Langkawi hosts XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Saturday

The best-of-the-best from the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour, 20 elites representing 10 countries, are headed to Langkawi, Malaysia for the 2017 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race this Saturday, April 29.

In the men’s race the top four ranked elites on tour; Bradley Weiss from South Africa, Sam Osborne and Kieran McPherson of New Zealand, and Ben Allen from Australia have all proven capable of winning big on any given day.

As proof, Weiss won at XTERRA Philippines on Sunday, Osborne won the first and third stops on the Tour at XTERRA Saipan and New Zealand, McPherson won the second stop at XTERRA Thailand, and Allen is the reigning Asia-Pacific Tour Champion.

Weiss, who put in a herculean effort to take the Danao title in a time of 3 hours, 16 minutes, said “I will have to see how the body pulls up after the race to decide how I am going to tackle the course in Langkawi.  If you take Reunion into account I will be doing three world tour championship level races in 13 days which is a big ask for the body but I am feeling fit and well prepared so hopefully I have enough in the tank to execute three solid races.”

As for Osborne, who sits atop the tour standings after the first four races with two wins and a runner-up showing to Weiss on Sunday, the thrill of racing is all the motivation he needs.

“There’s one thing I’m a big believer in, and that is if you don’t enjoy it don’t go there,” said Osborne.  “100% I’m enjoying what I’m doing and I love to race, I’ve got myself hooked on it. I’m going to race XTERRA all year, there is just so much racing going on that anything else won’t fit. And to be fair, the intensity I craved from the ITU racing is coming into XTERRA now anyway, which is what I love. You look at how these races are going and see we have a lot of players together mixing it up for a good portion of the race.”

Allen, coming off a tough day in the Philippines where he finished fourth despite repeated mechanicals on the bike, is simply looking forward to another chance.

“I feel more and more confident as the tour goes on,” he said.  “I need to be patient and continue to work hard every day. The tour is long and it’s not won on one race but many. So being smart in training and staying healthy traveling to and from the races just so you can make the start line is key. Goal is to execute my race plan to the best of my ability. If I can do that then the result will take care of itself. I have the tools in the shed, it’s what happens on the day that counts. That’s why I love racing, you never know what’s going to happen!”

One thing for sure to happen in Langkawi, however, is a brutal course.

“The Langkawi course is ruthless,” explained Allen, who won last year’s race in Langkawi with a winning time of 2 hours 55 minutes.  “Insane heat, hills, and the jungle is literally growing so fast it feels as though it’s trying to eat you. You finish completely exhausted but with a sense of achievement knowing you wrestled with a jungle beast.”

Despite the difficulty of the challenge, Osborne said the joy is in the adventure.

“The sport really does take you to some incredible parts of the world and most of the time its places I would have never thought of going myself had I been planning a trip. It’s my first-time to all these destinations and I’m having a blast. Just look at Saipan.  I put my goggles on and swam on out to the old WW2 tank and ship wrecks. Very raw untouched history, and I don’t think you can put a cash value on those kinds of experiences.  I can’t wait to see what’s waiting for me in Langkawi!”

The line-up for the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship elite men’s race is as deep as it is international, with other contenders to include Olly Shaw (NZL), Alex Hunt (AUS), Akihiko Maeda (JPN), Taylor Charlton (AUS), Alex Roberts (NZL), Takahiro Ogasawara (JPN), David Ballesteros (ESP), Jacky Boisset (FRA), Will Kelsay (USA), and Joe Miller (PHI).

In the women’s chase Carina Wasle is looking to make it a career-year in one-month. A win on Saturday would be her third in 13 days.  She captured the XTERRA Reunion title on April 16, XTERRA Philippines on April 23, and is looking for victory No. 3 in a row this weekend.

“I never won the APAC Tour or the European Tour, so it would be great to win the APAC Tour this year,” said Wasle.  “I love racing. Maybe sometimes I race too much. So, after Langkawi I have a little break from racing and a good training block to be ready for the European Tour.”

Wasle, who has won 16 majors in her well-traveled 13-year career, is currently leading the Asia-Pacific Tour after big wins at XTERRA Saipan and the Philippines.

Victory will not come easy, however, as last year’s winner Jacqui Allen will be motivated to defend her title after having to pull out of Sunday’s race in the Philippines with dehydration issues.

“I’m excited to tow the start line in Malaysia, and determined to execute a race I can be happy with,” said Allen, who captured the XTERRA New Zealand Championship crown on April 8.

The wild card is Myriam Guillot-Boisset, the 2016 XTERRA Argentina and XTERRA Costa Rica Champion who finished fourth at XTERRA Worlds last year behind only Flora Duffy, Lesley Paterson, and Suzie Snyder.

In addition, Aussie Leela Hancox, in her first-year racing elite, is eager to prove what she can do in the pro field after winning the 35-39 division ITU Cross Tri World Championship in November of 2016.

The race starts with a 1.5km swim in the reserved bay of beautiful Pantai Kok, one of Langkawi’s top beaches, with a view of the islands tallest summit at Machingchang Mount (708 meters).  The 38km mountain bike course traverses verdant forest land that is part of the UNESCO-recognized Geopark of Langkawi, and the 11km run crosses several streams including the popular Telaga Tujuh Waterfall.

Visit Facebook.com/XTERRAPlanet for pre-race interviews, photo galleries, and race results from Saturday’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship.

Elite Men’s Start List

2017 XTERRA Asia Pacific Tour Rank – Name (Nationality)

1 – Sam Osborne (NZL)

2 – Kieran McPherson (NZL)

3 – Ben Allen (AUS)

4 – Bradley Weiss (RSA)

5 – Will Kelsay (USA)

7 – Olly Shaw (NZL)

9 – David Ballesteros (ESP)

10 – Taylor Chartlon (AUS)

11 – Joe Miller (PHI)

12 – Alex Roberts (NZL)

17 – Takahiro Ogasawara (JPN)

25 – Akihiko Maeda (JPN)

NR – Jacky Boisset (FRA)

NR – Alex Hunt (AUS)

 

Elite Women’s Start List

2017 XTERRA Asia Pacific Tour Rank – Name (Nationality)

1 – Carina Wasle (AUT)

4 – Jacqui Allen (GBR)

NR – Myriam Guillot-Boisset (FRA)

NR – Leela Hancox (AUS)

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race is the fifth of seven races on this year’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour.  Elites and amateurs can enter as many races as they want and score points by finishing in the top 15 of their division.  There are two 100-point scale “Gold” races (Danao and Langkawi) and the remainder are 75-point scale “Silver” races.  The male and female elite athlete with the most points at the end of the season earns the title of XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion and the largest share of the $10,000 USD tour bonus. Amateur athletes with the most points at the end of the season – by gender and age group – earns the title of XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion and a qualifying spot into the XTERRA World Championship race to be held Oct. 29, 2017 in Kapalua, Maui.

