Emma Garrard Returns to XTERRA Oak Mountain

Emma Garrard is proof that motherhood makes you tougher.

At the 2015 XTERRA National Championship, Garrard claimed the number one spot on the podium after eight straight second-place finishes in the XTERRA regional races in the pro division.

And in a sport that favors single people with loads of free time, she crossed the finish line carrying her two-year old son Torin.  A month later, she finished third at XTERRA Worlds to secure her status as the fastest American woman in the sport for the third straight year.

“I could talk a lot about returning to training after a baby,” says Garrard, who is just getting back into the swing of things after her second baby, Nigel, who was born in January. “It’s really hard. But it’s also so good to be outside. I’m trying to be patient and ease back into training between feedings and when I have help.”

Less than a year after having Torin, Garrard finished 5th at XTERRA Worlds. The question now is, can she do it again?

“Being patient with yourself and taking time for yourself can help in so many ways,” continues Garrard, who explains that just getting out of the house and into nature can help new moms find a sense of balance.  “But you want to make sure you aren’t putting too much pressure on yourself too soon. It’s good to sign up for a race and have a goal to reach for. It’s good to do something you did before to prevent an identity crisis. It’s OK to take a break from your baby and remember who you were before.”

Before children, Garrard was a world-class triathlete.  With children, she is world-class triathlete who also knows how to change diapers, wipe away tears, and tell a great bedtime story.

“I plan to start back at XTERRA Oak Mountain next week and just see where I am,” says Garrard. “Having a goal like that motivates me to get out there and do things. Then I’ll keep it rolling with XTERRA Beaver Creek, XTERRA Nationals in Ogden, and then the XTERRA World Championship in Maui.”

If this plan sounds easy, she is quick to correct that. “I hardly ever felt good when I was pregnant,” the Park City resident admits. “Being pregnant at 7,000 feet is always a struggle. I still did all the things I did before but it was so much harder. I did a lot of cross-country skiing because it was easier than running. Sometimes the water felt good. And going downhill on the bike was tons better than going uphill.”

Seven months after the birth of her first son, Torin, Garrard found her coach, XTERRA 2015 World Champion, Josiah Middaugh. “I was looking for an XTERRA-specific coach,” says Garrard. “And he even lives at a similar altitude.”

Garrard explains that living at altitude means she has more red blood cells, but that it’s also more difficult to recover, and she can’t train as much as she could if she lived at sea level. As a result, all of Garrard’s miles are quality miles, which fits in well if you are the mom of two little ones.

Garrard is honest about the realities of the sport and the demands parenting places on athletes. “Physically, I could do this for a long time,” says 35-year old Garrard. “But finding the support to be able to do triathlon training can be stressful.”

Garrard is balancing racing with coaching cross-country skiing, which she learned while living in Anchorage as a child. “Cross-country ski season is opposite of my race season,” says Garrard, “So it works out well. And it’s nice to have something else I love as my backup plan.”

Given what she did after the birth of her first child, Garrard can’t be counted out this season. She’s tough, consistent, and injury free. “I’ve been knock-on-wood healthy,” she says, while crossing her fingers. “I’ve been smart about backing off when something hurts and I’ve been lucky to have consistent results.”

And Torin and Nigel are lucky to have a Mom that lives the healthy, active, outdoors, lifestyle, and has some very athletic genes.

XTERRA Mom Deanna McCurdy

Deanna McCurdy’s second child, Hayden, was 16 months old when she was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome (AS), a rare neuro-genetic disorder that is often diagnosed as autism or cerebral palsy.

“We knew something was wrong,” said Deanna. “She was sick a lot, suffered severe reflux which would aspirate to her lungs, and she wasn’t reaching typical developmental milestones. The one thing that kept us going was Hayden’s beautiful smile. Despite all of her struggles, she was the happiest baby we had ever met. Only later did we learn that her overly happy demeanor was a characteristic of her condition.”

“After her diagnosis, another parent with an AS child called me and said, ‘This is just how it is,’” said Deanna. “That really didn’t sit well with me. I thought, ‘No, this doesn’t have to be how it is.’”

Deanna began to educate herself about AS, and through the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (F.A.S.T.), an organization founded by parents who shared a similar passion to not just accept that their children’s life potential was so limited, she learned that there are many promising research studies, including one where the disease had already been cured in a mouse model.

The problem is that most of the research is privately funded.

“I knew I wasn’t brilliant enough to figure out the science, but I could combine my two passions –triathlon and the love of my children- to help raise money to support the scientists who will figure this out. I don’t know. Maybe this is just how it is. But it’s a lot easier to get out of bed in the morning if the future seems brighter than that.”

In 2011, Deanna founded Team Miles for Smiles to serve as a fundraising arm for F.A.S.T., much like Team in Training does for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Still, she downplays her role. “I think I’m more of a head cheerleader,” she says. “While my initial focus was to help raise money for research that would ultimately cure AS, what has evolved over the past few years has been even more rewarding than I ever imagined. I am constantly inspired when I see a fire ignite in people and watch them as they transform their lives on their way to crossing their finish line goal.”

