XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas has bushwhacked his way across the XTERRA Planet and has been hard-pressed to find a location as sweet as the one hosting XTERRA Sweden on July 11.
“This has to be one of the most ideal locations on tour,” said Nicholas after last year’s race. “Only 15 minutes from the old town of Stockholm, inexpensive cabins for athletes to stay in at the park, lots of hotels, shopping and services within minutes, two airports within 30 minutes and simply fabulous cycling and running and a clear, warm lake to swim in.”
Not to mention an energetic, enthusiastic, racer-himself-organizer named Pal Torok who traveled with a group of locals to XTERRA South Africa this year just to see how the best races in the world get it done.
“The park at Hellasgarden is a gem, totally in nature yet so close to population,” said Nicholas. “A big, clear freshwater lake surrounded by pine and hardwood forests and huge outcrops of rocks (mostly granite). The bike course is awesome with a great combination of climbs, rocks and roots. It is quite technical but fun all over, and because it’s two laps comes right back through the main compound.”
Torok and his team have prepared a wide variety of on-site clinics and on-line videos to entice and encourage local and international participation. Here is a video on how to prepare for the challenging mtb course: http://www.xterrasweden.se/collections/xterra-sweden-mtb-course-the-highligts
“The run is also fantastic,” said Nicholas. “It starts flat and fast around the lake but turns uphill after about 1K. Then things get interesting as one has to scramble over the huge rocks jutting out of the hills, like an uphill dry-way from Richmond. The climbs are not long but they are technical and you'll need confidence and some strength left in your legs to literally leap from one to the other to make fast times. The trails go from totally open rock faces to very slim and technical (roots and rocks every inch to twist your ankles) trails then back to more climbing and finally to coming back down to lake level to start your second lap. The views at the top are spectacular and the smells inside the forest from the pines and woods is perfume to any XTERRA racer.”
Visit the XTERRA Sweden Facebook Page to find special offers on entries and great insight into local accommodations and training events.
Learn more at http://xterranordic.com/events/sweden.