It is not necessary to qualify, nor be from the Asia-Pacific region, to race at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship, which doubles as the XTERRA Malaysia Championship.  This is a one day award as opposed to the Tour Championship which counts all races. In Langkawi, the top overall finisher, regardless of nationality, in each age group will be honored as the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champion. The top Malaysian finisher in each age group will be named the XTERRA Malaysia Champion.

For updated standings and more information regarding the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour visit http://www.xterraplanet.com/asian-tour.

XTERRA Greece Sells Out for Second Year in a Row

XTERRA Greece, the third stop on the XTERRA European Tour, is sold out for the second straight year having reached its capacity of 380 racers.

“XTERRA Greece will be the first big battle for our European elites this season. With 20 elite men and eight elite women, all the big names will be there, and we are looking forward to seeing some great action,” said Nicolas Lebrun, XTERRA European Tour Director. 

Last year’s race featured a major battle between the Spaniards, with 2017 XTERRA Malta Champ Roger Serrano breaking three-time XTERRA World Champ Ruben Ruzafa’s winning streak of 13 straight victories in Europe. The two were together until the run, when Serrano pulled away for the win in 2:17:22, less than a minute in front of Ruzafa. Frenchman Brice Daubord finished third.

“On the men side, expect fireworks from the start,” said Lebrun. “Jens Roth is the favorite on the swim, with Roger Serrano and Julien Buffe. And of course, there’s Ruzafa. It could be another race between Roger and Ruben.”

Fresh off his victory at XTERRA Reunion on April 16th, Ruzafa is going for his 25th career win at XTERRA Greece on April 30th in the city of Vouliagmeni. At last week’s race on the island of La Reunion, Ruzafa finished more than two minutes ahead of Brice Daubord and four minutes ahead of 2015 Reunion Champ Brad Weiss.

“I felt strong on the bike,” said Ruzafa. “I really pushed hard to gain ground before the run.”

“Known for his skill on the bike, expect Ruben to push as hard as he can to get to the front, but don’t write off Serrano, Daubord, or Francois Carloni,” said Lebrun. 

“I had a long rest after Maui,” said Carloni, “And I started training slowly until the middle of January. But after three months of solid training, I’m feeling ready and excited.”

Others to watch in the men’s race include Jens Roth, the German Champ, Jan Pyott, who was 4th at Malta, Hannes Wolpert, a new German up-and-comer, and Belgian Kris Coddens, who is always quick on the run.

“My strategy is always the same,” said Coddens. “Try to keep up on the swim and then pick people off. Normally I don’t have to set my strategy based on someone else because they are all in front of me after the swim.”

In the women’s race last year, 2017 XTERRA Malta and Cyprus Champ Brigitta Poor of Hungary pulled away on the bike but was reeled in by Ladina Buss and Helena Erbenova on the run. Ultimately, it was Erbenova who pulled away on the final downhill to break the tape first in 2:43:39, less than 20 seconds in front of Poor, with Buss coming in close behind for third. The top three women all finished within a minute of each other.  

Poor and Erbenova will be facing off again this year as well as 34-time XTERRA Champ Renata Bucher and young Morgane Riou.

“Last year in Greece, Morgane started the bike with Brigitta but then flatted and lost time,” said Lebrun, who coaches Riou. “This year, with three races already under her belt and more confidence, Morgane might be a contender. Helena isn’t known for coming out of the water first, on the swim, but she’s come from behind for the win many times before.”

The course for XTERRA Greece is located in the city of Vouliagmeni, just 20 km south of Athens at the foot of the Hymettus mountain range and along beautiful beaches. The town has a rich history of athletics and was the site of the triathlon competition in the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Competitors can expect tough climbs, challenging and varied terrain, and water of about 19C (66F), with wetsuits optional. Both the bike and run courses feature great sets of steps that wind up the steep, Greek hills. The downhills are equally steep and incredibly fast. The race uses some side roads in Vouliagmeni that include bistros, restaurants, and of course, many cheering spectators.

“Greece is a destination that everyone would love to visit at least once in a lifetime,” said Konstantino Koumargialis, race director, XTERRA Greece.

Athens has a rich history going back thousands of years and still has archeological relics from ancient times, such as the Acropolis, the temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Parthenon. It is the birthplace of democracy as well as the marathon, and is the home to philosophical ideals and athletic marvels. 

“We are thrilled that XTERRA Greece is so close to Athens,” said Koumargialis. “Although Lake Plastira, where we had the race the first three years was a magical location, it was far from central airports and main cities. Our numbers increased from 230 people in 2015 to 320 in 2016 and this year to 380 entrants, making it one of the biggest triathlon events in the country.”

View last year’s results at www.XTERRA.com

Watch a course preview of XTERRA Greece.

 

Luxem, Poor win XTERRA Cyprus

Paphos, Cyprus – Yeray Luxem from Belgium and Brigitta Poor from Hungary captured the inaugural XTERRA Cyprus off-road triathlon, which turned into a duathlon, on Sunday, April 23, 2017.

It’s the second career XTERRA major win for Luxem, who won his first at XTERRA Poland last year, and the second win this season for Poor, the reigning XTERRA European Tour Champ, who also won the opener at XTERRA Malta earlier this month.

XTERRA World Tour managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas was on-site to take in all the action and brings us this report…

Complete Results / Pictures

The weathermen were right.  They called for high winds and big waves and that was what we were served for breakfast this morning.  Why is it when you plan an outing because the weather is supposed to be good – it rains?

So, the first XTERRA Cyprus became a duathlon.  Not only were the waves high and the shore chop brutal, but the undercurrents were super strong.  The wave action was so severe there was no way we could keep our swimmers safe as navigating in white water was impossible.  We had to change the run as well because the waves were pounding the white cliffs we originally came down through.

XTERRA European Tour director Nico Lebrun and the crew found a passage just down the beach that connected with a more inland path and that became the final kilometer of each lap of the run.

Regardless of all these chaotic challenges, race director Sgt. Ferguson called the troops to order and we started with only a few minutes delay.  The run was one lap of our course and it was led by Belgium’s Yeray Luxem followed closely by Oivind Bjerkseth.  Who, you say?  This is a super young man from Norway whose sport is mountain biking.  He watched XTERRA Maui live on the web and said, “That is for me.”

Norwegians are not noted for being swimmers and Oivind had his first open water swim just last November.  You can see from the Malta results he had the 7th fastest bike and a swim that was 10 minutes slower than the winners.  He was a very happy man to hear he would not have to face those ferocious waves today.

Francois Carloni had a good first run and took off quickly after Luxem.  Today was not the Frenchman’s day, however, “I felt strong after the first run, got on my bike and went out quick but then my legs said no,” he explained.  He did pass Oivind quickly on the bike but soon faded.  Carloni only arrived the day before and while France is not a long way – the travel may have contributed to his lack of power.

