XTERRA Oak Mountain Isn’t Just for Fast People

If you want to see some of the best triathletes in the world, come see the pros race in the XTERRA Oak Mountain on Saturday, May 20th.

But if you want to see some of the best future triathletes in the world, then come a bit earlier in the day for the XTERRA Xticer. Designed as an introduction to off-road racing for beginners, the Xticer consists of a 200-meter lake swim, a 10K mountain bike, and a 2K trail run.

“Most people come to XTERRA after they are already mountain biking or trail running or competing in triathlons,” said Janet Clark, President, XTERRA. “The Xticer eliminates the fear of the unknown and gives beginners a chance to see that XTERRA is absolutely for everyone. You will have so many people supporting you at an XTERRA race, whether it’s a volunteer on the course or a pro who shows you how to fix a flat.”

Last year Xticer welcomed athletes from 9 to 58 years old.

“People typically try triathlons later in life than other sports such as soccer, track, or lacrosse,” said Clark. “When you’re five and kicking a soccer ball, no one expects you to be good. But when we are thirty and trying something new, we put all this pressure on ourselves. We created the Xticer so that beginners can relax, feel safe, and have a blast.”

Between the Xticer and the XTERRA Oak Mountain Full Course, an XTERRA Sprint will offer newcomers and beginners a less demanding race on the same award-winning trails the pros race on. The course consists of a 750m swim, a 15km mountain bike, and a 4.5km trail run.

The day before the Xticer, the XTERRA Sprint, and the XTERRA Oak Mountain Full Course, XTERRA University offers all competitors a chance to take in last-minute advice from the 2015 XTERRA World Champ, Josiah Middaugh, and his brother, the 2017 XTERRA Blackwater Champ, Yaro Middaugh.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with kids and beginners and challenging them to try something they weren’t sure they could achieve,” said Yaro Middaugh, who was an elementary school teacher for 15 years before turning to coaching full time.

Paula and Jay Davis entered their three sons – now aged 13, 11, and 10 – in the XTERRA Xticer last year on a whim. “The kids were like, ‘Sure, we’ll try it.’ They were really excited about swimming in a lake and running in the woods,” said Paula.

Paula also enrolled her children in XTERRA University day before the race. “They were so excited to get to meet the pros,” said Paula. “And the Middaugh brothers were great in telling the kids it was OK to get off the bike and walk. My boys took that to heart.”

From Adventure to Adventure

Myriam “Mimi” Guillot-Boisset just knocked out a four-day adventure race in China.

“Twenty hours of all-out with 7000m d+,” she explains. The event, one of the biggest in China, included mountaineering, orienteering, mountain biking, and boating. Her team, which includes fellow XTERRA standouts Daniel Jones from New Zealand, her husband Jacky, and Alex Hunt from Australia, won it all.

“I won’t be fresh that’s for sure,” said Guillot-Boisset about racing in Saturday’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race in Langkawi, Malaysia. “My body has two options on how it will respond. Either I’ll be flying or I’ll be totally cooked.”

In 2015, under the same circumstances of coming straight off a grueling adventure race, she was “flying” … “I have good memories of this race because it is the one which motivated me to be a professional XTERRA athlete,” recalls Guillot-Boisset. “Three years ago, I wanted to have a try at XTERRA and in my first attempt here in Langkawi, I won. It was so surprising, and so cool!”

Last year here in Langkawi, not so cool. “I was cooked.”

She finished fourth on the day last year and heading into Saturday’s race, she is hoping for a day more like that perfect one here in 2015.

“I love this tropical climate, the diversity of vegetation’s and the wild animals. I really enjoy this race, the hotel, the atmosphere, the welcome dinner, the monkeys everywhere. The course fits me perfectly because it’s hilly, technical, and tough. For an adventure racer, it is perfect.”

Learn more about Mimi in this recent profile: http://www.xterraplanet.com/2017/03/myriam-guillot-boisset-dives-race-season/

Women Persist at XTERRA ATX

Despite a rainy start and a very technical bike course, Saturday’s XTERRA ATX in Austin, Texas had 163 athletes start and a record number of 40 women.

Jenny Burden whose blog – Cowgirls Tri – gives a detailed and entertaining account of the race, wrote:

… Rather than each woman essentially being the only person in our age group, several age groups were 5-7 deep with women, making the competition real! My AG, 30-34, was one that had more than 3, meaning several weren’t getting a podium spot. (This may seem silly to the men who race against dozens of their peers at every race, but as we work to grow the sport among women, know that it was a big deal!)

“It was such a great vibe,” said race director, Joel Grimmett. “Our regular racers were so friendly to the newbies and it’s wonderful to see more women in the sport. Additionally, we had seven XTERRA Ambassadors competing in the off-road triathlon and the XTERRA ATX Trail Run, including Steven Stoot, Stephayne Gibson, Nicole Dorholt, Lua Walker, Jason McIntyre, Alissa Magrum, and Jeanne Hoffman.”

The race was held in Pace Bend Park in Austin, Texas, where the trails are renowned for their challenging rock gardens, steep climbs, and technical drop-offs. After the race, Burden wrote:

… I would have committed a felony for a full suspension bike, or at least a full tubeless set up, by the time I got done with the 14.5- mile course. My competition, Sarah, caught me at mile 5, and passed me. I told her I’d see her at the finish line and she laughed and challenged me to keep chasing! I thought that put me in second, and kept riding hard because you truly never know.

