Episode V Premieres Thursday, November 5 at 9pm EDT on Outside TV
XTERRA’s gnarliest crashes, most distinctive courses, closest finishes, and best rivalries are on display in an action-packed flashback to the sports’ all-time “Top Plays.”
XTERRA unlocks gripping archival footage of the infamous “Plunge,” a nasty downhill section on the old Maui bike course that dished out a wild ride to all who tried.
“The Plunge was just piles and piles of lava rock,” explained 2004 XTERRA World Champion Jamie Whitmore, who ended up rolling around in the dirt on more than a few occasions. “What you have to understand about lava rock is it’s not heavy and dense like a lot of other rocks, and they’re not stuck in the ground, they’re just like a bunch of giant marbles and they go everywhere so when you’re descending if you hit a big one the wrong way, it will knock you down.”
It has often been said in XTERRA the race isn’t so much you vs. other racers, but you vs. Mother Nature, and in this show we witness one example after another of how sometimes – nature wins.
“After watching the video, it looks like I ran over a landmine,” said Liz Gruber, who talked about her ESPN Top 10-worthy over the bars bike crash in Utah a few years ago. “I can’t even tell what I hit, I just tumbled, and my bike flew up and over the trail. The downhill just has a couple bigger rocks that you need to avoid, and I think I had my weight perfectly imperfect and it just pitched me forward, broke my collarbone pretty cleanly."
XTERRA Hall of Famer Nico Lebrun can relate. He nearly lost his lone XTERRA World Title in 2005 with less than a mile to go after tripping over a lava rock and slamming to the ground on the run. And he’s not alone, Josiah Middaugh crashed twice on the run in his world title year – one time right into a tree.
Of course, it could be worse, like when three-time XTERRA World Champ Melanie McQuaid was on her way to a fourth title, only 100 meters from the finish line, when she started to swerve and stumble on the beach.
“The only other thing I remember on that day is waking up going, Did I win?” remembered McQuaid. “And, of course, I didn’t win because I never actually made it to the finish line.”
Even famous MMA fighter Nick Diaz, who has been racing XTERRA for more than a decade along with his brother Nate, isn’t immune to the punishing nature of XTERRA.
“You know I fought a lot of people and a lot of really good competitors, as far as XTERRA goes, Mother Nature’s definitely a really tough opponent,” said Diaz, who is seen going over the handlebars while riding down the plunge.
Beyond the carnage, this episode of XTERRA Adventures also dishes out the drama, highlighted by the fiercest rivalry the sport has ever known.
“Jamie Whitmore and Melanie McQuade took the women’s side of XTERRA to a different universe,” explained triathlon legend and Challenged Athletes Foundation founder Bob Babbitt. “And actually the women’s race became more important than the guys’ race in a lot of cases.”
Whitmore said, “I think we thrived off of that rivalry. It fed us and made us stronger and made us better, it was awesome.”
For McQuaid, the rivalry defined an era. “I can't talk about competitors without talking about Jamie, because she defines an entire era of XTERRA racing. She and I went back and forth for so long, it was from like 2003 through 2009 when we basically won or came second at pretty much every race.”
XTERRA, of course, is about more than just wicked crashes and epic rivalries. It’s also known for its unique, and uniquely challenging, race features. From XTERRA France’s mass start, which sees all two thousand competitors diving in at once like a colossal school of spawning salmon, to the big waves in Maui and the caves in Saipan. Discover it all on episode five of XTERRA Adventures.