March of XTERRA Starts in Cebu

The third annual XTERRA Philippines Championship race in Liloan (Cebu Province) is just two days away and pros from around the world are reveling in the culture and race course that combine into “One Epic Adventure,” according to reigning champ Ben Allen.

Cebu Single TrackTwo-time XTERRA World Champ Lesley Paterson agrees, writing “I just spent the most amazing time checking out the XTERRA Philippines course…Wow! Got a true slice of the Filipino lifestyle – through backstreets and stalls, overtaking cows and goats, passing kids on bikes, up through dense jungle like tracks, rocky descents, down valleys, stopping on a mountain top for fresh coconut water straight from husks cut by an old toothless guy with a machete….talk about a slice of the culture. THIS is why I do this sport!”

Cebu is the second stop on the XTERRA World Tour and first of three exotic championship races in March, with XTERRA Saipan and Guam to follow.   XTERRA’s “Triple Crown of the Western Pacific” provides a wonderful opportunity for racers to kick-off their season in style with great people and terrific training grounds in warm weather.

The adventure has attracted a top-flight international pro field representing South Africa (Dan Hugo, Bradley Weiss), Switzerland (Olivier Marceau, Renata Bucher), Australia (Ben Allen), England (Sam Gardner, Daz Parker, Jacqui Slack), Austria (Carina Wasle), Canada (Mathieu O’Halloran), Scotland (Rory Downie) and Malaysia (Shahrom Abdullah).

“I had heard so much about XTERRA Philippines – the beauty, the organization, the local support, that I had to come check it out,” said Paterson.  “I’m so excited to travel to this part of the world and be able to race in one of the best XTERRA’s on the circuit, and even have some fun with my hubby who is joining me on the trip!”

While this year’s race remains in Liloan, the course has moved from the Amara subdivision up the coast to the seafront at Barangay Jubay.  The reviews of the new venue have been unanimously applauded.

Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack Cebu“Always surprised that there is such good mountain biking here,” said last year’s women’s champ Renata Bucher who is making her third straight appearance at XTERRA Phil, as are Carina Wasle and Daz Parker.  “You never ride straight.  The course is always turning and going up-and-down. It’s super interesting.”

Ben Allen, who won all three races in the Triple Crown last year, added even more color.  “As soon as you mount your bike you enter a unique stretch of coconut trees then drop down into a technical little single track that runs parallel to a full flowing river.  Lots of bumps and turns not to mention dodging a stray cow, dog, goat, cat, frog, chicken etc… leads to a nice challenging hike a bike section before the first of many climbs you will encounter to get the heart rate rising. It’s up & down like a roller coaster, but you have to take a sneak peak at the beautiful surroundings and amazing coastline of Cebu.  Look quick though, because the descent is fun, fast, hair-raising, jaw dropping, undies-changing goodness all rolled up in a ball!”

Allen said that for the experienced mountain bikers it is “pure heaven, a wicked course with challenges around every corner” and to be sure to “stop & try the local Buco (Coconut)…very refreshing.”

 

XTERRA’s managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas also got a peak at the course, and shares his day with us here…

“Ahh progress. The 2013 edition of XTERRA on Cebu in the Philippines will be completely different than the prior years.  Development has taken most of the land where we were for the past two years and the Philippine Team had to find a new place to stage the race.

What they found was a diamond in the rough and what has come of polishing and cutting is a new gem of a race from swim to finish.  This course will feature climbs and descents – single track and technical pieces far in excess from what the old course had.

Let’s start with the swim.  The old swim was off a cement pier and athletes had to get assistance out of the water up on a dock and then run to transition.  And it was tough – I recall in 2011 Daz Parker actually pulled her handler off the dock and into the sea!  At the new course it is all a nice yellow sand beach.  Wide and flat and sandy, the swim will be two laps of just under 700 meters with a short beach run between laps.  The kicker is the end of the swim is not the end of the swim.  Up on the beach but back into a salt water pond on the other side, through a sea wall and another 100m back to shore.  Both the swim start beach and the swim exit beach have cool little cabana’s which spectators can sit in and enjoy the swim and the adjacent finish line.