The overall women’s champ was Melanie Etherton, who finished in 2:14:15, about 12 minutes in front of Liesel McAllister’s 2:26:54. Alissa Magrum was third in 2:28:43. Jenny Burden was 4th in her 30-34 age group with a time of 2:53:30.

Etherton discovered mountain biking after relocating to Austin from Germany where she was an avid snowboarder. After seeing how much she missed the slopes, her husband encouraged her to begin mountain biking. From there, Etherton began competing in XTERRA races, where she routinely beats most of the men as well as the women.

Not to be outdone by the women’s competition, the men’s race turned out to be another match up between XTERRA Regional Champ, Kyle Grieser, and XTERRA National Trail Run Champ, Andy Lee.

Lee finished in 1:45:29, about 4 minutes in front of Grieser, who followed in 1:49:34. The two often meet up during XTERRA racing season in trail runs and off-road triathlons. Their last race together was at the XTERRA Pedernales 25K Trail Run in February. In that race, Lee finished the course in 1:51:51, ahead of Grieser’s 1:58:04.

“It was a great match up!” said Grimmett. “Andy and Kyle work for the same fire department so they have quite the friendly rivalry.”

View the complete results.

Newbies Take on “The Hulk” at XTERRA Myrtle Beach

This year’s XTERRA Myrtle Beach generated local news coverage because many of its 100 competitors came from out of state, and as far away as Ireland. Seasoned competitors, such as 2016 XTERRA Southeast Regional Champ Caleb Baity, XTERRA Pan Am Champ Margo Pitts, and 2016 Mr. XTERRA Marcus Barton stood on the line with newcomers like Kara Slick, who came in 16th in the women’s race and felt grateful for the help and support along the way to her first XTERRA finish.

Slick is a runner and spin instructor and didn’t even own a mountain bike until three days before the race when her fiance bought them each one.

“I saw an XTERRA video on YouTube about a year ago and thought that it would be really fun and something very different from road races,” said Slick. “I had forgotten all about XTERRA until I was looking for a race for last weekend and thought, what the heck.  I’m so glad we did it.  I had such a great time and I felt like a kid again.”

The race was also the first XTERRA for 16-year old Jake Higgins, who has been running since he was eight. He completed the race with his father, Jon, and surprised them both with his 27th place finish, despite a difficult swim.

“I had a hard time getting my breathing right,” said Jake, who is a standout 800 meter runner and teaches surf lessons on school vacations. “But I had a blast on the bike.”

Jon Higgins, who has been mountain biking for years, was 11th overall. “I gave Jake a mountain bike when he was six or seven and he was like, ‘All right, let’s go,’” said Jon. “It feels great to be able to bond with my son like this. We are going to do as many more XTERRAs as we can.” 

“XTERRA Myrtle Beach  is one of those races that everyone looks at and imagines is going to be a walk in the park,” wrote men’s champ Caleb Baity on his blog after the race. “They think to themselves, ‘It’s at the beach on flat land, how hard could it really be?’ But every time I go to ride at the Hulk I am surprised at how much of a punch they are able to pack in a very quick seven miles of trails.”

The race was held in the Horry County Bike and Run Park, which is widely considered to have the best mountain biking trails in the area. Nicknamed “the Hulk” because of its similarity to Universal Studios’ Hulk Roller Coaster, the single track trails twist, turn, and climb 12 steep hill before they drop.

As racers climbed down from their water taxi into the Intercoastal Waterway under a grey morning sky, they looked chilly but ready.

Featuring one of the most unique starts in the XTERRA series, competitors are taxied out 1000 meters and then swim back to shore to avoid pushing against the tide the entire way. After the swim, athletes run up a brand new, steep flight of stairs to get to the 14-mile mountain biking course, and finally, the 5-mile run.

In the men’s race, Caleb Baity finished in 1:45:34, less than two minutes ahead of Dwayne Dixon’s 1:47:09.  Marcus Barton finished just behind him in 1:47:49. Dixon and Barton were also second and third in last year’s race.

The women’s champ, Amy Carver, finished in 2:01:34, about three minutes ahead of  Margo Pitts, who finished in 2:04:47. Kate Horton was third in 2:05:48.

Craig Daugherty on Hammering and Happiness

Unlike many triathletes, who view swimming as something to get through before the biking and running competition begins, 2016 XTERRA Pan Am Champ Craig Daugherty actually loves the water.

“Getting out of the water first in XTERRA races helps tremendously because it’s so much harder to pass on the bike,” says Daugherty. “I’d rather be ahead in open water than behind on the single track.”

Daugherty has been swimming since he was five, a sport he continued throughout college at Dickinson, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In fact, he entered his first off-road triathlon because he was looking for a way to stay in shape over the summer so he could maintain fitness for the fall and winter swim seasons.

“In 2004, someone asked me to try the Mt. Gretna Off Road Triathlon and I thought, what the heck? I know I can survive the run. I’ve been mountain biking for a year or two. And swimming is something I’m actually good at.”

After college, Daugherty and his Ironman Triathlete wife, Kate, relocated to Boulder, Colorado, which was an easy decision for both of them. “We wanted to move to a city with a more bike-friendly culture,” says Daugherty. “We were going to check out Portland and Eugene too, but once we were in Colorado, we realized we didn’t need to visit any place else. I was already working from home, so I told my boss, ‘Hey, I’ll wake up at 6 am to work at 8 am east coast time and you probably won’t even know I’m not in Pennsylvania.’”

His official job is a software implementation consultant, but his real love is working as a Bicycle Education Trainer for the Boulder Valley School District. “I basically teach kids how to ride their bikes the way we drive our cars,” says Daugherty. “We want kids to be more confident on their bikes and to learn critical thinking. Like, what side of the road should they be on, what are the hazards of the road they are riding on, are there parked cars, is someone going to open a door?”

