The Course in Maui

Oct. 14, 2016

The XTERRA World Championship starts with a 1.5-kilometer rough water swim at D.T. Fleming Beach fronting the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. The mountain bike is one big 20-mile loop with 3,500-feet of climbing that goes up-and-down the lower slopes of the West Maui Mountains more than a dozen times, and the run features a whole lot more climbing (1,200-feet) along dirt trails, through oleander forests, and into 60-foot high ironwood evergreens.

To get a better feel for what the course is like we asked some of the pros what they thought…

Suzie Snyder, USA – “I think the course is challenging and there's no faking any weakness you might have, right from the start in the swim. The rough ocean swim can take a lot out of you if you're not strong in the water, the bike course is well rounded with hard climbs, descents, some technical challenges that require good skills, and of course some places that are wide open where you can show off your fitness. The run course is relentless in the climbing, which demands as much mental toughness as physical and can break your spirit if you let it.”

Bradley Weiss, RSA – “I love it. I am a smaller athlete who loves going uphill in any format and Maui has plenty of climbing.”

Carina Wasle, AUT – “If you go fast all courses are hard. Here it is lots of climbing, which I really prefer. When you come to the top you think yeah it’s downhill now, but it is still a very long way to go and there are some more climbs to do. The hardest part for me are the never-ending last 8km on the single trail. The little climbs and all the corners need lots of concentration and with tired legs that hurts a lot. My favorite part is the run. It is very beautiful and just awesome to run.”

Branden Rakita, USA – “It’s very demanding. The swim is usually choppy and the shore break can really toss you around if there is a good swell. The bike course will really test your fitness and your ability to dose out your effort. The last couple miles you get a little check to see how well you can handle your bike when you are tired. The run is brutal for the first half with all the climbing, you just want to get in to a good rhythm and keep hydrated and try to stay as cool as possible. then I get to my favorite part with the downhill, you can really fly if you have the legs weaving through the trees and jumping and ducking underneath others.”

Lesley Paterson, GBR – “It’s tough, it’s gritty, it’s got loads of climbing and definitely the strongest athlete wins on the day. There’s nowhere to hide!”

Courtney Atkinson, AUS – “It's just brutal and hard, but fun. You can lose a lot of time in the second half of the race if you’re not prepared.”

Kara LaPoint, USA – “The Maui course brings so many unique challenges, from the difficulty of the course itself with big, relentless hills - and lots of them! - to the environmental challenges of heat and humidity - to the rough water of the ocean swim, to the extra pressure of this being the World Championship race.”

Francisco Serrano, MEX – “It's the beauty of Hawaii that I love, nice ocean swim, hard bike and run.”

Jacqui Slack, GBR – “The course improves every year, the bike course continually becomes more challenging and it's exciting to see what changes there will be.”

Sam Osborne, NZL – “The course is tough, there’s no doubt about that and with the heat mixed in, it makes for a really hard day. The favorite part is the racing, live for that stuff.”

Maia Ignatz, USA – “I love this course. It’s Maui, it’s beautiful, yet brutal, it is a true test of your fitness and perseverance. It’s World Championship worthy.”