Deanna describes how powerful it is to see a parent of an AS child train for their first 5K, triathlon or marathon and finish the race. “To watch the change in someone who previously sat on the couch thinking that life cheated them is incredibly moving. They start feeling better about themselves, their excuses disappear, and they begin to realize that while they might not be able to change their circumstances or child’s condition, they can change themselves. They become a different person on the other side of the finish line.”

Deanna also acknowledges that her life isn’t easy.

“Some days definitely aren’t all smiles. Sometimes I’m exhausted from battling insurance companies, cleaning up messes, and juggling the roles of special needs advocate, mom, wife, and athlete. But one thing I’ve learned is that we can either wallow in our own pity party about how life didn’t turn out as we hoped or we can embrace it and squeeze every morsel out of each day we are given. My daughter has shown me how to find joy in the little things and not take my talents or abilities for granted.”

Deanna was always athletic, running cross country for a small Division I college, but it was her husband who taught her how to mountain bike while they were dating. They spent weekends in the north Georgia mountains hiking and biking for years, but she didn’t enter her first triathlon until after Hayden was born.

“I raced my first XTERRA in 2013, a 15K trail run just outside of Atlanta where we were living at the time,” said Deanna, who now lives in Colorado. “I’ve always loved the trails because it is there where I have found solace, and connected with my inner soul. After finishing the race and being just surrounded by positive, encouraging, like-minded people, I realized that the XTERRA organizers and athletes share a similar love. What an incredible world that first race opened up to us.”

Coaching – or being a head cheerleader – is a role Deanna takes on with her own two daughters as well. Hayden, her Angel, is now nine, and Hailey is eleven. Deanna talks about how talented an athlete Hailey is, but also acknowledges that talent at this age is fragile. It can easily be squashed by too much parental pressure or not enough encouragement to allow them to find their own passion and niche.

“We just asked Hailey the other day if she would ever want to race triathlon like I do. She squirmed a bit in her seat and avoided answering the question. Sometimes I think she sees the pain we put ourselves through and thinks, ‘Why would I want to do that?’ Ha! Some days I ask myself that same question” says Deanna.

“I am okay if my daughter does not follow my path and does not race mountain bikes or triathlons, but I hope she continues to want to challenge herself to learn new skills, climb steeper, more challenging trails, and pedal on because no one else can get her to the top of the mountain but her own hard work and perseverance. If she can continue to do that, I know she will have the confidence to do anything she sets her mind to doing.”

That confidence will surely come from her mother, who is currently training for XTERRA Oak Mountain on May 20th, the XTERRA Beaver Creek in July, and the XTERRA PanAm Championship in September.

“Not only is Deanna racing for an incredible cause, she races incredibly fast,” said XTERRA President, Janet Clark. “She is a two-time regional champ. She is a two-time national champ. And at the XTERRA National Championship last year, Deanna was the fastest amateur woman with a time that would have been 6th among the pros. At XTERRA Worlds last year, she was second in her age group behind Mimi Stockton.”

Last year, Deanna focused her energy on helping her husband qualify for XTERRA World Championships because his age group is so competitive.

“My husband David is always so supportive of me and goes on crazy training rides and runs without complaining,” said Deanna. “We were thrilled when he was able to qualify through the lottery for XTERRA Worlds. We were so happy to be going together. The night before we were going to leave for Maui, we had our plane tickets, our bags were packed, and the grandparents had flown in from Georgia to watch the girls. But I realized I hadn’t received any race information.”

Deanna had forgotten to register herself for the race.

“I made a frantic midnight call to Janet Clark who told me to just get my butt on the plane and she would take care of me,” said Deanna. “I try to portray the image that I have all of my ducks in a row, but clearly at times, those ducks are swimming in all sorts of wayward directions. Thankfully, we have amazing people who love us, support us, and give us that extra hug when we need it.”

Learn more about Angelman Syndrome and how you can help at www.cureangelman.org

XTERRA Spain This Sunday

In Spain this Sunday we celebrate the race director debut of Roger Serrano, an elite racer by trade who won the XTERRA European Tour in 2015 and XTERRA Malta just last month.

“He promises to provide an experience like no other for the XTERRA Tribe,” said XTERRA European Tour director Nicolas Lebrun.

Tarragona, which will host the fourth of 15 stops on the European Tour this season, is an hour from Barcelona by train or car, and was once the capital of the Roman Empire in Spain.

Today, Tarragona is a place where history and culture are crowned with Mediterranean blue skies, blessed with beautiful beaches and complemented by an abundance of fine wine and cuisine.

“Don’t miss the visit to the Roman Amphitheater, the most impressive of Tarragona’s ancient remains, the Archaeological Walk (Paseo Arqueologico), the Balcon del Mediterraneo with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and El Milagro Beach, the magnificent Cathedral of Tarragona that was built in the 12th century, the Archaeology Museum with Spain’s finest collection of ancient Roman Art & the old fishing Village of El Serralo,” said Lebrun, who went on a scouting mission to Tarragona two months ago.

As for the race itself, there is intrigue all around.

“XTERRA Spain is going to be a challenging race,” said Lebrun. “Looking at the elites starting list, it is really difficult to predict the top three for both men and women. There will be a strong fight for the podium in both races.”