Thomas Kerner was quickly in 4th followed by his German buddies Sebastian Neef, Hannes Wolpert and Stephan Radeck.  Julien Buffe is a strong swimmer and as such, he was not happy about the duathlon, however, he came out swinging and rode an excellent race.

The best story of the day involves our winner, Yeray Luxem.  At the pre-race briefing, one slide showed a herd of sheep grazing on one of the trails of the bike course.  The director said quickly, “They will be gone on race day.”  Luxem was riding hard trying to drop his chasers and had to slow to a crawl.

“The sheep were there in the same place as the photo, exactly the same,” laughed Luxem.  His speed had the sheep running and bleating and cleared the way for the rest of the bunch.

For the women, Brigitta Poor was simply too strong today.  It looked as if Morgane Riou would be a contender as she is not a swimmer but runs very quickly, however, Brigitta simply took off at the start and never looked back.  Riou was riding well but suffered a flat that became hard to fix and lost considerable time.  She kept at it and ran an equal final 10K to Poor but was far back because of the bike.  Sweden’s Cecilia Jessen was alone in 3rd with our bubbly Brit Daz Parker a fine 4th outrunning Marika Wagner.

At the end of the first lap we could see two riders together in the lead.  We thought it must be Carloni and Luxem but no; it was the upstart Norwegian Bjerkseth.

“I tried to pass him on the downhills but could not do it and he pulled away from me on the climbs.  These guys do a fast pace,” smiled Bjerkseth.

Luxem got passed on one downhill and said “Oh, here comes Carloni,” and looked over and saw it was not.  “It was Oivind,” he said.  “He would look at me and when I took a drink he would push hard.”

Thomas Kerner had trained hard in the off season and was easily in 4th but pushing hard as Buffe was less than one-minute behind.  On the last climb before T2 Luxem pedaled hard and created a gap between Bjerkseth.  He used his transition skills to gain another seven-seconds on the inexperienced Oivind.

“I was feeling very strong and I know I am a fast runner but I did not know what he could do so I went out at a good pace,” said Luxem.

“I tried to follow him as best I could but after the first lap I knew I could not catch him,” said Bjerkseth.

Carloni came out of T2 in 3rd but was passed first by Kerner, then Buffe, and finally Neef to finish 6th.

Pos Name, NAT Time Points Run1 Bike Run2
1 Yeray Luxem, BEL 2:32:14 75 00:17:14 01:36:11 00:37:56
2 Oivind Bjerkseth, NOR 2:35:15 67 00:17:18 01:36:30 00:40:09
3 Thomas Kerner, GER 2:42:04 61 00:17:20 01:45:18 00:38:36
4 Julien Buffe, FRA 2:44:16 56 00:18:40 01:45:04 00:39:46
5 Sebastian Neef, GER 2:45:10 51 00:23:37 01:40:19 00:40:24
6 Francois Carloni, FRA 2:46:08 47 00:17:32 01:43:28 00:44:15
7 Hannes Wolpert, BEL 2:46:22 43 00:18:26 01:44:54 00:42:10
8 Stephan Radeck, GER 2:47:46 39 00:18:11 01:48:32 00:40:10
Pos Name, NAT Time Points Run1 Bike Run2
1 Brigitta Poor, HUN 3:02:54 75 00:19:58 01:57:59 00:43:56
2 Morgane Riou, FRA 3:13:19 67 00:20:22 02:08:16 00:43:36
3 Cecila Jessen, SWE 3:23:15 61 00:21:39 02:12:33 00:47:31
4 Daz Parker, GBR 3:33:34 56 00:22:04 02:20:36 00:49:25
5 Marika Wagner, SWE 3:38:48 51 00:23:43 02:19:25 00:54:23

While a bit different than planned, XTERRA Cyprus came off fine.  The organizers did a great job; things happened on time, there was good information about the changes and our athletes enjoyed themselves.

“I’ve been to many XTERRA’s all over the world and these guys did a great job, especially for a first-time event,” said Canadian age group standout Chuck Fortier.  “The awards were wonderful handmade dishes and the booming voice of Race Director Sgt Neal Ferguson needed no microphone for the presentation.”

I have to think that once the world has seen the photos and read the reports and talked to their friends that Cyprus will triple in size for next year.  Think about it.  Take 10 days and do a fabulous Mediterranean Holiday in Cyprus and Greece and do it with your XTERRA family.

XTERRA European Tour Elite Standings

Francois Carloni and Brigitta Poor hold the early lead in the XTERRA European Tour standings after the first two of 15 events in this year’s tour.  Up next: XTERRA Greece next Sunday!

2017 XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR PRO POINTS STANDINGS
After 2 – 4.23

Men S S
Pl Name, NAT TOTAL MLT CYP
1 Francois Carloni, FRA 108 61 47
2 Oivind Bjerkseth, NOR 100 33 67
3 Roger Serrano, ESP 75 75 DNS
4 Yeray Luxem, BEL 75 DNS 75
5 Maximilian Sasserath, GER 67 67 DNS
6 Stephan Radeck, GER 64 25 39
7 Thomas Kerner, GER 61 DNS 61
8 Jan Pyott, SUI 56 56 DNS
9 Julien Buffe, FRA 56 DNS 56
10 Jörg Scheiderbauer, GER 51 51 DNS
11 Sebastian Neef, GER 51 DNS 51
12 Tomas Kubek, SVK 47 47 DNS
13 Mark Hamersma, NED 43 43 DNS
14 Hannes Wolpert, BEL 43 DNS 43
15 Jim Thijs, BEL 39 39 DNS
16 Geert Lauryssen, BEL 36 36 DNS
17 Maxim Chane, FRA 30 30 DNS
18 Doug Hall, GBR 27 27 DNS
19 Callum Hughes, GBR 23 23 DNS
WM S S
Pl Name, NAT TOTAL MLT CYP
1 Brigitta Poor, HUN 150 75 75
2 Cecila Jessen, SWE 100 39 61
3 Helena Erbenova, CZE 67 67 DNS
4 Morgane Riou, FRA 67 DNS 67
5 Nicole Walkers, GBR 61 61 DNS
6 Maud Golsteyn, NED 56 56 DNS
7 Daz Parker, GBR 56 DNS 56
8 Carina Wasle, AUT 51 51 DNS
9 Marika Wagner, SWE 51 DNS 51
10 Kristina Lapinova, SLK 47 47 DNS
11 Louise Fox, GRB 43 43 DNS
12 Anna Pauline Sasserath, GER 36 36 DNS
13 Kathrin Mueller, GER 33 33 DNS
14 Marta Menditto, ITA 30 30 DNS

2017 XTERRA World Championship Qualifying Series Schedule

XTERRA Cyprus was the 12th of 41 events where amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 22nd annual XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 29.

