THE MAUI COURSE
WATCH THE MAUI COURSE PREVIEW
SWIM DISTANCE: 1.5-kilometers (0.93 miles)
MOUNTAIN BIKE DISTANCE: 32 Kilometers (20 miles) on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains
TRAIL RUN DISTANCE: 10.5 Kilometers (6.5 miles)
The XTERRA World Championship course is perpetually evolving. In 1996 the race featured point-to-point swim, bike, and run legs over sharp lava rocks and dry, dusty bowls on Maui’s south shore. This year it’ll traverse wet forest trails, pineapple fields, and ridgelines high above the northwest coast.
It’s the seventh year of racing on Maui Land & Pineapple Company’s private 22,000-acre oasis, and improvements to the trail structure have been made each season. Competitors will be treated to more single track trails on the bike and another half-mile of twisting, technical trail running before they reach the finish line.
It all starts with a 1.5-kilometer rough water swim at D.T. Fleming Beach fronting the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Once on the bike riders navigate from the Ritz to a ridge line – down to a ravine – and back up again, like a tropical roller-coaster ride through paradise.
The bike is one big 20-mile loop with 2,800-feet of climbing that goes up-and-down the lower slopes of the West Maui Mountains more than a dozen times. Course designers are striving to find the perfect balance of passing opportunities early with skillful riding opportunities later on.
“It’s an honest endurance challenge, that is for sure,” said race director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas. “The original Maui course was brutal. The first one was just about who could survive, really, and even the run was pure torture with a mile of slogging through soft sand. This course is not just for survivors, but for those with the skills and endurance to ride the bike well and fast, and still have enough left in their legs to climb some more and more importantly, descend some steep downhills on a really challenging trail run.”
The signature spot on the Maui course is at the five-mile mark on the bike as riders pop out on a narrow ridge with hundred foot drop-offs on either side. From the top you can see all around the vast West Maui Forest Reserve and over the deep blue Pacific Ocean to the neighbor islands of Moloka’i and Lana’i.
“The views are simply spectacular,” Nicholas explains. “And don’t worry, if I didn’t fall off – neither will you. In fact, when you come early to preview the course, bring your camera with you. The scenery is something that not many people get a chance to see.”
Once on the run competitors will be faced with a whole lot of climbing while they weave along dirt trails, through oleander forests, and into 60-foot high ironwood evergreens to an unexpected mountain lake at the 700-foot level.
“It descends like a slalom course through high green Bermuda grasses and opens up in spots to expose fantastic views of the Pacific,” said Nicholas. “Obstacles are everywhere, including a technical, steep downhill into a gully where racers will have to jump over and duck under fallen trees, navigate a rocky dry creek, head through thick elephant grass, and along a narrow single track trail with switchbacks that drop all the way down to the beach. The final test of skill and endurance is a calf-busting 250-meter white sand beach run.”
Important: The course is 100% on private land, and we ask XTERRA athletes to respect the landowner’s wishes not to ride the upper course outside of the scheduled and approved pre-ride opportunities (see schedule). The upper course routes through active farms, stables, horse trails, and zip line tours. Mountain bikers are considered trespassers by these, and other businesses, and you could be subject to arrest if you are found trespassing, as well as disqualification from the race. The first 3.5 miles and last 5.5 miles of the bike course known as “The Lower Bowl” are always available, simply be respectful of regular users playing Frisbee, walking dogs, jogging, etc. The entire run course is also available anytime from sunrise to sunset, except Saturday during the XTERRA Kapalua 3.3k/5k/10k races from 9am-11am.
START AND SWIM
The race starts with a 1.5-kilometer rough water swim at D.T. Fleming Beach fronting the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua; and will feature wave starts beginning with pro men and women, followed by age group men, then age group women. A short beach sprint mid-race between and “M” shaped course gives spectators a chance to pick out their friends and family from the field.
WAVE SWIM STARTS
There will be wave starts for this year’s race starting with pro men and women waves, then, four age group waves. Also, be aware that there could be high surf at the swim beach. We recommend you practice swimming in and out of the surf break before race day.
Start Times – Note: Times may change. Changes will be announced at the athlete briefing.
||Men 39 under
||Men 50+, Orgs & CA
||Women – AG, Orgs & CA
XTERRA follows USA Triathlon rules regarding wetsuits and speedsuits.
NO WETSUITS ALLOWED for PROS and AGE GROUPERS.
SPEED SUITS or SKIN SUITS ARE PERMITTED.