Daugherty works hard to help kids catch bicycle fever, but in his own workouts, Daugherty has a pretty mellow philosophy. “I am definitely a proponent of fun first,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what I am doing. What’s important is that I’m having fun and that I have good people around me.”

He admits that this way of thinking is what keeps bringing him back to XTERRA. “XTERRA has such a different vibe than road triathlons,” he says. “The community is so much better. Everyone is there to enjoy being outside, and even the top guys are way more relaxed. Josiah Middaugh may have just won the whole thing, but he’d probably have a beer with you if you asked him.”

Typically, Daugherty puts in about 10-12 hours of training a week, but he doesn’t get too stressed out about it. He doesn’t have a coach, and last summer was the first time he even thought about a training plan.

“I bought one on Training Peaks for about twenty bucks,” he says. “But a lot of days I start a ride and I’m like, ‘I don’t want to do this workout.’ Half an hour in, I think, ‘Eh, I’ll hammer up this hill.’ And I end up doing the workout.”

But he readily admits that there are days that he pulls the plug and simply enjoys the ride. This doesn’t sound like typical Pan Am Champ behavior, but Daugherty believes it’s the secret to his success. “I think my laid back approach keeps my hunger alive because I’m never really overdoing it,” he says. “I don’t burn out.”

Even at the XTERRA Pan American Championship in Utah last year, where Daugherty placed first in his 30-34 age group, he wasn’t worried about his performance. “In Utah, the one thing that needs to be said is how gorgeous that entire course is. I almost wanted to slow down and just take it all in. The trails were in awesome shape, and ripping down the fast, flowy sections was just amazing.”

Daugherty wasn’t even sure how he was doing until the race was over the results were announced. “It’s hard to know who’s in front of you, so basically, I finished the swim and started riding hard. I was looking at a lot of legs to see where I was, but really there’s no way to know. When I hit T2, I just started running for my life as if a bear was chasing me because running is my weakest link. That’s where I suffer.”

Daugherty doesn’t want to pin down what’s next for him. Maybe it will include some mountain bike trips with his wife or his buddies. Maybe it will be starting a family. Or maybe, it will be a little bit of both.

The only thing for sure is that whatever Craig Daugherty is doing, he is going to be enjoying it. “I’m not in this to make money so what’s the point of stressing about it? I just want to get on my bike, ride hard, and have fun.”

XTERRA athlete profile by Reyn Okimoto, Shidler College of Business, class of 2017

Langkawi hosts XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Saturday

The best-of-the-best from the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour, 20 elites representing 10 countries, are headed to Langkawi, Malaysia for the 2017 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race this Saturday, April 29.

In the men’s race the top four ranked elites on tour; Bradley Weiss from South Africa, Sam Osborne and Kieran McPherson of New Zealand, and Ben Allen from Australia have all proven capable of winning big on any given day.

As proof, Weiss won at XTERRA Philippines on Sunday, Osborne won the first and third stops on the Tour at XTERRA Saipan and New Zealand, McPherson won the second stop at XTERRA Thailand, and Allen is the reigning Asia-Pacific Tour Champion.

Weiss, who put in a herculean effort to take the Danao title in a time of 3 hours, 16 minutes, said “I will have to see how the body pulls up after the race to decide how I am going to tackle the course in Langkawi.  If you take Reunion into account I will be doing three world tour championship level races in 13 days which is a big ask for the body but I am feeling fit and well prepared so hopefully I have enough in the tank to execute three solid races.”

As for Osborne, who sits atop the tour standings after the first four races with two wins and a runner-up showing to Weiss on Sunday, the thrill of racing is all the motivation he needs.

“There’s one thing I’m a big believer in, and that is if you don’t enjoy it don’t go there,” said Osborne.  “100% I’m enjoying what I’m doing and I love to race, I’ve got myself hooked on it. I’m going to race XTERRA all year, there is just so much racing going on that anything else won’t fit. And to be fair, the intensity I craved from the ITU racing is coming into XTERRA now anyway, which is what I love. You look at how these races are going and see we have a lot of players together mixing it up for a good portion of the race.”

Allen, coming off a tough day in the Philippines where he finished fourth despite repeated mechanicals on the bike, is simply looking forward to another chance.

“I feel more and more confident as the tour goes on,” he said.  “I need to be patient and continue to work hard every day. The tour is long and it’s not won on one race but many. So being smart in training and staying healthy traveling to and from the races just so you can make the start line is key. Goal is to execute my race plan to the best of my ability. If I can do that then the result will take care of itself. I have the tools in the shed, it’s what happens on the day that counts. That’s why I love racing, you never know what’s going to happen!”

One thing for sure to happen in Langkawi, however, is a brutal course.

“The Langkawi course is ruthless,” explained Allen, who won last year’s race in Langkawi with a winning time of 2 hours 55 minutes.  “Insane heat, hills, and the jungle is literally growing so fast it feels as though it’s trying to eat you. You finish completely exhausted but with a sense of achievement knowing you wrestled with a jungle beast.”

Despite the difficulty of the challenge, Osborne said the joy is in the adventure.

“The sport really does take you to some incredible parts of the world and most of the time its places I would have never thought of going myself had I been planning a trip. It’s my first-time to all these destinations and I’m having a blast. Just look at Saipan.  I put my goggles on and swam on out to the old WW2 tank and ship wrecks. Very raw untouched history, and I don’t think you can put a cash value on those kinds of experiences.  I can’t wait to see what’s waiting for me in Langkawi!”