Date Race Elite Winners or Location
Feb 25 XTERRA South Africa Richard Murray / Flora Duffy
Mar 4 XTERRA Motatapu Dougal Allan / Josie Wilcox
Mar 18 XTERRA Saipan + Silver Sam Osborne / Carina Wasle
Mar 25 XTERRA Argentina # Silver Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder
Apr 1 XTERRA Thailand + Silver Kieran McPherson / Renata Bucher
Apr 1 XTERRA Chile # Silver Felipe Barraza / Barbara Riveros
Apr 2 XTERRA Malta * Silver Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor
Apr 8 XTERRA New Zealand + Silver Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen
Apr 9 XTERRA Costa Rica # Silver Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder
Apr 16 XTERRA La Reunion Ruben Ruzafa / Carina Wasle
Apr 23 XTERRA Danao + GOLD Bradley Weiss / Carina Wasle
Apr 23 XTERRA Cyprus * Silver Yeray Luxem / Brigitta Poor
Apr 29 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship / Malaysia + GOLD Langkawi, Malaysia
Apr 30 XTERRA Greece * Silver Vouliagmeni
May 6 XTERRA Tahiti + Silver Moorea
May 14 XTERRA Spain * Silver Taragonna
May 14 XTERRA Brazil # Silver Ilha Bella, Sao Paolo
May 20 XTERRA Oak Mountain # GOLD Pelham, AL, USA
May 27 XTERRA Portugal * Silver Golega
Jun 10 XTERRA Belgium * Silver Namur
Jun 17 XTERRA Mine over Matter ^ Milton, Ontario, Canada
Jun 18 XTERRA Finland * Silver Imatra
Jun 24 XTERRA Switzerland * GOLD Vallee de Joux
Jul 2 XTERRA France * GOLD Xonrupt
Jul 9 XTERRA Victoria # Silver Victoria, B.C., Canada
Jul 15 XTERRA Beaver Creek # GOLD Beaver Creek, CO, USA
Jul 30 XTERRA Abruzzo * Silver Scanno, Abruzzo, Italy
Aug 5 XTERRA Mexico # GOLD Tapalpa
Aug 5 XTERRA Norway * Silver Norefjell
Aug 6 XTERRA Canmore ^ Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Aug 12 XTERRA Quebec ^ Quebec City, Canada
Aug 12 XTERRA Parry Sound ^ Ontario, Canada
Aug 13 XTERRA Dominican Republic # Silver Barahona
Aug 13 XTERRA Poland * Silver Krakow
Aug 19 XTERRA Germany * GOLD Zittau
Aug 26 XTERRA Sweden * Silver Hammarbybacken, Stockholm
Aug 26 XTERRA Sleeping Giant ^ Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
Sep 2 XTERRA Japan + Silver Hokkaido
Sep 3 XTERRA European Championship / Denmark * GOLD Mons Klint
Sep 16 XTERRA Pan American Championship / USA # D-GOLD Ogden, Utah, USA
Oct 29 XTERRA World Championship Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

* XTERRA European Tour / # XTERRA Pan American Tour / + Asia-Pacific Tour

Silver = Min. $7,500 pro purse & 75-point scale // GOLD = Min $15,000 pro purse & 100-point scale

Weiss, Wasle win XTERRA Danao

Danao, Cebu, Philippines – Bradley Weiss from South Africa and Carina Wasle from Austria captured the 7th annual XTERRA Philippines Championship elite race titles on a brutally long, hot day in Danao on Sunday, April 23, 2017.

It’s the third straight XTERRA Philippines title for Weiss and the third win this season for Wasle, who now has 16 majors in her career.

“Brutally hot race and probably the longest, hottest, and hardest race ever in my six years of racing XTERRA,” said Weiss.  “Very stoked to come out on top and winning my third race in a row here in the Philippines is the cherry on top for sure.”

As for Wasle, who won at XTERRA Saipan in March and XTERRA Reunion just last weekend, it’s amazing she was able to finish this grueling race having just broken her toe less than a week ago while entering the swim at Reunion.

“I knew I was in good shape, but I didn’t know if my toe would stop me from having a good run,” said Wasle.  “Turned out okay and it was the perfect race for me today.  I couldn’t be happier.”

Complete Results / Pictures

In the men’s race the reigning XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion Ben Allen was first out of the water, with Sam Osborne following steps behind into transition. Weiss was about one-minute back, followed by Kieran McPherson another minute behind, then Olly Shaw in fifth.

“I had a pretty solid swim, lost about a minute to Ben and Sam,” said Weiss.  “I closed the gap about 7km into the bike and didn’t really lose it from there. Sam pushed me hard but I got a gap at the start of the second 20km loop and opened it from there.”

As proof of how difficult the new Danao bike course was (40kms with 1,500-meters of elevation gain in searing heat and humidity) Weiss was the only racer all day to break the two-hour mark for the bike portion.  His bike split of 1:59:40 was more than six-minutes better than Osborne’s.

“Had 6mins off the bike and just survived the run, really, to make it to the finish line,” said Weiss.  “It was the most challenging bike course and I do enjoy the challenge, and I love mountain biking so I won the race through the mountain biking leg.”

Osborne, who won XTERRA New Zealand last weekend on a much cooler day in his hometown of Rotorua, said it was one of the hottest and hardest courses he’s ever done and was quick to praise Weiss on his effort, “Well done to Bradley, he was super strong today,” said Osborne.

Kieran McPherson finished third, followed by Ben Allen, who had several mechanicals on the bike, and former “Mr. XTERRA” award-winner Will Kelsay in 5th.

In the women’s race, it was Jessica Koltz was first out of the water (6th overall), followed 20-seconds later by Jacqui Allen then Wasle and Penny Slater two minutes behind.

Wasle took over on the bike, posting the fastest split by more than 13-minutes to Allen, and had the fastest run as well to take the tape in 4:07:49.

“I still don’t like the heat and humidity, but it’s the same for everyone,” said Wasle.  “What I really do enjoy is traveling a lot to new places, seeing the different cultures, and making friends.  I love racing too, it’s always a new challenge and that motivates me to do it all over again.  Here in Cebu everything is perfect. Princess and the Sunrise Events team take care of us and we have quite a lot of fun beside the training.”

Jacqui Allen looked to be comfortably in second-place following the bike leg but suffered from dehydration and had to pull out.  That left her pupil, Penny Slater in her rookie year as an elite, to take second-place followed by the American Jessica Koltz.

