XTERRA, Love & Marriage

It’s nine AM on a Saturday and Ben Allen is between workouts.

“I just completed hill repeats on the mountain bike and followed it up with a 3km swim. Now I just have a 40-minute run a bit later to shake up the legs,” he said.

Allen is gearing up to defend his XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour title, a quest that starts next weekend at XTERRA Saipan (March 18) in the Northern Mariana Islands.

“XTERRA is where my heart and focus live, so it’s been great to be back in open water and on the trails to get ready for the season,” said the Aussie XTERRA star.

Of course, Ben’s true heart and focus is on something, rather someone, of much greater importance than XTERRA racing these days.  Her name is Jacqui Slack, and this weekend he will vow to “love, honor, and cherish her for as long as they both shall live.”

Indeed, the much-anticipated XTERRA Warrior Award winners wedding is upon us.  The celebration will take place Saturday in South Bowral, Australia in front of family, friends, and XTERRA Tribesmen and women from around the world.

“It will be more of a festival nestled in the Aussie bush,” says Allen. “We will have an Aussie barbie the night before and a breakfast the next day, then Jacqui and I take off for a mini honeymoon on the Great Barrier Reef.”

A wedding in the outback, a honeymoon at the ocean, and an XTERRA race the next weekend …  one would expect nothing less from the 18x XTERRA Champ.

The Ben & Jacqui story started at an XTERRA in Sardinia, Italy, back in 2011.  “I had just finished third and it was a big highlight in my career,” Allen recalled. “I’d like to think Jacqui took notice, but really, it was her mum who introduced us.”

The budding relationship carried over to the next stop, and as Allen explains… “When you’re on the road in foreign places, the English-speaking athletes often gather together for meals and travel and look out for each other.  At the time, I was feeding myself on free swag from my sponsors, and Jacqui and I traveled to the French Grand Prix together to cut down on costs. Finally, in Switzerland, I had the courage to ask her to be my girlfriend over dinner one night.”

And the rest is history, as those two have been racing and traveling together ever since.  In 2012, the year the couple won the Warrior Award for exemplifying the Live More spirit of XTERRA, they traveled some 60,000 miles together.

Allen, an Aussie lifesaver in his younger days, credits Slack, a former firefighter in England, with keeping him balanced.

“She is super understanding. We balance one another and know how to encourage each other and give advice; to accept tough outcomes and move forward,” said Allen.  “At the end of the day it comes down to having someone there to really listen.”

We hear ya Ben!  We wish you both a lifetime of love and happiness, and a lot more XTERRA!!

Meet Nate Youngs

Before Nate Youngs won his 35-39 age group at the 2016 XTERRA Pan American Championships in Ogden, Utah last September, his wife slipped a card in his bag. Nate laughs as he remembers it. “It said, ‘Winning isn’t everything … EXCEPT it is!’ I thought that was pretty good and it was the perfect thing to read before the race. That and Matt Signoretty saying, ‘Let’s go old man.’ That put a smile on my face.”

Perhaps Nate’s secret to winning may be his wholehearted approach to life. When he isn’t on the podium, Nate is a general contractor who admits that his family is everything to him. “They are extremely supportive,” he says, with a smile on his face. “And I love getting together with other athletes after the race and having a few well-deserved beers.”

But Nate, who has been racing XTERRA since he discovered XTERRA Portland back in 2013, has a harder rocking side as well. On the course, Nate is a fierce competitor, just like his favorite XTERRA racer Chris Ganter.   Last year, in perhaps the strongest field the XTERRA Pan Am championships have ever seen, Nate was 21st overall and third amateur.

“That race was a sufferfest!” he admits. “Especially the run. In fact, I didn’t know I had won my age group. I had an idea I was having a good race, but anything can happen out there.”

As for what the future holds? “I will most likely go back to Utah this year, but nothing’s set in stone. I’m going to start the 2017 season in Alabama and go from there.”

What is for sure is that Nate’s future will be sweet. “I don’t have a diet,” he says. “I have a big bowl of ice cream every night, and trust me, there is no guilt!”

XTERRA Pan Am Tour Opener in Argentina March 25

The 2017 XTERRA Pan America Tour season opener in San Juan, Argentina is just three weeks away on March 25, followed a week later by the inaugural XTERRA Chile in Santiago on April 1.

“South America is definitely becoming XTERRA land,” said XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas. “XTERRA Brazil has been booming for years and this season we add XTERRA Chile as a new event, and return to San Juan, Argentina for the second year in a row.”

Last year Josiah Middaugh and Myriam Guillot-Boisset took home the elite titles in Argentina.