The line-up for the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship elite men’s race is as deep as it is international, with other contenders to include Olly Shaw (NZL), Alex Hunt (AUS), Akihiko Maeda (JPN), Taylor Charlton (AUS), Alex Roberts (NZL), Takahiro Ogasawara (JPN), David Ballesteros (ESP), Jacky Boisset (FRA), Will Kelsay (USA), and Joe Miller (PHI).

In the women’s chase Carina Wasle is looking to make it a career-year in one-month. A win on Saturday would be her third in 13 days.  She captured the XTERRA Reunion title on April 16, XTERRA Philippines on April 23, and is looking for victory No. 3 in a row this weekend.

“I never won the APAC Tour or the European Tour, so it would be great to win the APAC Tour this year,” said Wasle.  “I love racing. Maybe sometimes I race too much. So, after Langkawi I have a little break from racing and a good training block to be ready for the European Tour.”

Wasle, who has won 16 majors in her well-traveled 13-year career, is currently leading the Asia-Pacific Tour after big wins at XTERRA Saipan and the Philippines.

Victory will not come easy, however, as last year’s winner Jacqui Allen will be motivated to defend her title after having to pull out of Sunday’s race in the Philippines with dehydration issues.

“I’m excited to tow the start line in Malaysia, and determined to execute a race I can be happy with,” said Allen, who captured the XTERRA New Zealand Championship crown on April 8.

The wild card is Myriam Guillot-Boisset, the 2016 XTERRA Argentina and XTERRA Costa Rica Champion who finished fourth at XTERRA Worlds last year behind only Flora Duffy, Lesley Paterson, and Suzie Snyder.

In addition, Aussie Leela Hancox, in her first-year racing elite, is eager to prove what she can do in the pro field after winning the 35-39 division ITU Cross Tri World Championship in November of 2016.

The race starts with a 1.5km swim in the reserved bay of beautiful Pantai Kok, one of Langkawi’s top beaches, with a view of the islands tallest summit at Machingchang Mount (708 meters).  The 38km mountain bike course traverses verdant forest land that is part of the UNESCO-recognized Geopark of Langkawi, and the 11km run crosses several streams including the popular Telaga Tujuh Waterfall.

Visit Facebook.com/XTERRAPlanet for pre-race interviews, photo galleries, and race results from Saturday’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship.

Elite Men’s Start List

2017 XTERRA Asia Pacific Tour Rank – Name (Nationality)

1 – Sam Osborne (NZL)

2 – Kieran McPherson (NZL)

3 – Ben Allen (AUS)

4 – Bradley Weiss (RSA)

5 – Will Kelsay (USA)

7 – Olly Shaw (NZL)

9 – David Ballesteros (ESP)

10 – Taylor Chartlon (AUS)

11 – Joe Miller (PHI)

12 – Alex Roberts (NZL)

17 – Takahiro Ogasawara (JPN)

25 – Akihiko Maeda (JPN)

NR – Jacky Boisset (FRA)

NR – Alex Hunt (AUS)

 

Elite Women’s Start List

2017 XTERRA Asia Pacific Tour Rank – Name (Nationality)

1 – Carina Wasle (AUT)

4 – Jacqui Allen (GBR)

NR – Myriam Guillot-Boisset (FRA)

NR – Leela Hancox (AUS)

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race is the fifth of seven races on this year’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour.  Elites and amateurs can enter as many races as they want and score points by finishing in the top 15 of their division.  There are two 100-point scale “Gold” races (Danao and Langkawi) and the remainder are 75-point scale “Silver” races.  The male and female elite athlete with the most points at the end of the season earns the title of XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion and the largest share of the $10,000 USD tour bonus. Amateur athletes with the most points at the end of the season – by gender and age group – earns the title of XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion and a qualifying spot into the XTERRA World Championship race to be held Oct. 29, 2017 in Kapalua, Maui.

It is not necessary to qualify, nor be from the Asia-Pacific region, to race at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship, which doubles as the XTERRA Malaysia Championship.  This is a one day award as opposed to the Tour Championship which counts all races. In Langkawi, the top overall finisher, regardless of nationality, in each age group will be honored as the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champion. The top Malaysian finisher in each age group will be named the XTERRA Malaysia Champion.

For updated standings and more information regarding the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour visit http://www.xterraplanet.com/asian-tour.

XTERRA Greece Sells Out for Second Year in a Row

XTERRA Greece, the third stop on the XTERRA European Tour, is sold out for the second straight year having reached its capacity of 380 racers.

“XTERRA Greece will be the first big battle for our European elites this season. With 20 elite men and eight elite women, all the big names will be there, and we are looking forward to seeing some great action,” said Nicolas Lebrun, XTERRA European Tour Director. 

Last year’s race featured a major battle between the Spaniards, with 2017 XTERRA Malta Champ Roger Serrano breaking three-time XTERRA World Champ Ruben Ruzafa’s winning streak of 13 straight victories in Europe. The two were together until the run, when Serrano pulled away for the win in 2:17:22, less than a minute in front of Ruzafa. Frenchman Brice Daubord finished third.

“On the men side, expect fireworks from the start,” said Lebrun. “Jens Roth is the favorite on the swim, with Roger Serrano and Julien Buffe. And of course, there’s Ruzafa. It could be another race between Roger and Ruben.”