Now the amazing piece.  Transition here is absolutely the most natural possible transition setup I have ever seen, and I have seen most.  Bike racks are hand made from local bamboo.  The entire transition lot is covered with a canopy of tamarind trees which keeps it cool and dark.  The ground is crushed coral and sand.  Uprights are 3”- 4” diameter bamboo dug about a foot into the coral and tamped hard.  Damn things are like set in concrete.  Every 3m (10’) another upright and all the horizontal bars are thick, stiff bamboo tied together with thin steel wire woven together to make the package strong and tight.  The pro racks are also made of bamboo, but in the fashion of a school bike rack where your front wheel goes between two steel bars.  Here, craftsmen split the bamboo making a crescent shaped upright that is nailed to a 2×2 and bamboo frame.  No electricity was killed in making this entire scene which holds about 500 bikes.  Hand saws and unbelievably sharp machete’s cut and shape everything.  Take a look at the photos, it’s a masterpiece of Filipino ingenuity and creativity.

Oh yeah, the bike.  Two laps of 18k for the full course and one lap for Sprint.  Some very short, steep climbs that few will ride and some longer rough, rocky climbs with loose gravel will give the power riders lots to chew on.  There are some short, technical downhills that are actually swoopy and fun – left-right-left.  As you ride to the top of the island of Cebu you go past Mang Berto’s property and then have a long 3K downhill back to the villages.  All these pieces are connected by coral and sometimes paved sections that will make this an interesting and challenging course.  Along these pieces are stretches of flowers planted by locals as part of a contest among neighborhoods to see who could be the prettiest.

Cebu sits about 350 miles from Manila (an hour commuter flight) and is steeped in history.  This is the place where Magellan died (he’s one of the guys who invented the GPS).  The Spanish first brought Christianity to Zubu (Cebu) and the first city in the Philippines was established here in the mid 1500’s.  Much more to talk about, but Cebu is very old.

We’ll do the run tomorrow.  Again, completely different than the past which was fun and wet but flat.  Bring some climbing legs for this edition.  Fabulous people, fabulous place the Philippines.”

Read the 2012 Race Recap // 2012 Images // XTERRAPhil.com

XTERRA Transitions to Virtual Race Bags

XTERRA has selected the Virtual Race Bags™ online platform to provide event participants special offers and messages from national and local sponsors, as well as XTERRA licensees, at its U.S. Championship events.

Virtual Race Bags“It’s a better solution for the environment and for our sponsors,” said XTERRA President Janet Clark.  “We’ll still provide the highly coveted Paul Mitchell samples and things of this nature, but everything that used to come as paper – flyers, postcards, and such – will now go online. In addition to cutting the waste, our sponsors will be able to tell immediately what offers are working and what are not so they can adjust accordingly as the season progresses.”

Virtual Race Bags delivers sponsor deals, offers and messages to event participants using an online platform that is customized for each event.

“We are thrilled to be working with Team Unlimited for the XTERRA Championships to provide our turn-key marketing platform that delivers value to participants, sponsors and national brands,” said Gary Schwake, President & Co-Founder of Virtual Race Bags™.  “We look forward to helping advance the digital and environmental initiatives for events of all sizes across the U.S. and Canada.”

About Virtual Race Bags™
Virtual Race Bags provides a turn-key online platform for Organizers of endurance events to efficiently and cost-effectively deliver sponsor messages to event participants.  Much more than a simple “virtual goody bag,” Virtual Race Bags delivers sponsor deals, offers and messages to event participants using an online platform that is customized for each event.  Virtual Race Bags was founded in 2010 by a team seeking to leverage their experience as Event Directors, Sponsors and Athletes to help significantly improve the experience with the iconic race bag.  Learn more about us at www.VirtualRaceBags.com

Virtual Race Bags™ … Get Your Green On!