“The race venue is at a big reservoir at the foot of the Andes called Dique Ullum,” said Middaugh, who went on to win four more races and the Pan Am Pro Series last year. “Below the reservoir in San Juan it is wine country with some of the world’s best and cheapest wine.  The terrain looks similar to something in Southern Utah or outside of Las Vegas.  The bike course is fun and challenging. It follows mostly dirt bike trails that wind through very hilly terrain with lots of banked corners and whoopty woos.  The second half of the course is very tough pedaling with lots of time spent in the sandy washes.  There is really good energy at the event and a good local turnout with a sound system pumping some up-beat American jams.”

Nicholas, who joined Middaugh in Argentina last year, added…“Argentina is a huge country, four times bigger than Texas.  San Juan has a population of over 100,000 people and has many hotels and restaurants.  The site itself is about 20 minutes from San Juan and is very much like the US west. Many camp there and the area has about a dozen neat, small cabins to stay in. There are not a lot of trees, but great up and down hills over the barren, yellow landscape.  This is not to say the area is barren – it is quite beautiful.”

Distances are perfect for a World Tour XTERRA.  Josiah won last year with a time of 2:34. The swim is close to the one transition area and was done in one big lap last year.  The bike is two laps of about 15K and the run is also two laps with a total of 9.5K.  There are lots of chances to compete. The XTERRA is on Saturday morning with a 50K mountain bike race in the afternoon, and Sunday they host trail run races.

“A word about the food and drink must be included in a preview for XTERRA Argentina,” added Nicholas.           “Argentina prides itself on their incredible Malbec wines and they are maybe better than claimed.  The beef and pork are equally great and all of it is quite inexpensive.  Because San Juan is a big city many speak English so finding your way around with just rudimentary Spanish and a big smile will get you where you need to go.  With the new race in Chile just a week after Argentina, this is a fantastic chance to come and see South America and meet your XTERRA Tribe family members from other cultures.”

This year’s XTERRA Pan America Tour features 10 races, three in South America, XTERRA Costa Rica and Mexico in Central America, the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, and four events in North America including XTERRA Victoria in B.C., Canada, and the Alabama, Colorado, and Utah races in the U.S.

http://xterraargentina.com / http://www.xterraplanet.com/xterra-pan-am-tour

XTERRA Gator Terra to Host USAT Off-Road Nationals Again

The XTERRA Gator Terra will be celebrating its 21st birthday by hosting the USA Triathlon (USAT) Off-Road National Championship for a second year in a row.

The 2017 USAT Off-Road National Championships in Arkadelphia, Arkansas on June 4th combines a 1.5km swim, 19.5-mile mountain bike, and 6.2-mile trail run and will qualify athletes for the 2018 ITU Cross Tri World Championships.  The top 18 in each age group, rolling down to 25th place after applying the age-up rule, will qualify for the World Championships in Odense, Denmark.

Last year Chuck Sloan and Kelli Montgomery won the overall amateur national titles, and you can see the full lists of reigning age group champs below.  Of note, Montgomery is now racing pro and will make her elite debut at XTERRA Thailand on April 1.

There is no pre-qualification needed to register to compete in this National Championship, and all those 17 years and older are welcome.  The main event will also award valuable points for racers chasing XTERRA regional championships.

“Athletes in the northern section of the country will have a better opportunity to train for this year’s championship, as it has moved from early May in 2016 to June 4th for 2017,” said long-time race director Fred Phillips of DLT Event Management.

“If you are looking for clean and clear water to swim in, a truly championship mountain bike and run course, then you will find it here in Arkansas,” said Phillips.  “DeGray Lake is rated as one of the top 10 ten cleanest, fresh water lakes in America. The Iron Mountain Trail System is truly a championship level providing a 19.5-mile single lap bike course. For 2017 we will be offering a new run course that will challenge you from the beginning to the end.”

Phillips will also be hosting the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon National Championship at the same venue on May 7, a perfect warm-up event … “Deep woods single track with punchy climbs, great descents, many banked turns, awesome views and much more” he explained.

Companion events to XTERRA Gator Terra include the Lake Sprint Off-Road Tri (400 Yd Swim/9 Mile Mountain Bike/2.5 Mile run) on June 3 and a 1,500-meter open water swim in DeGray Lake on Sunday, June 4th … “both events provide a great opportunity for first-timers, friends, and significant others,” said Phillips.

When you get to Southwest Arkansas there is a ton to do within an hour’s drive, three (3) IMBA Epic Mountain Bike Trails, Hot Springs National Park and an amusement and water park for you to take the kids. Hot Springs, about a 30-minute drive away from DeGray Lake, is loaded with “to do” items and the Crater of Diamonds State Park, about 45 minutes away, is a public diamond mine where if you find a diamond you get to keep it!

