South Africa XTERRA Season Starts Now

The 2016 Fedhealth XTERRA South Africa racing season kicks off this month with the much anticipated Fedhealth XTERRA Buffelspoort race in the North West Province on the weekend of January 22-24, followed by an exciting introduction to Port Elizabeth with the Fedhealth XTERRA Nelson Mandela Bay Jan. 29-31.

The 13th annual XTERRA South Africa Championship race follows Feb. 19-21 at the Grabouw Country Club, about 40 minutes outside of Cape Town.

Veteran XTERRA South Africa star Carla Van Huyssteen will kick off her racing season by partaking in all three XTERRA SA events.

“XTERRA is a challenging off road triathlon, this is what attracts me to the sport,” says Van Huyssteen. “The nature of the sport sees the events being held in uniquely beautiful parts of the country. XTERRA SA events can be likened to a well-oiled machine. The organization is very professional, you know that you won’t be disappointed from registration, to on route experience, venue set up and finish.  I cannot wait to see what Stillwater Sports has planned for us at XTERRA Nelson Mandela Bay. The more XTERRA’s the better. It’s a really nice change to once again have an ocean swim at an XTERRA SA event. The stronger swimmers will definitely have a bit of an advantage if they can read the sea conditions well. It is going to be great.”

According to Stellenbosch based trail runner/multi-sport athlete, Antoine van Heerden, in order to thrive at XTERRA one needs to be committed on many levels.  “One major difference is the technical aspect that mountain biking and trail running brings to the sport.  Every XTERRA course is different and will suit a certain athlete more than the other. I enjoy this added dimension that XTERRA racing brings. I enjoy both the mountain bike and run route of XTERRA Buffelspoort. The bike route is fairly flat and fast, with one or two short and steep climbs at the end. The run route crosses under the Buffelspoort dam wall, which is a beautiful sight. I am also excited about the introduction of the Fedhealth XTERRA Nelson Mandela Bay.  I really like the concept of combining all three races to form a series.  It’s a big step for the sport of XTERRA in South Africa.”

Learn more at or


2015 T’was the Night Before XTERRA

T’was the Night Before XTERRA

And all around the Ritz;

Some athletes were sleeping,

Others at the end of their wits


800 strong were on Maui to race

Tomorrow would go at a furious pace;

Would the surf be crashing or would it flat,

Would the bike be muddy or sticky with tack


They dreamed of speeding downhill like Conrad Stoltz

And hoped for no flats or broken bolts;

Could they climb like Ruzafa and drop the field,

Would the technical pieces make them yield


The moon on the racks of the big, bold transition

Sparkled and twinkled as the dew made them glisten;

Those looking outside saw a wonderous sight

A kindly old gent was working late at night


Then all of Kapalua heard a jolly old laugh,

Old St. Nicholas was there with the XTERRA staff;

“Go to sleep my family, tomorrow is near

Be rested and ready and have no fear”


“The surf will be fine, the trails sticky and fast

From 9 o’clock on you’ll be having a blast;

Remember blue is for bike, red is for run

Keep yourself hydrated, go out and have fun”.


They were suddenly gone, as quick as a flash

The fields back to pristine not one piece of trash;

But the racers all knew as they yawned with a smile

That the race would be great, mile after mile.


This was XTERRA and for the last twenty years

There’d been happiness and joy, and sadness and tears;

Sometimes they won and sometimes they lost

But our racers gave it all, regardless of cost.


It made no difference if from lands near or far

They would fight like warriors and then drink at the bar;

It’s our way to Live More, a family that is right

Brothers and Sisters who argue and fight.


As they all left their windows and went back to bed

The old mans words echoes inside their head

“tomorrow’s the race we’ll be ready and right

Happy XTERRA to All and to All a Goodnight”.

Beaver Creek Transition

XTERRA Early Bird Specials on Now

From now until January 31 XTERRA is offering early-bird prices on registration rates for its championship races and the trail runs held at select venues.

Rates start at just $85 for the full length off-road tris ($110 for teams), $55 for Sprint races ($70 for Sprint teams), $30 for the new “Xticer” beginner off-road tris, and $40 for 21km trail runs, $30 for 10km races, and $20 for 5km runs.

