The “Live More” spirit of XTERRA meets the essence of “Pura Vida” in Costa Rica when the first race of the inaugural XTERRA Pan American Tour gets underway on the beautiful beaches of Guanacaste this Sunday, March 20.
XTERRA fans from around the world are invited to tune-in to the live coverage of the event starting at 7:30 a.m. local time (also 7:30am in Colorado and Tapalpa, 9:30am in New York, 10:30am in Argentina and Brazil, 2:30pm in France, and 3:30pm in Stellenbosch). The link to the broadcast URL will be published at costaricaxterra.com and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/XterraCostaRica/) Sunday.
What viewers can expect to see is hundreds of athletes from more than 20 countries challenging Mother Nature at the beach resort of Reserva Conchal. Among those athletes line up for XTERRA Costa Rica is the sports very-best racer, reigning XTERRA World Champion Josiah Middaugh.
Middaugh, who has finished 2nd to local triathlon legends Leonardo Chacon in 2014 and Rom Akerson last year, is hoping the third time is a charm for him in Costa Rica. Winning won’t be an easy task for the champ, however, as he just arrived today from a snowstorm in Colorado that was bad enough that he had to pull over to the side of the road on his drive to the airport for an hour to wait for it to subside.
“It’ll be interesting, that’s for sure, but I’m really looking forward to it” said Middaugh. “I haven’t been on the dirt yet this year, I'm on a new bike, and conditions are just a little different here than back home. Last year I cramped on the run for the first-time ever during a race so I tried to prepare myself a little bit this year. Did some steam room training at the Westin.”
Akerson, on the other hand, lives and trains year-round in the hot and dry tropical forests nearby where all of nature is his steam room.
“Costa Rica is an amazing place and it's my home country, so I think it is a perfect place to have an XTERRA,” said Akerson. “It really is a beautiful country. We have nice beaches, great weather, and amazing people. Plus, we believe in “Pura Vida” which means pure life. XTERRA’s motto is “Live More” which has about the same idea.”
XTERRA European Tour runner-up Francois Carloni is also on the elite men’s list, and has been training in Costa Rica in the build-up to this event. Carloni is joined by fellow Frenchmen Karl Shaw and Pierre Roblot, American Greg Schott, who won the 15-19 XTERRA National Championship last year, and local elite Federico Villegas.
In the women’s race Myriam Guillot-Boisset, who won XTERRA Malaysia and finished 4th at the XTERRA World Championship last year, headlines a field that includes three of the top 13 women from the 2015 XTERRA U.S. Pro Series in Kara LaPoint (5th), Rebecca Blatt (10th), and Caroline Colonna (13th).
We will also see the XTERRA debut of American long-distance road triathlon star Caitlin Snow, winner of IM France last year, French elite Camille Donat, and Brazilian XTERRA standout Sabrina Gobbo.
In the amateur race there are representatives from each of the Pan American Tour countries - the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Brazil, and the hosts from Costa Rica.
Of particular interest is the reigning XTERRA Warrior Award winner and cancer survivor Dave Desantis, who is on a mission to compete in 16 XTERRA races in 16 countries around the world this season with a goal to raise more than $16,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. This is the third XTERRA of the year for Desantis, who raced XTERRA Philippines and XTERRA South Africa in February, and he’s already raised more than $10,000 towards his fundraising goal.
The inaugural XTERRA Pan American Tour was created this year to connect the sports’ major events in South, Central, and North America as well as the Caribbean.
The inaugural 10-stop series for both amateur and professional athletes starts Sunday and concludes September 17 with the XTERRA Pan American Championship race in Ogden, Utah. In between are two majors in the U.S., two in Canada, and one each in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.
2016 XTERRA PAN AMERICAN TOUR
March 20 – XTERRA Costa Rica (Playa Reserva Conchal) *SILVER
March 26 – XTERRA Argentina (Dique Ullum, San Juan) *GOLD
May 7 – XTERRA Brazil (Ilhabela) *SILVER
May 21 – XTERRA Oak Mountain (Pelham, AL, USA) *GOLD
June 25 – XTERRA Mine Over Matter (Milton, ON, CAN) *SILVER
July 10 – XTERRA Victoria (B.C., CAN) *SILVER
July 16 – XTERRA Beaver Creek (Avon, CO, USA) *GOLD
July 31 – XTERRA Dominican Republic (Barahona) *GOLD
Aug 6 – XTERRA Mexico (Tapalpa) *GOLD
Sep 17 – XTERRA Pan American Championship (Ogden, UT, USA)
“Creating the Pan American Series aligns our events in the Americas with our structure in Europe and Asia-Pacific regions, and provides a platform for our Canadian, Latin & South American friends to be part of a competitive regional series of events,” said XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas.
The XTERRA Pan American Tour will feature Gold and Silver level events, just like the XTERRA European Tour, where Gold events award points on a 100-point basis and Silver races award points on a 75-point basis.
GOLD POINTS: 100-Point Basis
1=100, 2=90, 3=82, 4=75, 5=69, 6=63. 7=58, 8=53, 9=49, 10=45, 11=41, 12=37, 13=34, 14=31, 15=28
SILVER POINTS: 75-Point Basis
1=75, 2=67, 3=61, 4=56, 5=51, 6=47, 7=43, 8=39, 9=36, 10=33, 11=30, 12=27, 13=25, 14=23, 15=21
Gold events offer the equivalent of $15,000 USD in elite prize money to the top seven men and women, plus 50 spots into the XTERRA World Championship for amateurs.
Silver races offer the equivalent of $7,500 USD in elite prize money to the top five men and women, plus at least 25 spots into the XTERRA World Championship for amateurs (the exception is XTERRA Brazil, which offers 50 spots to Worlds).
The XTERRA Pan American Championship race in Utah will offer $20,000 USD for the race and distribute an additional $60,000 USD in prize money to the top 10 men and women in the final XTERRA Pan American Pro Series rankings.
“I think it could really re-energize some of the pros that might be stale with the same races and open up to some other pro athletes to be competitive, especially in Mexico, Canada, Central and South America,” said Middaugh, who plans on racing six or seven of the 10 events on the Tour this year.
Elites and amateurs competing in the XTERRA Pan American Tour count their best four scores (two Gold, two Silver) from the first nine events plus whatever they get, or don’t get, at the XTERRA Pan American Championship race which will be scored at the 100-point level. Five Scores Total.
Thus, the final point total combines an athletes best two Gold scores, best two Silver scores, plus their XTERRA Pan American Championship race points.
Athletes can race in as many of the five Gold events as they like, but just their best two will count at the 100-point level, with other Gold finishes counting at the 75-point level.
Amateur athletes need to race at least two (any two) XTERRA Pan American Tour majors listed in schedule above to be eligible for Tour honors at the end of the season, and athletes from all nations are welcome to race in the one-day XTERRA Pan American Championship race as no qualification is necessary.
“This point structure gives amateurs and elites from all over the region a legitimate shot at the Pan Am Title,” said XTERRA President Janet Clark. “It also encourages exploration and an opportunity to discover some amazing places.”
Learn more at www.xterrapanam.com.