The visually stunning island of Tahiti will host this week’s stop on the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour.
Former XTERRA World Champion Nicolas Lebrun, who is now serving as a technical director for XTERRA courses around the world to assure trail quality and help with event management, arrived in Papeete yesterday to hero’s welcome and brings us this report…
“I started my trip in Marseille Monday morning, then Paris, L.A. and 21 hours in planes and two stops later I landed in Papeete, the capital of Tahiti.
Tahiti is a beautiful Island in the South Pacific, part of the 118 islands of French Polynesia divided in 5 groups. It's a French oversea collectivity. South of Hawaii, the climate looks the same, and the feeling, colors, are exactly the same. The culture also looks similar, but here they speak French! Every time I want to speak with somebody, I think I'm in Maui and start in English. It’s hard to adjust after 15 trip to Hawaii.
At the arrival organizers staged a big welcome party for all of us. I was on the same plane with Brice Daubord, who just finished 3rd at XTERRA Malta, Olympian French Triathlete Tony Moulay, a journalist from Canal+ French TV station, and the one-and-only Mark Allen.
It's my first time in this part of the world, really famous in France as our Paradise, like Hawaii for Americans. Some of these islands are really famous, like Bora Bora and Mo'orea!
First morning I woke up at 5:45 with jet lag and figured I’d go for a run. The organization put us at the Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort in Papava on the Northeastern side of the Island at 6km from the Capital. Running on the black sand, not too hot at this time, was perfect for me to start the trip and stay in shape and take some pics of the place. Dogs and chickens everywhere, ok this is not Hawaii....
The Local TV came to make some footage with our two French athletes, and tonight we have our first press conference.
We can't really go to the race site, it's not a typical XTERRA. Athletes will be taken with their bikes to the start and T1 at Mataiea with buses and trucks. After the swim athletes will have to cross the island by climbing to the center and riding down (through a tunnel on top) then keep running down so the whole race is a point to point.
This will be the 7th edition of this race, but the first year it is also an XTERRA. It looks like everything is in order. Tomorrow, we all go visit Mo'orea!"