Follow the registration links below for more information:
May 21-22 – XTERRA Oak Mountain – Pelham, AL
July 16-17 – XTERRA Beaver Creek – Avon, CO
Sep 17-18 – XTERRA Pan American Championship – Ogden, UT
Oct. 22 – XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs – Kapalua, Maui
Dec. 4 – XTERRA Trail Run Worlds – Kaaawa, HI

Flora Duffy

XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour

The first race of the 2015-16 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour took place August 29, 2015 in Hokkaido, Japan with Courtney Atkinson and Mieko Carey picking up race wins and big points.

The next four majors on the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour are XTERRA Philippines on February 7 in Albay, the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship on April 23 in New South Wales, Australia, the XTERRA New Zealand Championship April 16 in Rotorua, and the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour finale in Langkawi, Malaysia on May 7.

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

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

XTERRA Tahiti on May 14 will mark the start of the 2016-2017 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour.

7-Feb XTERRA Philippines
12-Mar XTERRA Saipan
16-Apr XTERRA New Zealand
23-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship
7-May XTERRA Malaysia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Championship
Start of 2016-2017 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour
14-May XTERRA Tahiti
27-Aug XTERRA Japan (Subject to Change)
3-Sep XTERRA Korea

2016 XTERRA World Tour Preview

While there are still a few weeks left in 2015 it’s not too early to get excited about the adventure opportunities available on the 2016 XTERRA World Tour.

The XTERRA World Tour is looking stronger than ever with championship races in 27 countries and fully developed XTERRA Pan American, European, and Asia-Pacific Tours.

There are still several races yet to be announced, so check back regularly to

7-Feb XTERRA Philippines Championship
21-Feb XTERRA South Africa Championship
5-Mar XTERRA Motatapu
20-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica
26-Mar XTERRA Argentina
3-Apr XTERRA Malta
16-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship
17-Apr XTERRA La Reunion
23-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship
7-May XTERRA Malaysia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Championship
7-May XTERRA Brazil Championship
7-May XTERRA Greece
14-May XTERRA Tahiti
21-May XTERRA Oak Mountain
21-May XTERRA Portugal
11-Jun XTERRA Belgium
25-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Championship
25-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter
3-Jul XTERRA France Championship
10-Jul XTERRA Victoria
16-Jul XTERRA Beaver Creek
23-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound
31-Jul XTERRA Dominican Republic
6-Aug XTERRA Mexico
7-Aug XTERRA Poland
13-Aug XTERRA Sweden
14-Aug XTERRA Canmore
20-Aug XTERRA Germany Championship – XTERRA European Championship
27-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant
27-Aug XTERRA Japan (Subject to Change)
3-Sep XTERRA Korea
4-Sep XTERRA Denmark
4-Sep XTERRA Quebec
11-Sep XTERRA Woolastook
17-Sep XTERRA USA / Pan Am Championship
23-Oct XTERRA World Championship
Josiah Middaugh

Top 10 Tales of 2015

The numbers all lined up in 2015.  It was XTERRA’s 20th year, Josiah Middaugh won his first XTERRA World Championship in 15 tries, Ruben Ruzafa had his 15-race win streak snapped, and Conrad Stoltz retired after 15 years in the sport.

Those are just a few of the biggest story lines from a sensational season of XTERRA racing around the world this year.  Here we give you our top 10 tails from the trails in 2015…

  1. Josiah

This year’s top story was 15 years in the making.

Flashback to 2000 when a 21-year-old Josiah Middaugh moved from Michigan to Colorado, bought a mountain bike at a pawn shop, side-stroked his way through his first XTERRA race in Keystone and thus embarked on his childhood dream “to be great at something.”

Of course Middaugh was great long before he won XTERRA Worlds. The sports nicest guy won the overall amateur XTERRA National Championship in 2002 then went on to win 11 national titles as an elite.  He also won snowshoe titles, USAT long course tri and winter tri titles, Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon and Ultimate Mountain Challenge titles, etc, etc…

Interestingly, when Middaugh won the 20-24 national championship as an amateur in ‘02 he was quoted as saying, “excited to go pro, not sure if I can keep up with those guys now but realistically I won’t hit my peak for another 10 years.”

He hit his first “peak” a lot sooner than that, as evidenced in his third-place finish at Worlds in 2004.

“Sure, I was close that year but the sport got faster as well,” said Middaugh. “Looking back, that third-place performance in ’04 probably would’ve landed me in about 15th place this year.”

Through the years Middaugh faced all kinds of adversity and injury, and he finished 2nd more times than he’d like to remember.

