XTERRA Returns to Czech Republic
By popular demand XTERRA Czech, one of the most cherished and storied races in history, returns to the European Tour this July in Prachatice.
XTERRA made its debut in the Czech Republic among the castles of Hluboka nad Vltavou in 2002, moved to Spindleruv Mlyn in 2009, and then on to the historic city of Pracatice in 2011 where it was held through 2015. After a two-year hiatus, the Pilousek family is bringing it back on the weekend of July 14-15 in conjunction with kids’ triathlon and running races, a sprint distance XTERRA, and a post-race party that has been the stuff of legends.
“We missed the people around this sport, and felt that we had to host XTERRA Czech again for all the athletes who have written us and encouraged us to bring it back,” said organizer Michal Pilousek Jr. “We have found very important partners and this year we can make the race exactly the way we want. It’s a dream come true to be back in the XTERRA family.”
Prachatice is a small, quiet town self-described as the “Renaissance pearl” of South Bohemia. Participants will revel in the surroundings as race headquarters, the finish line, and evening festivities are all located in the historic town square.
The race itself will start 10-kilometers from city centre at Kristanovicky Lake, a small lake with a peat bottom that produces a therapeutic effect. The bike course heads through the hills on a wide range of trails including single track around the Blanice river, a pass through Zablati village, a trek through deep forests, and a steep climb around army bunkers and up to Cerna Hora high above the town before heading into town to transition. From there, the two-lap run course takes racers back up the hill, through the town on cobblestone, and into the finish line at the Great square.
“We are very happy that we can organize this race in the middle of a cultural reservation, and the surrounding nature is part of Sumava National Park,” said Pilousek. “There are some tricky single tracks, but also wonderful land views on Sumava nature, but the most interesting part is finishing in the Great square.”
Fans in the Great square are in for a treat as well, as they will be able to follow the race on a big screen while enjoying music, food, and beer.
“This race is a classic, and provides a great atmosphere for racers and spectators alike,” said XTERRA European Tour director Nicolas Lebrun, who won the XTERRA Czech title five times in his career.
Prachatice is just 60-kilometers from the Austrian and German boarders, and the Prague airport is two hours from city center. For visitors there are many nice hotels in town, and charming countryside farms and bed and breakfasts options.
“For families there is a perfect balance of nature and historical sites around,” said Pilousek. “There are three UNESCO reservations within 50K from Prachatice (Hluboka, Cesky Krumlov, Holasovice) and National Park Sumava with six wonderful lakes that are all easily accessible.”
And after the work is done, the celebration will begin.
“The party is a very important part of the race,” said Pilousek Sr. “We understand the XTERRA moto “Live more...” and we want to make not only a great race, but also a lifetime experience, a day that racers will remember forever. Part of it is to celebrate life, that is why we organize XTERRA. In 2015, we opened our family brewery and as you know, beer is very important part of the Czech culture. Another important part of our culture is music, and this year we will have more than one band in the line-up. This year it will be bigger than ever!”
A new website for XTERRA Czech will open soon with more information and links to registration, which will open February 1 at www.xterra.cz. Until then, follow their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ceska.xterra
XTERRA CZECH ALL-TIME ELITE WINNERS
Year – Men / Women
2002 – Olivier Marceau / Candy Angle
2003 – Nicolas Lebrun / Jamie Whitmore
2004 – Nicolas Lebrun / Jamie Whitmore
2005 – Olivier Marceau / Renata Bucher
2006 – Nicolas Lebrun / Renata Bucher
2008 – Nicolas Lebrun / Carina Wasle
2009 – Franky Batelier / Carina Wasle
2010 – Franky Batelier / Renata Bucher
2011 – Ronny Dietz / Marion Lorblanchet
2012 – Nicolas Lebrun / Helena Erbenova
2013 – Felix Schumann / Helena Erbenova
2014 – Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller
2015 – Ben Allen / Helena Erbenova
Open on 1st February.
Prachatice Town, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.