If you ask Brigitta Poor how she got to be one of the most talented and consistent athletes on the XTERRA European Tour, she has a simple answer.
“I always fight, and give 100 percent,” she says with her trademark grin.
Poor, who grew up in Hungary, began swimming when she was seven and entered her first triathlon at the age of eight. She made her way onto the ITU and ETU road tri circuits, where she captured both U23 and elite titles. Her first XTERRA, however, wasn’t until 2006, after over a decade on the roads.
“My first race was XTERRA Hungary and it was a very long and hard competition,” said Poor. “I spent more than six hours on the course and during the race, I said, ‘No more like this.’ I think I ran a longer distance with my bike than I rode it.”
However, after she crossed the finish line of her first XTERRA, Poor changed her mind and decided to spend a bit more time on the dirt.
“That feeling after the finish line when you realize, yes, I did it! Plus, XTERRA was so different. The atmosphere of the race, being out in nature, the fact that you need to concentrate every minute. Plus the fight. In XTERRA, you have to fight with yourself and with the elements. I don’t know why I love the challenges so much. Maybe I’m crazy. But I went to my next XTERRA and the next, and now, here we are.”
Where Poor is now is at the top of her game.
In 2018, she won seven races on the XTERRA European Tour, including the two biggest races – XTERRA France and the XTERRA European Championship in Germany for the second year in a row. She capped off her year with a fifth-place finish in Maui. In 2017, she won six races, including the Euro Champs in Denmark, and was fourth at XTERRA Worlds.
This is all quite impressive for someone who wasn’t sure she could ever learn to ride a mountain bike.
“It was literally step by step,” admits Poor. “I was 19 in my first XTERRA and very slow. I just kept practicing and kept racing and kept working with my coach. And I’m still working! There is always more to learn.”
Despite her successful year, 2018 wasn’t without challenges for Poor.
“I had some health issues last year which led to problems with my training and motivation, so maybe this year will start out a little slow. But of course, I still want to win all my races.”
As in previous years, Poor plans on opening her season at XTERRA Cyprus on April 7 – a race she has won each of the last two years. From there, she wants to compete in as many races as she can, while staying healthy. She hopes this will include about 10 European XTERRA races, as well as the XTERRA Kunming off-road triathlon in China this September.
Her goals are many and include securing an elusive three-peat at the XTERRA European Championship (this year’s race is in the Czech Republic on August 3) and reclaiming her XTERRA European Tour title after being so close two years in a row. With the new elite rules counting an elite’s best eight scores, Poor enters the year as the clear-cut favorite to win it.
“The basic training is over now,” said Poor, of where she is currently in her training cycle. “It’s now time to work on my speed and look forward to my season. Yes, I am a crazy athlete who wants good results. But in my heart, I am just a woman who loves XTERRA and wants to be happy.”