XTERRA Dominican Republic
Rom Akerson and Valentina Carvallo took home the top spots at the XTERRA Dominican Republic off-road triathlon on Sunday, September 5, 2021, in Samana, and at about the same time Karsten Madsen and Amanda Felder won the elite titles at XTERRA Victoria in B.C., Canada.
“That was great fun,” exclaimed Akerson, the 2018 XTERRA World Champion from Costa Rica. “It was good to travel a little and spend time with some of the XTERRA family. The race was super hard, the bike course was challenging and really hot, and the run course was amazing with its white sand beaches and cold streams.”
The day stared with Akerson and 2017 ITU Cross Tri World Champion Francisco Serrano of Mexico coming out of the warm waters of Coson Bay together. From there, Akerson posted the best bike split of the day and took a four-minute lead on to the run.
“I had a great swim with Paco and on the bike got a few minutes ahead, and I knew I needed those minutes for the run, so I could enjoy it,” smiled Akerson.
Akerson crossed the line in 2:41:38, more than two-minutes ahead of Kieran McPherson from New Zealand, the 2018 XTERRA Pan Am Tour Champ, who pulled off the fastest run of the day. Serrano held on for third.
“The whole race was put together super well, and I had an amazing time,” said Akerson.
In the women’s race Vale Carvallo of Chile, who was competing in her first event since having her third child, led from wire-to-wire and posted the fastest swim-bike-and-run times to take the tape in 3:51:45, nearly 20-minutes ahead of runner-up Brandi Swicegood.
“This place is amazing, and the organization was great,” said Carvallo, the 2019 XTERRA Chile Champion. “It felt awesome to be back racing, and I love racing off-road with XTERRA.”
Also on Sunday, at XTERRA Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, Karsten Madsen led from start-to-finish to win his second Canadian race of the summer in a time of 2:13:11. Evan Girard and Carson McComb placed second and third.
“Victoria is such a treat to race at, and it was a good day,” said Madsen. “The new sections added to the course flowed great, but some overnight rain changed the conditions rather drastically. My game plan was to stay controlled, get away early and enjoy some tempo bliss because with lots more racing ahead it was important to stay safe in the slippery conditions.”
While Madsen ran away with the men’s race, the women’s chase came down to a sprint finish between Felder and Katie Button.
Felder got out to an early lead after the wetsuit-legal swim in Durrance Lake, but Button blitzed the bike to take a big lead heading into the run. It wasn’t enough to hold of Felder, however, as she clocked the quickest run split of the day to take the win in 2:46:43, just 23 seconds ahead of Button.
“On the bike, I struggled a bit and was giving away time,” said Felder. “Leading up the race, I had been able to get on the course several times, and was riding it well, but the course was really dry then. The day before the race, it rained on and off and the roots and rocks were slippery race morning. I had a crash early on, and then was riding fairly tentatively afterwards. Katie came by early on the first lap which was quite a bit sooner than I was hoping, so I had a feeling I would be racing for second since she is such a strong technical rider. Then onto the run, the legs felt great, and I love this sort of technical running, so I just let my legs go at the top of the hill, and was able to pass Katie on the flats about 400m from the finish.”
Felder did her first-ever XTERRA in Victoria five years ago, and today it was the site of her first XTERRA win.
“It was great to come back to this race which was my first XTERRA five years ago,” she said. “I remember Katie crossing the finish in first that race, right as I was starting the run, so it's really satisfying to come back and be able to mix it up at the front here!”