Maui Razor Ridge

Oh, What a Worlds!

It’s already being talked about as perhaps the toughest XTERRA World Championship race in the 21-year history of the sport.  It started Sunday morning with big swells, a strong current, and shore-pounding waves welcoming each swimmer back to the sand.  Then the rain came and made the bike course a muddy mess, and the run is hard enough under perfect conditions.
The winning elite men’s time was the slowest in event history at 2:49:38, nearly 15-minutes slower than last year, and all other winning times got progressively slower with each age group.
Still, racer after racer described it as “epic,” and will have a story to tell for many years to come.  Here’s a look at some of the videos, pictures, and stories captured in Maui last week…

Aging Up

XTERRA Hall of Famer Scott Tinley, one of the original castmembers from the inaugural event in 1996, is still going strong. Here he writes about his day…

Language disclaimer: Don’t read it if you’re a kid or bad words offend you.

A return to XTERRA and in some strange way, competition itself, was thwarted by the weather. But that sounds lame. Shit happens. After four days of near constant rain, the great majority of the bike and run course were mired in two or three inches of icy clay; that sticky earth of which bowls and mugs are shaped and fired. Great for a set of dishes when glazed but a challenging surface on which to run or push a bike up a steep slope as the red dirt collects, dries, and immobilizes movable parts. At the 21st XTERRA World Championships on Maui last Sunday, wheels and derailleurs simply stopped going around and around.

Very soon after the start of the bike it became painfully obvious that the race would be replaced with that bane of all competitive endurance athletes, the ultimate fallback position—just finish.

Still, there were those of us who sought to find the rents and seams. Could we ride some parts of the course? Uh, excuse me, coming through! On your left! Could we simply stay upright and gain time on the hike-a-bikers and the rest of the settled-in-for-the-long-run sect who wore tall numbers on their short calves?

Geez, I’d had a great swim, perhaps the fastest in the 60-64 age group. But to see that qualifying phrase in print—in the 60-64 age group– reminds me that as a former world champion I’d either aged, left something on the table or missed stoking the long-dormant embers of racing.

After an hour-long death march, the top of the hill only revealed an outdoor bike shop in the pasture as athletes struggled to extricate the dirt and weeds and disgust from their non-moving parts. The experienced squirted Gatorade on the muddied chain. The desperate, long since fluid-less, pissed on their derailleurs.

I found the individual negotiations fascinating. Most riders, sensing the futility of it all, turned to the pragmatic and the oblique.

Well, I’ll spend more time cleaning my bike than I did riding it.

This isn’t a world championship. It’s a gladiator pit.
Hardest thing I’ve done since Kona, ’96. And we’re only half way.

Surprisingly, tempers were held in check. No assigning blame. No miss-directed anger. It was a shit-show, someone claimed. And the steadily slogging pack grunted their agreement.

The morning’s swim, which was supposed to be the toughest leg with six-foot surf and three-foot chop, seemed pleasurable compared to pushing a twenty-five-pound bike that now weighed forty with its new coat of clay. Oh, and don’t mind those uphill riders slip-sliding and bowling you down. Sorry mate, my tires, shoes, and soul have no purchase left. Shit show indeed.

The XTERRA organizers have cobbled a successful and authentic aura of family-first. In other road triathlons, the conditions might’ve invited sniping and verbal attack. The worst thing I heard during the five plus hours I carried the same ball and chain was this:

“This is fucked up.”

“Yeah but we’re all fucked together.”

There might’ve been better technical preparation.

Low profile tires allowing for more clearance, hard tail frames, sleeping in on race morning. The pros knew. They had scouted the course, made the changes in equipment, strategy, and approach. As an upper limits age grouper, you mostly don’t take the time or don’t care. You take your sloppy seconds. Your happy just to be on your feet making steady progress between point A and point B under your own power.

By the last trimester of your life, you either have learned humility, have found the right drugs, or are smart enough to keep your precious little powder dry for another battle.

As always, the run favored the youth; those spry and perky forty to fifty year-olds who saw the fallen log in the trail and jumped over it. The cramped, wise, and crumbled who were left picking up bread crumbs studied the longest possible way around.

At some point-it must’ve been very near the finish line-and I knew that I could still walk, that crawling was allowed, I put the hammer down. Which is to say I ceased with the poor-me limp-a-long and ran. Both feet off the ground at the same time. Flying.

My preparation for the XTERRA World Championship might have graciously been labeled as training. I’d saved my money, bought my ticket, extricated the old bike case from under the house, and hosed out the fifteen years of rat shit. The night before the race I was remindedly-nervous. What was it like, I wondered, re-dipping a toe into the ancient racing pool? Would I feel tacked-on as an age grouper? A supporting role for the real athletes? A warmed-over has-been in search of one more parade lap?
Or could I find something that I had once sought in a two-decade occupation if not some deeper existential quest?

The worst and the best parts of Maui are that now…I still don’t know.

Mendez, Duffy win XTERRA World Championship

(Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii) – Mauricio Mendez, 21, from Mexico City, Mexico and Flora Duffy, 29, from Devonshire, Bermuda captured the XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon elite titles on a wild, windy, and muddy day in Kapalua, Maui.

In the men’s race Mendez posted the fastest run split of the day (42:06) and passed three-time XTERRA World Champion Ruben Ruzafa from Spain with one-mile left in the run to take the tape in 2:49:38.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Mendez, the first pro from Mexico to win an XTERRA World title. “I’ve looked up to these guys for so long and now to be up here with them is very special. I’m just happy, really happy.”

In the women’s race Flora Duffy led from start-to-finish and posted the fastest swim, bike, and run times to take the win in 3:14:59, more than 10-minutes ahead of runner-up Lesley Paterson from Scotland. It’s Duffy’s third XTERRA World Championship win in a row, tying Julie Dibens record of three straight from 2007-09.

