The second stop on the 2016-2017 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour heads to Hokkaido, Japan on September 3 and the Tour’s defending elite men’s champion Ben Allen from Australia will be there.
“Japan to me has a fascinating and multifaceted culture,” said Allen. “On the one hand it is steeped in the deepest of traditions; on the other it is a society in a continual state of rapid flux, continually shifting fads and fashions and technological development that constantly pushes back the boundaries of the possible. This is what excites me about visiting and exploring everything Japan has to offer.”
Allen added that he’s also eager to score some points towards next year’s Asia-Pacific Tour title chase that will visit exotic locales all over the region.
“Gotta defend my title!”
This is the second year for XTERRA Japan in Hokkaido, a region renowned for their snow skiing, cuisine, and pristine landscape.
“The resort is amazing… with more than dozen restaurants serving world class Hokkaido cuisine, golf courses, gondola ride, hot springs, and some crisp clean air- great place for a holiday,” said XTERRA Pro Charlie Epperson at last year’s race. “It’s a great venue for the race and the community has been equally amazing in their support of the race, course preparations, and general warmness toward the athletes.”
The swim will start at the snow-fed and remote Lake Kanayama, home to the ancient & mythical Sakhalin taimen flying fish. After a likely cool morning swim, racers will enjoy a two-loop bike course that climbs over 800-meters while navigating a floating bridge that leaves little room for error.
“Spectators get to see runners twice on a two-lap course that takes competitors through Lake Kanayama Forest Park, an area commonly occupied by the Japanese brown bear (as many as 2,000 roam the Hokkaido region). No kidding!” exclaimed Epperson.
“I’ve hear the course is challenging and can be quite tricky in some sections,” said Allen. “I’ve raced the ITU Triathlon World Cup in Ishigaki, but never got the opportunity to take it off-road. I’m excited to experience and test my abilities in the Japanese Forest, but I’ll be on the lookout for “bears” … so I’ve heard.”
Allen will lead the XTERRA University clinic in Hokkaido, a great chance to learn from the best.
Learn more at www.xterrajapan.net.