XTERRA South Africa Celebrates Ten Years – “Finds Winning Recipe”

In 2004 Conrad “The Caveman” Stoltz and the Stillwater Sport & Entertainment team introduced XTERRA to South Africa in Grabouw, a mountain paradise situated in the Western Cape atop the Sir Lowry’s Pass.

Conrad StoltzThe sport, and lifestyle, has grown spectacularly ever since.

“I believe that the growth of the sport of XTERRA in South Africa can be attributed to the winning recipe of a great course, great venue, flawless organization and the extensive TV and media coverage that it receives,” said Stoltz, himself the focus of much of that coverage having won five XTERRA SA titles, four XTERRA World Titles, and two ITU Cross Tri World Titles through the years.

Stoltz success, and the quality of his character, has helped usher XTERRA into mainstream media in South Africa as well.  Just last year he was featured in Sports Illustrated, and he also worked his way into the Huisgenoot, the “People Magazine” of South Africa that is read by an estimated two million people weekly.

On TV, XTERRA is a regular fixture on SuperSport channel 6, the “ESPN of South Africa” and the country’s primary channel for Olympic coverage.

“The aim of XTERRA TV was to capture the full spirit of XTERRA on film,” said Michael Meyer, the director of Stillwater Sport & Entertainment.  “We trust that our goal has been achieved and look forward to welcoming an abundance of new athletes into the XTERRA family.”

The sport also benefits from massive exposure through its title sponsor TOTALSPORTS, the premium sportswear retailer with 175 stores in key locations around South Africa.  “Totalsports increases XTERRA SA’s awareness platform dramatically,” said Meyer.

Today, the XTERRA South Africa series draws thousands of racers from all walks of life.  This weekend alone they’ll host a kids’ tri on Friday, a half-distance XTERRA and trail runs on Saturday, and the championship on Sunday, accommodating close to 3,000 athletes.

“There is little doubt this is the biggest XTERRA on earth,” said XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas. “Their biggest worry is where to park more than 1,000 cars each day.”

South Africa CourseOnce parked, what competitors can expect in Grabouw is one of the best courses in all of XTERRA.

“Last year I thought that the course was one of the best I have ever ridden in an XTERRA race, but the course designer Henrico has thrown a couple of new flowy single track trails in and the legendary rock garden with it’s nice switchback is part of the route again so I’m enjoying it even more,” said XTERRA veteran and former Warrior award winner Nico Pfitzenmaier.

“The course also has some steep sharp climbs and sandy parts, so the mountain biker is tested on all skill levels. On some part of the trails you have some of the most amazing views down to the lake and the mountains.”

Stoltz is quick to agree, saying the Grabouw course is by far his favorite local XTERRA.

“Grabouw possesses sentimental value as that is where we had our first South African XTERRA in 2004, but of course I love Grabouw the most because of the hard core route.  The mountain bike discipline is one of the few in the world that has a good amount of real connoisseurs’ single track,” said Stoltz.

Of course, anyone who has been around the sport in the last decade can tell you the tougher the bike course, the better the Caveman.  He’ll still be up against several of the finest triathletes in South Africa with the likes of Hugo, Pfitzenmaier, Stuart Marais, Bradley Weiss, Theo Blignaut, Tyronne White – and even SA Olympian Richard Murray will make a cameo appearance on Sunday.

“Dan Hugo will predictably be my toughest competitor on the day, but I’m really excited about the ‘up-and-coming’ athletes who have made big improvements this past season,” said Stoltz.  “It will also be interesting to see how Murray does in the dirt.”

Pfitzenmaier thinks the strong mountain bikers will be able to put a good gap on weaker riders, but notes that the “run course has changed and will lead around the lake this year, so fast legs will be needed after the bike.”