“It was really tough out there,” said Duffy. “I crashed on the bike, went over the handlebars and flying into the bushes. My gears weren’t working, and all the while Lesley was back there charging hard behind me. The 3-peat it really cool. It’s actually probably even cooler with the fact that I also won the ITU World Championship and then to back it up with this, wow, it’s really a year I could not have asked for. And to tie Julie’s record of 3 in a row, it’s not easy to do, so many things can go wrong out there. You really need a bit of luck, to prepare meticulously.”

Both Mendez and Duffy earned $20,000 USD for their respective victories. The total purse was $100,000, and the event was filmed for international television distribution.

More than 800 endurance athletes from 46 countries participated in the event, which started in the rough waters of the Pacific Ocean at D.T. Fleming Beach, continued with a 20-mile mountain bike that traversed the West Maui Mountains, and finished with a grueling 6.5-mile trail run.

There was more than 4,000-feet of combined climbing on the bike and run courses, and the mud from recent rains turned a fairly technical course into a “matter of survival” said competitor after competitor. For Mendez and Duffy, due to the rough conditions in the water and on the trails, their winning times were the slowest in the history of XTERRA Worlds.

FULL RESULTS | GALLERY ONE | GALLERY TWO | GALLERY THREEHIGHLIGHTS

MEN’S RACE

So a 21-year-old (his birthday was on Thursday) won the 21st annual XTERRA World Championship.

Mauricio Mendez, affectionately known as “Mau,” started swimming when he was six, doing triathlons when he was 10, he did his first XTERRA when he was 14, won the overall amateur XTERRA World Championship when he was 18, went pro as a 19yo, won his first pro race this summer at XTERRA Italy, and now he’s the XTERRA World Champ.

“My first XTERRA was in 2010 in Mexico, in the junior kids race, and I won it, and I remember Dan Hugo was first place at the time and thinking wow, this is amazing, I want to be like him,” said Mendez. “And I just got into it and from that day I dreamed about being the world champion. I don’t know, I feel like I am still sleeping.”

Mendez was third out of the water, worked hard with Leo Chacon on the bike to catch Courtney Atkinson at mile three, then he caught Ben Allen at about mile six and those two were together for the rest of the bike. Ruben Ruzafa caught them at about that same time and rode away, coming into transition with more than two minutes.

Mendez, who had the fastest run last year by more than one-minute over Middaugh, had the fastest this year by just 41-seconds over Braden Currie but it was 3:41 faster than Ruzafa.

Ben Allen came off the bike in third and stayed there. It’s the third time in four years Allen has finished 3rd here at XTERRA Worlds. Currie and Middaugh came off the bike together at T2, both caught Leonardo Chacon, with Currie finishing fourth and Middaugh in fifth (and top American for the ninth time and fifth time in a row).

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WOMEN’S RACE

Just a few weeks removed from upsetting Olympic gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen to win the ITU Grand Final in Cozumel and ITU World Triathlon Series title, Duffy put her name in the record books with her third straight XTERRA crown.

It didn’t come easy.

“Just before the first bike feed on the steep section I flipped over my bars into the trees just like I’ve done before here, and I was super lucky, again. My bike is a little banged up, but I got back on and I was like ‘dodged another bullet Flora.’ My gears stopped working. I was stuck in easy for most of it, and I was like, you’re done. Spinning, spinning. Not a good thing when you have Lesley behind you.”

Duffy, who finished 7th in her first XTERRA and said she’d never do another, says she’s happy that she did.

“The first XTERRA I did in 2013 in Beaver Creek, I swore I was never going to do one again,” she explained. “Thankfully I did, and it sort of led me to finding myself in triathlon. Here you are racing against yourself, you have to do everything to get through the race, so I’ve kind of taken that to the road side of life. I’m going to race my own race and shape the race to suit my strengths. I think XTERRA has really aided my success on the road.”

For Paterson, the day started with a bit of a worry…

“I was trying to keep calm and collected. I was given out that advice, so I thought I better start listening to myself, but there were a few moments like “Are you f%#* kidding me?,” said Paterson, the two-time XTERRA World Champion who finished as the runner-up for the third time in four years. “I was not calm before or during the swim. Nothing would have helped with that. I had a pretty big panic attack through that, it was awful. You’re standing at the edge seeing these big waves and you think “Oh my God,” you know. And it was brutal, really brutal.”

For Suzie Snyder, who finished in third and top American, it was the culmination of her best year as an elite.

“I kind of can’t believe this whole year,” she said. “It just feels awesome to know I worked really hard for it and I think coming back from the crash last year made me a lot tougher mentally as well as physically. I’ve worked really hard and I’m just proud of myself for pushing through a lot of the hard times. It’s awesome.”

Myriam Guillot-Boisset finished fourth for the second straight year, and Helena Erbenova finished 5th for the second time in three years.

