Reigning and two-time XTERRA World Champion Ruben Ruzafa opened the 2015 XTERRA season with a celebratory homecoming race, XTERRA Axarquia – Costa del Sol in Malaga, Spain on Saturday.
“Running at home is special, it allows you to be spend more time with the people you love,” said Ruzafa. “It’s exciting to see so many people here that I’ve known for a long time. It was also a very well organized race and that means a lot to me.”
The race itself was long and hard, and Ruzafa overcame two flats and the overwhelming desire to give up before crossing the line with his goddaughter in his arms with a winning time of 3:51:58, more than six-minutes ahead of runner-up David Bernal.
“On the descent of ‘La Cucaracha’ I punctured the rear wheel and I thought about retiring, but I really wanted to finish and I fought to the transition,” said Ruzafa, who rode the last eight kilometers on the rim.
Nati Gomez won the women’s elite race in 5:13:47, saying “the bike was spectacular, but very hard. I think it was the toughest bike I’ve seen in any circuit, certainly the most demanding on the XTERRA Spain Tour. It had all the right XTERRA characteristics: exigency, environment…”
The race was the first of six in the XTERRA Spain Tour. Next up is the marquee event on the Tour in Plasencia (Extremadura), home to the XTERRA Spain Championship race on June 7.