“It seems like I had all these failures but I never thought about it like that,” he said.   “All those stumbles just made me want to figure out how to do better.”

Indeed Middaugh got better, and he made a lot of other people better, and it was this attitude, his relentless smile and ever-humble demeanor that endeared him to the XTERRA Tribe. Never in the 20-year history of the sport had there been such an overwhelming ground swell of support for a single racer than there was for Middaugh heading into Worlds this year.

“It was palpable,” explained Dave Nicholas. “You could feel it in the air, everybody was cheering for Josiah this year.”

Despite all the perceived pressure Middaugh pulled it off, overcoming crashes on the bike and the run to make up nearly two minutes on the two-time defending champion Ruzafa to take the title.

“They believed in me, I believed in myself and I believed in all the training I’ve done and I felt like I could do it.”

And he did.

Relive the race / Josiah on ESPN / Josiah with Babbitt

Conrad Stoltz

  1. End of an Era

The Caveman called it a career in 2015.

He was quickly inducted into the XTERRA Hall of Fame and given a standing ovation by the worldwide XTERRA Tribe in appreciation of all he has done for the sport.

The reception he received at his final stop in England, where he nearly took down Ruzafa in his last race, and his ceremonial trip to Maui – where he led course recon rides for all who were interested and did the live race commentary for the web stream – was goose-bump worthy.

“XTERRA has been an integral part of my life,” said Stoltz. “We always talk about XTERRA being family, and it is. It really is.”

Stoltz collected an unprecedented 53 career championship wins and seven world titles (4 from XTERRA and 3 from ITU) in his illustrious 15-year career but as impressive as his credentials are, he is more beloved worldwide for his warm smile and welcoming demeanor than his fearless downhill skills.

Caveman in Cranleigh Videos (scroll down) / Hall of Fame video

“Last Call for the Caveman” Tribute / Retirement Video

Alas, we’d be remised to not mention a stable of XTERRA stars that “retired” from the sport this year with Stoltz, to include Craig Evans, Dan Hugo, Christine “Big Fish” Jeffrey, Shonny Vanlandingham, and Sara Schuler. We wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors and trust you’ll live on forever in XTERRA lore…

  1. Euphoria in Europe

XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas took in just about every European Tour race this year, and was the driving force behind its rise in prominence through the years.  Here he looks back on what he calls the best season yet…

“This year saw the European Tour enjoy its biggest year since the start of the Tour in 2003. 12 Championship races starting in Malta in March and ending in England at the end of August.

The big story has to be the first time winners and young stars making their mark on the sport.  We had Nicolas Fernandez, Kris Coddens, Sam Osborne and Arthur Forissier win their first European Tour events for the men and Brigitta Poor broke through for her first win.  Along with new winners we had new venues – the Island of Malta held its first race and Spain moved its Championship to Pasencia.

Our new Men’s European Champion is the bearded Spanish star, Roger Selgado Serrano. Rogelio became the European Champion despite not having a win, but with a great series of podiums and never finishing lower than 3rd. Helena Erbenova had a superb year with 6 wins to capture another Women’s European Championship.

While the top spots in the tour standings showed familiar names, the young twenty-somethings are coming strong. Serrano, Forissier, Bradley Weiss, Tomas Kubek, Albert Soley, Henry Sleight, Arthur Serrieres and Yeray Luxem are all in their 20’s.   Brigitta Poor, Elizabetta Curridori, Sandra Koblemuller and Jessica Roberts are all in their 20’s.  From those facts it is clear our sport is healthy and attracting some very fast young stars. Don’t rule out the “elders”.  Ruzafa is only 31 with Ben Allen and Francois Carloni at 30.

Many of the races this season had great competition with furious action.  I marveled how Brad Weiss and Ben Allen rode and ran shoulder to shoulder the whole race to the final few hundred yards in Germany. Conrad Stoltz gave Ruben all he could handle in England and if it were not for a mud bog pulling his shoe off, Stoltz may very well have won his last race.  The women’s races were just as competitive. How many times did Helena have to run like the wind to take the lead?  What a fabulous run for Les Paterson to win England and Carina in Switzerland.

2015 will go down as truly a year that has to be considered a tour for the ages.  Beyond all the new winners, new places, and great competition was the fact we had a superb, if a bit hot, summer and very little rain to challenge the athletes. A great year for racing, a great year for weather.