“The run will be faster and won’t break up your rhythm as the previous run course did, hence good runners like Richard can come back,” added Pfitzenmaier.  “I reckon, like last year, the race will be decided in the last 1-2k before the finish line.”

In the women’s race Carla Van Huyssteen is back to defend her crown while the experienced Austrian Carina Wasle, who won the XTERRA South Africa titles in 2009 and 2011, is hoping to become the first woman to win three SA Championships.  They’ll both need to contend with 2010 XTERRA World Champion Shonny Vanlandingham from the U.S., who has been “playing tourist checking out the wild animals…and wineries,” over the past couple weeks.

Indeed, enjoying one’s self seems a common thread at XTERRA South Africa.

“For me XTERRA is a celebration of the South African active lifestyle,” said Pfitzenmaier.  “The increase in numbers at this weekend’s race show how contemporary the sport is in this country. People love to do different sports and seek a challenge in such events to test their skills.”

“Taking part in XTERRA is the dream lifestyle,” added Stoltz.  “You get to train for three sporting disciplines in the beautiful outdoors, you get to race your buddies on Grabouw’s epic trails and afterwards we drink beer and hang out with friends.”

Related videos, courtesy Specialized :

Life of a Farmer, Conrad Stoltz – Episode 1
Life of a Farmer, Conrad Stoltz – Episode 22012
XTERRA South Africa Recap via Conrad Stoltz
2012 XTERRA South Africa Recap via Dan Hugo
Richard Murray pre XTERRA 2013 video
2013 Course Recon with the Caveman

ALL-TIME XTERRA SOUTH AFRICA CHAMPIONS (PRO DIVISION)

 

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

Courtney Atkinson to Race XTERRA in Australia

Renata Australia TrainingTwo-time Olympian Courtney Atkinson, a 33-year-old from Australia, will try XTERRA for the first-time this April 7 at the XTERRA Great Ocean Road off-road tri in Angelsea, Victoria.

On his recent visit to test out the course Atkinson said “I am really excited about competing in my first XTERRA and off-road triathlon event, especially being able to do it in such an amazing location in my own country. After riding and running the course, I can see it is going to be both challenging and enjoyable at the same time. Can’t wait.”

Race Director Andrew O’Loughlin and his team are over the moon with Atkinson taking on the XTERRA challenge.

“Atkinson’s desire to take on the event speaks wonders for the future of off road triathlon in Australia,” said O’Loughlin.  “We’re really excited to have one of Australia’s best triathletes on board. We feel Courtney gives further kudos to the race, and he has recognized the global growth of the off road format. It’s going to be a great event in April.”

XTERRA veteran Renata Bucher is also excited for the inaugural event in Anglesea.  So much so, she’s made the area her training base camp.

“It is gorgeous here and there are great people all around. I am living in Torquay, a lovely little village on the Great Ocean Road,” said Bucher. “The course is great, with a nice mix on the mountain bike.  First half is mainly undulating fire trails, the middle bit is fun single track, and then back on the fast fire trail.  It has some sandy turns that make it really easy to miss the line if you go too fast.  There’s a lot of beach to conquer on the run and the swim is in the surf so depending on the swell – could get interesting.”

Atkinson and Bucher are pictured above during a recent pre-ride alongside locals Peri, Adam, and Luke.

Get all the latest details from XTERRA’s newest race in Australia by signing up for their newsletter here.

Professor Emeritus, Nico Lebrun

The term Professor Emeritus is bestowed upon persons of great importance to their profession after they retire.

Nico LebrunAs such, it will be a fitting moniker for reigning XTERRA European Tour Champion Nico “the Professor” Lebrun, who has announced that the 2013 season will be his last as a pro.