TOP 10 ELITE MEN AND WOMEN

Pl Name Age Hometown Time Purse
1 Mauricio Mendez 21 Mexico City, Mexico 2:49:38 $20,000
2 Ruben Ruzafa 32 Malaga, Spain 2:51:02 $12,000
3 Ben Allen 31 Wollongong, Australia 2:53:49 $7,000
4 Braden Currie 30 Wanaka, New Zealand 2:55:48 $4,000
5 Josiah Middaugh 38 Vail, Colorado, USA 2:57:06 $2,500
6 Leonardo Chacon 32 Liberia, Costa Rica 2:57:14 $1,500
7 Ben Hoffman 33 Boulder, CO, USA 3:01:41 $1,100
8 Courtney Atkinson 37 Queensland, Australia 3:02:22 $800
9 Sam Osborne 25 Rotorua, New Zealand 3:02:52 $600
10 Rom Akerson 32 Tambor, Costa Rica 3:05:16 $500
Pl Name Age Hometown Time Purse
1 Flora Duffy 29 Devonshire, Bermuda 3:14:59 $20,000
2 Lesley Paterson 36 Sterling, Scotland 3:25:01 $12,000
3 Suzie Snyder 34 Reno, NV, USA 3:29:03 $7,000
4 Myriam Guillot-Boisset 37 Brindas, France 3:30:51 $4,000
5 Helena Erbenova 37 Jablonec, Czech Republic 3:32:54 $2,500
6 Michelle Flipo 28 Palma De Mallorca, Mexico 3:35:49 $1,500
7 Jacqui Slack 33 Stoke-on-Trent, England 3:41:45 $1,100
8 Lizzie Orchard 31 Auckland, New Zealand 3:42:14 $800
9 Carina Wasle 32 Kundl, Austria 3:44:19 $600
10 Joanna Brown 24 Guelph, ON, Canada 3:56:59 $500

 

Fastest Swim Courtney Atkinson 0:20:01 Flora Duffy 0:21:26
Fastest Bike Ruben Ruzafa 1:42:42 Flora Duffy 2:05:01
Fastest Run Mauricio Mendez 0:42:06 Flora Duffy 0:48:32

Quotes from the elite field…

Mauricio Mendez

My first XTERRA was in 2010 in Mexico, in the junior kids race, and I won it. And I remember Dan Hugo was first place at the time and thinking wow, this is amazing, I want to be like him. And I just get into it and from that day I dream about being the world champion. I don’t know, I feel like I am still sleeping or what.

Ruben told me he was happy that I was the one beating him. That was an amazing feeling. Like one of the biggest feelings ever, for someone like him telling me that was kind of a big deal for me.

There’s something really special about XTERRA for me, it’s a true passion.

All the love I feel for XTERRA is amazing. And I just want to get big in this sport

I had all the momentum from my life, I felt amazing. I was really tired, but something switched in my mind one-mile before the finish and it clicked. I saw Ruben and I just attacked, and was able to sustain it through the finish.

I got on the beach with the lead and I didn’t know what to do, should I celebrate, should I cry, what should I do?

Ruben Ruzafa

It was really, really tough out there today. I used a lot of energy in the swim so I was more tired for the bike and the run.

I didn’t know it was Mauricio behind me, not until he passed. I thought I was running well, but I then I was having a lot of cramps, so just tried to survive. Mauricio was really impressive today, especially because he has improved a lot on the bike.

I’ll have to study this race today to see where I need to improve for next year.

Ben Allen

I got out of the water in second. I just got dumped on the last little section coming in. I took a boomer and it just pummeled me into the sand. You know, you gotta have fun out there. It’s serious racing, but at the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying yourself.

I had a great time today. I absolutely enjoyed it. I love this sport. I am so happy for Mauricio, what a superstar. Beating Ruben Ruzafa, he’s got huge credentials. For me to get myself back on the podium, after a disappointment last year, I wanted to come here and show everyone and my sponsors what I can do.

I’m in for the long haul, so I’m going to come back and have another crack to see if I can get out of this third place spot. All in all it was a good day. I had a bit of bike trouble. I had a couple of mechanicals on the bike. My coach said to me it was going to be a race of emotions. Don’t let your emotions get ahead of you. If something goes wrong, just control yourself, think about what you need to do and carry on. That really helped me today. I had a couple of issues, crashed a couple times. Everyone’s got a story. I was able to stay positive and keep moving forward. I finished third against these two superstars, I’m proud to be on the podium.

On the last two or three K, I was just stinging, my whole body was just aching. I was praying that no one was behind me. The bike course really took its toll, the mud was so tough and grueling. It’s probably one of the toughest races I’ve done in my XTERRA career, and I’m just proud to get on the podium and finish with a solid result.

It’s hard to get past the mud in France. France has one of the toughest courses around because of the climbing and the mud is just thick and deep. Here the mud is slippery and you need to choose a good line and get to the edges as best you can and know the course because every inch you can get is a huge advantage for propelling yourself forward. It’s definitely one of the toughest courses on the circuit.

Judy Abrahams, the XTERRA Warrior from Friday night, really inspired me. You have days where it’s tough and you just got to fight a little bit harder. Things always do get better. That really stuck with me. It made me think about why I’m here, why I do this sport, why I love it. My family is so evolved and passionate to help me with my dreams and goals. I’m just so glad I could come here today, show my sponsors and family and friends that with their support, love and care that I can do it.

Braden Currie

It was a lot of fun, a huge amount of fun. It was just one of those days. You just keep battling and nothing seemed to be going smooth. I lost my gears for quite a while. Josiah caught me up and we were just flailing around on some of the corners. I felt pretty good, but I just didn’t have enough.

I didn’t know Mauricio would bike like that. I think the course, the conditions sort of played a little bit to his favor as well. Obviously Ruben was getting traction, but a lot of us were struggling to get power. You just ride consistent, and it was really hard to make time.

Josiah Middaugh

I had a terrible swim. I don’t know why. I just couldn’t get my form and I was so disoriented in the swim that I was sighting all the time because I could even see. I had like a motion sickness in the water. I was just getting tossed around, but it was the same for everybody.

It was a rough start for sure. Mostly just mentally at that point. It threw off probably the first five miles of my bike. I was behind a lot of people, I was making all the mistakes that they were making. I lost a lot of time early. It was just hard to battle back. You were battling the conditions, the bike is packed up with mud, I had to stop and pull stuff out. And then I threw my chain into my spokes, twice, and it took me a minute to get the chain out. The derailleur just stopped working at some point and I had a couple of gears to choose from. It was just a battle all day. I was happy I was able to stay in it, keep working up, but I knew I was losing gobs of time at the front of the race.

