It's always tough to pick just 10 because each week - heck, each race - we are inspired by the stories we hear from our XTERRA Warriors. The Tribe is constantly raising the bar, whether they are breaking the finishing tape, fighting the elements, or overcoming a challenge in life by giving it their all on the dirt.
That said, below are some of our favorite stories from 2018.
1. Pura Vida in Maui - Rom Akerson came to the 2018 XTERRA World Championship with nothing. He lost his car in a river, moved to a new city, and wasn't sure he could afford to keep racing. "It was like, everything was taken away from me and I decided, this is how it’s going to be, just me and my bike," he said. Similarly, Lesley Paterson thought her best races might be behind her after a diagnosis of Lyme Disease. Together, these two XTERRA Warriors demonstrated the power of never giving up.
2. Bookends at XTERRA Worlds - Wendy Minor and Staci Lovell weren't just the oldest and youngest competitors at the XTERRA World Championship. They are also training partners and friends.
3. Athletes Overcoming Adversity - This year we saw people who were told "No," tell the world "Yes." Some of the XTERRA's physically challenged athletes were told they would never walk again, like Jodi Pettit or never ride a bike, like Jerone Samari. Others like Michael Stone and Pepe Candon have lost their eyesight but not the ability to clearly see their dreams. And then there is Willie Stewart who uses his only hand to lift others up.
4. 40 and Fabulous - Now that Josiah Middaugh is 40, his competitors are hoping he'll start slowing down. No such luck. Middaugh won the XTERRA Pan Am Championship for the third time in four years.
5. Volcano Delays XTERRA Albay - When we say that XTERRA is about you vs. Mother Nature, we aren't kidding. This year, Mt. Mayon took the win when she forced XTERRA Albay to postpone due to massive eruptions and lava flow. XTERRA's Sam Osborne and Samantha Kingsford of New Zealand got her back by winning the elite titles on the rescheduled race day in June.
6. Ms. XTERRA, Kristen Wade - “You want to know how it felt to be named 2018 Ms. XTERRA?” asked Kristen a few days after the race. “It felt humbling and not in the way you might think. It’s not like when you train hard for something that something still manages to put you in your place. With the Ms. XTERRA award, I experienced the kind of humility you get when you know deep down it was more than just a sole exploration that brought you to that moment. It was a group effort."
7. Todd Gottfried's 20th Year at Maui - Most of us who survived the XTERRA World Championship 19 times would probably dedicate the 20th year to ourselves. Todd Gottfried raced his 20th XTERRA Worlds for his friend and training buddy Pat, who passed away last December.
8. Things NOT to do in Utah - Most coaches tell you what to do. It takes a special coach to reveal their own mistakes so you don't make the same ones. XTERRA's Couch to Trail contributor and 5X XTERRA Age Group World Champ, Mimi Stockton reveals all in this hilarious read.
9. XTERRA Kenting - At its core, XTERRA is a dream seeking both athletes and a course. It found both in Kenting when the first-ever XTERRA took place in Kenting National Park. Lewis Ryan and Nicole Walters won the day. The race won awards. And the event is back on March 30th as the designated XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race, joining New Zealand, Tahiti, Japan, and the inaugural XTERRA China on Sept. 22 to form the 2019 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour.
10. Dave's Legacy Lives - Last year we mourned a very special XTERRA Tribe member who was taken far too soon. Dave DeSantis left behind so many stories, memories, and now, a legacy grant that will enable other Tribe members to experience what meant so much to him. Dave demonstrated the Live.More spirit every day and taught us what it means to truly take care of each other.