2015 XTERRA World Tour Highlight Video

Soule of the Sport

  1. Soule of the Sport

The spirit of XTERRA shines brightest in the smile of Janet Soule.

The 15-year veteran of the sport was honored this year, along with her husband Cliff Millemann, as Mrs. and Mr. XTERRA for their unwavering commitment to the “Live More” lifestyle (watch the video).

Soule would be the first to tell you, however, that she’s not the only one that feels this way. The amateurs of XTERRA are the foundation of the sport. This year there were literally thousands of amazing examples of awesome amateurs, but we do have a few favorites…

Clark Griffith – We crack up every time we watch it. When the XTERRA TV crew was interviewing 72-year-old Clark Griffith from Tennessee before the USA Championship in Utah this year they asked him what his doctor thought about him racing XTERRA.

“I don’t see a doctor very much, and if I do I don’t tell ‘em because they seem to frown on that,” said Griffith. “My doctor died, and he was younger than me … my wife’s doctor told me 30 or 40 years ago that if I didn’t stop doing this my knees would give out. He’s dead too.”

Deanna McCurdy – The 41-year-old mother of two and founder for Team Miles for Smiles is proof positive that attitude is everything. Her 7-year-old daughter has a rare genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome. She can’t speak, has balance and coordination issues, and suffers from seizures and sleep disorders. It does not limit Deanna or her family, rather it empowers them to impact others and show how a disease does not have to define your life (read her story and 40 others here).

Carl and Heather Horton – A dad-and-daughter story to inspire and celebrate. Carl was falling into a mid-life sedentary lifestyle before he turned it all around to embrace the healthy, active lifestyle. His daughter Heather grew up outside, running and biking and following her Dad in active motion.                                                             She’s now a rising star, but more importantly – a happy, healthy teenager.

Daryl Weaver – It was a perfect year for Daryl Weaver.  He won his division in all seven races he entered, won the overall amateur USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championship in Alabama, finished 8th overall behind only the top seven pros in Richmond, and won the 40-44 XTERRA National Championship in Utah. For his efforts he was named the ENVE Performer of the Year.

Steve Tarpinian – Steve Tarpinian, one of the true legends of triathlon, passed away this year at the age of 54. “Tarp” was an XTERRA original. In that first race in 1996 he was one of the fastest swimmers in the field and ultimately finished on the podium in the 35-39 division, placing 36th overall.

For more than a decade Steve was the only competitor from the continental U.S. to have competed in each XTERRA World Championship, as he made the long trip to Maui every year for 17 seasons in a row. He’ll forever be part of the XTERRA Tribe.

  1. Emma

Perhaps nobody has had as consistent a rise on the XTERRA scene as Emma Garrard. She just keeps getting faster and faster.

In 2010 she jumped into the top 10 at XTERRA Worlds for the first time.   In 2011 she was 8th. In 2012 she had her boy Torin.  In 2013 she was the top American in fifth. Last year she was fourth.  This year she was third behind only World Champs Lesley Paterson and Flora Duffy.

Last year Emma got the monkey off her back by winning her first major at XTERRA England. This year she won the XTERRA USA Championship and XTERRA U.S. Pro Series outright.

  1. Amazing Streaks

Ruben Ruzafa wrapped up his second straight perfect season in Europe when he won the XTERRA European Championship in August.

The Spaniard won a record and unprecedented 15 straight XTERRA majors since winning Worlds in October of 2013.  He also won his second-straight ITU Cross Tri World title this year, and was one win short of a tying Stoltz record of four XTERRA World Championships (which he vows to come back and get next year).

Meanwhile in the women’s elite ranks Flora Duffy established herself as the dominant force in off-road racing by defending her XTERRA World Title and having a perfect season.

She won all five XTERRA races she entered this year (not including ITU Cross Tri Worlds) and since the start of 2014 Duffy has captured 12 of the 13 championship events she raced.  Her lone blemish during the stretch was at the XTERRA Germany Championship, which doubled as ITU Cross Worlds last year.

This season she won the first two XTERRA World Tour races of the year in the Philippines and at her adopted second-home in South Africa, took the prestigious XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship title in Australia in April, and avenged some demons by winning the XTERRA Mountain Championship in Colorado this July (it was at that race in 2013 she finished 6th and vowed never to do another) then took the tape in Maui to defend her title.