I came off the bike with Braden. We ran together for about two miles. Then I could see Leonardo Chacon, but it took me a long time to catch him, and when I did, he stayed with me pretty much. I wasn’t putting much time on him at all. And he was right with me at the finish.

I’m super happy for Mauricio. I mean, amazing. He really surprised me today that he was able to ride like that in the mud. He was the champion today. We knew it was just going to be a mess out there. Those top guys were really going to be shaken up. It was kind of anybody’s day. Conditions like this mean it’s wide open, but Mauricio had it today physically and mentally.

The conditions made it a long race, and I got a little behind with nutrition. It wasn’t the same feeling as last year. Last year I’m pushin’, pushin’, pushin’, and now I’m just hanging on a couple notches back.

Ben Hoffman

It was crazy man. Seriously the craziest race I’ve done in XTERRA, ever. It was insane. It was fun, but it was a little disheartening because I had a mechanical around mile 13, I was riding with Josiah, and I couldn’t get any gears. I just started pushing my bike up all the hills. I mean, I kept fighting, I am happy I can take the double again. It was a really hard fought battle. I was nervous all day that someone would run me down or something. I had a pretty strong day all around.

Courtney Atkinson

I had to get a wave to beat Benny out of the water. Benny was on fire all day, but wow, that was hard, with the mud and a lot of conditions. You couldn’t put a lot of power down on the bike. There was a lot of finesse. Some guys go past and you’re like how are you riding like that. It might have been about tire choice and mountain bike skills. You have to ride or you’re never going to make it in Maui.

Only got a couple guys on the run. It’s really the same as other years, because the bike is so long, it’s hard to utilize the run properly. By that stage, it makes it pretty flat.

These swim conditions took me back to my junior days. I cracked a pretty decent wave at the end, so I was happy. For me this race in Maui, we may as well start the bike altogether. It’s a ride race. In ITU, they call it a wet run, here it’s a wet bike.

Sam Osborne

It was so tough. I just can’t believe that we rode through that course today. It just took so much power out there. A lot of the time, the back wheel didn’t do much. I think it was just trying to pick your line and keep rolling with it.

Flora Duffy

I was just glad to get off the bike safe and sound. I felt strong today, so thank goodness.

I guess I have to come back next year to try to get four. It’s pretty cool to win three in a row. Julie and I were chatting about it the weeks leading up to the race, so I guess she has to come back and face me next year. We’ll be neck and neck out of the swim. She’s great. She’s an athlete I really look up to.

It was brutal out there today. Mother Nature just wasn’t playing kind. The surf, the wave was huge, the biggest I’ve ever seen. Super choppy out there which was great for me. I love choppy waters, so I knew I had to capitalize on that. I came out with a decent gap, I was in the lead so I didn’t really know, but I just kept pushing and tried to ride as technically well as I could. There’s a lot of on your bike, off your bike, hike a bike. You’re riding a long and next thing you know you lose a front wheel, you’re down, just mud caking my bike.

The rain we got this week just totally changed the course. A relatively smooth, not super technical course just became treacherous. Definitely learned a lot about yourself out there.

When I first started racing XTERRA it would have been the last thing I would have ever expected to achieve so it just shows that if you put the work in, you can learn. Dan has basically opened the door to XTERRA and taught me everything I know and I owe him so much for getting me to this point.

I knew Lesley would be charging you know. She is relentless and one of the toughest competitors, so you never know with her. You might have a couple minutes gap but she can close that, so you just have to keep pushing and thankfully I got a few splits out there and just tried to focus on my race, stay smooth, and stay on my bike.

It was a tough, brutal day out there but I’m pretty pumped.

Lesley Paterson

It was hard for everybody you know, and I think you gotta keep pushing, you gotta keep controlled, you gotta keep patient; all of those things. You gotta know that when you’re getting off the bike, so is everyone else. When your gear’s not working, probably everyone else’s gear’s not working. You know, you’re always kinda fighting. But you know at the same time, it’s all part of it.

Flora was phenomenal today. Yeah, there was just no way. After that swim there was just no way. I mean I knew that I came out of the water and it was 5 ½ minutes. I was like “that’s not good,” and it really exhausted me that swim. I got held up there a couple times and had a couple panicky attacks. And I’m running out on the beach you know and just feeling just like really wigged out. And I got on the bike and just never got in a rhythm.

Body in general held up really well. I was really chuffed and I got on the run and actually felt sort of quick so that was the easiest part of the race I’d say. Only in so much as it wasn’t so muddy by that point. And I seemed to be more in control of the elements.

(On Mauricio Mendez) He’s been my little prodigy cause we got together and I started coaching him a few years ago now. And I don’t coach him anymore but he’s been a big part of the Braveheart family because he’s just the most wonderful guy. You know, just so passionate. He is XTERRA. Like truly. His passion, his excitement, his love, his commitment, his determination. And he’s got talent, loads of talent.

Suzie Snyder

On the run I felt pretty strong initially then going up that steep climb, I think going up to the lake, where it gets kind of steep, I was hurting. My legs were cramping, and I just tried to turn over and recover on that downhill. I just tried to keep moving as best I could without blowing up. It’s all about pacing yourself to some extent.

I slipped off the bike a bunch of times, but no crashes per se.

I kind of can’t believe this whole year. It just feels awesome to know I worked really hard for it and I think the crash and coming back made me a lot tougher mentally as well as physically. I’ve worked really hard and I’m just really proud of myself for pushing through a lot of the hard times. It’s awesome.

