XTERRA Argentina This Saturday
There is no rest for the weary.
Well, perhaps it would be a stretch to label elite endurance athletes like Josiah Middaugh and Myriam Guillot-Boisset as “weary” - even after a grueling race in extreme conditions like they faced in Costa Rica last Sunday - however they will both be back in action Saturday in San Juan, Argentina, home to the second stop on the XTERRA Pan American Tour.
“I am excited to be in Argentina for the first time and the people are amazing,” said Middaugh. “I'm still adapting to eating dinner at midnight, but otherwise functioning normally. The race venue is at a big reservoir at the foot of the Andes. Below the reservoir in San Juan it is wine country with some of the worlds best and cheapest wine. The terrain looks similar to something in Southern Utah or outside of Las Vegas. The bike course is fun and challenging. It follows mostly dirt bike trails that wind through very hilly terrain with lots of banked corners and whoopty woos. The second half of the course is very tough pedaling with lots of time spent in the sandy washes. There seems to be really good energy and a good local turnout with a sound system pumping some up-beat American jams.”
It’s been nearly 10 years since the last XTERRA was held in Argentina back in 1997. That year home country hero and former Olympian Oscar Galindez took the tape, and he’ll return to the dirt once again to defend that national title against the likes of Middaugh, Mexican great Francisco Serrano, and Canada’s XTERRA star Karsten Madsen.
In the women’s race Guillot-Boisset will look to take the momentum from her win in Costa Rica to the Andes against former Olympian and XTERRA Mexico Champion Fabiola Corona.
“I’m just having so much fun with XTERRA, and exploring these great places,” said Guillot-Boisset. “I look forward to another great adventure in Argentina this weekend.”
Blessed by nature, San Juan boasts magnificent mountains and is surrounded by two mountain ranges whose mountains reach heights of six thousand meters above sea level, which is higher than even the highest mountains in Europe.
Jose Arancibia, one of the organizers from Argentina Tri Events, explained that the race will be held at the magnificent setting of the Ullum Dam, near the province of San Juan at the foot of the Andes Mountains.
“We’re very excited to join the XTERRA World Tour and show people from all over the globe how beautiful this part of Argentina is,” said fellow organizer Juan Carlos Guevara. “It’s also great for our local athletes, as we have a large group of mountain bikers, trail runner and triathletes who now have the chance to be part of the XTERRA Tribe.”
In San Juan, the event will bring together four races during the same weekend: one which is purely Mountain Bike (50 km), another which is Trail Running (5k, 10k, 21k), another which is open-water swimming, and an off-road triathlon (1.5k swimming + 30k MTB + 9.5k Trail Running). Also, children will have the possibility of participating in the Kids Race, which makes it an ideal event for the entire family.
Learn more at http://xterraargentina.com/
XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas is in San Juan to take in all the action and brings us this report....
We are in the foothills of the Andes in the west of Argentina for the first race here in 10 years. The city is San Juan, and while very few have heard of it, this is a big city of 600,000 people and the Capitol of the region.
The race venue is about 20 minutes outside town at a very neat reservoir that sits in a location very reminiscent of Lake Las Vegas. Tall, redish hills and mountains, very little vegetation and a big, blue lake.
Josiah gave you a good preview of the trails yesterday. Some very fun whoops and berms made by dirt bikers and then some brutal washes; again like Lake Las Vegas.
Argentina is very much Spanish. There is a big Italian influence, but the culture is definitely that of Spain. Josiah and I did a live TV interview on channel 8 Wednesday. The evening news starts at 8pm !! There was a staff and sponsor Happy Hour last night and in Argentina, Happy Hour starts at 8pm. We found a nice Italian restaurant called Franky's with a Frank Sinatra theme. The doors to the restaurant open at 10 and close at 3. Dinner here starts about 9 and more commonly 10pm. The whole city comes alive after 9pm and does not close until the sun comes up.
As you would expect the beef is superb. One of the local dishes is a big, square charcoal fired grill brought to the table with beefsteak, beef ribs, normal sausage plus chorizo and chicken. I ordered the equivalent of a New York strip and it was delicious. I won't tell you how much it cost as many of you familiar with steak house prices would faint and then buy a plane ticket.
San Juan is a 90 minute flight from Buenos Aires and as you land there are miles of vineyards surrounding the city. The local wines are excellent and like the beef; a fantastic value.
So far a wonderful experience. Not just Josiah but Costa Rica winner Myriam Guillot-Boisset is here to do Pan-Am back-to-back races. This new series taking in South America, the Carribean, Mexico, the USA and Canada is certainly something you need to think about. The XTERRA Planet just got bigger.