“Come on over and enjoy some good old Southern hospitality,” said Phillips. “The Gator Terra, it’s the original XTERRA! 100 % genuine.”

Learn more at www.DLTevents.com.   Photo courtesy Marcus Barton.

2016 USA Triathlon Off-Road National Champions
Complete Results

Overall Female: Kelli Montgomery (Wallingford, Conn.), 3:47:56
Overall Male: Chuck Sloan (Tulsa, Okla.), 3:15:58
M17-19: Ben Wilson (Fayetteville, Ark.), 6:07:17
M20-24: Jace Chesson (Arkadelphia, Ark.), 5:10:50
F25-29: Samantha Kennedy (East Lansing, Mich.), 4:13:21
M25-29: Jon Hughes (San Diego, Calif.), 3:56:59
F30-34: Abby Johnson (Hudsonville, Mich.), 4:05:50
M30-34: Kyle Grieser (Marble Falls, Texas), 3:23:44
F35-39: Nikki Balderson (Lakeland, Tenn.), 3:50:24
M35-39: Chuck Sloan (Tulsa, Okla.), 3:15:58
F40-44: Kelli Montgomery (Wallingford, Conn.), 3:47:56
M40-44: Daryl Weaver (Lititz, Pa.), 3:27:40
F45-49: Christina Halioris (Crestwood, Ky.), 4:40:53
M45-49: Marcus Barton (Waxhaw, N.C.), 3:20:55
F50-54: Paula Maresh (Littleton, Colo.), 4:19:20
M50-54: Jay Curwen (Asheville, N.C.), 3:27:31
F55-59: Stephanie Landy (Ballston Spa, N.Y.), 4:16:18
M55-59: Casey Fannin (Birmingham, Ala.), 3:52:56
F60-64: Martha Buttner (Boulder, Colo.), 4:35:45
M60-64: Johnny Davis (Boulder, Colo.), 4:02:44
F65-69: Cindi Toepel (Pahrump, Nev.), 4:45:49
M65-69: Michael Orendorff (Pueblo, Colo.), 4:07:57
M70-74: Dale Vaughan (Macon, Ga.), 4:45:09

Motatapu - (c) Tim Bardsley-Smith

XTERRA Goes Long in Motatapu

The XTERRA World Championship qualifying series schedule heads to the South Island of New Zealand for the XTERRA Motatapu off-road triathlon this Saturday, March 4.

The iconic race is entering its sixth year as part of the world tour and is by far the longest, combining a 2km swim in Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka, 47km Mountain Bike, and 15km mountain run over the historic Miners Trail course.

The amateur winner from each age group will qualify for Maui, while the top three elite men and women chase $3,500 NZD.

“As the defending champion, it’s nice to be coming back to the race where I won my first XTERRA,” said the reigning men’s champion Olly Shaw, who finished more than eight minutes ahead of Kieran McPherson with a winning time of 3:51:39 last year.

“This is my fifth-year racing XTERRA Motatapu so I know what to expect and am preparing for a long hard day out there. It’s a brutal course starting with the cold swim in Lake Wanaka, a steady mountain bike, and then finishes with what I would describe as the hardest run on the XTERRA World Tour.”

In addition to dealing with the elements Shaw will also have to take on the 2015 champ Dougal Allen, who is fresh off a win at Challenge Wanaka last weekend.

“Dougal and I had a good battle here two years ago, and I’m hoping for something similar this weekend, but to reverse that result,” said Shaw.  “I’m feeling good going in. As always, my main focus for the early part of the year is XTERRA New Zealand in Rotorua on April 8, so this race works as a stepping stone towards that. I’ve had a good block of training since the start of the year so I’m looking forward to seeing what my shape is like on race day and fighting to defend my title.”

Other men in the elite field include Cedric Wane, who was third last year, George Gwynn, Matt Randall, and Pete Smallfield.

Last year’s women’s champ, Mary Gray, is also back to defend her title.  Julia Grant, a long-distance specialist with several podiums throughout her career, is pegged as her toughest challenger.

More than just the XTERRA race, Motatapu hosts a full-blown endurance sports festival weekend with more than 3,000 competitors racing in a series of events that include a marathon, an ultra, and a huge mountain bike race.

Learn more at motatapu.com.

Murray, Duffy win XTERRA South Africa

Complete Results / Photo Gallery / Photo credit: Tobias Ginsberg

Olympians Richard Murray and Flora Duffy captured the 14th annual Fedhealth XTERRA South Africa Championship on a magnificent Saturday morning at the Grabouw Country Club, which sits on the edge of the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve in the Elgin Valley about an hour’s drive from Cape Town.