Fresh off his victory at XTERRA Reunion on April 16th, Ruzafa is going for his 25th career win at XTERRA Greece on April 30th in the city of Vouliagmeni. At last week’s race on the island of La Reunion, Ruzafa finished more than two minutes ahead of Brice Daubord and four minutes ahead of 2015 Reunion Champ Brad Weiss.

“I felt strong on the bike,” said Ruzafa. “I really pushed hard to gain ground before the run.”

“Known for his skill on the bike, expect Ruben to push as hard as he can to get to the front, but don’t write off Serrano, Daubord, or Francois Carloni,” said Lebrun. 

“I had a long rest after Maui,” said Carloni, “And I started training slowly until the middle of January. But after three months of solid training, I’m feeling ready and excited.”

Others to watch in the men’s race include Jens Roth, the German Champ, Jan Pyott, who was 4th at Malta, Hannes Wolpert, a new German up-and-comer, and Belgian Kris Coddens, who is always quick on the run.

“My strategy is always the same,” said Coddens. “Try to keep up on the swim and then pick people off. Normally I don’t have to set my strategy based on someone else because they are all in front of me after the swim.”

In the women’s race last year, 2017 XTERRA Malta and Cyprus Champ Brigitta Poor of Hungary pulled away on the bike but was reeled in by Ladina Buss and Helena Erbenova on the run. Ultimately, it was Erbenova who pulled away on the final downhill to break the tape first in 2:43:39, less than 20 seconds in front of Poor, with Buss coming in close behind for third. The top three women all finished within a minute of each other.  

Poor and Erbenova will be facing off again this year as well as 34-time XTERRA Champ Renata Bucher and young Morgane Riou.

“Last year in Greece, Morgane started the bike with Brigitta but then flatted and lost time,” said Lebrun, who coaches Riou. “This year, with three races already under her belt and more confidence, Morgane might be a contender. Helena isn’t known for coming out of the water first, on the swim, but she’s come from behind for the win many times before.”

The course for XTERRA Greece is located in the city of Vouliagmeni, just 20 km south of Athens at the foot of the Hymettus mountain range and along beautiful beaches. The town has a rich history of athletics and was the site of the triathlon competition in the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Competitors can expect tough climbs, challenging and varied terrain, and water of about 19C (66F), with wetsuits optional. Both the bike and run courses feature great sets of steps that wind up the steep, Greek hills. The downhills are equally steep and incredibly fast. The race uses some side roads in Vouliagmeni that include bistros, restaurants, and of course, many cheering spectators.

“Greece is a destination that everyone would love to visit at least once in a lifetime,” said Konstantino Koumargialis, race director, XTERRA Greece.

Athens has a rich history going back thousands of years and still has archeological relics from ancient times, such as the Acropolis, the temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Parthenon. It is the birthplace of democracy as well as the marathon, and is the home to philosophical ideals and athletic marvels. 

“We are thrilled that XTERRA Greece is so close to Athens,” said Koumargialis. “Although Lake Plastira, where we had the race the first three years was a magical location, it was far from central airports and main cities. Our numbers increased from 230 people in 2015 to 320 in 2016 and this year to 380 entrants, making it one of the biggest triathlon events in the country.”

View last year’s results at www.XTERRA.com

Watch a course preview of XTERRA Greece.

 

Luxem, Poor win XTERRA Cyprus

Paphos, Cyprus – Yeray Luxem from Belgium and Brigitta Poor from Hungary captured the inaugural XTERRA Cyprus off-road triathlon, which turned into a duathlon, on Sunday, April 23, 2017.

It’s the second career XTERRA major win for Luxem, who won his first at XTERRA Poland last year, and the second win this season for Poor, the reigning XTERRA European Tour Champ, who also won the opener at XTERRA Malta earlier this month.

XTERRA World Tour managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas was on-site to take in all the action and brings us this report…

Complete Results / Pictures

The weathermen were right.  They called for high winds and big waves and that was what we were served for breakfast this morning.  Why is it when you plan an outing because the weather is supposed to be good – it rains?

So, the first XTERRA Cyprus became a duathlon.  Not only were the waves high and the shore chop brutal, but the undercurrents were super strong.  The wave action was so severe there was no way we could keep our swimmers safe as navigating in white water was impossible.  We had to change the run as well because the waves were pounding the white cliffs we originally came down through.

XTERRA European Tour director Nico Lebrun and the crew found a passage just down the beach that connected with a more inland path and that became the final kilometer of each lap of the run.

Regardless of all these chaotic challenges, race director Sgt. Ferguson called the troops to order and we started with only a few minutes delay.  The run was one lap of our course and it was led by Belgium’s Yeray Luxem followed closely by Oivind Bjerkseth.  Who, you say?  This is a super young man from Norway whose sport is mountain biking.  He watched XTERRA Maui live on the web and said, “That is for me.”

Norwegians are not noted for being swimmers and Oivind had his first open water swim just last November.  You can see from the Malta results he had the 7th fastest bike and a swim that was 10 minutes slower than the winners.  He was a very happy man to hear he would not have to face those ferocious waves today.

Francois Carloni had a good first run and took off quickly after Luxem.  Today was not the Frenchman’s day, however, “I felt strong after the first run, got on my bike and went out quick but then my legs said no,” he explained.  He did pass Oivind quickly on the bike but soon faded.  Carloni only arrived the day before and while France is not a long way – the travel may have contributed to his lack of power.

Thomas Kerner was quickly in 4th followed by his German buddies Sebastian Neef, Hannes Wolpert and Stephan Radeck.  Julien Buffe is a strong swimmer and as such, he was not happy about the duathlon, however, he came out swinging and rode an excellent race.