XTERRA Danao Elite Results

Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Bradley Weiss, RSA 3:16:00 100
2 Sam Osborne, NZL 3:23:33 90
3 Kieran McPherson, NZL 3:34:27 82
4 Ben Allen, AUS 3:44:26 75
5 Will Kelsay, USA 3:50:48 69
6 Joe Miller, PHI 3:52:04 63
7 Olly Shaw, NZL 3:53:43 58
8 Taylor Charlton, AUS 4:13:44 53
9 Alex Roberts, NZL 4:24:04 49
Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Carina Wasle, AUT 4:07:49 100
2 Penny Slater, AUS 4:36:21 90
3 Jessica Koltz, USA 5:22:53 82

All-Time XTERRA Philippines Champions

2011 – Sam Gardner, Shonny Vanlandingham

2012 – Ben Allen, Renata Bucher

2013 – Ben Allen, Lesley Paterson

2014 – Dan Hugo, Renata Bucher

2015 – Bradley Weiss, Flora Duffy

2016 – Bradley Weiss, Lizzie Orchard

2017 – Bradley Weiss, Carina Wasle

XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Standings

With his second-place finish today Sam Osborne retains his lead in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour standings after four events, followed by McPherson, Allen, Weiss, and Kelsay.

Carina Wasle leads the women’s chase having won both Saipan and the Philippines, with Penny Slater in second and Renata Bucher in third.

“I never won the APAC Tour or the European Tour,” said Wasle.  “So, it would be great to win the APAC Tour this year. I’ll certainly try my best to finish strong at all the races.”

Next up is the big one, the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race in Langkawi, Malaysia, which boasts a tour-leading $25,000 USD prize purse, and just about everyone from the Philippines will make the trip to Langkawi to take a shot at the title.

2017 XTERRA ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR POINT STANDINGS
After 4 (As of 4.22.17)

S S S G
PL NAME, NAT TOT SPN THA NZL PHI
1 Sam Osborne, NZL 240 75 DNS 75 90
2 Kieran McPherson, NZL 213 56 75 DNS 82
3 Ben Allen, AUS 203 61 67 DNS 75
4 Bradley Weiss, RSA 167 67 DNS DNS 100
5 Will Kelsay, USA 163 47 47 DNS 69
6 Brodie Gardner, AUS 147 39 61 47 DNS
7 Olly Shaw, NZL 109 DNS DNS 51 58
8 Markus Benesch, AUT 102 51 51 DNS DNS
9 David Ballesteros, ESP 99 DNS 56 43 DNS
10 Taylor Charlton, AUS 96 DNS 43 DNS 53
11 Joe Miller, PHI 93 30 DNS DNS 63
12 Alex Roberts, NZL 85 DNS DNS 36 49
13 Aleksandr Dorovskikh, RUS 72 36 36 DNS DNS
14 Hayden Wilde, NZL 67 DNS DNS 67 DNS
15 Kyle Smith, NZL 61 DNS DNS 61 DNS
16 Fynn Thompson, NZL 56 DNS DNS 56 DNS
17 Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN 51 21 30 DNS DNF
18 Yuichi Hosoda, JPN 43 43 DNS DNS DNS
19 Jacob Storey 39 DNS 39 DNS DNS
20 John Mering, NZL 39 DNS DNS 39 DNS
21 Dominik Wychera, AUT 33 33 DNS DNS DNS
22 Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA 33 DNS 33 DNS DNS
23 Cedric Wane, FRA 33 DNS DNS 33 DNS
24 Emil Duraj, SVK 27 27 DNS DNS DNS
25 Akihiko Maeda, JPN 25 25 DNS DNS DNS
26 Michal Bucek, SVK 23 23 DNF DNS DNS
S S S G
PL NAME, NAT TOT SPN THA NZL PHI
1 Carina Wasle, AUT 175 75 DNS DNS 100
2 Penny Slater, AUS 141 DNS DNS 51 90
7 Renata Bucher, SUI 131 DNS 75 56 DNS
3 Jessica Koltz, USA 82 DNS DNS DNS 82
4 Jacqui Allen, GBR 75 DNS DNS 75 DNF
8 Kelli Montgomery, USA 67 DNS 67 DNS DNS
5 Mieko Carey, JPN 67 67 DNS DNS DNS
9 Hannah Wells, NZL 67 DNS DNS 67 DNS
6 Marika Wagner, SWE 61 DNS 61 DNS DNS
10 Josie Wilcox, NZL 61 DNS DNS 61 DNS
11 Belinda Hadden, AUS 56 DNS 56 DNS DNS
12 Rebecca Clarke, NZL 47 DNS DNS 47 DNS
13 Lizzy Bunckenburg, NZL 43 DNS DNS 43 DNS

2017 XTERRA World Championship Qualifying Series Schedule

XTERRA Danao was the 11th of 41 events where amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 22nd annual XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 29.

Date Race Elite Winners or Location
Feb 25 XTERRA South Africa Richard Murray / Flora Duffy
Mar 4 XTERRA Motatapu Dougal Allan / Josie Wilcox
Mar 18 XTERRA Saipan + Silver Sam Osborne / Carina Wasle
Mar 25 XTERRA Argentina # Silver Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder
Apr 1 XTERRA Thailand + Silver Kieran McPherson / Renata Bucher
Apr 1 XTERRA Chile # Silver Felipe Barraza / Barbara Riveros
Apr 2 XTERRA Malta * Silver Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor
Apr 8 XTERRA New Zealand + Silver Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen
Apr 9 XTERRA Costa Rica # Silver Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder
Apr 16 XTERRA La Reunion Ruben Ruzafa / Carina Wasle
Apr 23 XTERRA Danao + GOLD Bradley Weiss / Carina Wasle
Apr 23 XTERRA Cyprus * Silver Yeray Luxem / Brigitta Poor
Apr 29 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship / Malaysia + GOLD Langkawi, Malaysia
Apr 30 XTERRA Greece * Silver Vouliagmeni
May 6 XTERRA Tahiti + Silver Moorea
May 14 XTERRA Spain * Silver Taragonna
May 14 XTERRA Brazil # Silver Ilha Bella, Sao Paolo
May 20 XTERRA Oak Mountain # GOLD Pelham, AL, USA
May 27 XTERRA Portugal * Silver Golega
Jun 10 XTERRA Belgium * Silver Namur
Jun 17 XTERRA Mine over Matter ^ Milton, Ontario, Canada
Jun 18 XTERRA Finland * Silver Imatra
Jun 24 XTERRA Switzerland * GOLD Vallee de Joux
Jul 2 XTERRA France * GOLD Xonrupt
Jul 9 XTERRA Victoria # Silver Victoria, B.C., Canada
Jul 15 XTERRA Beaver Creek # GOLD Beaver Creek, CO, USA
Jul 30 XTERRA Abruzzo * Silver Scanno, Abruzzo, Italy
Aug 5 XTERRA Mexico # GOLD Tapalpa
Aug 5 XTERRA Norway * Silver Norefjell
Aug 6 XTERRA Canmore ^ Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Aug 12 XTERRA Quebec ^ Quebec City, Canada
Aug 12 XTERRA Parry Sound ^ Ontario, Canada
Aug 13 XTERRA Dominican Republic # Silver Barahona
Aug 13 XTERRA Poland * Silver Krakow
Aug 19 XTERRA Germany * GOLD Zittau
Aug 26 XTERRA Sweden * Silver Hammarbybacken, Stockholm
Aug 26 XTERRA Sleeping Giant ^ Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
Sep 2 XTERRA Japan + Silver Hokkaido
Sep 3 XTERRA European Championship / Denmark * GOLD Mons Klint
Sep 16 XTERRA Pan American Championship / USA # D-GOLD Ogden, Utah, USA
Oct 29 XTERRA World Championship Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

