The next stop on the adventurous XTERRA World Tour is April 28 at Putrajaya, Malaysia, just outside the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.
To get a taste of what’s in store for competitors XTERRA sent seasoned age-group athlete Fraser Morrison (pictured) on a recon mission of the course and culture of the area.
Morrison, a native of Scotland living and working in Singapore as the CEO of a financial services brokerage, was uniquely qualified for the mission. He got his first taste of XTERRA at the inaugural Malaysia event in 2009, and has since traveled and competed in XTERRA events in Japan, the Philippines, and the XTERRA World Championship in Maui.
“I love XTERRA, the people, the atmosphere, the way the pros are so accessible and humble, everyone gets on and it’s great fun,” said Morrison. “Plus, it’s taken me to venues that I would not normally go.”
One such venue is where he’ll be next, lining up in Putrajaya Lake with some of the sport’s biggest stars.
The pro field includes a cast of decorated XTERRA elites including Aussie Ben Allen, Brits Sam Gardner, Jacqui Slack and Daz Parker, Carina Wasle from Austria, Dan Hugo from South Africa, Mieko Carey from Saipan, Renata Bucher from Switzerland, Takahiro Ogasawara from Japan, Peri Gray from Australia, and local Shahrom Abdullah.
Their challenge, orchestrated by race director Dave Spence – an XTERRA racer himself - will combine a one-mile swim in Putrajaya Lake fronting the Maritime Centre with an 18-mile mountain bike through Challenge Park and a 6-mile trail run.
“It’s a beautiful setting, and starts with a lovely fresh water lake swim,” explained Morrison. “The mountain bike is through a rainforest and some fantastic single track mixed with nice technical riding but nothing too hardcore. It will be fast but a great ride. And the run is part jungle adventure with a finish in a stadium style atmosphere, very spectator friendly and destined to be awesome.”
Spence has been sensational in sharing details of the route and easy-to-read maps, course descriptions, and videos can be found on both the XTERRA Malaysia website,www.xterramy.com, and its facebook page. www.Tristupe.com editor went on a recent pre-ride/trail clearing adventure with Spence and others and posted a wealth of images, tips, and descriptions on his website.
More than 770 athletes are signed-up for the weekend, which also includes 5km and 11km trail runs and a sprint triathlon to expose newcomers to the sport.
“The locals here love to get out, and the Malaysian mountain bike scene is huge,” said Morrison. “This will be a great race. They have a terrific team in place, and are extremely organized.
Next Sunday’s race will mark the first-time XTERRA has held a qualifying event (15 slots to top age groupers) into the XTERRA World Championship in Malaysia since the inaugural event in 2009.