The 2017 XTERRA Pan America Tour season opener in San Juan, Argentina is just three weeks away on March 25, followed a week later by the inaugural XTERRA Chile in Santiago on April 1.
“South America is definitely becoming XTERRA land,” said XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas. “XTERRA Brazil has been booming for years and this season we add XTERRA Chile as a new event, and return to San Juan, Argentina for the second year in a row.”
Last year Josiah Middaugh and Myriam Guillot-Boisset took home the elite titles in Argentina.
“The race venue is at a big reservoir at the foot of the Andes called Dique Ullum,” said Middaugh, who went on to win four more races and the Pan Am Pro Series last year. “Below the reservoir in San Juan it is wine country with some of the world’s 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 is really good energy at the event and a good local turnout with a sound system pumping some up-beat American jams.”
Nicholas, who joined Middaugh in Argentina last year, added…“Argentina is a huge country, four times bigger than Texas. San Juan has a population of over 100,000 people and has many hotels and restaurants. The site itself is about 20 minutes from San Juan and is very much like the US west. Many camp there and the area has about a dozen neat, small cabins to stay in. There are not a lot of trees, but great up and down hills over the barren, yellow landscape. This is not to say the area is barren - it is quite beautiful.”
Distances are perfect for a World Tour XTERRA. Josiah won last year with a time of 2:34. The swim is close to the one transition area and was done in one big lap last year. The bike is two laps of about 15K and the run is also two laps with a total of 9.5K. There are lots of chances to compete. The XTERRA is on Saturday morning with a 50K mountain bike race in the afternoon, and Sunday they host trail run races.
“A word about the food and drink must be included in a preview for XTERRA Argentina,” added Nicholas. “Argentina prides itself on their incredible Malbec wines and they are maybe better than claimed. The beef and pork are equally great and all of it is quite inexpensive. Because San Juan is a big city many speak English so finding your way around with just rudimentary Spanish and a big smile will get you where you need to go. With the new race in Chile just a week after Argentina, this is a fantastic chance to come and see South America and meet your XTERRA Tribe family members from other cultures.”
This year’s XTERRA Pan America Tour features 10 races, three in South America, XTERRA Costa Rica and Mexico in Central America, the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, and four events in North America including XTERRA Victoria in B.C., Canada, and the Alabama, Colorado, and Utah races in the U.S.