* XTERRA European Tour / # XTERRA Pan American Tour / + Asia-Pacific Tour

Silver = Min. $7,500 pro purse & 75-point scale // GOLD = Min $15,000 pro purse & 100-point scale

Run in Paradise – XTERRA Tahiti May 7th

On Sunday, May 7th, XTERRA Tahiti is offering the trail run of a lifetime: the 42 km “Marama Nui” Trail Run across the island of Moorea in French Tahiti.

The coast-to-coast race will start on the east coast of the island at the entrance to the Papenoo Valley. A bus will transport athletes from Papeete City Hall to the start at 5:30 am.

Runners will be guided by a truck, which will lead them into the woods of the Papenoo Valley where they will follow single track, cross rivers, and run next to waterfalls for 18 km. 

The Papenoo Valley was formed by the collapse of the Tahiti Nui volcano’s crater. As you run through the valley, you will pass high waterfalls and deep valleys, which hide many archeological structures, old homesteads, and other relics of Tahitian history. For years the valley was called “Te Mano Rahi,” which means “10,000 Warriors,” because for thousands of years, the valley was home to large Tahitian chieftainships.

Runners will see incredible foliage in the valley as well as wild goats and beautiful birds. “You can stop for a snack at a mango or guava tree, and you will feel like you are in paradise,” said race director, Jean-Michel Monot.

After the first aid station, the trail climbs about 600 feet to the Sommerset Tunnel. “Don’t lose hope on the hill,” said Monot. “The view is worth it. Let yourself be led by the Pahu (Polynesian drums) that will motivate you as you face the darkness of the tunnel and run for the light.”

Once out of the tunnel, the course heads down to Vahiria Lake and rolls over beautiful, flowy trails through the rainforest for the next 10 km.

The final 7 km will head along the base of the mountain and into the botanical gardens to the finish.

After the race, don’t miss a fabulous dinner at the Gauguin restaurant near the finish line.

One liter of water is required by all runners, which can be carried in a bottle, backpack, or a more traditional gourd. Aid stations are placed along the route and are well-stocked with Powerade, cold water, and fresh fruit.

On May 6th, the XTERRA Tahiti Off-Road Triathlon will feature some of the best triathletes in the world. In addition to the Marama Nui Trail Run, a Run & Bike will be offered for athletes who wish to partner up on the 42 km course. A 7.5 km fun run and a kids 1.5 km will take place in the botanical gardens.

In last year’s Marama Nui Trail Run, Dominique Bordet of France came in first with a time of 3:26:52. She was followed by Yoann Mornet and Nicolas Danveau who followed in 3:43:24 and 3:45:45.

View last year’s results

View the course map for the Marama Nui and the Run & Bike.  

Learn more and register at www.xterratahiti.com.

XTERRA Heads to Malaysia

On April 30th, the XTERRA Malaysia Trail Runs will be held on the beautiful island of Langkawi, which is the largest in an archipelago of 104 islands off the northwestern coast of Malaysia. 

Langkawi has beautiful blue water, white sand beaches, and tropical rain forests. The Trail Runs will be held a day after the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Off-Road Triathlon. 

“Our trail run courses follow the Championship Course,” said race director, Sean Chee. “And some of our triathlon competitors love the Championship Course so much, they come back and race it again during the Trail Run.”

The 5K run includes part of the off-road triathlon course the pros race on, including the loop on Pantai Kok’s white sandy beaches. “It’s suitable for almost anyone,” said Chee, “Because we take out the hard bits.” 

The 11K race is the same loop that the off-road triathletes follow the day before. “Only your legs won’t be tired from a swim and a bike,” said Chee. “It’s very challenging, but it’s a perfect loop.”

The 21K race includes the 11K loop as well as part of the mountain bike course from the triathlon. In last year’s race, John Fell won in 2:37:54, over 20 minutes ahead of second place Sabrina Dumont, who finished first for the women in 2:59:02. In third was Ben Crookendel in 3:06:11. 

Learn more and register for the XTERRA Malaysia Trail Run at www.xterramy.com

XTERRA Renegade Rob Teixeira

Rob Teixeira is a big believer in being uncomfortable.

“I see so many people whose worlds have shrunk because they just want to be comfortable,” he says.

A road cyclist, firefighter, and cycling coach for two decades, Teixeira tried out mountain biking three years ago. On one of his first rides, he was humbled by how many times he fell.

“I crashed into a tree. I crashed around this super easy turn. I hit pine needles, and guess what, I crashed. There I was on the ground feeling seven crazy freaking emotions at once. My buddy, who I was riding with, opened his mouth to say something and I just held up my hand, like don’t talk to me.

But what he said to me was, ‘Hey, you’ve been doing this for three months. You’re fine.’ And I realized I was trying to be Kickass Rob, but I couldn’t because this was brand new. Sometimes things are really freaking hard and you have to just hang in there.”

Fast forward two years and Rob Teixeira is the winner of his 45-49 age group at the XTERRA Renegade Duathlon in San Dimas, CA. The course consists of a 3-mile run, a 15-mile mountain bike ride, and another 3-mile run. 

You can watch Rob’s video of the XTERRA Renegade course at Bonelli Park here

“I had a coach who taught me that building fitness or performance or aptitude is like building a bridge. The bigger the bridge, the more you have to put into it. But the thing is, you can’t use a bridge until it’s done. You just have to work and work and work until one day you have a breakthrough. And then you can use the bridge.”Teixeira explains that often, beginning something new requires patience, discipline, and a lot of wrong turns.

“I found XTERRA because someone convinced me to do the XTERRA Malibu Creek Trail Run. I got sucked into it. 14 freaking miles. I took sixth overall, but I don’t know that I need to run 14 freaking miles ever again. That’s how I found XTERRA Renegade. I knew I could run three miles at a time. And I can bike.”

People have often encouraged Teixeira to enter a triathlon or even a 24-hour mountain bike ride. “That’s about as appetizing as whiskey and milk,” he says. “Nope. I’m not swimming and I’m not doing anything that lasts all day.”

For Teixeira, the duathlon is a perfect fit with his coaching philosophy. “We need to be uncomfortable to grow, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a sufferfest either. You gotta be happy. You want to feel the flow.” 