“This is my last season as a full-time pro,” wrote Lebrun, the 2005 XTERRA World Champion.  “For many years XTERRA Managing Director Dave Nicholas has called me the “Professor” and next year this will be really true.  In 2014, I will still be racing and traveling as part of the XTERRA family but my goal will be different.  It will be with the focus of a Coach, and promoting my new venture ORGANICOACH.”

While Lebrun is a gifted endurance athlete – as his 14 career podium finishes at world championship races in XTERRA, Winter Triathlon, and Duathlon can attest to – perhaps his greatest asset is mental strength.

“I’ve seen him outsmart many a competitor and win races because of his mental toughness and keen awareness of not only his strengths and weaknesses, but also those of the men he’s racing against” said Nicholas.

It’s those same smarts that have led Lebrun on a life of organic food and natural medicine.

“I’ve always believed that you can be stronger, and in better shape for a longer time with zero chemicals in your food, in your medicine, and in your body,” said Lebrun.

Together with his wife Alexandra, a pharmacist who specializes in natural medicine, a team of physiotherapists and an Osteopath, Lebrun has found support for his philosophy of the all-natural way of life.  It’s a lifestyle he hopes to share with other athletes around the world.

“This year we created the “Organicoach Team” with all my friends. I know the way they train and live and can let them be the first ambassadors. As I race this season on the XTERRA European Tour, at the USA Championship, and World Championship it will be behind the name of Organicoach,” said Lebrun.

In the name is three parts – Organic, Nico, and Coach (which will be official in 2014 as he receives official coaching diploma in France).

“Together, we’ll be ready to be the best organic coach in the world for athletes,” said Lebrun.  “I’m thankful for XTERRA and the last 12 years of adventures, and believe this is just the start of greater things to come.”

Follow along on his journey at http://nico-lebrun.com/

Decade of Comfort – Zorrel Renews Partnership

Zorrel International Inc., manufacturers of state-of-the-art “performance wear for anywhere,” reached a two-year agreement with XTERRA, the nation’s premier off-road triathlon and trail running series, to be a Participating Sponsor and the Official T-Shirt of all 2013 and 2014 XTERRA Championship events, marketing, and media in the U.S.

ZorrelThe deal extends the relationship between XTERRA and Zorrel to 10 years, dating back to their initial agreement in 2005.

“There’s a big difference between your typical tee and what Zorrel produces using their Dri-Balance Moisture Transport Technology,” said XTERRA President Janet Clark. “It’s about quality, durability, and comfort.  Our athletes and staff are still wearing our Zorrel event shirts from 2005 and they’ve gotten better every year since!”

The added value of offering quality apparel to competitors that they’ll wear more often and for a longer period of time also means event sponsors get more mileage out of their logo visibility and connection with the event.

“You’d be amazed at how often and how long our athletes wear these shirts around town, on rides and runs, and at the gym. Its perpetual contact for us and our sponsors, and really the most visual touch point we have throughout the course of the year,” said Clark.

New in 2013, competitors at XTERRA’s U.S. Championship events will receive Zorrel’s Syntrel™ Z1050 Training tees – 100% microfiber polyester, 4.2 ounce, Silky Hand Feel shirts with covered stitched seams and Syntrel Extreme Moisture Transport Technology – available in both men’s and women’s cut.

“We’re excited to continue our long-standing relationship with XTERRA,” said Sean Mahoney, Vice President of Zorrel International, Inc.  “It’s been rewarding to see the XTERRA Series grow over this past decade in the same way we have by refining our cutting edge moisture transport technology.”

About Zorrel International Inc.
Zorrel is headquartered near Kansas City, MO and is a global supplier of technical and lifestyle apparel designed for events, coporate apparel, uniform and retail.  Zorrel  provides its technical and lifestyle apparel utilizing exclusive fabric technologies of Dri-Balance™, Syntrel™, tri-reg™ and Technicore™.  Because of the technical value of Zorrel’s performance tees, its tees have been selected by event directors around the world for participation giveaways, and are always a favorite of the athletes since 2005.