It’s the second XTERRA SA title for Murray, who won his first in 2013, and the fourth straight for Duffy, who has won 11 consecutive XTERRA majors and 15-of-18 since her off-road debut in 2013.

In the men’s race Murray, who placed 4th at the Rio Olympics last summer, needed every bit of his world-class endurance and speed to hold off the reigning SA Champ Bradley Weiss.  He completed the 1.5km swim, 26km mountain bike, and 12.5km trail run in a lightning fast time of 2:22:46, just 19-seconds ahead of Weiss.

“Bradley seriously gave me a proper run for my money,” said Murray, who took the lead out of the water but quickly had company on the bike.  “He caught me in the first 6km, and four years ago here it took Conrad 12km to catch me, so I was very worried.  From there it was literally a cat-and-mouse game the whole event.”

Weiss, who won all three races in the FedHealth XTERRA South Africa series last year and the first one he entered this season at Nelson Mandela Bay two weeks ago, was 20-seconds back of Murray out of the swim and in a good spot on the bike before bad luck slowed him down.

“I caught Richard at the top of the first climb, but then both my tires suffered a slow puncture,” said Weiss.  “I only had one bomb, but managed to sort out both tires.  I caught Richard again just before the rock garden and going into the run I had about a one-minute lead, but knew that with Richard I needed at least two minutes.”

Murray added, “Bradley punctured at about the 10km mark, but caught me again at about the 18km mark.  Going into the run I thought I’d catch him sooner than I did.  He is really quick on the up-hills.  I’d catch him, only to have him pull away on the hills.  I caught him again on the last climb and pushed really hard on the downhill to get away.  I must give massive credit to Bradley.  He has come a long way and would more than likely have beaten me today had he not punctured on the mountain bike.”

It was indeed an impressive day for Weiss, who fractured his scaphoid bone during a training ride in December and just recently returned to full training.

Stuart Marais, the 2015 SA Champ, finished third to make it a podium sweep for South African men.  XTERRA Belgium great Kris Coddens finished fourth, followed by Theo Blignaut, James Cunnama, and Francois Carloni from France.

“XTERRA is an amazing event.  It’s well organized and the athletes are treated really well,” said Murray, who has made no secret of his ambition to win the XTERRA World Championship in Maui this October.

TOP 10 ELITE MEN

Place Name, Nationality Time
1 Richard Murray, RSA 2:22:46
2 Bradley Weiss, RSA 2:23:05
3 Stuart Marais, RSA 2:24:42
4 Kris Coddens, BEL 2:31:36
5 Theo Blignaut, RSA 2:31:59
6 James Cunnama, RSA 2:34:32
7 Francois Carloni, FRA 2:35:27
8 Michael Lord, RSA 2:35:30
9 Dominik Wychera, AUT 2:38:17
10 Antoin Van Heerden, RSA 2:38:19

In the women’s race Duffy did what she does best … dominate.  Her winning time of 2:39:00 was more than six-minutes faster than runner-up and SA Olympian Mari Rabie.

“Being the first race of the season, you don’t really know where you’re at,” says Duffy.  “I was a little nervous, but everything went well and I had a lot of fun.   I had a good swim, sticking to Mari’s feet.  On the bike I worked hard on the climb, and went smoothly on the technical sections.  I’m currently nursing a hip injury, so on the run I decided to practise more control.  XTERRA Grabouw is always special.  It’s where I started.  I’m very happy with my fourth victory.”

Rabie, a two-time SA Champ (she won her first XTERRA title back in 2005), may be “retired” but is still one of the fastest female triathletes alive.

“I’m absolutely delighted to come second today,” says Rabie.  “I enjoy XTERRA because it’s tough and rocky.   I was actually in competition with my boyfriend.  We’ve both just retired from racing, and this was his first triathlon.  He actually beat me, so I guess he takes the XTERRA crown.”

Making her XTERRA debut on the day, Rachel Klamer from the Netherlands rounded off the podium in the women’s race.

TOP 10 WOMEN

Place Name, Nationality Time
1 Flora Duffy, BER 2:39:00
2 Mari Rabie, RSA 2:45:31
3 Rachel Klamer, NED 2:54:11
4 Vicky Van Der Merwe, RSA 3:02:08
5 Nicolette Griffioen, RSA 3:04:34
6 Johandri Leicester, RSA 3:06:16
7 Sylvia Van Tromp, RSA 3:08:23
8 Kate Munnik, RSA 3:15:19
9 Megan Skowno, RSA 3:15:30
10 Colleen De Oliveria, RSA 3:17:25

We were once again overwhelmed by the number of XTERRA Warriors that lined up on the start line today,” says Michael Meyer, Managing Director of Stillwater Sports.  “Even more impressive was the number of first time contenders.  Grabouw offers the perfect setting for a world class event.  We are thankful to all entrants for their support and look forward to continue growing the sport of XTERRA in South Africa.”