He refers to the groundbreaking book, “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience,” written by the Hungarian Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, which is based on the theory that people are happiest when they are in a state of concentration with what they are doing in the present moment.

“Where skill matches the environment you have the flow. That’s the ideal. Whether I’m fighting a fire or I’m on my bike on some terrifying downhill, I just try to be really in it, you know?”

Teixeira lives in Riverside County but works at the fire station in Lancaster, California in the Antelope Valley of the western Mojave Desert. He describes it as “very wild-westy” with grass, tumbleweed, and a lot of dirt. He’s been a captain for six years and believes in passing on his experience to the next generation.

“I’m the old dog now,” he says. “But I still remember my first fire as the new guy who forgot his breathing apparatus and rushed in with his helmet on backwards. Coaching firefighters is the same as coaching cyclists because how you do anything is how you do everything. How you make your bed is how you are on the fire truck, and how you are on the bike.“

It’s clear that in whatever situation Teixeira is in, he gives one hundred percent. On December 20th, he responded to a call from a woman who needed to get to the hospital to repair a hernia. “The problem was, she was 600 pounds and couldn’t stand up without our help.”

The firemen successfully helped the woman into the ambulance and to the hospital, but in the process of lifting the gurney, Teixeira acquired a hernia of his own. He had surgery on January 31st and was back training for XTERRA Renegade on February 20th.

“I’m not sure how I’m going to do in the duathlon,” he says, “But the truth is, I’d rather be doing this than anything else – just two wheels and the dirt.”

The biggest message Teixeira wants to convey to the athletes he coaches is one Nike popularized years ago. “Just do it,” he says. “Don’t let your world shrink. Don’t wait. You don’t even have to be good. If you’re out in the dirt, messing around, pat yourself on the back because that’s what it’s all about. Nothing you do is a waste of time if it gets you closer to what you want.”

The XTERRA Renegade will be held on Saturday, May 6th. Learn more and register at http://www.XTERRA.com.

For more information about Rob and his coaching, visit www.mtbhero.com

Asia-Pacific Tour Stars All-in for Danao

All the stars on the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour are headed to Danao in the Cebu province of the Philippines for the fourth-race of the Series this Sunday, April 23.

In the men’s race XTERRA Saipan and New Zealand Champion Sam Osborne, XTERRA Thailand Champ Kieran McPherson, the reigning XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champ Ben Allen, the reigning XTERRA Philippines Champ Bradley Weiss, the 2016 XTERRA Motatapu Champ Olly Shaw, the 2016 XTERRA Saipan Champ Brodie Gardner, former XTERRA Japan champ Takahiro Ogasawara, and the fastest Filipino in XTERRA Joe Miller will all be on the start line.  Not to mention Will Kelsay, Alex Roberts, Dan Brown, and Taylor Charlton.

“It’s great to have such a competitive Asia-Pacific Tour, although I’ve made it even harder for myself personally with life changing moments occurring during the offseason,” said Allen, who married fellow XTERRA Warrior Jacqui Slack last month just before the Tour started.  “You can’t leave a stone unturned this day and age, it’s becoming a battle and making mistakes are costly. A race going to plan with luck is the key to success on the Tour.”

One man that’s had great success so far this year has been Sam Osborne, now a local hero in his hometown of Rotorua, New Zealand.

“It’s been crazy since XTERRA here in Rotorua, it’s something I’ve wanted and put a lot into and the support here at home has been amazing,” exclaimed Osborne.  “I’ve pulled up well since then and got back into my normal routine pretty quick so happy with how things are going.

When asked what his key to success has been, Osborne said “Have you ever seen Kung Fu Panda? What’s the secret ingredient to the secret ingredient soup…? I’ve got a good crew here at home who are as keen to get out in the bush & in the water as I am and we have fun, “Chop wood, carry water.”

Weiss, who won last year in the Philippines when the race was held in Albay, finished third at XTERRA Reunion on Sunday.

As for the course, Weiss says “I have done a few laps of the course and can tell you it’s going to be brutal out there and the climate is only making the challenge harder. The bike course is two loops of 20km with 700m+ of climbing each lap. Thats 40km total with 1500m elevation gain which is probably one of the toughest courses on the World Tour, add extreme heat and humidity and you have enough to frighten the most hardcore athletes! Doing one loop in training at an easy pace takes close on 90minutes and leaves even the pros pretty exhausted. Doing two laps at race pace should be an interesting experience. My plan is to take it conservatively and try to have something left to be able to run after that!”

In the women’s race it’s a showdown between XTERRA New Zealand Champion Jacqui Allen and XTERRA Reunion Champ Carina Wasle, with emerging talents Penny Slater and Jessica Kolts adding intrigue.

“I’m still on a high since XTERRA New Zealand,” said (Jacqui) Allen.  “I was so happy with my overall performance and now even more excited to tow the start line in the Philippines. I’ve raced XTERRA Philippines five times now and had three runner-up positions, so hopefully this Sunday might be my turn to take the top step. I love here, Sunrise always offers such a wonderful race experience. It’s a new course, new race location, so not too sure what to expect but I like it that way.”

As for Wasle, she has more than just Jacqui Allen to worry about.

“Unfortunately, I broke my little toe at the swim start at the race in Reunion,” she explained.  “At the moment I can’t run, so hope it will get better the next few days because right now my foot doesn’t fit into a running shoe!”

Still, broken toe or not, Wasle has already been out pre-riding the course.

“It is very hot and humid here,” she said.  “I just pre-rode one-loop of the bike course. It’s lots of very steep climbing, sometimes pushing the bike, rocky singletrails and crazy hot out there. It’s one of the toughest courses I have been on and its very long. I think it will take me nearly four hours to finish this race.”

Find the full dossier on the XTERRA Danao elites here.

Learn more at xterradanao.com.

Inaugural XTERRA Cyprus This Sunday

This Sunday, the XTERRA European Tour finds itself in the most southern and eastern part of Europe on the ancient island of Cyprus for the inaugural XTERRA Cyprus off-road triathlon. It’s the second of 15 stops on this year’s tour and promises to provide an experience like no other for the XTERRA Tribe.

“Our event is in the Paphos district,” explained XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas. “Coastal Paphos is famed for its archaeological sites relating to the cult of Aphrodite, including ruins of palaces, tombs, and mosaic-tiled villas.”

A dozen of XTERRA’s best off-roaders will be in Cyprus to welcome the new venue, led by the reigning XTERRA Poland Champion Yeray Luxem for the men and the reigning XTERRA European Tour women’s champion Brigitta Poor for the women.

Both will have plenty of competition. For Luxem, it’s Francois Carloni, Hannes Wolpert, Thomas Kerner, Stephan Radeck, Sebastian Neef, Julian Buffe, and Oivind Bjerkseth. For Poor, its Morgane Riou, Daz Parker, and Cecilia Jessen.