Footbalance System Partners with XTERRA Championship Events

Footbalance, an innovator in custom footbed technology, has joined forces with XTERRA, the nation’s premier off-road triathlon and trail running series.

FootbalanceAs a Participating Sponsor of all 2013 XTERRA championship events, marketing, and media in the U.S., Footbalance is in a prime position to connect with XTERRA’s active, national audience of adventure seekers, weekend warriors and competitors via the XTERRA America Tour of more than 100 off-road triathlons and trail runs held across the U.S.

“We had a great trial run with Footbalance at a few of our events last year and found that our athletes embraced and praised the technology behind the footbeds,” said Tom Kiely, CEO of XTERRA.  “We are really excited to have Footbalance as a fixture at our championship races and think they are a perfect fit for our audience.”

Footbalance is a personalized footbed, individually custom molded on the basis of a foot analysis to ensure perfect arch support.

Footbalance footbeds support feet properly to prevent over pronation, reduce the effects of excessive supination, and improve overall foot function. Regularly wearing custom footbeds helps improve overall body alignment, which can help reduce the incidence of stress injuries.

“We’re excited to join and serve the XTERRA Tribe this season with footbeds that provide better support and foot health for both their training and competition,” said Footbalance North America’s president and managing director Matt Kaplan.   “Several of us in the North American office have participated in XTERRA events, and since our personal performances there were enhanced by our footbeds, we know first-hand what a great fit this partnership is. We love these races, and we’re looking forward to a great season.”

XTERRA athletes will benefit from great rates on custom-molded Footbalance footbeds that can be crafted on-site at each XTERRA championship event in the U.S. this year, starting at the XTERRA West Championship at Lake Las Vegas, Nevada on April 13-14, 2013. The molding process is done in fewer than ten minutes by trained Footbalance dealers using the Footbalance Recommendation System (FRS) software to provide a free overview of the users’ unique foot dynamics and stance.

The Wonderful World of XTERRA

While only a handful of actual races dot the XTERRA schedule over the winter months the “Live More” lifestyle is a year-round phenomenon. As proof, here is just a taste of XTERRA news and notes from races and racers around the world.

Italy Heart Shaped LakeScanno, Italy: Nico Lebrun, the current and four-time XTERRA European Tour Champion, is designing a new XTERRA course in the beautiful mountain regions of Abruzzo.  The inaugural XTERRA Abruzzo triathlon is set for July 20 with the swim start, finish and transitions areas based at Lago di Scanno – aka “XTERRA’s Heart”

“You can see that the Lake has the shape of a heart, the heart of XTERRA immersed within a spectacular fauna of Abruzzo; an eldorado for lovers of outdoor sports, especially mountain biking, trail running and hiking.” See more at www.facebook.com/XTERRA.SCANNO

For some truly blessed XTERRA racing enthusiasts exists the possibility of racing across Europe with XTERRA Switzerland (Valle de Joux) on June 29, XTERRA France (Gerardmer) on July 7, ITU Cross Tri Worlds in Den Hague (July 14), then Abruzzo on July 20.

Atlanta, Georgia: Ken Ono, one of America’s greatest mathematicians, says running and mountain biking in the woods allows him to think deeply and eliminate distractions.

Ken Ono“I especially love running in the woods,” said Ono, in this eScienceCommons article. “When I’m alone with my thoughts, just me and the sounds of birds and a stream, it gives me clarity and focus. On those rare occasions that you hit upon an idea to prove a theorem that you’ve been struggling with, it’s a rush, like a runner’s high.”

The Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Emory University is also an avid XTERRA racer who ranked 10th out of 82 in the 40-44 Southeast Division last year.

“Theoretical math and endurance exercise go together like paper and pencil, each activity makes me better at the other,” said Ono.

Liloan, Cebu: The first proto type of the finishers medal for the XTERRA Philippines Championship (March 2) is shared with staff at XTERRA headquarters.