XTERRA President Janet Clark added that the “vibe here is so cool. As you drive in you are greeted with signs that say ‘Welcome to XTERRA Country.’  African drummers and the national anthem start the day – a mass start with one lap of 1,500 meters.  There are warriors everywhere, families hanging out, a FedHealth Kids zone with art supplies, bouncing castle and movies, a ProNutro breakfast zone serving free breakfast, a huge Bos Sport recovery area, Dan Hugo’s ButtaNutt spread served in recovery, a big beer tent, VIP areas, lots of vendors, and Total Sports, the official retailer, was personalizing race shirts with athletes’ name for 100 rand.  Over 130 relay teams and 700 individuals on the day, and thousands more over the three days.  It’s simply WORLD CLASS.”

Says Jeremy Yatt, Principal Officer of Fedhealth: “The Fedhealth XTERRA Grabouw Full event is the one to do if you’re a serious off-road triathlete, or keen to clinch one of the various age group qualification slots for the XTERRA World Championships taking place in Hawaii in October. Grabouw offers unforgiving, yet breath-taking terrain, and the chance to bring your family to either participate or spur you on across the finish line. It’s no wonder it’s the biggest XTERRA event in the world.”

For further information on the Fedhealth XTERRA South Africa Championship email entries@stillwatersports.com or visit www.stillwatersports.com.  Direct media inquiries to Jacky McClean, chief contributor to this report, via e-mail to Jacky@newsportmedia.tv.

 

All-time XTERRA South Africa Elite Champions

Year – Men/Women

2004 – Conrad Stoltz/Megan Hall

2005 – Conrad Stoltz/Mari Rabie

2006 – Conrad Stoltz/Michelle Lombardi

2007 – Conrad Stoltz/Michelle Lombardi

2008 – Dan Hugo/Eszter Erdelyi

2009 – Lieuwe Boonstra & Felix Schumann/Carina Wasle

2010 – Dan Hugo/Mari Rabie

2011 – Dan Hugo/Carina Wasle

2012 – Conrad Stoltz/Carla Van Huyssteen

2013 – Richard Murray/Carla Van Huyssteen

2014 – Dan Hugo/Flora Duffy

2015 – Stuart Marais/Flora Duffy

2016 – Bradley Weiss/Flora Duffy

2017 – Richard Murray/Flora Duffy

 

2017 XTERRA World Championship Amateur Qualifiers

XTERRA South Africa was the first of 41 events where amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 22nd annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 29.  Here’s a look at who punched their ticket to paradise today:

Female 19-24: Michelle KREBS, Paige BOTTEN; 25-29: Framke Boonzaaier, Zane COETZEE; 30-34: Johandri LEICESTER, Kate MUNNIK; 35-39: Sylvia VAN TROMP, Carol REEVES; 40-44: Aileen ANDERSON, Tessa KEERS; 45-49: Janet KEET, Birgit BOLLING; 50-54: Pauline LEITH, Lizl HOBSON; 55-59: Jacqui JACKSON.  Male 19-24: Adriaan MYBURGH, Michael ROSS; 25-29: Janos DYLAN, Sebastian PAHL; 30-34: Matthew DANEEL, Gareth HARRINGTON, Jason REED; 35-39: Vernon VISSER, Marc PRICE, Trevor BAPTISTE; 40-44: Ralf FLETCHER, Shaun LUNT, Andrew ROWLES; 45-49: Phillipe VAN DER LEEUW, Gerrie BEUKES, Chris DE VILLIERS; 50-54: Douglas BURGER, Sean McCARTHY, Adam WHITTINGTON; 55-59: Frank SMUTS, Kevin DEWAR; 60-64: Dimmie DE MILANDER, Nic CLAASSEN; 65-69: Tim BRISCOE, Abel VAN DER MERWE.