“There is no doubt Brigitta is the favorite,” said Nico Lebrun, XTERRA European Tour director. “She was in perfect shape in Malta and able to beat the very strong Helena Erbenova. Her main opponent in Cyprus will be Morgane Riou, who was twice on the podium at XTERRA Argentina and Chile and was 5th last year on the Euro Tour. Morgane has improved a lot and this is a good test for her shape in front of the last year Euro Tour winner.”

Cecilia Jessen was 8th at XTERRA Malta and will likely go toe-to-toe for the podium with Daz Parker, who works as a stunt woman when she’s not racing.

“On the men side, I think we will see a battle between Luxem and Carloni,” said Lebrun. “Carloni was strong in Malta and I bet he will finish the bike leading the race, but he will need more than two-minutes on Luxem to stay in the front and capture his second XTERRA title after Greece in 2015. Luxem, after winning his first major in Poland last year, should be more relaxed and motivated.”

For a place on the podium, Lebrun bets on Wolpert, and says Kerner should also be in good shape, “according to what he was posting on Facebook during the winter.”

Julien Buffe, who already raced twice on the XTERRA Pan Am Tour, will likely be the first man out of the water and if he has a good day, could find himself in the top five.

Norwegian Oivind Bjerkseth, who was 10th at XTERRA Malta, and Stephane Radeck, 13th in Malta, can move up high in the XTERRA European Tour rankings with a good race in Cyprus.

“As we are still at the start of the season and there are 13 races to follow, certainly things will change in the standings,” said Lebrun. “However, with this year’s new theme “Every Race Counts” every point matters for these racers.”

CYPRUS TRULY A DESTINATION RACE

XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas is discovering the sights and sounds of Cyprus in advance of Sunday’s inaugural event.  Here he tells us all about it…

The French/US team has arrived and Nico Lebrun and I are hard at work helping prepare for the first XTERRA on Cyprus.  We are in Paphos, the ancient port city on the southwest coast and this place rocks.  This is not a sleepy little island village but a vibrant area with hundreds of restaurants, disco’s, nightlife and more history and archaeological sites than one can take in.  Whatever your pleasure, you can find it in Paphos and Cyprus.

We’re located in Coral Bay just west of the city and about 30 minutes from the actual race site.  The site is pristine and very rural requiring about 2 miles of rocky, dirt road to arrive at the wonderful Lara Beach cafe, race headquarters.  Cyprus has had a drought condition for several years but this winter brought the rains and the area is green and beautiful.  The bays and Mediterranean are always stunning, but both the bike and run are swamped in beautiful fields of blue and yellow wild flowers.  While there are no tall trees (the Egyptians cut the forests thousands of years ago to build boats) the green shrubbery against the white coral and sandstone make for quite a beautiful course.

Nico Lebrun wrote a nice piece on the bike course and while it does have some short steep climbs and a couple hike a bike sections it is not too technical.  While the two bike loops will equal about 36K the riding time will be about the same as a 30K distance.  The run is basically flat but with a few wonderful sections including a very narrow single track after a brief drop off above Lara Bay.  The view is breathtaking but there is no real danger of falling.  If this old man can do it, then all XTERRA warriors will have no problem.  This is followed by a twisting and turning plateau through short, green bushes and over an uneven, rocky path.  At the end, you’ll wonder where the trail is as you arrive at a white stone cliff about 50′ above the beach.  But there is a way down through crevices and natural steps to arrive at the final quarter mile of beach run.  Stay close to the water as that’s where the dark gray sand is hard.

The port of Paphos is true fun with restaurants along the harbor, an ancient castle and dozens of shops to buy your memento’s.

Cyprus has it all.  Great weather, fabulous trails for running and biking, mountains in the center (Mount Olympus for one) super clear aqua waters, great food and tasty local beer and wine.  Add to this that Cyprus is the birthplace of Aphrodite and often visited by the Gods and you will not be able to experience it all in one visit.

It is still quite British and you drive on the left as in England.  The currency is the Euro so money is not a problem.  The financial problems a few years ago are finished and ATM’s are everywhere and the shops and restaurants take credit cards without a problem.

With Greece the week after, all the XTERRA family needs to consider this fantastic Mediterranean two-week Odyssey.  The race is Sunday and we’ll have more to report as we get closer.

History

The history of Cyprus is one of the oldest recorded in the world and its historical significance is disproportionate to its small size. Cyprus has just over a million population and is divided with the northeast part being Turkish and the rest of the island the Republic of Cyprus.  Blessed with the beauty of nature’s best palette, the scenery of Cyprus unfolds across glittering coasts, rolling mountains, fragrant forests and rugged headlands. It is not a secret that sportspersons and teams from all over the world, including endurance athletes, European football teams, cycling, swimming & triathlon teams and seasoned medallists, all give themselves a competitive advantage by opting to train towards their goals in Cyprus, thanks to a winning formula of services.

One of the most attractive reasons for choosing the island is indeed its almost-guaranteed daily sunshine, mild winter temperatures and minimal rainfall year-round. The fresh local cuisine is an important part of the island’s culture. From hearty meat dishes and specialty cheeses to unique desserts of carob and grape, the Cypriot cuisine is an exotic blend of Greek and Middle Eastern flavours. The ‘Mediterranean diet’ is considered to be of the healthiest, thanks to its abundance of heart-healthy olive oil, pulses, lean meat, local herbs and freshly grown fruits and vegetables.

Comprised of its old and new towns, rural villages and picturesque resorts, the region is home to some of the most stunning areas of natural beauty on the island, whilst its many archaeological sites are historically invaluable, with Katos Paphos declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The actual race site is the beautiful Akamas National Park and Lara Beach – which is a breeding site for turtles, and the traditional fishing shelter of Latchi.

The athletes will start with a sea swim on the sandy beach next to the transition area, followed by a 2-loop mtb ride on a dry, sandy and rocky terrain. The first part is flat, along the beach. Then you will start to climb, still on a dirt road, but quite rocky and in some parts very steep. At the top, you will reach the aid station, get some fluids to keep yourself hydrated as for sure it will be hot out there.

After that point, you will start to descent with some few technical parts, then up again on a steep climb! Don’t forget to say hello to the typical black pig that you will see on the small farm on your left! Finishing this second climb, the rest part is a fast downhill mainly on a dirt road. At some point you will reach, a new technical point that organizers added to make things more difficult.

This is in general the bike loop that you will have to do twice. The run course is almost flat but not always fast. Some twisted parts of trail run on rocks will be tricky and you will have to focus on your feet and be precise and quick. The end of the loop is along the beach and this is always slow and painful too.

 

Follow along for images and stories at www.facebook.com/xterraeurope.