The best story of the day involves our winner, Yeray Luxem.  At the pre-race briefing, one slide showed a herd of sheep grazing on one of the trails of the bike course.  The director said quickly, “They will be gone on race day.”  Luxem was riding hard trying to drop his chasers and had to slow to a crawl.

“The sheep were there in the same place as the photo, exactly the same,” laughed Luxem.  His speed had the sheep running and bleating and cleared the way for the rest of the bunch.

For the women, Brigitta Poor was simply too strong today.  It looked as if Morgane Riou would be a contender as she is not a swimmer but runs very quickly, however, Brigitta simply took off at the start and never looked back.  Riou was riding well but suffered a flat that became hard to fix and lost considerable time.  She kept at it and ran an equal final 10K to Poor but was far back because of the bike.  Sweden’s Cecilia Jessen was alone in 3rd with our bubbly Brit Daz Parker a fine 4th outrunning Marika Wagner.

At the end of the first lap we could see two riders together in the lead.  We thought it must be Carloni and Luxem but no; it was the upstart Norwegian Bjerkseth.

“I tried to pass him on the downhills but could not do it and he pulled away from me on the climbs.  These guys do a fast pace,” smiled Bjerkseth.

Luxem got passed on one downhill and said “Oh, here comes Carloni,” and looked over and saw it was not.  “It was Oivind,” he said.  “He would look at me and when I took a drink he would push hard.”

Thomas Kerner had trained hard in the off season and was easily in 4th but pushing hard as Buffe was less than one-minute behind.  On the last climb before T2 Luxem pedaled hard and created a gap between Bjerkseth.  He used his transition skills to gain another seven-seconds on the inexperienced Oivind.

“I was feeling very strong and I know I am a fast runner but I did not know what he could do so I went out at a good pace,” said Luxem.

“I tried to follow him as best I could but after the first lap I knew I could not catch him,” said Bjerkseth.

Carloni came out of T2 in 3rd but was passed first by Kerner, then Buffe, and finally Neef to finish 6th.

Pos Name, NAT Time Points Run1 Bike Run2
1 Yeray Luxem, BEL 2:32:14 75 00:17:14 01:36:11 00:37:56
2 Oivind Bjerkseth, NOR 2:35:15 67 00:17:18 01:36:30 00:40:09
3 Thomas Kerner, GER 2:42:04 61 00:17:20 01:45:18 00:38:36
4 Julien Buffe, FRA 2:44:16 56 00:18:40 01:45:04 00:39:46
5 Sebastian Neef, GER 2:45:10 51 00:23:37 01:40:19 00:40:24
6 Francois Carloni, FRA 2:46:08 47 00:17:32 01:43:28 00:44:15
7 Hannes Wolpert, BEL 2:46:22 43 00:18:26 01:44:54 00:42:10
8 Stephan Radeck, GER 2:47:46 39 00:18:11 01:48:32 00:40:10
Pos Name, NAT Time Points Run1 Bike Run2
1 Brigitta Poor, HUN 3:02:54 75 00:19:58 01:57:59 00:43:56
2 Morgane Riou, FRA 3:13:19 67 00:20:22 02:08:16 00:43:36
3 Cecila Jessen, SWE 3:23:15 61 00:21:39 02:12:33 00:47:31
4 Daz Parker, GBR 3:33:34 56 00:22:04 02:20:36 00:49:25
5 Marika Wagner, SWE 3:38:48 51 00:23:43 02:19:25 00:54:23

While a bit different than planned, XTERRA Cyprus came off fine.  The organizers did a great job; things happened on time, there was good information about the changes and our athletes enjoyed themselves.

“I’ve been to many XTERRA’s all over the world and these guys did a great job, especially for a first-time event,” said Canadian age group standout Chuck Fortier.  “The awards were wonderful handmade dishes and the booming voice of Race Director Sgt Neal Ferguson needed no microphone for the presentation.”

I have to think that once the world has seen the photos and read the reports and talked to their friends that Cyprus will triple in size for next year.  Think about it.  Take 10 days and do a fabulous Mediterranean Holiday in Cyprus and Greece and do it with your XTERRA family.

XTERRA European Tour Elite Standings

Francois Carloni and Brigitta Poor hold the early lead in the XTERRA European Tour standings after the first two of 15 events in this year’s tour.  Up next: XTERRA Greece next Sunday!

2017 XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR PRO POINTS STANDINGS
After 2 – 4.23

Men S S
Pl Name, NAT TOTAL MLT CYP
1 Francois Carloni, FRA 108 61 47
2 Oivind Bjerkseth, NOR 100 33 67
3 Roger Serrano, ESP 75 75 DNS
4 Yeray Luxem, BEL 75 DNS 75
5 Maximilian Sasserath, GER 67 67 DNS
6 Stephan Radeck, GER 64 25 39
7 Thomas Kerner, GER 61 DNS 61
8 Jan Pyott, SUI 56 56 DNS
9 Julien Buffe, FRA 56 DNS 56
10 Jörg Scheiderbauer, GER 51 51 DNS
11 Sebastian Neef, GER 51 DNS 51
12 Tomas Kubek, SVK 47 47 DNS
13 Mark Hamersma, NED 43 43 DNS
14 Hannes Wolpert, BEL 43 DNS 43
15 Jim Thijs, BEL 39 39 DNS
16 Geert Lauryssen, BEL 36 36 DNS
17 Maxim Chane, FRA 30 30 DNS
18 Doug Hall, GBR 27 27 DNS
19 Callum Hughes, GBR 23 23 DNS
WM S S
Pl Name, NAT TOTAL MLT CYP
1 Brigitta Poor, HUN 150 75 75
2 Cecila Jessen, SWE 100 39 61
3 Helena Erbenova, CZE 67 67 DNS
4 Morgane Riou, FRA 67 DNS 67
5 Nicole Walkers, GBR 61 61 DNS
6 Maud Golsteyn, NED 56 56 DNS
7 Daz Parker, GBR 56 DNS 56
8 Carina Wasle, AUT 51 51 DNS
9 Marika Wagner, SWE 51 DNS 51
10 Kristina Lapinova, SLK 47 47 DNS
11 Louise Fox, GRB 43 43 DNS
12 Anna Pauline Sasserath, GER 36 36 DNS
13 Kathrin Mueller, GER 33 33 DNS
14 Marta Menditto, ITA 30 30 DNS