“In our effort to always come up with something unique and memorable every race, this medal is made out of Liloan Oyster Shells,” explained Princess Galura, the General Manager of Sunrise Events. “We try to get what is unique from the host city/province. This year both medals and trophies will be made from Oyster Shells from Liloan and designed by a young Cebuano designer.  It is also a way of giving back to the community that hosts us.”

Queensland, Australia: From his home in Petrie, a suburb north of Brisbane, Jeffrey Smith, aka “Coach Jeff” recorded his 287th podcast, which was also his 12th edition of the XTERRA Podcast.  In this episode Coach Jeff catches up with 2012 XTERRA Warrior Award winners Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack as they train in Australia in preparation for another year of racing on the XTERRA World Tour.

“When we sat down to make our plans for 2013 we started with the XTERRA Triple Crown that includes the Philippines, Saipan, and Guam,” said Allen, who won all three races last year. “The organizers at these events are passionate and put the athlete first.  It makes for an electric atmosphere and keeps us coming back year-after-year.”

Mpumalanga Province:  Four-time XTERRA World Champion Conrad Stoltz shares stories of training and pool-building from the beauty of his family farm in South Africa in this video posted by Specialized.  Watch now.

Vachery Estate, Cranleigh:  Mark Davis of Brave Events surveys the 2013 XTERRA England course only to find it’s frozen over.  Trust that by September 8 Vachery Pond, a spring-fed paradise in the heart of the Surrey Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty yet only minutes from London, will be ready for the Tribe. It’s the last of eight majors on the XTERRA European Tour this season, and will also include MTB endurance racing, swim races, free kids races, camping and a festival experience with music and great food.

Powless SiblingsRoseville, California: Hometown of 19-year-old cycling phenom Shayna Powless, who just received her pro mountain bike license from USA Cycling.  Shayna did her first XTERRA in Jacksonville, FL when she was 11 and became the youngest racer to ever complete the XTERRA USA Championship when she was 13 back in 2007.  She’s now a freshman at UCLA and a member of the U.S. Olympic Development team that will travel to world cups this year in China, Czech, Italy, France, Argentina, and elsewhere.  Her brother Neilson, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, became the youngest racer ever to win the XTERRA World Championship amateur division in October.

Angelsea, Victoria:  Producers of the inaugural XTERRA Great Ocean Road triathlon to be held April 7 in Australia (a week before XTERRA New Zealand on April 13) booked the local YMCA camp which sleeps 160 to utilize as the central hub for the event.  The camp is just five minutes from the race start.

“We booked the entire camp, so it will just be XTERRA participants and their family and friends staying there which should create a real XTERRA community feel,” said Karla Bunney of Limelight Sports. “Plus we’ll host the race briefing there and you should see the spread they put on as their ‘carbo loading’ night the night before – it’s amazing!”

Jim LovellHonolulu, Hawaii: Jim Lovell of JTLTiming signs a contract to time all of XTERRA’s 2013 U.S. Championship races. He’ll also time the XTERRA Philippines, Saipan, and Guam races, and 100 others over the course of the year.  He’s timed every XTERRA World Championship race since the inaugural event in 1996.  We asked him what season was the most memorable and what was his favorite XTERRA finish line moment of all-time…

“I remember being amazed at Michael Tobin’s incredible season of 1999.  He won nine out of 10 races during the season, and the one he didn’t win he didn’t race,” said Lovell.  “As for a finish, that might be last year’s photo-finish at the XTERRA West Championship in Vegas where Lesley Paterson and Renata Bucher went stride-for-stride all the way through the tape.  That was amazing.”

Tapalpa, Jalisco: The old-style mountain “magic” town in central-western Mexico is celebrating their confirmation to host the XTERRA Mexico Championship for the third straight year on August 3, 2013. The course itself mixes a cold-water swim in a private lake nearly 7,000-feet above sea-level, with a mountain bike that heads from the lake through serene forests and into the bustling little town, and a grueling “super steep” two-loop run that passes through town where spectators are packed four-deep yelling “andale! Arriba!”