On the women’s side, we will again see a battle between Helena Erbenova and Brigitta Poor. They raced twice together so far and the score is 1-1 as Poor was the winner in Malta and Erbenova the winner in Greece.

“Brigitta was not 100% ready in Greece and Helena was incredibly strong coming from her adventure races in China, so who knows? For sure it will be hard for any other opponent to beat those two,” said Lebrun.

Contenders include XTERRA Thailand Champ Renata Bucher and the 2014 Euro Tour Champ Kathrin Mueller from Germany.

“Seeing Muller’s name on the start list of Spain means she trained for it. She is an experienced athlete and she knows what she has to do,” said Lebrun. “We are expecting her and Renata to fight for the podium!”

There are some Spaniards to watch as well. Aina Picas is a strong amateur who was second in her age group in the European Tour last year and will race elite for the first time.  Sara Bonilla, who was 7th last year in Portugal, will also be in the race.

For the men, the big name is 3x XTERRA World Champion Ruben Ruzafa. Coming off a solid win in Greece, Ruben will be hard to beat. The two other spots for the podium are open and some really strong guys will be there to fight for it.

Jens Roth had a great performance in Greece and will probably be first out of the water, Max Sasserath will be there too having the taste of the podium from Malta. Both will need to fight hard with Spaniard Albert Soley, last year’s XTERRA Brazil Champion, who will be very motivated to perform well in his home country’s event.

“Arthur Serrieres was 11th last year on the European Tour and can also have a shot at the podium,” said Lebrun.           “Jan Kubicek had a flat in Greece, and will for sure fight to forget this bad day. He is one of the guys that can be at least in the top five. Llewellyn Holmes, who was racing XTERRA for many years is also back as well as another seven Spaniards that we don’t know much about. They will race in the pro division this weekend. XTERRA Spain might be the first off-road triathlon for those guys and we are expecting them to be strong on the mountain bike.”

The swim in the beautiful Mediterranean Sea will start from a nice sandy beach. The water will be chilly, so wetsuits will be allowed. “Of course, you could race without it, but for sure, you will be faster with it,” said Lebrun.

The bike starts with a fast 5-6km on a flat section before the real excitement starts, with two-loops that have it all: single track, rocky areas, lots of turns, and fun downhills.

“It is a very nice loop on a dry pine forest. The terrain is not too extreme, but you can gain or lose a lot of time on this loop,” said Lebrun.

The run will take place in the same area and racers will pass next to a beautiful Roman water bridge. The course has some climbs and downhills and is also rocky and twisty. The finish line itself is settled under this bridge, which will be very unique.

Perhaps the highlight of the entire day might be the after-party, hosted under the shade of typical Mediterranean pine trees with excellent food and local beers.

Follow along www.facebook.com/xterraeurope for all the action, videos, posts and live update on race day.

XTERRA Pan Am Tour Heads to Brazil

The fourth-stop on the 2017 XTERRA Pan America racing tour heads to the beautiful island of Ilhabela in Brazil on Sunday, May 14.

In the women’s elite race Sabrina Gobbo is looking to make it four-in-a-row in her home country. Gobbo, who finished 5th in the Pan Am Tour last year, has won each of the last three XTERRA Brazil Championship crowns but will be up against a bevy of homegrown talent including Laura Mira Dias, who is currently ranked 3rd in the Pan Am Tour, Isabella Ribeiro, Vanessa Cabrini, Fernanda Prieto, Brisa Melcop, and more.

In the men’s race Brazil’s best off-roaders, including two-time champ Felipe Moletta and 2015 Champ Diogo Malagon, will take on the traveling Kiwi, Kieran McPherson, who earned his first XTERRA World Tour race win in Thailand last month.  Other contenders include Bruno Silva, Frederico Zacharias, Guiherme Goncalves and many others.

“Ilhabela literally means ‘beautiful island,’” said XTERRA Brazil organizer Bernardo Fonseca. “The island is beautiful and the people are beautiful too. With eight races over the weekend, this is a wonderful event for families. For sure we are going to have a great time.”

The race will begin on Pereque Beach with a 1.5km swim followed by a 24.2km mountain bike ride. While the island is small, it contains seven mountains higher than 1000m, so both the ride and the 8km run will be challenging.

The event offers 50 qualifying spots for the XTERRA World Championship in Maui, and dishes out XTERRA Pan America Tour points and $7,500 USD in prize money for elites.

In addition to the main event, the weekend will include seven other races: an XTERRA Short Night Run 9.3km, XTERRA Trail Run 21.3km, XTERRA MTB Cup Pro 42.9km, XTERRA MTB Cup Sport 24.2km, XTERRA MTB Enduro (18-hour ride over 2 days), XTERRA Swim Challenge 1.5K/3K, and even an XTERRA Kids race.

This year at the XTERRA Ilhabela Trail Run, the top five men and women in addition to age group champions, will qualify for XTERRA Trail Run Worlds on Oahu in December.

“Not only will the XTERRA triathletes have a shot at qualifying for the XTERRA World Championship, now XTERRA Trail Run competitors will also have the opportunity to test their skills internationally as well,” said race director, Wanise Plischke.