2017 XTERRA World Championship Qualifying Series Schedule

XTERRA Cyprus was the 12th of 41 events where amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 22nd annual XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 29.

Date Race Elite Winners or Location
Feb 25 XTERRA South Africa Richard Murray / Flora Duffy
Mar 4 XTERRA Motatapu Dougal Allan / Josie Wilcox
Mar 18 XTERRA Saipan + Silver Sam Osborne / Carina Wasle
Mar 25 XTERRA Argentina # Silver Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder
Apr 1 XTERRA Thailand + Silver Kieran McPherson / Renata Bucher
Apr 1 XTERRA Chile # Silver Felipe Barraza / Barbara Riveros
Apr 2 XTERRA Malta * Silver Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor
Apr 8 XTERRA New Zealand + Silver Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen
Apr 9 XTERRA Costa Rica # Silver Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder
Apr 16 XTERRA La Reunion Ruben Ruzafa / Carina Wasle
Apr 23 XTERRA Danao + GOLD Bradley Weiss / Carina Wasle
Apr 23 XTERRA Cyprus * Silver Yeray Luxem / Brigitta Poor
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

Weiss, Wasle win XTERRA Danao

Danao, Cebu, Philippines – Bradley Weiss from South Africa and Carina Wasle from Austria captured the 7th annual XTERRA Philippines Championship elite race titles on a brutally long, hot day in Danao on Sunday, April 23, 2017.

It’s the third straight XTERRA Philippines title for Weiss and the third win this season for Wasle, who now has 16 majors in her career.

“Brutally hot race and probably the longest, hottest, and hardest race ever in my six years of racing XTERRA,” said Weiss.  “Very stoked to come out on top and winning my third race in a row here in the Philippines is the cherry on top for sure.”

As for Wasle, who won at XTERRA Saipan in March and XTERRA Reunion just last weekend, it’s amazing she was able to finish this grueling race having just broken her toe less than a week ago while entering the swim at Reunion.

“I knew I was in good shape, but I didn’t know if my toe would stop me from having a good run,” said Wasle.  “Turned out okay and it was the perfect race for me today.  I couldn’t be happier.”

Complete Results / Pictures

In the men’s race the reigning XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion Ben Allen was first out of the water, with Sam Osborne following steps behind into transition. Weiss was about one-minute back, followed by Kieran McPherson another minute behind, then Olly Shaw in fifth.

“I had a pretty solid swim, lost about a minute to Ben and Sam,” said Weiss.  “I closed the gap about 7km into the bike and didn’t really lose it from there. Sam pushed me hard but I got a gap at the start of the second 20km loop and opened it from there.”

As proof of how difficult the new Danao bike course was (40kms with 1,500-meters of elevation gain in searing heat and humidity) Weiss was the only racer all day to break the two-hour mark for the bike portion.  His bike split of 1:59:40 was more than six-minutes better than Osborne’s.

“Had 6mins off the bike and just survived the run, really, to make it to the finish line,” said Weiss.  “It was the most challenging bike course and I do enjoy the challenge, and I love mountain biking so I won the race through the mountain biking leg.”

Osborne, who won XTERRA New Zealand last weekend on a much cooler day in his hometown of Rotorua, said it was one of the hottest and hardest courses he’s ever done and was quick to praise Weiss on his effort, “Well done to Bradley, he was super strong today,” said Osborne.

Kieran McPherson finished third, followed by Ben Allen, who had several mechanicals on the bike, and former “Mr. XTERRA” award-winner Will Kelsay in 5th.

In the women’s race, it was Jessica Koltz was first out of the water (6th overall), followed 20-seconds later by Jacqui Allen then Wasle and Penny Slater two minutes behind.

Wasle took over on the bike, posting the fastest split by more than 13-minutes to Allen, and had the fastest run as well to take the tape in 4:07:49.

“I still don’t like the heat and humidity, but it’s the same for everyone,” said Wasle.  “What I really do enjoy is traveling a lot to new places, seeing the different cultures, and making friends.  I love racing too, it’s always a new challenge and that motivates me to do it all over again.  Here in Cebu everything is perfect. Princess and the Sunrise Events team take care of us and we have quite a lot of fun beside the training.”

Jacqui Allen looked to be comfortably in second-place following the bike leg but suffered from dehydration and had to pull out.  That left her pupil, Penny Slater in her rookie year as an elite, to take second-place followed by the American Jessica Koltz.

