There will be a new women’s champion crowned at the XTERRA Costa Rica Championship this year and new men’s names have already emerged as winners of the XTERRA Philippines and South Africa Championship races - developments made possible due to the retirement of two epic XTERRA warriors – Shonny Vanlandingham and Dan Hugo.
For Shonny V, who is proudly 45-years-old, it was time to get back to the hardwood.
“During my 15 years as a professional athlete (eight as a pro mountain biker and seven as a pro XTERRA triathlete) I have been working toward acquiring profitable rental properties to be able to retire,” explained Vanlandingham, who played college basketball at East Texas State before becoming an endurance sports icon.
“So now I am starting a new season of life and am very thankful and thrilled to have the time to pursue some of my other passions, like coaching basketball. Fun to be back in the game after 17 years!”
The 2010 XTERRA World Champion and most successful women’s mountain biker in NORBA history gave new meaning to “biking like a girl.” She regularly out-split most of the men and had the fastest bike time at just about every race she entered in her career, including six times in Maui.
“I will miss all the personalities and seeing all the lovely faces and physiques of XTERRA,” said Vanlandingham, who won 17 XTERRA majors in her career including the Mexico, Saipan, Philippines, and Brazil titles. “It's been a great ride! I am so appreciative of the opportunities I have had to race, travel and meet so many wonderful people.”
As for Hugo, who turns 30 this summer, the lure of his dream job proved too great an opportunity to pass up.
“I was offered and opportunity from Specialized to form a part of the Global Sports Marketing team, the sort of opportunity I was hoping to step into a some stage,” said Hugo. “I’ll miss the simplicity, the feeling of satisfaction after a long hard and successful training day, and yes, I’ll miss the clarity of objectives. Already I can appreciate that racing is black and white, success or failure. Whereas the workplace is a more of a flow. All told, I am thrilled at new challenges with a brand that is redefining the cycling industry.”
It’s safe to say Hugo left on a high note. He won seven XTERRA World Tour races on five continents including the prestigious XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship title last year.
The native of Stellenbosch, South Africa raced in the very first XTERRA South Africa Championship back in 2004 and was an integral part of the growth of the sport – both in South Africa and abroad - ever since. Fans can stay tuned to Hugo and read some of his colorful prose on his blog at dghugo.com.
For the XTERRA Tribe, watching Hugo and Vanlandingham overcome obstacles, adversities, and injuries to come out on top so many times has been a joy. Wishing these two legends the very best in their respective next steps.