Located 207km/127mi from Sao Paulo, the island of Ilhabela can only be accessed by ferry. It was colonized hundreds of years ago by indigenous Brazilian people and named Sao Sebastiao Island by Amerigo Vespucci in 1502. Ilhabela is a popular tourist destination because of its regattas, beautiful beaches, and excellent restaurants.

Learn more at www.xterrabrasil.com.

All-Time XTERRA Brazil Elite Champions

Year – Man/Woman

2016-Albert Soley/Sabrina Gobbo

2015-Diogo Malagon/Sabrina Gobbo

2014-Felipe Moletta/Sabrina Gobbo

2013-Conrad Stoltz/Shonny Vanlandingham

2012-Felipe Moletta/Shonny Vanlandingham

2011-Ben Allen/Carina Wasle

2010-Dan Hugo/Shonny Vanlandingham

2009-Rom Akerson/Maria Omar

2008-Alexandre Manzan/Carla Prada

2007-Mike Vine/Candy Angle

2006-Nico Lebrun/Candy Angle

2005-Conrad Stoltz/Jamie Whitmore

 

Kickin’ It With Kaley

Kaley Rehorn has been racing since she was a kid.

“I was probably eight or ten in my first race,” said the 24-year old. “My mom signed me up for everything: IronKids Triathlons, Davis Kids Triathlon, swim lessons, races, even ice hockey one season. Finally she figured out I’m pretty decent at the whole swim bike run situation.”

Kaley continued to swim in high school, competing in long distance events in freestyle and backstroke and qualified for CIF Sectionals. She also competed for Sierra College where her 400 freestyle relay team made it to the state meet.

From there, she progressed to full-time partying.

“I partied hard after I turned 21,” said Kaley. “All my friends were into it. But then, I was like, this is not right. So I started running and getting on my bike again.”

By the summer of 2013, Kaley was signing up for sprint triathlons and local races. She soon turned to XTERRA racing because “Road biking just isn’t that exciting. My parents took us quote unquote mountain biking when we were kids and I wanted to get back to that. Of course, we were just riding our regular bikes on some trails, but I went out and bought a mountain bike.”

Kaley is humble and says that she is still learning, but then she starts to talk about her new, full-suspension bike.

“It’s a thrill for sure. I grew up in Rio Linda and we were always outside playing on our bikes in the dirt. Maybe that’s why I have no fear.”

It might have been this lack of fear (and a lot of hard work) that brought Kaley the win at the XTERRA Pan Am Championship in Utah last year.

“I remember getting to the top of the bike portion and not feeling tired. The year before I bonked at this point in the race so I was happy I had a lot left for the downhill and to finish the run. I didn’t see anyone in my age group pass me, but I wasn’t going to let myself think I won until I knew for sure.”

Her favorite memory of the day is driving with her two friends up to T2 to drop off her run gear. “We were blasting my favorite song and I was so excited to race. I LOVE the Utah course and I can’t wait to go back,” said Kaley.

While it might seem like someone Kaley’s age has the freedom to train – and party – all day and night, but this isn’t the case. Instead, she works 10 hours a day in her family’s business, Rehorn RV Collision Center in Sacramento. A quick glance on Yelp shows about 20 5-star ratings, and many accolades for excellent work and friendly service.

“After college, I decided to work for my dad full time. I run the office now and pretty much do everything except fix the cars,” said Kaley. “Then I come home and work out for as long as there’s daylight. It’s great this time of year. Sure, there are some nights I want to go home after work at drink beer and eat pizza on the couch, but it’s so much more rewarding to jump on my bike instead.”

Paterson, Humberto Win XTERRA Renegade

Even though Lesley Paterson has been taking some time off from racing to write a book, train a movie star, and coach a stable of 30 athletes, the pint-size Scot proved she is still in fighting shape.

Fourth overall, Paterson was the first female pro, coming in at 1:51:26, almost eight minutes ahead of amateur Heather Wilson, who finished in 1:59:10. Second was Kathryn Lockwood in 2:04:05 and third for the amateurs was Kristin Corbett in 2:04:45.

“My health is on the up and up and I’m enjoying being back out there, racing hard,” said Paterson. “The Renegade course was super fun but more than anything, it was amazing to see everyone. The XTERRA community is everything to me.”

On the men’s side, Rivera Humberto broke the tape in 1:50:48 while Art Custer was second in 1:51:02. John Sarikas was third in 1:51:26.

The half-mile swim, 15-mile bike, and 3-mile run wasn’t the only race of the day. XTERRA Renegade also offered a duathlon of a 15 mile mountain bike ride and 2, 3-mile runs.

In the duathlon, the 40-49 age group was strong. Jason Tuffs was the duathlon champ in 2:16:09 and Walter Perryman was runner up in 2:19:44. Rob Teixeira was third in 2:21:20.

(From left to right: Perryman, Tuffs, and Teixeira)

“The pre-race vibe was chill and a reminder of why I compete in the dirt,” said Teixeira. “Folks who don’t mind dirt tend to be more laid back in general.

“The weather was ideal, starting out in the upper 60’s and staying in the 70’s with good cloud cover and some drizzle. The course was definitely challenging with a lot of short, steep climbs. I saw a lot of red faces and heard some hard breathing on the hills. In general, throughout the course, everyone was polite, and provided we weren’t in the middle of a crazy climb or steep descent, we were all willing to exchange a few words of motivation.”

