Filed by “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas, the managing director of the XTERRA World Tour.
A new page in the history of XTERRA Czech, the oldest Euro Tour race on the schedule, begins on Saturday. The new location is the medieval city of Prachatice, pronounced pra – ka –teets – ay. The village is located a few hours south of Prague in southern Bohemia. Prachatice itself is located in a verdant valley surrounded by heavily forested hills and dairy farms.
The event will showcase the entire area as it is a point-to-point course. The swim is about 10K from town at a wonderful natural lake up in the mountains. A favorite camping spot for families, it will be a 2 lap swim in typical XTERRA fashion. Out from the lake riders will have a few K of paved secondary road before heading into the hills. The bike course is roughly 35K long and fast. Well, mostly fast. There are two climbs that will be difficult for the best pros to ride, but the first, while steep is not very long. Most of the course is beautiful, loamy dirt with sections of roots but no real slippery sand or gravel.
The course wanders into and out of great singletrack onto jeep roads, double track paths and even a bit of pavement here and there to transition from hill to hill. The signature is a decision riders will have to take between “hardcore” or “chicken” as your route down from one of the hilltops. Hardcore is shorter but much more technical. About a dozen switchbacks over a few hundred meters and very steep. Not dangerous as much as difficult – brakes, shifting weight from side to side and weaving in and out of the trees. Chicken is longer and a neat, fast downhill. Comparing average times, a decent rider should make up about 30 seconds to 45 seconds using hardcore. But if you fall? Well, the choice is yours. We all suggest you practice it before you take it… lots of fun and a great addition to the race. The biggest climb is called stairway to heaven and we need say no more. Long and tough. The balance will take you back to T2 which is smack in the middle of the Prachatice town square. The run does two laps that loop back through town to the finish on the main street of the square.
Last minute news has Czech pro and 2nd-place finisher in the 2009 Euro Tour, Karel Zadak, announcing his retirement from triathlon. He spent the last year trying to recover from a leg injury and it simply is not working. We thank Zadak for his great competitive spirit and wish him well with his new family. Also of note, Marion “Bubu” Lorblanchet has withdrawn as her injured foot is still not right. We are hoping she gets well and can race the final in Switzerland in September.
With over 300 athletes, the entry for Czech has about doubled from last year. This course and this village deserve a huge entry. Last night’s opening party with the band Prague Conspiracy was great; the XTERRA Pub has great meals and everything here is a bargain. Dinner for two with a couple beers and wine costs about $25 or 20 euro complete. Truly a fantastic town, great course, beautiful lake, inexpensive food and housing and fabulous Czech beer. Great first race in the XTERRA Czech-Germany double header on Saturday. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more words and pictures.