408-2

DAFFLON, HALE WIN AMATEUR CROWNS

Xavier Dafflon (pictured) from Switzerland finished 17th overall and was the top amateur in 3:08:35, almost one-minute in front of Loic Doubey from France. Lydia Hale from New Zealand finished 16th overall and was the top amateur woman in 4:12:02, followed by Courtney Kaup from the U.S. in 4:21:37.

Here’s a look at all the age group XTERRA World Champions from today:

Men      
Div Name Hometown Time
15-19 (2) Hayden Wilde Whakatane, New Zealand 3:19:38
20-24 Loic Doubey Legna, France 3:09:29
25-29 Pierre-Alain Nicole Varois Et Chaignot, France 3:10:16
30-34 Xavier Dafflon Fribourg, Switzerland 3:09:35
35-39 Alejandro Bulacio Yerba Buena, Argentina 3:25:32
40-44 Nicolas Durin Vernioz, France 3:17:13
45-49 (7) Cal Zaryski Calgary, Canada 3:24:10
50-54 Guy Evans Genev, Switzerland 3:48:17
55-59 Gregory Ball Noosa, Australia 4:10:12
60-64 Karsten Olsen Fredericia, Denmark 4:26:13
65-69 Carl Peterson Penticton, Canada 5:00:07
70-74 Roger Kern Scotts Valley, CA, USA 7:58:28
75-79 John Stover Jackson, MS, USA 8:08:00
PC Michel Gonon Villard de Lans, France 4:31:55
Women      
Div Name Hometown Time
15-19 Heather Horton Draper, UT, USA 5:25:08
20-24 Camille Jobard Sainte Sabine, France 4:37:07
25-29 Ariarn Huston Perth, Australia 4:29:18
30-34 Lydia Hale Rotorua, New Zealand 4:12:02
35-39 Courtney Kaup Hinesburg, VT, USA 4:21:37
40-44 (4) Mimi Stockton Stevensville, MI, USA 4:28:52
45-49 Nathalie Pugeault Draguignan, France 4:47:18
50-54 (3) Carol Rasmussen Karlslunde, Denmark 4:45:26
55-59 Stephanie Landy Ballston Spa, NY, USA 4:51:27
60-64 (7) Barbara Peterson Berkeley, CA, USA 5:17:00
65-69 (7) Cindi Toepel Littleton, CO, USA 5:40:13
70-74 (9) Wendy Minor Kamuela, HI, USA 7:50:15
PC Beth Price Spanish Fort, AL 7:18:39

jess3359

HOFFMAN, URETA, SELLARS WIN OUTRIGGER RESORTS DOUBLE

Colorado’s Ben Hoffman (pictured) won the Outrigger Resorts Double for the second straight year today. He was 4th overall in Kona and 7th in Maui. Sebastian Kienle went about three minutes faster in Kona, but Hoffman was about six minutes faster here in Maui for a combined time of 11:14:41.

“It’s almost the same amount of pain as Ironman, but packed into three hours instead of eight,” said Hoffman. “I mean, it was crazy. It might as well have been an Ironman. It felt like some of those moments out there were slow-mo and a real grind. I was definitely calling on the Ironman strength that I had to get through that one.”

Pablo Ureta from Cordoba, Argentina won the men’s amateur double (9:37:49 IM + 3:38:13 XTERRA = 13:16:02) and Virginia Sellars from Vernon, B.C., Canada won the women’s amateur double (11:34:44 IM + 4:50:12 = 16:24:56).

Here’s a look at all the Outrigger Resorts Double finishers:

Name Hometown Division IM XTERRA Total 
Ben Hoffman Boulder, CO, USA Elite M 8:13:00 3:01:41 11:14:41
Sebastian Kienle Muehlacker, Germany Elite M 8:10:02 3:07:44 11:17:46
Michi Weiss Gumpoldskirchen, Austria Elite M 8:49:54 3:11:19 12:01:13
Pablo Ureta Cordoba, Argentina M35-39 9:37:49 3:38:13 13:16:02
Filipe Aragao Brasilia, Brazil M30-34 9:50:35 3:37:49 13:28:24
Andrew Sellars Vernon, B.C., Canada M45-49 9:58:10 3:48:10 13:46:20
Arnaud Bouvier Digne les Bains, France M50-54 10:12:45 3:50:50 14:03:35
Olivier Lyoen Pertuis, France M35-39 9:43:46 5:10:37 14:54:23
Karsten Olsen Fredericia, Denmark M60-64 11:52:00 4:26:13 16:18:13
Virginia Sellars Vernon, B.C., Canada F40-44 11:34:44 4:50:12 16:24:56
Janie White Paradise Valley, AZ, USA F55-59 12:04:27 5:38:42 17:43:09
Megan Arthur Hamilton, New Zealand F40-44 12:42:24 5:13:20 17:55:44
Scott Perrine Gilbert,  AZ, USA M45-49 13:58:41 5:43:03 19:41:44
Mitchell Wendorff Wailuku, HI, USA M30-34 13:29:15 6:39:13 20:08:28
Marcy Fleming Kailua, HI, USA F55-59 15:29:44 6:12:36 21:42:20

The XTERRA World Championship was presented by Paul Mitchell, the Maui Visitors Bureau, XTERRA TV on Amazon Video, Outrigger Resorts, Hawaii Tourism Authority, XTERRA Travel, Muscle Milk, Gatorade Endurance, PowerBar, Optic Nerve, XTERRA Wetsuits, XTERRA Fitness, XTERRA Boards, Compex, Greenlayer, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Kona Brewing Company, and Cycle City.

Dan Hugo

Hugo in the Hall

South Africa’s Dan Hugo became the 11th inductee into the XTERRA Hall of Fame at the Night of Champions dinner in Maui last night.

