As the XTERRA World Tour heads to Australia on Sunday yet another Olympian is taking to the trails and the adventurous side of tri with Aussie great Courtney Atkinson – a veteran of the Beijing and London Olympics – racing at the XTERRA Great Ocean Road in Anglesea.
He’ll have all the competition he can handle in the form of Ben Allen – the hottest XTERRA athlete on the planet fresh off his Triple Crown title defense with consecutive championship wins in the Philippines, Saipan, and Guam.
“Great to have XTERRA "down under" and Jacqui and I are really looking forward to the race on Sunday,” said Allen, who is excited about the chance to show off his skills (and those of his girlfriend Jacqui Slack) in front of a big gathering of family and friends.
In addition to a handful of up-and-coming XTERRA pros including Stuart Marais from South Africa, Rory Downie from Scotland, and Oliver Shaw of New Zealand, Allen said there are other things to watch out for this weekend.
“It's not uncommon to encounter some of the local wildlife whilst exploring the native landscape,” explained Allen. “A kangaroo here...a wallaby there....but if you discover a slithering creature precede with caution as he might give you a nasty fright.”
Not exactly sure what he’s talking about there but will leave that to the reader’s imagination. For his part, Atkinson posted a pair of course recon videos (bike here / run here) with a rolling commentary explaining a bit about the challenges that lie ahead for competitors.
The women’s pro race is particularly intriguing with nearly the full line-up of XTERRA women from the Triple Crown Series of events set to toe the sandy start line. Newly crowned XTERRA Saipan and Guam Champion Jacqui Slack has got to be the favorite, but Renata Bucher – with 29 championship wins in 12 countries over the course of her career – cannot be overlooked. Austria’s Carina Wasle, Daz Parker from the UK, and Peri Gray from just up the beach are also in the mix. You can read-up on all the Great Ocean Road pros here.
XTERRA President Janet Clark, an Aussie herself, is merrily enjoying the sights and sounds of her sport on her turf, and will provide all the colorful details to the XTERRA Tribe over the weekend.