The father-son team of Tim and Evan Peters also had a great morning. Evan finished first in his age group and 6th overall out of sixteen. Tim finished 3rd in his age group and 11th overall.

“We both ran and rode hard and pushed ourselves not just to finish, but to finish well,” said Tim Peters. “We were tired afterwards but felt really good about our accomplishment knowing we gave it our all.”

Peters added that despite their reluctance to swim, both are considering the full triathlon next year.

The XTERRA Renegade also offered two trail runs, a recreational triathlon, and a relay division.

XTERRA Renegade is the 7th race on the XTERRA America Tour. May 20-21 will be a big weekend for the America Tour with XTERRA Charlottesville, XTERRA Way Over Yonder, and XTERRA Oak Mountain on May 20th. XTERRA St. Louis will take place on May 21st.

View Complete Results

Osborne, Allen win XTERRA Tahiti

Moorea, Tahiti – Sam Osborne and Jacqui Allen captured the third-annual XTERRA Tahiti Championship elite titles on a gorgeous afternoon in Moorea on Saturday.

It’s the third win of the season for Osborne and the second for Allen.  They both won at XTERRA New Zealand one-month ago and Osborne captured the season opener in Saipan back in March.

In the men’s race Osborne, Ben Allen, and reigning World Champ Mauricio Mendez were all together out of the swim, however, “Ben and I absolutely laid it down through transition and onto the bike and managed to force a gap on Mauricio,” said Osborne.

Mendez charged back and got in front, but one small slip and he was off his bike and pushing it up a hill when Osborne and Allen attacked again.

“It was just the perfect pedal by him on an uphill to take the lead and Ben stayed on my wheel and we rode really hard for the next 10-minutes or so and nailed the gap,” said Osborne.

Turned out Mendez, at roughly mile five of the bike, broke his derailleur and was done for the day.

“I’m not sure if it was a tree root or a rock that I hit, but it was an unfixable mechanical,” said Mendez.

Neither Osborne nor Allen knew Mendez was done, however, so they kept pouring on the steam.

“It was like a time trial the whole bike,” said Osborne.  “Ben was descending really well today and I wasn’t able to gap him on the bike at all.”

The two rode into transition together but Osborne made a quicker go of it, was first out on to the run, built a 20-second gap by the top of the climb “it was 5K up, and 5K down,” and held on for the win.

“Onto the run, I got a bit of a gap out of transition and got into a good rhythm but on the uphill I started to cramp quite bad and was in damage control to the top,” said Osborne.  “Was a godsend to get to the downhill and let my legs just roll it out.”

Osborne’s winning time was 3:33:49, about one-minute ahead of Allen.

“What an incredible day,” exclaimed Allen.  “I lead out of the water and nailed the first 5km on the bike with Sammy hot on my heels! We had a gap on Mau, and he made a superhuman effort to close it, but Sam attacked and I managed to follow and the elastic band broke for Mau and Sam and I drilled the bike knowing Mau would be hot on our heels come the run. We exited the bike together and it took me a few kilometers before my legs came good but Sam took off from the start. The gap was closing as Sam was hurting from his effort and I could sense I may have a chance, but with little course left to run, Sam took the win and I finished 2nd. The course, people and atmosphere was outstanding! I have loved every minute here and Jacqui and I will definitely be back again next year!”

Christophe Betard from France, who was second here behind Josiah Middaugh last year, took third on the day followed by Tahiti’s own Cedric Wane.

In the women’s race, it was all Jacqui Allen, who was the only elite female in the event.

“What a super location for an XTERRA,” she said.  “It has everything.  Crystal clear waters, mountain bike terrain with short steep climbs, rooty technical sections, fast rocky downhills and tricky creek crossings. The run is much the same and probably one of my favorite run courses on the circuit. I was most impressed with the whole organization of the event from start to finish. The passion shone through all weekend with the event being a massive success, I would highly recommend this as a bucket list race for anyone interested in the Tahitian culture. thanks to Jean-Michel and the crew for making this happen.”

Cedric Tourneur from Tahiti and Mimi Stockton from Michigan won the amateur titles, and 26 amateurs punched qualified to race at the XTERRA World Championship in Maui this October.

More images and video from the event will be available soon on their Facebook page.

Elite Results:

Pos Name, NAT Points Time Prize Money
1 Sam Osborne, NZL 75 2:33:49 $1,200
2 Ben Allen, AUS 67 2:35:05 $900
3 Christophe Betard, FRA 61 2:46:59 $700
4 Cedric Wane, FRA 56 2:49:42 $550
1 Jacqui Allen, GBR 75 3:05:46 $1,200

XTERRA Tahiti was the sixth of seven races on this year’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour, and with the win Osborne takes a commanding lead into the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour finale at XTERRA Japan in Hokkaido on September 2.

ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR ELITE STANDINGS
After 6 (As of 5.6.17)

PL NAME, NAT TOT SPN THA NZL PHI MAS TAH
1 Sam Osborne, NZL 402 75 DNS 75 90 87 75
2 Ben Allen, AUS 357 61 67 DNS 75 87 67
3 Kieran McPherson, NZL 300 56 75 DNS 82 87 DNS
4 Bradley Weiss, RSA 254 67 DNS DNS 100 87 DNS
5 Will Kelsay, USA 216 47 47 DNS 69 53 DNS
6 Brodie Gardner, AUS 205 39 61 47 DNS 58 DNS
7 David Ballesteros, ESP 168 DNS 56 43 DNS 69 DNS
8 Joe Miller, PHI 142 30 DNS DNS 63 49 DNS
9 Taylor Charlton, AUS 141 DNS 43 DNS 53 45 DNS
10 Olly Shaw, NZL 109 DNS DNS 51 58 DNS DNS
11 Markus Benesch, AUT 102 51 51 DNS DNS DNS DNS
12 Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN 92 21 30 DNS DNF 41 DNS
13 Alex Roberts, NZL 85 DNS DNS 36 49 DNF DNS
14 Aleksandr Dorovskikh, RUS 72 36 36 DNS DNS DNS DNS
15 Hayden Wilde, NZL 67 DNS DNS 67 DNS DNS DNS
16 Alex Hunt, AUS 63 DNS DNS DNS DNS 63 DNS
17 Akihiko Maeda, JPN 62 25 DNS DNS DNS 37 DNS
18 Kyle Smith, NZL 61 DNS DNS 61 DNS DNS DNS
19 Christophe Betard, FRA 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 61
20 Fynn Thompson, NZL 56 DNS DNS 56 DNS DNS DNS
21 Cedric Wane, FRA 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 56
22 Yuichi Hosoda, JPN 43 43 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
23 Jacob Storey 39 DNS 39 DNS DNS DNS DNS
24 John Mering, NZL 39 DNS DNS 39 DNS DNS DNS
25 Jacky Boisset, FRA 34 DNS DNS DNS DNS 34 DNS
26 Dominik Wychera, AUT 33 33 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
27 Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA 33 DNS 33 DNS DNS DNS DNS
28 Cedric Wane, FRA 33 DNS DNS 33 DNS DNS DNS
29 Emil Duraj, SVK 27 27 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
30 Michal Bucek, SVK 23 23 DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS
PL NAME, NAT TOT SPN THA NZL PHI MAS TAH
1 Carina Wasle, AUT 275 75 DNS DNS 100 100 DNS
2 Jacqui Allen, GBR 232 DNS DNS 75 DNF 82 75
3 Penny Slater, AUS 141 DNS DNS 51 90 DNS DNS
4 Renata Bucher, SUI 131 DNS 75 56 DNS DNS DNS
5 Myriam Guillot-Boisset, FRA 90 DNS DNS DNS DNS 90 DNS
6 Jessica Koltz, USA 82 DNS DNS DNS 82 DNS DNS
7 Leela Hancox, AUS 75 DNS DNS DNS DNS 75 DNS
8 Kelli Montgomery, USA 67 DNS 67 DNS DNS DNS DNS
9 Mieko Carey, JPN 67 67 DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS
10 Hannah Wells, NZL 67 DNS DNS 67 DNS DNS DNS
11 Marika Wagner, SWE 61 DNS 61 DNS DNS DNS DNS
12 Josie Wilcox, NZL 61 DNS DNS 61 DNS DNS DNS
13 Belinda Hadden, AUS 56 DNS 56 DNS DNS DNS DNS
14 Rebecca Clarke, NZL 47 DNS DNS 47 DNS DNS DNS
15 Lizzy Bunckenburg, NZL 43 DNS DNS 43 DNS DNS DNS

2017 XTERRA World Championship Qualifying Series Schedule

XTERRA Tahiti was the 15th 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
Richard Murray / Flora Duffy
Mar 4
Dougal Allan / Josie Wilcox
Mar 18
XTERRA Saipan + Silver
Sam Osborne / Carina Wasle
Mar 25
Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder
Apr 1
Kieran McPherson / Renata Bucher
Apr 1
XTERRA Chile # Silver
Felipe Barraza / Barbara Riveros
Apr 2
XTERRA Malta * Silver
Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor
Apr 8
Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen
Apr 9
Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder
Apr 16
Ruben Ruzafa / Carina Wasle
Apr 23
Bradley Weiss / Carina Wasle
Apr 23
XTERRA Cyprus * Silver
Yeray Luxem / Brigitta Poor
Apr 29
Osborne,Allen,Weiss,McPherson/Wasle
Apr 30
XTERRA Greece * Silver
Ruben Ruzafa, Helena Erbenova
May 6
Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen
May 14
XTERRA Spain * Silver
Taragonna
May 14
XTERRA Brazil # Silver
Ilhabela, Sao Paolo
May 20
Pelham, AL, USA
May 27
Golega
Jun 10
Namur
Jun 17
Milton, Ontario, Canada
Jun 18
Imatra
Jun 24
Vallee de Joux
Jul 2
Xonrupt
Jul 9
Victoria, B.C., Canada
Jul 15
Beaver Creek, CO, USA
Jul 30
Scanno, Abruzzo, Italy
Aug 5
Tapalpa
Aug 5
XTERRA Norway * Silver
Norefjell
Aug 6
Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Aug 12
Quebec City, Canada
Aug 12
Ontario, Canada
Aug 13
Barahona
Aug 13
XTERRA Poland * Silver
Krakow
Aug 19
Zittau
Aug 26
XTERRA Sweden * Silver
Hammarbybacken, Stockholm
Aug 26
Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
Sep 2
XTERRA Japan + Silver
Hokkaido
Sep 3
Mons Klint
Sep 16
Ogden, Utah, USA
Oct 29
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