At just 31-years-old Hugo is the youngest athlete ever inducted to the Hall, but you’ll have to put that in perspective by noting he was just a teenager when he did his first XTERRA back in 2004 at the inaugural XTERRA South Africa Championship.

He finished 3rd that day and over the next 11 years finished in the top 5 over 70 times. Among those podium positions was an agonizing 22nd runner-up finishes, certainly more than he’d like to talk about, but he also won his fair share with 15 majors championship wins.

And talk about leaving on a high note, in his last two years – 2013 and 2014 – he did two dozen XTERRA races on six continents and during that stretch won races in eight countries including the prestigious XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Australia.

While his racing credentials alone were good enough to get him into the Hall, it’s Hugo’s contributions to the sport as an ambassador for the XTERRA Lifestyle that made him stand out from the crowd.

Hugo was a spokesman for a way of life, the XTERRA way of life, and at every stop he’d share the gospel of XTERRA and perpetuated his guiding principal that health is wealth.

Dan also has a true gift for words, both written and spoken, and can tell the most colorful of stories.

He once said his favorite aspect of XTERRA was “the places. “And by that,” he explained, “I mean more than the cities and zip codes. It’s the rare views, the canopies of forest, the berms in those forests and all the little details that make me feel a rich man.”

Hugo made XTERRA look good. He has been referred to as the sports “pin-up” and justifiably so. He was Triathlete Magazine’s favorite photo feature subject – for covers, swimsuit editions, you name it.

There’s a lot more to Hugo than good looks though. He is a true entrepreneur. A renaissance man equally interested in business and brands, good flavors and good wine. He immersed himself in many things, the art of coffee, social dining, film, wine, ice cream, writing, photography, and travel.

He did his first triathlon at the age of 9 and said he had been swimming, biking, and running away from the real world ever since. That was, of course, until he retired from the sport at the tender young age of 29.

Upon his retirement Hugo said that “celebrating numerous highs and groveling through countless setbacks was a tremendous way to spend his twenties.”

We think so too.

And while he often talked about being a master of procrastination, when it came to seizing the opportunity to embrace his dream job in global marketing, he did not hesitate.

His place in XTERRA history and lore is secure. His future is beyond bright. For his contributions to XTERRA as an athlete, a friend, and an ambassador, we welcome Dan Hugo to a very distinguished club – the XTERRA Hall of Fame.

Judy Abrahams

2016 XTERRA Warrior Judy Abrahams

Since 2003 XTERRA has honored a member of its Tribe that has shown exemplary courage in the face of adversity, gone above and beyond to help the greater community, or personified the “Live More” spirit.

This year, at the Night of Champions dinner on Friday night at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua the honor went to Judy Abrahams from Alaska, Anchorage.

Ten years ago Abrahams was in a bike-car collision that ultimately led to the amputation of her leg, but she never gave up and has been an inspiration to everyone around her.

“The bad days don’t last forever,” said Abrahams, a two-time PC division XTERRA World Champion. “You have to look forward to good days, and when you’re having a good day take advantage of it. Get outside, get a hold of your friends and do something fun.”

Abrahams was joined on stage at the dinner with an all-star cast of physically challenged athletes racing at the XTERRA World Championship tomorrow including Beth Price, Pepe Candon, John Davis, Ed Fattoumy, Michel Gonon, Mohamed Lahna, Nick Roumonada, and Sergio Silva.

“Everybody has struggles and everybody has hard things, and you can’t compare yours to anybody else’s because their yours,” said Abrahams. “Own it, accept it, but don’t dwell on it. Just say ya know, today is a bad day but tomorrow is going to be better. And it will
be.”

Lebrun, Schleifer win Duke’s Beach House XTERRA 10K Trail Run

RESULTS | PHOTOS

Former XTERRA World Champion triathlete Nicolas Lebrun from France and Christine Schleifer of Germany captured the Duke’s Beach House XTERRA 10K at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua this morning.

Lebrun, who won XTERRA Worlds back in 2005, is retired from elite triathlon racing but is still a coach and a great runner.

He took the tape in 45:37, just three seconds ahead of Martin Diebold from Germany. Just a quick look at the results and you can tell it’s not your average Maui 10K race, as the top 10 finishers came from France, Germany, Korea, Argentina, China, Switzerland, Poland, the U.S. and Belgium.

“The trails were muddy from all the rain and some sections were very slippery but it was still a beautiful day,” said Lebrun, who serves as the technical director for the XTERRA European Tour and was one of the commentators for the live coverage of the triathlon. “The run course is very tropical, like you’re in a jungle, then goes to the beautiful beach next to the water. It’s a fantastic course.”

Jacob Fure from Lynnwood, Washington and Bailey Haugen from Canada took home the Hula Grill XTERRA 5K titles in 20:06 and 23:42, respectively. Jorn Van Der Veken from Belgium and Eden Newman from Makawao won the new Leilani’s XTERRA 3.3K Trail Run in 13:57 and 19:32, respectively.

2016 marked the sixth straight year T S Restaurants Hula Grill, Duke’s Beach House, Kimo’s and Leilani’s served as title sponsors of the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs.

Held in conjunction with the 21st running of the XTERRA World Championship triathlon, the Kapalua runs are an opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels to get involved and experience the legendary XTERRA run course.

“They are all awesome races, and the vibe around The Ritz-Carlton rocked on Saturday morning,” said XTERRA President Janet Clark.

In addition to the trail runs a Paul Mitchell cut-a-thon was held at the site of the race where runners and spectators got their hair cut by professional Paul Mitchell stylists, with all donations benefitting the Challenged Athlete Foundation.