2017 XTERRA World Championship Qualifying Series Schedule

Date Race Elite Winners or Location
Feb 25 XTERRA South Africa Richard Murray / Flora Duffy
Mar 4 XTERRA Motatapu South Island, New Zealand
Mar 18 XTERRA Saipan + Silver Northern Mariana Islands
Mar 25 XTERRA Argentina # Silver Dique Ullum, San Juan
Apr 1 XTERRA Thailand + Silver Phuket
Apr 1 XTERRA Chile # Silver San Bernardo, Santiago
Apr 2 XTERRA Malta * Silver Majjistral Nature Reserve
Apr 8 XTERRA New Zealand + Silver Rotorua, North Island
Apr 9 XTERRA Costa Rica # Silver Playa Reserva Conchal
Apr 16 XTERRA La Reunion La Reunion Island
Apr 23 XTERRA Cyprus * Silver Lara Beach/Akamas, Paphos
Apr 23 XTERRA Cebu + GOLD Danao, Cebu, Philippines
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

 

About TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA

TEAM Unlimited LLC, founded in 1988, is the Hawaii-based television, events, and marketing company that brought off-road triathlon and trail running to the world under the brand name XTERRA.  From a one-off race held on the most remote island chain in the world XTERRA evolved into an endurance sports lifestyle with worldwide appeal. Over the past 20 years XTERRA transcended its status as ‘just a race’ to become a bona-fide way of life for thousands of intrepid athletes as well as an emerging brand in the outdoor industry.  In 2017 XTERRA will offer more than 200 off-road triathlons and trail running events in 33+ countries worldwide and produce 10 adventure television shows for international distribution.  Learn more at xterraplanet.com.

Meet Margo Pitts

It’s not just inspirational gibberish when Coach Pitts, the leader of the Duke University Triathlon Club, tells her kids the most important thing about being knocked down, is getting back up again.

“My most memorable moment from last year’s Pan Am Championship race was a running downhill face plant at around mile two,” said Pitts. “And the men behind me starting jumping over me to pass!”

Unfazed, Pitts got back up and finished the race with the fastest run split in her division to take home the 50-54 age group Pan Am and USA Championship crowns.

“My favorite quote is from the Count of Monte Cristo, when he says ‘Life is a storm. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout, Do your worst, for I will do mine.”

And, indeed she has. Pitts started riding mountain bikes seven years ago, did her first XTERRA in 2010, and has been shouting into the storm ever since.

The reigning and two-time XTERRA Southeast Regional Champion out of Raleigh, North Carolina, is the owner and founder of B3 Triathlon coaching, says she loves sustained climbing, and not surprisingly, lists Mr. XTERRA Marcus Barton as her favorite XTERRA racer.

“Marcus is so passionate about XTERRA and he shares his love with others,” she said. “He makes me want to be a better person and a stronger athlete.”

Marcus says the same thing about Margo.

“I’ve had the opportunity to race and train with her and can tell you she’s a blast to be around and always has an upbeat, fun-loving aura,” said Barton. “She’s a pretty dedicated coach as well. On one occasion, we rode our mountain bikes all over the Ironman Raleigh course cheering on our friends and her athletes. We put in a ton of miles that day just scooting from point to point across the course. We’ve gone to races, pre-ridden race courses, hill repeats in the mountains of North Carolina, you name it. She’s even a part of our Rabid Muffin Monkeys mountain bike team. No matter where we are or what we are doing, she’s always a blast and makes friends everywhere she goes with her outgoing personality. But… don’t let that smile fool ya, she’s a fierce competitor. She trains very hard and races even harder.”

Marcus added that Margo also has an addiction to mountain bikes and “looooooooves country music!”

This year Pitts has pegged a pair of summertime races, XTERRA Beaver Creek and XTERRA Aspen, as two races she’s really looking forward to, adding that “Aspen is an EPIC race, be sure to sign up if you haven’t experienced it.”

Unless, of course, you’re in the women’s 50-54 division and have plans on winning it!

As for some free motivational advice, Pitts shared how she chants mantras to herself during races.

“They are different for every race and always written on my forearm race morning. It’s what motivates and drives me to finish strong.”

When asked how she would describe XTERRA racing, Pitts replied … “XTERRA is Badass”

Takes one to know one.

A Professor and A Caveman

Nicolas “The Professor” Lebrun, the 2005 XTERRA World Champion who now serves as the director of the XTERRA European Tour, recently took on his former nemesis, 4x XTERRA World Champion Conrad “The Caveman” Stoltz, in a battle for the ages.

Watch the video

After the race, Nico caught up with Conrad to “talk story” and shares his chat with the champ here…

Nico:  We started XTERRA at the same time, in the same race at the XTERRA East Championship in Richmond, Virginia.  You got second and I got third, and for both of us it was the start of something big.  Did you realize that right away, this summer day in June 2001?

Conrad: I had no idea XTERRA would become a new life for me. At the time, I was trying to get my motivation back after the four-year build up to the 2000 Olympics. In Richmond, and all the other XTERRA’s that year, I was just living in the moment and enjoying the cool “new” sport I stumbled upon.

Nico: Do you remember our first year, we shared the house in Lake Tahoe with Anke Erlank and Yu Yumoto?  You were eating only potatoes and garlic, do you remember, why?

