XTERRA South Africa Championship - Day 1

Feb. 25, 2012

More than 1,000 race in beginner's race, plus first impressions from a 'Kahuna' in 'Caveman' country

Kahuna Dave on the Red CouchYoungsters Michael Lord and Genevieve Weber won the TOTALSPORTS XTERRA Lite today from a field of more than 1,000 for the intro-distance race at the Grabouw Country Club in the Western Province of South Africa.  Tomorrow the big boys and another 1,000 XTERRA Warriors will challenge each other, and Mother Nature, for the XTERRA South Africa Championship.

Hawaii-based XTERRA Managing Director "Kahuna Dave" Nicholas (pictured on the famous red couch) -  has traveled the world with XTERRA, but is making his very first and long overdue trip to South Africa, home of the sports biggest star - Conrad "the Caveman" Stoltz. Here Nicholas brings his experience to life (and below please find the media release from today's XTERRA Lite).

Nicholas wrote: What an amazing place.  The weather is fantastic, the people are unbelievably friendly and helpful and beers are only 15-20 rand... or about $2 to $3.  The race venue is about an hour + outside Cape Town at a great reservoir near the vineyards and orchards and vegetable farms.  Lovely big hills surround the lake and when you come here, bring your climbing shoes.  While none go on for a mile, they can be technical and steep.  The course is a beautiful blend of single, double track and fire road.  The run is not as technical but has some gnarly downhills you must be careful on.

XTERRA South Africa Lite StartCars drive on the left here, like England, Australia, Japan, New Zealand so the steering wheel is on the right and the gearshift on the left.  In two days I think only once did I get into the car from the "correct" side.  Complete fun.  The safest way to drive is to just follow somebody down the road so you don't get caught driving on the "right" and into a head-on.

Already seen Ostriches walking along and sticking those incredibly long necks into the turf to find food.  The baboons are closer to and inside Cape Town and the stories of how they can open car doors and trash the insides looking for foods are legendary.  You can be sure that when we get to them, the car will be locked.

Today is for trail run and XTERRA lite (picture from this morning) ... with over 1,000 people in the triathlon.  What a great sight to see.  Over 400 women participated today!

The Champ race tomorrow has a nice field of professionals who will compete among the nearly 1,000 who will take the start line.  Yes, it will be a mass start !!  Clearly leading the field is 4 time World Champ Conrad Stoltz who will be pressed hard by Dan Hugo.  Ironman specialist Raynard Tissink is here along with Tyronne White, Justin Porteus and from Germany Nico Pfitzenmaier making a full time XTERRA return for 2012. We have to look out for Stellenbosch's Stuart Marais. This young pro knows the trails (Stellenbosch is only 30 minutes away) and is concentrating on XTERRA for the year.  When asking his wife Beth "how does Stellenbosch create a Conrad, Dan and now Stuart"?  She answered with a smile "they all have boere bloed - and that is what makes them quick".  Look it up !!

For the women South Africa's Carla van Huyssteen will be looking to repeat her wins earlier this season but will be challenged by Austria's Carina Wasle who won here last year.  The dark horse must be

Lezandre Joubert, who won the TotalSports Challenge in January, and while this is her first XTERRA, has shown she has speed and endurance by winning that 7 discipline event.

Can't wait for Sunday - and what a fabulous place, where you can get a huge BLT on an Italian baguette and a cold Carling Black Label for 40 rand or $5... And I haven't even mentioned that we are smack in the middle of West Cape wine country.


LordToday, Lord (pictured courtesy www.Oakpics.com) was the warrior to beat, running to victory in an impressive time of 1:08:40. Weber was the first lady home in a deserving time of 01 hour 23 minutes 13 seconds.

According to Lord, the XTERRA Lite was great.  “The swim was nice and flat.  I think I was second out the water.  I didn’t see the guy ahead of me on the mountain bike.  I only saw him for the first time on the run, passing him on the ‘beach’ section.  I much rather want to race XTERRA over road triathlon.  It’s a lot more fun and has more depth to it.  I love it and will definitely be back next year,” says Lord.  Craig Andrews came in second, while Bradley Schuit finished third.

WeberFor Weber (pictured courtesywww.Oakpics.com) the single track was the highlight of the day.  “The XTERRA Lite was awesome.  I loved the single track both on the bike and the run.  When it comes to swimming I feel like a cat in water, but I absolutely loved the mountain bike and run routes.  This is my fourth XTERRA.  I love the atmosphere and will definitely be back next year,” says Weber.  Madelie van der Westhuizen came in second, while Monique Nel finished third.

Totalsports XTERRA Lite Warriors had to complete a 400m swim, 12.5km mountain bike and 5km trail.

New Balance Trail Run:  Just over 150 runners took part in the 5km and 10km New Balance Trail Run in Grabouw on Saturday, 25 February 2012.  Dawid Visser took no prisoners in the 10km men’s race, while Nicole Marais was the runner to beat in the ladies race.

According to Visser the route was really technical.  “I don’t think the XTERRA Full athletes know what they are up against tomorrow.  The run route is seriously technical with a lot of ups, downs and loads of obstacles.  I went into the race with the idea of using it as a speed session.  Rohan Kennedy and I stuck together until the 5km mark.  It was on the hill section that I pulled away.  Although I managed to make up time on the technical sections, Anele Mnukwa was really fast on the flats, managing to stay behind me.  As a result I was pushed the entire race.  The New Balance Trail Run fits really well with the XTERRA weekend.  Families are able to join in the fun either by participating or relaxing and showing support,” says Visser who completed the run in 44minutes42seconds.  Anele Mnukwa came in second, while Rohan Kennedy finished third.

Nicole Marais was pleasantly surprised when she managed to finish ahead of Landie Visser.  “Although I don’t run a lot, I really love trail running especially the technical aspect of having to get a strategy in place.   Today’s run was awesome with short hills and technical sections.  It was different to other routes.  I really enjoyed it and will definitely be back next year,” says Marais who completed the 10km route in 53minutes44secs.  Landie Visser came in second, while Yolandi Visser finished third.

Kirsten Hahnebeck was the first lady home in the 5km New Balance Trail Run.  Emily Hodgson came in second, while Orianne Wallace finished third.

Stefan Botma took gold in the 5km New Balance Trail Run men’s race.  Graeme Cherry came in second, while Richard Haller finished third.

South African XTERRA Championship:   Excitement builds as XTERRA Warriors prepare for the Totalsports XTERRA South African Championship presented by REHIDRAT® SPORT on Sunday, 26 February 2012.

Venue:                                 Grabouw Country Club, Western Province
Event Format:                      1.5km swim, 25km mountain bike and 10km trail run

Pro athletes to watch out for on the day will include four-time XTERRA World Champion Conrad Stoltz, South African multi sport legend Dan Hugo, German XTERRA Warrior Nico Pfitzenmaier, Stuart Marais, Justin Porteous, Tyronne White, Daniel Carleton, Carla van Huyssteen, Carina Wasle and Lezandre Joubert.

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