More than 1,000 runners from around the world took part in the events, and both the overall and top Maui finishers in each race were rewarded with T S Restaurant gift certificates worth $100.

In addition, employees from T S Restaurants held a race within a race dubbed “The T S Restaurants XTERRA Challenge” in which each of the four restaurants fielded a team of 10 runners; and the team with the fastest cumulative time from their best five runners in the 5K take home the coveted TS Trophy.

This year Kimo’s captured the perpetual trophy for the third straight year and have it proudly displayed in their restaurant for all to see. The winning team members included Hailey and Koral Gill, Patrick Hannon, Cassie Jacinto, Jeremy Meis, Steve Pisacano, Megan Price, Megan Whitfield, and Victoria Zupancic.

Find more information, this year’s results, and photos visit http://www.xterrakapalua.com.

About T S Restaurants of Hawaii and California

Founded in 1977 by Rob Thibaut and Sandy Saxten, T S Restaurants owns and operates 13 restaurants in Hawaii and California, including Duke’s Waikiki and Hula Grill Waikiki on Oahu; Kimo’s, Leilani’s on the Beach, Hula Grill Kaanapali and Duke’s Beach House on Maui; Duke’s Kauai and Keoki’s Paradise on Kauai; and Jake’s Del Mar, Sunnyside Restaurant and Lodge, Duke’s La Jolla, Duke’s Huntington Beach and Duke’s Malibu in California. For more information visit www.tsrestaurants.com.

More Than Just a Number

Stroll along the sandy shores of D T Fleming Beach on Sunday and you’ll see hundreds upon hundreds of the fittest people on the planet, each with their own unique number tattooed on their arm.

For the pros, the number represents where they finished at last year’s race. The reigning XTERRA World Champion Josiah Middaugh will don No. 1; and last year’s women’s winner Flora Duffy will wear No. 61. For the amateurs, their race number is indicative of what age division they’re in. For example, No. 100 is Morgan Fortin, the youngest female in the field at 15-years-old; and No. 822 is Ron Hill, the senior statesman of XTERRA at 79.

For timing purposes, the numbers are identifiers, a way to track how fast No. 133 can swim, bike, and run. Of course, there’s more to No. 133 than her bike split. No. 133 is Tory Sigmond, a 27-year-old from Dillon, Colorado and for her, this trip isn’t all about the race …

“In April 2015, after more than eight months of being bedridden with an undiagnosed pain, my Mom was diagnosed with Stage IV adenocarcinoma and was given 1-to-2 years to live,” explained Sigmond.

Upon hearing the news, she quit her job on the other side of the world and moved back to Colorado to be with her Mom.

“When I got there she was complaining about how cancer deprived her of much of her life over the last few months and she missed the outdoors, so on our way back from radiation we stopped and walked on trails. Seven minutes out and seven minutes back with a sitting break in the middle.”

The nature stops became a regular part of their therapy, and when Tory jokingly asked her mom if she wanted to run a 5K with her, she said yes.

“Even though I had been joking she was completely serious,” she said, so they made it a goal. Gradually, the mother-daughter walks grew in length and duration and even included some running, and by July 2015 she was ready to tackle the tough challenge of the XTERRA Beaver Creek 5K trail run.

“She smashed it,” said Tory, and a year later they were back at the same race and she beat her time by nine-minutes.

“A new goal was needed so I asked my mom, what about Maui? She had never been to a warm ocean before, and why not a Hawaiian-style 5K!”

Why not indeed. Tory and Mom will race the 5K on Saturday together, then Mom can sit back, relax and watch her daughter take on the XTERRA World Championship triathlon on Sunday.

– – – –

We were privileged to read the stories of dozens of XTERRA Warriors and are inspired by their dedication, perspective, and strength. Here are few of their stories, in their words …

No. 646 – Michael Ross, MD, 45, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, USA

I remember lying in the hospital bed and seeing a news story about a colon cancer survivor who did a triathlon. At the time, I was 3 days into a diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer. That was just two years ago.

After surgery, seven months of chemotherapy, and surgery again, I walked out of the hospital cancer-free. The immediate gratification of being alive and getting to spend time with my family was overwhelming. I couldn’t believe I had dodged this bullet.

Then, this summer, after 14 months’ cancer-free, I got some bad news. The cancer was found again on routine follow up scans. Amongst the thoughts I had were, “Will I ever be able to race again?”

I am currently undergoing an experimental treatment for colon cancer. Although I was told that Stage 4 colon cancer has a high mortality rate, I hope to be racing XTERRA for many more years. I can handle the physical part of treatment and the effects the cancer has on my body; I find the emotional strain to be the toughest part. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping at night but training for XTERRA has really helped me overcome the stress of the cancer.

My entire family will be there cheering me on, and I hope to inspire my sons to overcome their own fears both now and in the future.

No. 205 – Becca Johnston, 42, Lahaina, Maui

This event got me back in to racing! I had been a crazy endurance athlete when I was younger, but had fallen out of sports in general for about 10 years. I live in Lahaina, so when XTERRA first came to Kapalua, I didn’t really know what it was, but watching it unfold brought back so many good memories, I really wanted to compete. But, I was so out of shape that I only entered the 10k trail run and barely survived! And I used to be a competitive skier and trail runner! I was so fired up after that disaster that the next summer I completed my first full Ironman (my very first triathlon, in celebration of my 40th birthday) and have since completed several Ironmans and XTERRA races, including the Maui WC, and I am faster, stronger, and feel better now than I did 20 years ago. As a boat captain and open ocean/whale researcher, I’m always asked what it is like to work out in the middle of the ocean, thousands of miles from the nearest humans and there are simply no words to describe what it’s like out there it if you haven’t seen it. It is something that must be experienced. XTERRA is the same way, you have to live it, breathe it, survive it. You can’t describe it.