Conrad: During those years, I tried to eat eight medium sized potatoes a day because it worked! I was following a diet which was revolutionary at the time, but now we all know it as something like the Caveman diet …  worked fantastically well!

Nico: I think the first years you tried to spend as little money as possible, sleeping on floors and with home stays, so you could bring more money back to your parent’s farm. Is that truth or legend?

Conrad: Truth for sure. It took me 10 years of being a poor professional triathlete before I won a world title and was able to get good sponsorship.  So, sleeping on train stations and airport floors, traveling everywhere with half a kilo of mashed potatoes and a few cans of sardines was a normal part of life, and suddenly having money in the bank didn’t change my lifestyle much. Its not until I got married to Liezel that I started traveling somewhat like a “normal” person.

Nico: You won so many races, did Olympics twice, world champ ITU, XTERRA… is there a race or a performance that you wanted but never got?

Conrad: When I won my first XTERRA World title, I put my heart on winning five XTERRA World titles. At first it seemed quite achievable, but despite trying my best for 14 years, I came up short with “only” four. The original Worlds course in Hawaii was covered in sharp lava rock and kiawe thorns which caused mayhem with tyres, and the new course in Kapalua had just too much climbing and humidity (my two big weaknesses) to win another title.

Nico: Your best and worst racing memories?

Conrad:  My best memories are of the 2000 Olympics and 2010 XTERRA Worlds.  My worst are from losing a few XTERRA World titles due to flat tyres and equipment failures, and also when I broke my back and wrist and lost most of my sponsors in 2007.

Nico: Specialized, a long story from October 2001 to now, you were a racer but more than that, did you help build up or test the first 29er?

Conrad: Only 10 years ago, 29ers were viewed as “clown bikes” but the first time I rode one I fell in love with the way it made me feel invincible as it bashed and rolled over rough terrain.  Those bikes were quite rudimentary and were not made for racing – I think the first Specialized Stumpjumper 29er weighed about 13.5kg. I asked the engineers if we could turn it into an XC racing bike. The one engineer said, “Why would you want to race on a clown bike?” Fortunately, we forged ahead and created the first real, full carbon, racing 29er with which I won the 2010 XTERRA Worlds by six minutes. One of my best memories.

Nico: Now, your beautiful daughter Zena, the Caveman café, and Trail building is what Conrad’s life is all about.  Can you tell me more about what you are up to these days?

Conrad: Our little family is really booming at the moment! Zena is 21 months old and is very, very energetic, curious and adventurous. She really keeps us on our toes! Also, we’re expecting a boy in June, which we’re very excited about!

After a lifetime of being an athlete, it has been quite an adjustment – doing sport for no other reason than enjoyment.  Training for fun comes after family, trail building, and Caveman Café, so at the moment I don’t get to train much.

I found a new passion in life and started a company STOLTZ Trails. I really enjoy trail building – its outside in nature, I’m my own boss and its very creative- almost like sculpture. Being a “Trail snob,” I’d like to think I build trails that will be fun to ride, showcase the owners’ property and are harmonious with the surrounding nature. And for some reason I also really enjoy manual labor.  (If digging a 25m swimming pool by hand rings a bell…)

Nico: XTERRA in South Africa, it is huge, do you know why?

Conrad: Great events across the country, XTERRA is on TV all the time, we have some great courses, and I’d like to think a few South Africans left a footprint on global XTERRA- Anke Erlank, Dan Hugo and myself.  For now…

Nico:  You came to France last year for the Alps Epic with Yannick, XTERRA La Reunion Organizer. Do you think if we push, we can get Conrad back in an XTERRA in Europe one day?

Conrad:  Oh, you don’t have to push. I’d love to participate in cool events just for fun and without worrying about the result.

Nico: And forget the video, we all know who is the best 😉

Conrad:  Yes, especially if it was the Vertical 1km…

Watch the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51djMIa_66k

Stars Come Out for XTERRA Season Opener in South Africa

This weekend’s FedHealth XTERRA South Africa Championship, the first of 41 events in 33 countries on the XWC qualifying series schedule, will host some 3,500 racers at the Grabouw Country Club in the Western Cape including Olympians Richard Murray and Flora Duffy.

Follow all the action from the championship race starting at 8am (Cape Town time) Saturday on Facebook.com/XTERRASouthAfrica, and on twitter @xterrasa.

“We are proud to host South Africa’s premier off-road triathlon and the world’s largest XTERRA,” says Michael Meyer, Managing Director of Stillwater Sports. “Grabouw is known for its beauty and the challenge that it pits athletes against. We are excited to welcome both local and international athletes to the South African Championship and look forward to witnessing XTERRA racing of the highest level.”