XTERRA Couch to Trail – MTB Skills for Beginners

By Mimi Stockton, 4x 40-44 Division XTERRA World Champ

I’ll admit it, I’m completely devoted to my mountain bike.  You’ll regularly find me tearing through trails like a mad woman, competing in both cross country bike races and XTERRA triathlons.  Why am I in love?  Because mountain biking is pure joy.  I find it nearly impossible to not have fun when I’m out on the trails.

But this love affair didn’t start off so smoothly.  After having taken a break from mountain biking for about 15 years, I decided it was time to get back on the saddle.  I had missed it.  I was invited to join a group of guys one evening–they were going to show me how to navigate the local trails.  I couldn’t wait.  My fitness was excellent and I had been road riding for many years.  How hard could it be to ebb and flow through the forest again?  I would play it safe, I told myself.  As I jumped on my bike, I quickly realized I was in over my head.  A mountain bike is a different beast than a road bike.  I had forgotten simple things, like sometimes the best way past an obstacle is straight through it, that momentum is your friend and that the thing that nails you is the one you don’t see coming. Those two hours were painful, excruciatingly painful, and I saw my life flash before my eyes more than once.  Yet I kept pushing on because I knew without pushing my limits I would never learn how to exceed them. I would be okay.  I would make it out of the trails alive, perhaps a bit beaten up, but alive nonetheless.  I grew a little bit that evening and walked away with a smile on my face.  A tiny part of me kept saying “I’m never doing that again,” but I knew deep down I’d be back.

It was a few days later that my mind and body agreed to venture back into the wilderness.  I vowed to be better prepared the next time I went off with the boys.  So I practiced.  And practiced.  And practiced some more.  And I learned a few very important things that every beginner mountain biker needs to understand.  If you want to do an XTERRA or mountain bike race and improve your biking skills, this list is for you.  Read it, digest it, memorize it, live it.

  1. Pick a Trail That’s Suitable for Beginners

Don’t do what I did and hop on a trail that is above your ability.  Many roadies have been directed to a mountain bike trail that is much too hard for beginners. You’ll have a better experience if you begin on a relatively easy trail and increase difficulty as you improve skills. If this isn’t possible, for whatever reason, don’t be afraid to walk your bike across the hair-raising, death-defying hill sections.

  1. Figure Out Where You Want to Go and Trust the Bike

You have to be looking well ahead of your bike. Decide where you want to go and keep looking ahead on the trail. Don’t look at a section of trail and keep your eye on that section or obstacle until it’s under your front wheel. If you’re looking at what’s under your front wheel, there’s no way you can be ready for the next section of trail. Mountain biking takes tremendous focus.  Look away for just a split second and you might find yourself hugging a tree.

Once you’ve decided where you want to go, trust that your bike can handle the rough treatment. Mountain bikes, unlike road bikes, like it rough. They are built to crash into things.

  1. Don’t Stop Pedaling

Most of the time, power to the pedals and momentum are your friends. It is tempting to stop pedaling right before an obstacle. A little voice inside your head is telling you that the obstacle looks frightening and you need to take a second or even third look at the thing. Assuming you are beginning with a trail that is appropriate for beginners, much of the time just keeping the pedals moving and keeping even power to the wheels will get you around or over the technical section. Steady, even power will also help you climb a loose section of trail.

Remind yourself to pedal, to keep the momentum going.  Next time you’re out on the trail and you lose momentum you will quickly find out what happens.  Prepare to fall over.  Prepare to get muddy.  I guarantee next time you will not stop pedaling.

  1. Sometimes It’s Better (and Necessary) to Aim for the Rock

This probably sounds crazy, especially to a roadie who tries to avoid all obstacles at all costs.  But in mountain biking, sometimes aiming right for the rock and riding over it is your best and safest line. Remember, mountain bikes are made to ride over stuff.

  1. Move Your Body Weight Forward on Steep Climbs

When climbing steep trails or roads with loose sand, rocks and dirt, you will need to move your body weight forward so your rear wheel stays in contact with the ground.  This provides optimal traction. If you move your body weight too far forward, you lose traction, and if you move your body weight too far back, your front wheel can lift off of the ground.  After many hill climbs you will find that sweet spot.

  1. Move Your Body Weight Back on Steep Descents (Get Your Butt Behind Your Seat!)

You have probably seen photos or videos of mountain bike riders screaming down steep roads and trails where their body position is so far back, the seat is completely visible in front of their torso.  You want to mimic them.  This is an essential piece of advice…unless you want to endo and fly off your handlebars.

  1. Don’t Try to Be a Hero

There are going to be some sections of the trail where you are better off walking your bike.

Yes, even the best riders get off their bikes and walk some of the really crazy technical sections. Don’t expect to ride every section of every trail. In fact, sometimes it’s more energy and time efficient to just get off the bike and walk.

