work which meant settling in to a rhythm that would settle my elevated heart rate which, as always, had spiked as I went through and left transition. This was in response to the encouragement of the crowds and the announcer. I have to say here that this support was really awesome and very much appreciated especially the smooth and slick race commentary and welcoming words delivered by none other than Brad Ruszala, who it turns out was also the race announcer for the event and a darn fine one he was too.

As a result, of this I exited T2 at pace and soon after the water station I realized that my heart rate was way too high. Thankfully by the time I came alongside the Marina this was under control again and I got my 1st glimpse of a runner ahead of me.

As I turned towards the road crossing to enter the 1st section of technical single track trail this gap had visibly closed and now with my heart rate under control I was ready start closing the gap further. Inside this first technical section I quickly caught and passed this runner, which turned out to be Furuya Toshiyuki, and to my delight I could now hear another runner or runners up ahead.

As I exited this first section of trail onto some interim road surface these runners came into view and were none other than Yuji san and Ryan in that order. Given that Yuji san was closest to me and heard me exit the trail he cast what looked like to me a rather worried look J

It was too early though to make a decisive break away so as with the bike ride ‘Mr. Madman’ stayed on his best behavior while ‘Mr. Sensible’ assessed Yuji san and his running skills and his state of well-being.

After patiently observing him for a kilometer or so I’d established that he was as fast as me on the non-technical downhill sections but he was not comfortable in technical stuff and he wasn’t as good a climber when running as he was on the bike.

With these observations I decided that my strategy would have to use the technical climbs to attack. Fortunately for me a steep section of trail was coming up and I decided that this would be where I’d attack and I would then push really hard all the way to the technical ravine section so that I could get into this first.

As we turned off of the 1st section of the course that was shared with the bike course I moved past Yuji san and Ryan so that I could enter the single track section that begins with a steep scramble ahead of them both.

I was on the limit myself but I was pleased that hills are one of the things I love to train on and this paid off as I definitely found another couple of gears over both Yuji san and Ryan and I lost the sounds of their footsteps pretty quickly up this hill.

Simon Cross, a way better and more experienced racer than myself, once told me never to look behind in these situations. When I asked him why, he told me because it’s a sign of weakness and only helps inspire confidence in the person you have overtaken. As I continued up that hill his words echoed in my head and instead of looking over my shoulder I simply pressed the pedal harder.

Along the way I caught and passed Charlie too and it wasn’t until I reached the water station where I had skidded down the road earlier on the bike that I slowed to douse myself in water to cool myself down that I took the opportunity to take a quick glimpse back up the road/trail which was, pleasingly empty and quiet.

As a result, I continued to the final steep section of road and set about pressing the advantage I now had home by running this and reminding myself as I entered the final and hardest section of technical trail that included the infamous ravine and cave to maintain and use my momentum through this section to finish the job.

The message I was now telling myself was that if Yuji san, or for that matter anyone else who was going to pass me before the finish line, was that they would really have to earn that right.

As I exited the ravine I knew I had run/scrambled it as well as not only I could have but that this was probably as well as any other age grouper could too.

With just really myself to beat me now I found the best pace I could down the road to the beach that would maintain the advantage that those steep and technical sections had given me.

I don’t mind confessing that as I have done on a number occasions in hard training sessions I used the memory of Tiger one of my dogs who sadly died on Boxing Day last year to help me do this.

Tiger was a real runner and loved to race me up and down the trails where I am fortunate enough to train. The thought of his spirit really fires up my running legs and he did not let me down on Saturday as he and I descended towards and along the beach.

As a result, I maintained a stiff pace. The photographs of me at this point will confirm this as well, as I was now beginning to hurt a lot and my turbo diesel engine was starting to show signs of overheating too J

Thankfully though, the finishing line and Brad’s friendly and welcoming voice was soon in earshot and then in sight and I crossed the finish line in 3:26:07 just under 2.5 minutes slower than XTERRA Philippines which, given the seriously more technical nature of this course and the amount of elevation it had, I’ll take any day of the week.

The Result:

The bonus was that as I crossed the line I still felt strong and, dare I say it, had I needed it, I still had something in the tank too deal with an “emergency”.

The icing on the cake was crossing the line ahead of rather than coming in closely behind Yuji san as well as being the first age grouper home overall and therefore the Amateur Champion for the event.

These last two facts have not yet really sunk until this morning when I heard that I have been selected to represent Team GB in my age group at the ITU Cross World Championships.

This was been my primary goal for the 1st half of 2016. The goal now is to step up the training and aim to finish as high as possible for this event and the XTERRA World Championships in Maui this year. This means being inside the top 5 but ideally being on one of the steps of the podium. Yuji san was 6 minutes and 28 seconds away from doing that in Maui last year so tomorrow this next leg of the journey begins in earnest as I now have a new plan to make me better and stronger J

The Conclusion:

In closing I’d like to thank the quality team that helped put this event on. People like Eric, Kelly & Kaz at Pivot who organized it. People like Bobbi Grizzard and the team of trail repairers and architects that she inspired to help her prepare the bike and run courses. People like Yuji, Ryan and Charlie that pushed me on to surpass my expectations on the day and all of the other passionate people that came to volunteer and participate in this beautiful but brutal event. Their energy and contribution was invaluable in making it truly a quality experience for me.

I’m aiming on being back next year as a result and am hoping to be better for it just as I am this year. See you soon Saipan and hopefully will see the age group winners and you Yuji san sooner at XTERRA Malaysia in May.

Finally, whilst I don’t have any sponsors to thank I really would like to thank all the people that have supported me and believed in me to help me get to Saipan and perform as I have done. This includes people like my amazing Mother, my beautiful daughters Tabitha and Sorcha and the rest of my family. It also includes others who have become part of my family through our shared passions, values and beliefs. People like Elsa, Navin, Simon, Rob, Andrew and Dale and many other friends who have all helped to inspire, motivate and educate me to be the best I can be. Your contributions and thoughts have never gone unnoticed and make a huge difference and I want to end this post by expressing my gratitude to you all for these efforts and gifts that you’ve given me.

Onwards and upwards now to the new summits of Haleakala on Maui & The Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia.

Over n Out for now. D J

Check out Dave’s new blog for more pics and future stories at http://trihardrustman.blogspot.my/2016/03/XTERRASaipan.RaceReport.Chapter1.html