Fresh off his silver medal performance at the London Olympics, Spain's Javier Gomez will make his XTERRA debut at the 2012 XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui, on October 28.
Gomez is one of the most decorated triathletes in the world over the last decade, has won the ITU World Championships twice (2008 and 2010), and the European Triathlon Championships three times.
“I am very excited to race XTERRA in Maui this year to finish my season, and I expect to have a good “chilling” after the race on the Islands too,” said Gomez.
While there is no doubt he has the fitness to contend in Maui, the real question is ‘how good is he on a mountain bike?’
“I hope to perform well on the hills, because I do not know how I will do on the downhills,” said Gomez. “If they are very technical I trust my Specialized Epic 29er will help me to deal with them.”
Aussie Erin Densham (pictured right), who won the bronze medal in London (her second Olympic games), returns to Maui for her second XTERRA World Championship race in as many years.
“Can’t wait to race XTERRA again,” said Densham. “And it’s a week after the WTS (World Triathlon Series) final in Auckland so the timing is perfect.”
Densham, who had said it was a five-year dream to race XTERRA before last year’s race, was brilliant in her debut. She came out of the water nearly two full minutes ahead of eventual winner Lesley Paterson and three-time XTERRA World Champ Melanie McQuaid, then went on to post the 14th best bike and 10th quickest run good for a sixth place finish.
“Man that was tough, which I always knew it would be. But really, that was something else…the whole experience was so enjoyable," said Densham (read her race recap here).
Other Olympians committed to race at XTERRA Worlds include 2008 gold medalist Jan Frodeno (pictured left) of Germany (6th in London), Brent McMahon of Canada (27th in London) and Barbara Riveros of Chile (16th in London).
Frodeno, having never competed in a mountain bike or trail running race let alone a full-blown off-road tri, finished 12th overall at XTERRA Worlds last season. Notable was his enjoyment of the race, from hyping up the crowd during the beach run between swim laps, to his big smiles on the bike and run (and after party!). He seems to have already captured the “fun” spirit of the sport, adding “Sent from my iPad, typing while riding my Specialized 29er through a rock garden uphill!” to his email signature line.
McMahon is perhaps the 2012 Olympian with the best chance at winning it all in Maui. He did his first XTERRA back in 2005, has a pair of third-place finishes at XTERRA Worlds (in ’05 and ’08) and a couple XTERRA wins in the U.S. Pro Series.
“Can’t wait to be back on the dirt, and hoping to give the Caveman a challenge…he’s been tough to beat it appears!” said McMahon.
The “Caveman” is Conrad Stoltz, the four-time XTERRA World Champ and winningest XTERRA Pro of all-time, who hasn’t lost an XTERRA race yet this season.
Not to be overlooked among the Olympians headed to Paradise is Barbara “Chicka” Riveros, a petite yet exceptional triathlete from Chile. She did her first triathlon at the age of eight, is now one of ITU’s biggest stars, and is doing her first-ever off-road tri in Maui.
“I’m super excited to do my first XTERRA. I’ll try my best to enjoy the experience as much as I can, and to appreciate our Mother Earth for the chance to do what we love in connection with the whole planet,” said Riveros.