Click here to see list of acceptable suits
XTERRA WETSUITS SWIM PRIME
The fastest male and female pro and age group swim (timed from start to first timing mat after beach exit en route to transition) will each receive an XTERRA Vengeance Fullsuit or a Valor Speedsuit.
Bike bottles will be available on course – option of water or Gatorade – at two exchange locations at roughly mile 8 and mile 15. There will be five aid stations on the run, each roughly a mile apart, serving water and Gatorade.
*Course is subject to change.
View course in Suunto’s Movecount App
Here is some advice from our elite racer Ben Allen on tires: A fast tread xc tire is the best with clingy edges. Maxxis ikon or Schwalbe racing Ralph are very good. Also WTB wolverine is a great tire too. These tires offer a fast rolling moderately spaced tread pattern that combines plentiful working edges that cling to hard packed surfaces and the outside knobs that let you shred the sandy & grassy corners. Top three tire brands specifically for Maui: Maxxis, Schwalbe, WTB.
PRACTICE COURSE INFORMATION
FULL BIKE COURSE PRACTICE HOURS
The first 3.5 miles and last 5.5 miles of the bike course known as “The Lower Bowl” will be open, marked, and ready to ride on Saturday, October 21, simply be respectful of regular users playing Frisbee, walking dogs, jogging, etc.
The first arrow to follow is on the road above transition. From Honoapiilani Hwy, turn on Office Rd., then take a right on Village Rd.. Follow Village Rd. until you see the first Blue and Red arrows.
The entire run course is available anytime from sunrise to sunset, except Saturday during our XTERRA Kapalua 3.3k/5k/10k races from 9am-11am.
Below are the practice hours for the Upper Bike Course. Remember, you have to pick-up your packet at registration and put your bike plate on to ride the full course.
Bike mile 3.5 and bike mile 14 (the start of the last 5.5 miles) are at about the same location. This is where sign/in, sign/out to the full course will be located.
- Wednesday, 10am-2pm
- Thursday, 9am-2pm
- Friday, 9am-2pm
On Saturday only the Lower Bowl will be open for practice, and not until the trail runners have cleared the course at roughly 11am. Again, the upper course will be closed on Saturday, only the first 3.5 miles and the last 5.5 miles of the bike course will be open.
Registration and display of bike number is required for all competitors and guests on the upper course. Guests can access the full course by purchasing a $15 USA Triathlon insurance license at registration. Check in and out with monitor at gate. No new entry after 2pm, and bikers must be clear of mile 14 by 3:00pm and officially signed out by the course monitor.
Do NOT exit the bike course at any location other than the official entry and exit location which is Mile 3.5/14 which will have the person with the check in/out sheet.
Note: The course is 100% on private land, and we ask XTERRA athletes to respect the landowner’s wishes not to ride the FULL course outside of the scheduled and approved pre-ride opportunities which start on October 25 (see schedule for times). The full course routes through active farms, stables, horse trails, and zip line tours. Mountain bikers are considered trespassers by these, and other businesses, and you could be subject to arrest if you are found trespassing, as well as disqualification from the race.
ON ROAD RIDING
We recommend you head north from Kapalua on Highway 30 – a mile north the road turns into a winding country road with plenty of hill and gorgeous scenery. The village of Kahakola is 14 miles away.
RUN PRACTICE COURSE
The run course is part of the Village Walking Trails and is open to the public. You can run any day between sunrise and sunset except Saturday, October 28. The course will be closed until 11am for the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs. Follow the Red Arrows.
D.T. Fleming Beach: This is where the swim will be held and we encourage you to practice on the days leading up to the race. Surf conditions can be rough. Please obey lifeguard instructions.
Napili Bay: Offers a sheltered spot for swimming and you may see turtles.
Lahaina Aquatics Center: The pool is located at the corner of Highway 30 and Shaw Street on the southern edge of the town of Lahaina, and is a 15-20 minute drive from Kapalua. The pool is typically set for 25 meter swimming. Admission is free and the pool is open 10am-4pm Monday – Saturday and 12-4pm on Sunday. A Masters Swim is available for $5 fee at 5:30am Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 6:30pm Tuesday and Thursday.
TRAIN WITH WHAT’S ON COURSE
Lemon-lime Gatorade Endurance Formula will be available on course at all aid stations. Endurance Formula has nearly two times the sodium and three times the potassium of traditional Gatorade. Newly reformulated, it now contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners and a new, lighter flavor.