Duffy also had her best year yet on the ITU World Triathlon Series with podium finishes in Abu Dhabi and Edmonton, and a seventh-place ranking in the final standings that has all but assured her spot on Bermuda’s Olympic triathlon team for the third time.

  1. Braveheart Part II

Lesley Paterson made the top 10 list last year for her bravery in fighting Lyme disease.

She trumped that this year by doing more of the same all while posting dominating performances on the XTERRA scene with wins at Costa Rica, Vegas, Cali, ‘Bama, and England. Her only blemish was a runner-up showing in Maui at the hands of Flora Duffy.

She broke her shoulder, then won XTERRA Costa Rica with one-arm, beat all the boys at XTERRA Laguna Beach then broke her wrist and hand mountain biking, but followed that with a win at the June Lake tri 11 days later.

Simply amazing, and she’s leading a tight-knit group of warriors to be their very best.

  1. Amateur Greatness

Julie Baker and Liz Gruber finished 4th and 5th overall females at the XTERRA USA Championship race, and then went 1-2 in the amateur women’s field at XTERRA Worlds showing that the future of American women’s elite racing is in good hands.

Likewise the young guns in the men’s amateur division are on the rise. A pair of collegiate triathletes – Cole Bunn and Greg Schott – finished first and third overall amateurs at the USA Championship. In Maui, however, the top amateur spots belonged to Europe. In fact, the first six age groupers across the line at XTERRA Worlds were European with Christophe Betard (France), Martin Kostelnicak (Slovakia), Martin Flinta (Sweden), Thomas Kerner (Germany), Geert Lauryssen (Belgium), and Charly Sibille (France).

  1. International Trails

XTERRA off-road triathlons have made consistent progress in developing an international base over the years, and now the trail running series is following in those footsteps.

This year’s XTERRA Trail Run World Championship was truly an international event, with fast runners from six different countries landing in the top 10, and in 2016 XTERRA trail fanatics will find races on nearly every continent, all offering truly unique ways in which to explore the world.


  1. X20

2015 was an unabashed, year-long celebration for the sport of 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.  Online photo galleries and videos from the past 20 years filled the Tribe with fun flashbacks and memories and in Maui, old friends came back to share stories about the early days.

Thanks for being part of the Tribe, and here’s to the next 20 years!

XTERRA Time Machine Video, from 2014 to 1996

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New Date for XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champs

The 2016 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race has been moved from April 2-3 to April 23-24.

The new date offers local athletes an extended holiday on the South Coast, as it is also Anzac Day long weekend.  For those racing XTERRA New Zealand in Rotorua on April 16, XTERRA will award “The Double” to the fastest combined elite and age group men and women at both events.

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship offers $50,000 AUD in prize money to elites, and features new family friendly beginner triathlons to those just getting into the sport.

Learn more at


Amateur Men World Champs Spotlight

In the last few weeks we’ve heard from the amateur women who won XTERRA World titles in Maui last month … here we share our QnA with some of the amateur men’s champs:

Hayden Wilde, 15-19, from Whakatane, New Zealand (pictured above at right)

The 18-year-old from New Zealand turned in a blistering run to catch last year’s 15-19 World Champ Max Chane in the late stages of the race to win his division and finish 31st overall.

“This was my first time in Maui and just my second-ever XTERRA race so I really had no clue what I was up against. All I knew was that if they were racing in Maui, they must be fast.”

XT:  What did you think of the field?
HW: This was the first time I ever raced people on the world stage at my age, and it was awesome. I had no exceptions in this race, I just wanted to finish and do my best.

XT:  What did you think about the swim course?
HW:  Kiwis love to surf the waves so I really wanted big waves on race day, but being my first ocean swim it was a very cool experience just the way it was.  I’ve only been swimming for 4 months so to come out top 20 I was very happy.

XT: Who was your inspiration out there?
HW: My inspiration was the people back home in Whakatane as they helped me from the start to get to Maui and I didn’t want to let them down. Also my family, I really wanted to do them proud. By doing well at Worlds I was really chuffed.

XT: How’d you celebrate?
HW: I rang all my friends and family at home telling them the news, then went back to the hotel and just relaxed. Now I’m planning on coming back to defend my title and can’t wait to race the boys again as its awesome to be racing the best in the world.

Martin Flinta, 40-44, from Molndal, Sweden

The 42-year-old electrical engineer has known nothing but success in Maui.  In his first-attempt two years ago he won the amateur Double title (fastest Ironman and XTERRA World Champ times) and the last two years he’s captured the 40-44 crown.