No. 825 – John Davis – 48, Littleton, Colorado, USA

This is my second triathlon. It is special because of what I have had to personally endure just to get to the shore line in Maui. It is special because I overcame by believing in, and attaining physical control of my circumstances.

In June of 2014 I was diagnosed with a terminal degenerative neuromuscular disease called Motor Neuron Disease. At the time I was walking aided with trekking poles and an AFO brace that I wore on my right foot to keep me from falling. In July 2014 one of my doctors told me to move or die.

In May 2015 I underwent major spine surgery. L3, L4, L5 spinal fusion, stenosis, synovial cysts as well severe arthritis. July 2015 I was on the trail in Beaver Creek when you were hosting the XTERRA 2015 Mountain Championships and I met a volunteer on the trail who explained the event. On that day, I decided I would compete in my first ever triathlon in 2016. And I did! I got to meet XTERRA President Janet Clark and share my story!

Everyone has a story and I feel blessed to be able to share mine with the tribe. It connects me with everyone who is taking their first step, cycle, or stroke in completing their first triathlon, or attaining a goal of moving up in the ranks.

But…I never imagined with my background in collegiate athletics, that I would ever be sidelined and not be able to use athletics as a connecting tool with my clients and friends. However, I have been sidelined, endured chronic pain, have had a team of doctors tell me not to move because the movement was creating more pain and injury. Thus, I was falling frequently due to complete atrophy and muscle weakness. According to my team of doctors, my days were numbered and I was told to get my house in order. Fortuitously, I did have that one doctor that I trusted; He said “John, you have to move or you will die!” So my stand out is that I trusted that if I moved, I would possibly improve my situation, my life, and again connect with people. I believe I exist to impact people with stories. That a story and a connection can make someone else’s life richer.

flinta

Flinta, Stockton Top Amateur Returners

Trying to guess who will win the overall amateur titles at the XTERRA World Championship is a tough task. With hundreds of the fastest XTERRA age group competitors representing every country on the World Tour, there’s just no way of telling who is coming in healthy, happy, and fast as ever.

History, however, can tell us who has done well here before.

In the men’s amateur chase Martin Flinta from Sweden (pictured), the reigning and two-time XTERRA 40-44 World Champ, is the top returner from last year. He finished third amateur, 24th overall, with a time of 2:57:10.

Other first-page finishers include 20-24 winner Charly Sibille from France (2:58:08), 35-39 champ Oscar Garcia from Argentina (2:59:28), 15-19 champ Hayden Wilde from New Zealand (2:59:46), 30-34 runner-up Alexandre Montel from France (3:00:57), and six-time 45-49 champ Cal Zaryski from Canada (3:01:09).

There’s a lot of new names ready to jump in the conversation as well like Kiwi Lewis Ryan who was the overall amateur champ at the XTERRA Pan America and Asia-Pacific Tour finales, Cedric Wane from Tahiti who was the top amateur at XTERRA Beaver Creek, Xavier Dafflon who was the top amateur at XTERRA France, and some of America’s best including Nelson Hegg, Garren Watkins, and Rife Hilgartner.

Trust we missed some contenders, and they’ll let us know on Sunday afternoon!

In the women’s race the reigning and 3x 40-44 XTERRA World Champ Mimi Stockton is the top returner. The 44-year-old mother of three from Michigan was the third amateur last year (behind Julie Baker and Liz Gruber who both turned pro) with a time of 3:29:06. Other top returners include Lydia Hale from New Zealand (3:41:44), and Kelli Montgomery from Connecticut (3:41:48).

Clara Clemmensen, who won the 15-19 division, is back in Maui along with her entire family, as is 45-49 champ Catherine Gance from France, 50-54 champ Carol Rasmussen from Denmark, 60-64 champ Cindi Toepel from Nevada (she says this is her last race), 65-69 winner Libby Harrow from Colorado, and 8x winner Wendy Minor (70-74) from the Big Island.

Some of the girls looking to add their name to the list of champions include Josie Sinclair from New Zealand, Ana Creus from Spain, and Americans Courtney Kaup from Vermont, Anne Usher from Oregon, and Jennifer Razee from Colorado.

Every year in Maui we see a new star emerge, and trust 2016 will be no different.

XTERRA Worlds This Sunday in Maui

When you think of Maui, cascading waterfalls, white sand beaches, and breathtaking sunsets come straight to mind but this magical Hawaiian island is also the birthplace of the most notorious off-road triathlon in the world… XTERRA.

From a one-off race held on the most remote island chain in the world XTERRA evolved into an endurance sports lifestyle with worldwide appeal. Over the past 20 years it has transcended its status as ‘just a race’ to become a bona fide way of life for thousands of intrepid triathletes across the globe.

A fitting representation of this “XTERRA Tribe” – more than 800 athletes from 46 countries – are in Kapalua and on Sunday they’ll put their mental and physical toughness up against Mother Nature at the 21st edition of XTERRA Worlds.

Follow the race live with streaming coverage at www.xterramaui.com, on twitter @xterraoffroad and on Facebook.com/xterraplanet starting at 8:40am Hawaii time. The race starts at 9am with elite men, followed by elite women at 9:01am, then age group waves starting at 9:04am. Note: 9am in Hawaii is 12 noon PST, 3pm EST, 9pm in Paris, 6am in Sydney, 5pm in Rio, and 9pm in Cape Town).

Find unofficial live results at: https://results.chronotrack.com/event/results/event/event-24496. Official results after event posted to http://jtltiming.com/multisport.htm

Click here for a PDF of the XTERRA Worlds Press Guide complete with pro bios, previews, past results, start lists, and more.