For 2010 XTERRA World Champion Shonny Vanlandingham, going to XTERRA Mexico is an annual tradition. “This event is the best fun, and it’s easy to get to it.  If you want to go to an international race, this is easier logistically than a lot of the U.S. events. The organizers are great and treat racers like royalty, the course is well marked, and it’s very professional.  Plus, its good mountain biking and the venue is beautiful – both the lake and the town.  You get to experience the culture, and see the excitement in town.  It’s definitely one of my favorite XTERRA’s anywhere,” said Vanlandingham.  “Not to mention the fiesta they host after the race is the best post-party ever.”

Welsch Sisters30 Rock, New York: Producers for “Rock Center with Brian Williams” put the final touches on a segment about the Welsch sisters, which centers around footage obtained at the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch (Kaaawa, HI).  The piece will be broadcast next Friday, February 8, at 10pm EST.  Kaytlynn (12) and Heather (10) finished first and second, respectively, at both the XTERRA USA and World Trail Run half-marathons.  They were featured in the Sunday, November 4 edition of the New York Times in a piece titled “Too Fast, Too Soon?

Ogden, Utah: ENVE Composites, producers of the finest carbon road, mountain and triathlon wheels and components, signed two-time XTERRA World Champion Lesley Paterson this week. ENVE Marketing Manager Jake Pantone commented, “Aside from being one of the world’s best in her sport, Lesley is a great personality that represents the values that ENVE is founded upon.  Her work as a coach and mentor to other athletes is as valuable to a brand like ENVE as her multiple world championships.  She is a very exciting addition to our family of athletes.”

The ENVE family of athletes also includes XTERRA athletes Nicolas Lebrun, Josiah Middaugh, Cody Waite and Adam Wirth.  ENVE designs and manufactures 100% of their rims in America.

Stoltz, Van Huyssteen win big in Buffelspoort

For the third straight year Conrad Stoltz and Carla Van Huyssteen captured the TOTALSPORTS XTERRA Buffelspoort presented by REHIDRAT® SPORT at the picturesque Buffelspoort Dam in the North West Province of South Africa on Saturday.

Conrad StoltzThe victory also marked a milestone for Stoltz as it was his 50th win in his storied 13-year XTERRA career.  The “Caveman” is also the all-time XTERRA Championship race victory record-holder at 46.  Take a moment to watch this terrific video of Conrad training in his hometown posted by the guys at Specialized.

“It was great, at 39-years-of-age, to be able to win my 50th XTERRA, by six minutes, in front of my home crowd in South Africa today,” said Stoltz after the race.  “The sport is growing like crazy in this country and it’s really exciting.  There were 2,500 people racing this weekend.”

One of the thousands to participate was XTERRA pro Dan Hugo who was taking part in his first XTERRA since last April, having missed most of 2012 due to injury.  Hugo finished second on the day, and deflected attention of his return to honor Stoltz instead.

“The greatest guy to ever do an XTERRA was untouchable today,” said Hugo.  “If I was at my best shape I don’t think I would have been able to match.  You’ve got to accept that and show respect.  I was glad to be the best of the rest.”

On the women’s side Van Huyssteen, who was third at the ITU Cross Tri World Championships held in Alabama last year, won at Buffelspoort for the third straight year.

“The combination of the heat and altitude definitely added to the toughness of today’s XTERRA.  It was definitely good exercise for XTERRA Grabouw”, says Van Huyssteen, who will look to defend her XTERRA South Africa Championship title in Grabouw on February 24.

Watch a video from the race here: http://actionhub.tv/view_video.php?video_id=400

Towards the end of this video you’ll see Conrad Stoltz high-fiving the last finisher, nearly six hours after the day began.