XT: When did you take the lead?
MF: I was in the lead from middle of the bike then a guy pass me just before the nice part with single tracks. Then I pass him on the run after 3 miles, just before it started to go downhill.

XT:  Did you know who your main competition would be?
MF: I only know my countryman and sometimes teammate Jari Palonen. He finish 2nd at XTERRA Sweden two minutes after me and 3rd this year, but this time almost 10 minutes behind me. The course is harder on Maui and has more competitors!

XT: How cool was it to race against people from all over the world who were in your age group?
MF: It’s always very cool and it makes it feel like a real world championship, as it is

XT: When did you have to really dig deep?
MF: The middle uphill is always hard. I pushed hard to pass so many as possibly when it was wider there

XT: Who or what was your inspiration?
MF: The nature, at just have a chance to be out there is a privilege

XT: Coolest thing that happened on race day?
MF: I got a Swedish flag on the finish line from a friends little child and finished top 3 of all non PRO

XT: Are you planning on coming back to defend your crown next year?
MF: Yes, I think so. Is not only about the race. Is about the island of Maui and the week there is always awesome!

XT: What do you do when you’re not racing XTERRA?
MF: My main sport is Adventure Racing, I am the captain of the World Champion team Thule Adventure. We do team races all around the World. Follow us on On the team is also the 3-time XTERRA European Tour Champion Helena Erbenova.

Benoit Lalevee, 50-54, from Saint Nazaire, France

2015 was a banner year for Benoit, a channel manager for schneider Electric in France.  In a span of five weeks he won both the 50-54 ITU Cross Triathlon and XTERRA World Championship titles.

“I took the lead (but without knowing it) in the early part of the bike. Accelerations to overtake competitors and the heat put me in overheating mode and I had to manage the speed of progression. I quickly overtook my friend Nath and we did a big part of the bike part together. Arriving in the bike park, I saw I was in the 1st place as the complete row of my age group was empty,” said Lalevee, who has races XTERRA for four years and won the 45-49 division in Maui in 2012.

“I continued to manage during the trail to avoid problems and stop. Just before mile six, in the last climb, my friend Nath came back from the rear and overtook me, it was not possible for me to speed up. I was so tired when I passed the finish line that I forgot to savor the moment but was happy to see my friends Nath and Yannick arrived one minute before.”

Bruce Wacker, 65-69, from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

“This was the strangest Worlds yet for me,” explained Mr. Wacker, owner of three XTERRA World Championships now.

“About two months ago I went on a drastic low carb diet and ended up losing muscle mass and 25% power on a measured ride since December of last year. I was also having little cramps all the time, asleep, awake, regardless of activity or lack thereof. I was told it would level out in 2 to 6 weeks. Then I looked further and the limit went out to two years. Two weeks before XWC I went back to my old diet but was so discouraged that I almost didn’t go.

I knew David Rakita would be there and I have raced him for years and never won. He beat me by about 1:30 last year. Another friend from Kona, Gerd Weber is a much stronger road cyclist and just did Ironman Kona, but I had no idea of his mountain biking/trail running. Then there’s the random unknown foreigner that could come out of nowhere. So I figured I was a solid 3rd without surprises, but not expecting a podium finish.

I can never keep track of my competition. I had a good swim and it turns out was second out of the water and ahead of Rakita, but didn’t know it. I saw one or two calves with my category number go by me on the bike, but was paying more attention to the trail. I walked a lot of hills, but am pretty fast on the downhills and passed a lot of people, but some of them repassed on the uphills. At the end of the bike I had no idea where competition was until I came into transition.

Entering transition my mind was blown and for a split second I thought the race was already over or I’d morphed to another planet. There were no bikes on the racks around mine! I’ve never seen that before! Even if it was unreal I figured I’d better keep on until somebody or something stopped me. By the time I had my running gear on Rakita had showed up and we left transition together.

A word about the beginning of the run: The first year I won at Kapalua it was because the run is very similar to where I used to train on Pikes Peak, an unrelenting climb that is like a tough old friend. I haven’t lived in Colorado for 4 years, but starting the run this year I felt that same familiarity because it was so hot, just like my favorite training run along the beach at Kona!