  1. Expect to Feel Unstable

On a mountain bike, expect to have a feeling of sliding around on loose dirt, gravel, rocks and tree roots while you’re riding. Unlike road riding, the ground is often loose and moving beneath you. Be prepared for that feeling of sliding out of control.  Accept it, try to relax and remain upright.  Being scared, hesitant and nervous will cause you to stop pedaling and lose momentum, and you know what happens when you do that.

  1. In the Beginning, Plan to Work on Skills and Forget About Aerobic Fitness During Some Rides

What does this mean?  It means you will get off the bike and complete several “do overs” on one or more sections of the trail that you want to master. Did you miss the line you wanted to take?  Hope off the bike and do it again until you get it right.  Your confidence will grow immensely on these types of rides.  When your legs get too tired to give a solid effort on tough sections or you find yourself unable to focus, call it quits for that day.

  1. Ride With Experienced Riders (But on Ability-Appropriate Terrain!)

Riding with people who want to take you to the toughest local trails on your first couple of outings on a mountain bike will most likely end badly and leave you discouraged and maybe even injured.  Find people that will take the time to help you learn new skills on terrain that is appropriate for beginners. Be patient.  It takes time and effort to master even small obstacles.  But having some foundation skills will help you be a better rider in the long run and will undoubtedly lower the likelihood that you’ll get discouraged, injured or worse still, quit.

So get out there!  All you need is a bit of practice, some determination and a kick in the butt to face your fears and push your limits…which happens to be a pretty good analogy for just about anything in life worth accomplishing.  #LIVEMORE

 

The XTERRA Couch to XTERRA training series is presented by SheriAnne Little, Jeffrey Kline, and four-time XTERRA age group world champion Mimi Stockton of PRS Fit.  Their new 12-week “Couch-to-XTERRA” training program is designed to do just that, get aspiring athletes off the couch, into training, and to the start line of an XTERRA.  Read past training articles from PRS Fit at http://www.xterraplanet.com/training/couch-to-trail and learn more about their coaching programs at prsfit.com.

Mendez Opens XTERRA Season in Moorea Saturday

Reigning XTERRA World Champion Mauricio Mendez from Mexico will kick-off the XTERRA racing portion of his 2017 season Saturday at the third-annual XTERRA Tahiti Championship race in Moorea.

The 21-year-old won the Ironman 70.3 Texas title back in April, but this will be his first adventure on the trails this year.

“I am pretty excited for my first race in the dirt since Maui last year,” said Mendez.  “I am actually really nervous about it, but it’s probably more excitement than nerves.”

Mendez is not alone in his excitement, as one-and-all have commented that the new course in Moorea is spectacular.

“Everything has been great! The course is really cool, and it’s a totally new world here, and the islands are beautiful.”

Ben Allen from Australia, the reigning XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion, is quick to agree.

“I’ve raced on almost every Asia-Pacific island there is, and I’ve never come across one so beautiful in every way,” he said.  “The bike course is a truly organic course, with natural obstacles obtruding from the ground making it technical and challenging. Undulating and rocky but fast and flowing. The run is in the heart of the Tahitian jungle, you run under the canopy of big trees shadowing your every step and you climb up and down passed pineapple, avocado and banana plantations. It’s going to make for a tough and challenging race, but it’s hard to focus on the trail when you are surround by natural beauty!”

Sam Osborne, the current points leader on the Asia-Pacific Tour, will be looking to solidify his position in the rankings and see where he stacks up against the current XTERRA World Champ at the same time.

“Excited to see Moorea and race against Mauricio, Ben, and the other boys,” said Osborne.  “I’ve done my bit of googling the spot and it just looks like an incredible location for a race.”

Tahiti’s own Cedric Wane is the top local elite, and will look to mix into the top three along with Frenchman Christophe Betard, who was second behind Josiah Middaugh at last year’s race.

In the women’s elite race, it’s all about Jacqui Allen, who is enjoying her time on Moorea.

“It’s absolutely stunning, so green, lush, and beautifully maintained.” she explained. “The oceans are the clearest I’ve seen and there’s just one road that separates the mountains from the sea. It’s great to be here and despite so much travel, I’m feeling relaxed. The bike and run course is already marked so we’ve been around a few times now. You ride on bumpy fire road trails past farms and paddocks, the route is undulating, challenging all rideable with rocky and Rooty sections through the forest, it’s lots of fun. The run has everything, to start and finish its flat and fast, in the middle you climb the mountain using a path of rocky stairs and roots once you pop out of the forest at the highest point it’s downhill all the way home.”

While not racing in the elite division, Mimi Stockton from Michigan could prove to be a worthy challenger for Allen.  She, too, is taken aback with the island’s natural beauty.

“This has got to be the world’s most stunning island you’ve never heard of,” said Stockton, who is also one of the XTERRA Couch-to-Trail coaches from PRS Fit.  “With it’s out of this world scenery, warm, crystal blue waters and brilliant sunsets it’s a place that is certainly worthy of the long trek.  If it were up to me, I’d swim, bike and run all day long and stay forever.  I still can’t believe I get to do an XTERRA race here, and one that is incredibly well-run to boot.  This should be a race on everyone’s bucket list!”

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