Elites in the men’s race include home country heroes Bradley Weiss, the reigning XTERRA SA and Philippines Champion; Richard Murray, who finished 4th at last summer’s Olympic triathlon event in Rio; Stuart Marais – the 2015 SA Champ; and Theo Blignaut. Three of the top 10 men in last year’s XTERRA European Tour are also on the start list including Kris Coddens, an XTERRA champion from Belgium; Brice Daubord from France, and Jan Pyott of Switzerland.

“The field is always deep, providing great competition and a very close and exciting race,” said Weiss. “Richard Murray has been one of SA’s best triathletes for the past few years. I believe he will bring the biggest challenge as well as Stuart Marais who won the title in 2015.”

>For Murray, XTERRA provides an opportunity to mix up his arduous triathlon training and racing routine.

“I am looking for some change this season,” he said. “XTERRA Grabouw is only a one-hour drive from my home and the ambiance is great. I enjoy the mountain bike discipline the most, particularly the challenging rock garden. Even the run is great, and has everything one could expect from a good course including trails, hills and a water crossing. I will race in Abu Dhabi the weekend after Grabouw, so my goal is to race within myself. I would love both a podium finish and to qualify for the World Championship in Maui.”

The last time Murray raced in Maui, he finished 12th on the day (in 2013), and said … “I definitely underestimated the XTERRA World Championship that year. This year, I want to win it.”

Marais, who missed last year’s race in Grabouw due to illness, said he is looking forward to some hard off-road racing.

“With XTERRA Grabouw attracting the cream of SA triathlon, there are a number of athletes who will be able to challenge for the overall win. The number of international athletes entered is testimony to the quality of the event that is hosted by Stillwater Sports. It’s great to have strong competition. Hopefully I will be up to the challenge,” said Marais.

In the women’s race, reigning and three-time Olympian, XTERRA SA and World Champion Flora Duffy is looking to make it four-in-a-row at her home away from home.

“This is my favourite XTERRA on the circuit,” says Duffy, who lives in South Africa half of the year. “The bike discipline offers everything you would want- climbing, twisty single track, rock gardens and beautiful views. The run is also really cool. At the highest point of the route you can see the entire race village and the surrounding mountains. It’s quite breath-taking. My favourite part of the run is the final kilometre along the beach. This section literally looks like a gritty, white sandy beach. The contrast between the water, beach and mountains is really cool.”

Other elite women hoping to throw a spanner in the works include Carina Wasle (Austria), Rachel Klamer (Netherlands), and Sandra Koblmueller (Austria).

“I’ve been racing it for many years and always love to come back to South Africa for the season opener,” said Wasle, a 13-year veteran who won XTERRA SA in 2009 and 2011. “The swim in the Coca-Cola coloured water of the Eikenhof Dam is really special, while the bike course with all the single trails is amazing and great fun. It reminds me why I love this sport so much.”

In addition to the main event XTERRA South Africa hosts a kids tri, sprint tri, and trail runs that accommodate thousands of racers over the three days in Grabouw. This is the 14th year for XTERRA in South Africa, but even for seasoned veterans it will look like a brand new venue this time.

“Due to recent fires and harvesting, the landscape has changed dramatically,” said the race director Hendrico Burger. “Large parts of the A – Z trails were either rebuilt or rerouted, however, all the iconic landmarks are still there. It’s a combination of elements that makes this route tough including the elite athlete factor, the varied terrain, the sprint to the first single track, and the weather.”

The fastest age groupers in the championship race earn qualifying spots into the ITU and XTERRA World Championship races while elites race for their share of the 154,000 rand prize purse.

For further information visit www.stillwatersports.com or follow along on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/XTERRASouthAfrica.

ALL-TIME XTERRA SA ELITE CHAMPIONS

Year     Men                                                                Women

2004     Conrad Stoltz                                               Megan Hall

2005     Conrad Stoltz                                               Mari Rabie

2006     Conrad Stoltz                                               Michelle Lombardi

2007     Conrad Stoltz                                               Michelle Lombardi

2008     Dan Hugo                                                      Eszter Erdelyi

2009     Lieuwe Boonstra/Felix Schumann      Carina Wasle

2010     Dan Hugo                                                      Mari Rabie

2011     Dan Hugo                                                      Carina Wasle

2012     Conrad Stoltz                                               Carla Van Huyssteen

2013     Richard Murray                                          Carla Van Huyssteen

2014     Dan Hugo                                                      Flora Duffy

2015     Stuart Marais                                              Flora Duffy

2016     Bradley Weiss                                             Flora Duffy