So, I started the run just a few feet ahead of Rakita and just hammered up the hills as is my habit. I didn’t even try to look back for a while and never did see him. My big worry was the downhills because I’d felt a little cramping at the end of the bike and knew I could seize up if I pounded down the run too hard. I tripped once and both hamstring and quad spasmed a little. After that I favored my right leg on all the downhill features. As usual a bunch of people passed me on the downhills, but I never saw Rakita and ended up gaining 13 minutes on the run for a solid win and a big pleasant surprise!”

XTERRA USA Championship

RVA, Vegas, U.S. & Pan Am Tour FAQs

The December 2, 2015 announcement of the new XTERRA Pan America Tour created a lot of excitement, and a lot of questions.  We’ll try to set the record straight in this first set of “Frequently Asked Questions” …

Question: Does the Pan Am Tour replace the America Tour?

Answer:  No, the XTERRA America Tour is still on with more than 50 races confirmed for 2016 and more to be added.  There is also a new XTERRA Pan American Tour with 10 races that amateurs from around the world can take part in.  Two different series, two sets of rules.  Both can be found in this PDF:

Q: Will this new structure hurt the local XTERRA Points Series?

A: No.  The XTERRA America Tour is designed to support local races.  We do this by requiring you to compete in at least one event in your region.  We require you to count 2 in region.  Your best 4 scores count and if you win your regional championship you qualify for Maui.  That opens doors for racers who aren’t the fastest, but are into the sport and want to race.

Q: How can you let Richmond go, it’s one of the oldest and most popular races?

A: The Richmond race is one of the all-time greats, no doubt.  It’s at our roots, and is our longest-running race outside of Maui at 17 years.  We helped start and establish those trails.  Some of our best friends in life are there.  Trust us, it hurts.  Without a destination sponsor to offset the production and marketing cost we can’t continue.  We are forever grateful for the support of Salary Shield and Luck Stone which kept RVA alive over the last several years.  We’re open to support for next year and the future, and are also exploring opportunities with other organizations to produce that event.  Until then, heed the advice of Dr. Seuss … “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Q: WTH? XTERRA isn’t XTERRA without Richmond!

A: We hear ya.  But would add that XTERRA is a lifestyle, a spirit.  And, there is nothing stopping you from riding those sweet trails in Richmond whenever you want.  The James River Park System is expertly managed and well kept year-round.

Q: Have the costs of hosting events at Brown’s Island gone up significantly and made it cost prohibitive? Perhaps there are too many other events happening at the venue for XTERRA to get the date they wanted?

A: There is some truth to the first part.  It’s expensive to rent and operate on Brown’s Island.  And there are all sorts of logistic problems to try and stage the event at another RVA spot and use the same trails.  We’ve considered, reviewed, evaluated, and kicked dirt around at numerous alternative spots with no success.  As for the second part of question, getting the date wasn’t a problem.

Q: So, now with Richmond and Vegas out, will they offer more Maui slots at each regional event?

A: We now have more qualifying spots and opportunities available for Americans than ever before.  There are 51 Maui Qualifying spots available at XTERRA Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama, XTERRA Beaver Creek in Avon, CO, and the XTERRA Pan American/USA Championship in Ogden, Utah.  New this year, we have 208 qualifying spots available to every regional champion – man and woman ages 15-19 thru 75+ in all eight regions.

Q: I assume the Vegas event just wasn’t big enough?

A: We raced in Vegas for seven years and while participation numbers were fairly steady, we were not able to secure a destination partner and registration fees do not cover the cost of operation.

Q: In theory, Richmond and/or Vegas could come back if a promoter wants to take it over, right? It just won’t be a regional championship?

A: In theory, yes, and we’re actually working on that now and hope it will happen.

Q: For AG athletes who may not be traveling to the Pan Am events are there “replacement” events for Richmond and Vegas in the same regions that are in the works (particularly in the North East)?

A:  No, but we’re always reviewing and considering destinations interested in joining the XTERRA Tour.  And as a side note for Americans in the Northeast looking at other race opportunities to secure a Maui spot, try Quebec or Ontario, eh.

Q: Why can’t you make an existing XPS race into a championship race for each region?

A: We have actually tried this in the past.  In 2009 we created the Cup Series with this format and it just didn’t work out for the athletes or the organizers.

Q: Do I have to race outside the U.S.?

A: No, the America Tour still exists.  Read rules doc here:

Q: Did you just make it harder for Americans to get to Maui?

