Caroline Steffen, one of the most decorated triathletes of the 21st century, is the latest in a string of high-profile racers to add their name to the start list of the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship to be held April 18 at Callala Beach in Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia.
“It will be my first off-road triathlon and I’m so excited about it,” said Steffen, winner of Ironman Australia (2011), Challenge Roth (2013), two ITU Long Course World Championships (2010/12), two IM Asia-Pacific titles (2012/14), and two IM European Championships (2011/12).
She joins a women’s elite field that includes reigning XTERRA World Champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda, four-time XTERRA European Tour Champion Renata Bucher of Switzerland, former XTERRA USA National Champion Suzie Snyder, XTERRA Triple Crown champ Jacqui Slack of the United Kingdom, and eight-time World Tour race winner Carina Wasle of Austria.
As for her expectations, Steffen says she plans on “having heaps of fun and gaining some insight into a new sport.”
“I’m just coming off a huge block of training and raced the Ironman Asia Pacific Championships two weeks ago in Melbourne (where she finished third). I had some well-deserved rest and will start ramping up my training again next week. With two weeks to go, I’ll spend some time on my bike to improve my bike skills and will add some open water swims to my usual swim training. Will keep my run the same, nice balance between off-road/track/concrete.”
Although Steffen is new to XTERRA she’s no stranger to mountain bikes and the great outdoors and with a nickname like “Xena the Warrior Princess,” should fit right into the XTERRA scene.
“I was an outdoor kid from a young age and before I started with triathlon I spent most of my time on the mountain bike exploring the Swiss Alps,” said Steffen, who grew up in a small village in Switzerland surrounded by mountains. “Sadly, however, as I moved towards triathlon and relocated to Australia I had to leave my passion – my mountain bike – behind.”
Steffen has made Mooloolaba her home base for six years now but having never visited Callala Beach before said she’s looking forward to discovering the beauty of New South Wales.
As the most prestigious event in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific series that includes championship races in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, Guam, Tahiti, and Saipan – the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship offers $50,000 in prize money to the sport’s top professional athletes and a television show for international distribution.
The men’s elite field is equally stacked with seven-time World Champ Conrad Stoltz of South Africa, hometown hero and two-time Olympian Courtney Atkinson from the Gold Coast, Kiwi adventure racing star Braden Currie, and Australian XTERRA superstar Ben Allen from Wollongong leading the way.
The main event combines a 1.5-kilometer ocean swim at Callala Beach, approximately two and a half hours south on Sydney, with 30-kilometers of mountain biking followed by 10-kilometers of trail running.
The event lures amateur and professional athletes from around the world to New South Wales, and locals flock to the event in pursuit of XTERRA Australia Championship honours. The off-road sports festival weekend also includes a sprint distance off-road triathlon, trail runs, and relay team competitions attracting more than 500 competitors of all ages.
The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship, which again doubles as the XTERRA Australia Championship, is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
For more information and links to registration for the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship visit www.xterraasiapacific.com.
The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. Presenting sponsors include John Paul Mitchell Systems, the world’s largest privately owned professional salon hair care company, Outrigger Resorts – one of the largest and fastest growing privately-held leisure lodging, retail and hospitality companies in the Asia-Pacific and Oceania regions, 220 Triathlon Australia/NZ, and XTERRA Wetsuits & Boards Australia – the official swim sponsor.