XTERRA Danao Elite Results

Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Bradley Weiss, RSA 3:16:00 100
2 Sam Osborne, NZL 3:23:33 90
3 Kieran McPherson, NZL 3:34:27 82
4 Ben Allen, AUS 3:44:26 75
5 Will Kelsay, USA 3:50:48 69
6 Joe Miller, PHI 3:52:04 63
7 Olly Shaw, NZL 3:53:43 58
8 Taylor Charlton, AUS 4:13:44 53
9 Alex Roberts, NZL 4:24:04 49
Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Carina Wasle, AUT 4:07:49 100
2 Penny Slater, AUS 4:36:21 90
3 Jessica Koltz, USA 5:22:53 82

All-Time XTERRA Philippines Champions

2011 – Sam Gardner, Shonny Vanlandingham

2012 – Ben Allen, Renata Bucher

2013 – Ben Allen, Lesley Paterson

2014 – Dan Hugo, Renata Bucher

2015 – Bradley Weiss, Flora Duffy

2016 – Bradley Weiss, Lizzie Orchard

2017 – Bradley Weiss, Carina Wasle

XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Standings

With his second-place finish today Sam Osborne retains his lead in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour standings after four events, followed by McPherson, Allen, Weiss, and Kelsay.

Carina Wasle leads the women’s chase having won both Saipan and the Philippines, with Penny Slater in second and Renata Bucher in third.

“I never won the APAC Tour or the European Tour,” said Wasle.  “So, it would be great to win the APAC Tour this year. I’ll certainly try my best to finish strong at all the races.”

Next up is the big one, the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race in Langkawi, Malaysia, which boasts a tour-leading $25,000 USD prize purse, and just about everyone from the Philippines will make the trip to Langkawi to take a shot at the title.

2017 XTERRA ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR POINT STANDINGS
After 4 (As of 4.22.17)

S S S G
PL NAME, NAT TOT SPN THA NZL PHI
1 Sam Osborne, NZL 240 75 DNS 75 90
2 Kieran McPherson, NZL 213 56 75 DNS 82
3 Ben Allen, AUS 203 61 67 DNS 75
4 Bradley Weiss, RSA 167 67 DNS DNS 100
5 Will Kelsay, USA 163 47 47 DNS 69
6 Brodie Gardner, AUS 147 39 61 47 DNS
7 Olly Shaw, NZL 109 DNS DNS 51 58
8 Markus Benesch, AUT 102 51 51 DNS DNS
9 David Ballesteros, ESP 99 DNS 56 43 DNS
10 Taylor Charlton, AUS 96 DNS 43 DNS 53
11 Joe Miller, PHI 93 30 DNS DNS 63
12 Alex Roberts, NZL 85 DNS DNS 36 49
13 Aleksandr Dorovskikh, RUS 72 36 36 DNS DNS
14 Hayden Wilde, NZL 67 DNS DNS 67 DNS
15 Kyle Smith, NZL 61 DNS DNS 61 DNS
16 Fynn Thompson, NZL 56 DNS DNS 56 DNS
17 Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN 51 21 30 DNS DNF
18 Yuichi Hosoda, JPN 43 43 DNS DNS DNS
19 Jacob Storey 39 DNS 39 DNS DNS
20 John Mering, NZL 39 DNS DNS 39 DNS
21 Dominik Wychera, AUT 33 33 DNS DNS DNS
22 Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA 33 DNS 33 DNS DNS
23 Cedric Wane, FRA 33 DNS DNS 33 DNS
24 Emil Duraj, SVK 27 27 DNS DNS DNS
25 Akihiko Maeda, JPN 25 25 DNS DNS DNS
26 Michal Bucek, SVK 23 23 DNF DNS DNS
S S S G
PL NAME, NAT TOT SPN THA NZL PHI
1 Carina Wasle, AUT 175 75 DNS DNS 100
2 Penny Slater, AUS 141 DNS DNS 51 90
7 Renata Bucher, SUI 131 DNS 75 56 DNS
3 Jessica Koltz, USA 82 DNS DNS DNS 82
4 Jacqui Allen, GBR 75 DNS DNS 75 DNF
8 Kelli Montgomery, USA 67 DNS 67 DNS DNS
5 Mieko Carey, JPN 67 67 DNS DNS DNS
9 Hannah Wells, NZL 67 DNS DNS 67 DNS
6 Marika Wagner, SWE 61 DNS 61 DNS DNS
10 Josie Wilcox, NZL 61 DNS DNS 61 DNS
11 Belinda Hadden, AUS 56 DNS 56 DNS DNS
12 Rebecca Clarke, NZL 47 DNS DNS 47 DNS
13 Lizzy Bunckenburg, NZL 43 DNS DNS 43 DNS

2017 XTERRA World Championship Qualifying Series Schedule

XTERRA Danao was the 11th of 41 events where amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 22nd annual XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 29.

Date Race Elite Winners or Location
Feb 25 XTERRA South Africa Richard Murray / Flora Duffy
Mar 4 XTERRA Motatapu Dougal Allan / Josie Wilcox
Mar 18 XTERRA Saipan + Silver Sam Osborne / Carina Wasle
Mar 25 XTERRA Argentina # Silver Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder
Apr 1 XTERRA Thailand + Silver Kieran McPherson / Renata Bucher
Apr 1 XTERRA Chile # Silver Felipe Barraza / Barbara Riveros
Apr 2 XTERRA Malta * Silver Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor
Apr 8 XTERRA New Zealand + Silver Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen
Apr 9 XTERRA Costa Rica # Silver Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder
Apr 16 XTERRA La Reunion Ruben Ruzafa / Carina Wasle
Apr 23 XTERRA Danao + GOLD Bradley Weiss / Carina Wasle
Apr 23 XTERRA Cyprus * Silver Yeray Luxem / Brigitta Poor
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