A: No, there are more qualifying spots and opportunities available for Americans than ever before.  There are 51 Maui Qualifying spots available at XTERRA Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama, XTERRA Beaver Creek in Avon, CO, and the XTERRA Pan American/USA Championship in Ogden, Utah.  New this year, we have 208 qualifying spots available to every regional champion – man and woman ages 15-19 thru 75+ in all eight regions.

Q: How do I qualify for Utah?

A: You don’t need to.  No qualification necessary. All countries welcome.

Q: What happens if I win in Utah?

A: If you’re an American, you’ll be both the XTERRA USA and XTERRA Pan American Champion.  You’ll also be the USA Champion if you’re the top American in your division.  This is how it works at our European and Asia-Pacific Championship races as well.

Q: I have a question about qualifying for Worlds. I see that the Regional Champs can get a slot but are there still slots for Worlds available at the U.S. Pan Am Tour races? And how many for each age group?

A: There are 51 Maui Qualifying spots available at XTERRA Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama, XTERRA Beaver Creek in Avon, CO, and the XTERRA Pan American/USA Championship in Ogden, Utah.  Here’s the breakdown on the 51 spots available in Alabama, Colorado, and Utah…

Division Men Women Total
15-19 1 1 2
20-24 2 2 4
25-29 2 2 4
30-34 3 2 5
35-39 3 2 5
40-44 3 2 5
45-49 3 2 5
50-54 3 2 5
55-59 2 2 4
60-64 2 2 4
65-69 2 2 4
70-74 1 1 2
75+ 1 1 2
Total 28 22 51


Q: Do amateurs need to do at least two gold events?  …Pelham and Beaver Creek, or maybe Dominican Republic race for us South Floridians. The downside is they are turning their back on regional races.

A: Neither the Pan Am or America Tour requires amateurs to race in two gold events.  It is required in the Pan Am Series to race any 2 of the 10 to be eligible for Pan Am Tour honors.  It is required in the America Tour to race in at least one event in your region to be eligible for regional honors.

Q: Best 4 (2 Gold & 2 Silver) Pan Am Events count for points? Not many Age Groupers have the budget/time to compete in that. Will these Pan AM Tour Races in the states (Pelham & Beaver Creek) at least still count for XPS Points like they have in the past?

A: Yes. Amateurs competing in the XTERRA Pan American Tour count their best four scores (two Gold, two Silver) from the first nine events PLUS whatever they get, or don’t get, at the XTERRA Pan American Championship race which will be scored at the 100-point level.  Five Scores Total.  Thus, the final point total combines an athletes best two Gold scores, best two Silver scores, plus their XTERRA Pan American Championship race points.

We agree and understand that not many amateurs have the budget/time to do five races, but some do and will have a blast at it.  And, we hope by the time the Pan Am Championship race happens there are several amateur divisions that are close enough in points that it will come down to that race, a bona-fide playoff.

Yes to last part of the question, Pelham and Beaver Creek count at 100-point level in America Tour like they have in the past, and if you do both, just your highest score counts at 100pt level.  The other would count at 75-point level.

Q: One question I see is it says “If you race at both Alabama and Colorado 100-point XPAS races, only your best finish counts at 100 points – any other finishes earn points at the same rate as XTERRA Point Series (XPS) events.” … Does that mean that if you do both events only 1 of them will count as Gold Races?  Meaning that someone has to go out of the United States to have 2 Gold Event points to be considered a Regional Champ?

A: No, you don’t have to leave the country to be a regional champ.  This question actually refers to two different series, the America Tour and the Pan America Tour.  To be a regional champ (America Tour) you MUST do one race in your region.  You must count 2 races in your region.  You can count your best four scores.  If you do both Alabama and Colorado championship events you can only count one at 100-point level.  The other will revert to 75-point level.

For the Pan America Tour, amateur’s count their best four scores (two Gold, two Silver) from the first nine events PLUS whatever they get, or don’t get, at the XTERRA Pan American Championship race which will be scored at the 100-point level.  Five Scores Total.  Thus, the final point total combines an athletes best two Gold scores, best two Silver scores, plus their XTERRA Pan American Championship race points.  However, amateurs need only race in any 2 of the 10 Pan Am events to be eligible for Pan Am Tour honors.

Q: Isn’t it expensive to travel to all these Pan American Tour stops?

A: Well, travel costs vary depending on airport, dates, etc…but do some searches before you give up. As an example, from Miami you can fly to Guadalajara cheaper than to Las Vegas.

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