The third of 12 stops on the XTERRA European Tour will take place Sunday in Extremedura, Spain. We checked in with XTERRA's managing director Dave Nicholas, who arrived yesterday, to see how thing's are shaping up...
"The Spanish Province of Extremadura is not well known. XTERRA athletes might recall it was the home of the first ITU Cross Triathlon Championship in 2011 and our athletes had a great weekend. This state sits west in Spain and borders Portugal. Our city of Plasencia is about 2-1/2 hours south of Madrid.
Plasencia is a beautiful, old walled city with lots of history. Nobility started moving here in the 15th century because the weather is temperate, the Jerte River flows though and it had an important location along La Ruta de la Plata (Silver Route). With its wealth came big churches, wide plazas, and grand buildings.
For XTERRA it means a very urban event where the start, finish and transition are all in one place along the river in a long, very green park. The city sits high above the river and in a Hong Kong sort of way, the city has built escalators to help people get from the river to the town. The town itself has neat, small streets with lots of shops, restaurants and bars. Plaza Mayor, or the main square is huge, with a noisy clock tower and a half dozen outdoor restaurants. Just perfect for the traditional late lunch and siesta.
XTERRA European Tour technical director Nico Lebrun was out scouting the bike course this morning and ran across Helena Erbenova and her father. The bike course is a figure-eight with two different loops. The distance is quite long at 38K. The run is equally a bit long at 12K and has a lot of climbing - as does the bike. We will have more tomorrow as we get familiar with the trails.
The river swim will start under a bridge next to town, go about one-kilometer up current, do a U turn and come back to a set of steps built into the river and a short run to a treed and grassy area about 100-meters from the swim exit.
Plasencia has all the makings of a classic XTERRA event and we're happy to be here. Rego opens Friday at noon, the Open goes at 9:00am and the Championship race starts at 12:30 on Sunday. Three-time XTERRA World Champion Ruben Ruzafa is here and looking to extend his win streak to 11-in-a-row.