After 2 years off, the XTERRA Americas Tour for amateurs is primed and ready to return with 25 races in 6 countries and just about every terrain imaginable for off-road triathletes to conquer. From the Amazon rainforest in Brazil to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the strongest and fastest in every division will be truly tested in a season-long race to be crowned XTERRA Americas Tour Champion.
It’s been 2 years since the region’s toughest, roughest, and fastest age group athletes in off-road tri competed for the title of XTERRA Americas Tour Champion, but that wait is now over as the Americas Tour is officially back and ready to get underway this month at XTERRA Iceman on February 25.
It’s the premier off-road triathlon series within the region and easily one of the most geographically-diverse competitions on the planet. The 25 races across 6 countries feature a completely unique experience and challenge at every turn. There are races at sea level and races at altitude, there are swims in lakes, rivers, and oceans. There are races in big cities and races in small towns, some in the mountains and others in the desert. The only constant is that mother nature is always the toughest competitor, and to be crowned champion you’ll need to find a way to the finish faster than any other.
The 2023 Americas Tour begins on the shores of Lake Pleasant in Arizona, USA as XTERRA Iceman gets the competition started and the first World Performance Index scores set the pace for the season ahead. From there amateur athletes from throughout the region will have the opportunity to race in some of the most spectacular and challenging natural environments, each time looking to raise the bar with a higher WPI score in a quest to capture the championship crown of their age division.
There are two XTERRA World Cup stops along the way where professional athletes from across the globe will compete for prize money and fame, and more than two dozen amateur races where XTERRA enthusiasts can chase regional tour honors, USA Championship titles, and the all-coveted slots to compete in the XTERRA World Championship in Italy this September.
Set to decide the winners of the 2023 XTERRA Americas Tour is the long-awaited World Performance Index (WPI), and nowhere will the new, custom-built scoring system be more impactful than in the Americas, where terrains and conditions from northern Canada all the way down to Brazil can be so vastly different.
The formula-driven points scoring system works by taking into account a wide range of macro and micro factors - from strength and depth of the field to course difficulty, water and air temp, and rainfall on the day - to deliver a precise WPI score for each finisher. The system was first inspired by ITRA (trail running) and FIS (Skiing) methodology and has been tweaked and tuned over the course of the last four years. Now ready for release, the system will be used to decide the champions of the Americas, EMEA, and APAC regional tours.
How the champions are decided is simple: end the season with the highest WPI score of the season within your age group and gender and you walk away with the crown. However, a single unanswered performance will not be enough. The WPI system will be used in conjunction with the ‘three race rule’ - a separate initiative introduced to the regional tours this year to level the playing field for traveling athletes and increase the competition across all races within each region.
The Americas is a massive region with more than 11,000 kilometers in distance separating its northernmost events in Canada from its southernmost races in Brazil. Even in the continental U.S. there’s nearly 3,000 miles between Laguna Beach and the Jersey Shore. And while that may make each race truly unique, it can also mean too much travel, not enough head-to-head opportunities, and an unfair advantage for those with several races within close proximity.
Enter the three race rule.
The three race rule works alongside the WPI system, so while regional tour titles will essentially be earned via a single race performance that could not be beaten by any other racer within the division, athletes will still need to have started at least 3 races within the 2023 Americas Tour in order to be eligible for the tour title.
The thinking behind the rule is to encourage a deeper field for top contenders across more races which in turn creates more data points, levels the playing field for traveling athletes, and rewards those not afraid to take on multiple terrains within the region.
There are, however, 3 key factors to remember regarding the three race rule. Firstly, all 3 of the races have to be part of the Americas Tour. Secondly, they have to fall within the same season (2023), and thirdly, athletes only need to start 3 races. Those who register a DNF or DNS due to a mechanical, injury, illness, or any other reason, can still use the race to count towards their required 3 races.
The tour spans three distinct districts - the U.S., Canada, and South America - so there’s plenty of races and a wide variety of terrains to choose from for those looking to play to their strengths and end the season at the top of the pile.
The tour kicks off in Arizona at XTERRA Iceman, which was recently featured in Triathlete Magazine’s 2023 list of Best Tris for a Good Time. It’s not too cold, not too technical, and not too intimidating, making it the perfect spot for a first-timer or season opener. It’s also where Laura Coombs got her qualifying spot for the XTERRA World Championship in 2022 before going on to win the 35-39 championship title in Molveno, Italy.
New in 2023, but no stranger to the XTERRA circuit, is the much-hyped return of XTERRA Puerto Rico on April 15-16. It’s offering $7,500 in prize money for professionals and a warm weather Caribbean adventure for all. XTERRA New Jersey (formerly XTERRA Way Over Yonder) is also back on the schedule after serving as host to USAT’s Off-Road National Championship.
The Texas trio in Austin, Waco, and Navasota are set for another year of frivolity featuring the “Loose Moose” crew and the fun-loving, close-knit XTERRA community that thrives in the Lone Star state. Each TX course is wildly different, from the limestone cliffs of Pace Bend Park at XTERRA ATX to the technical trails at XTERRA Cameron Park to the rustic ranch experience at XTERRA Magnolia Hill, but you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll cross the line to a signature family vibe and a mouth-watering post-race bbq.
Athletes looking for a truly authentic grassroots XTERRA experience need look no further than these six cornerstone events: XTERRA Lory in Fort Collins, CO (hope you signed-up already, it’s soldout!), XTERRA EX2 (a day trip away from Washington DC), XTERRA DINO Northern Indiana (a midwest classic 20 years in the making), XTERRA Laguna Beach (Pacific Coast Highway gem), and XTERRA Lake Tahoe (The Flume Trail, it gets no sweeter!).
Then there’s the big two, the American stops on the new XTERRA World Cup, a 7-city global circuit built to showcase XTERRA’s fastest off-road triathletes as the biggest names in the sport go head-to-head for their share of a $340,000+ prize purse. First up is XTERRA Oak Mountain in Shelby County, Alabama and then comes the XTERRA USA Championship at Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, Colorado.
With eight races from coast to coast in Canada this season, there are adventure options galore for our neighbors to the north and intrepid travelers looking to experience the natural wonders of the second-largest country in the world.
There are two dream-worthy spots in British Columbia on the west coast - the first at Mt. Work Park in the form of XTERRA Victoria and the second in the mountain biking mecca of the world when the highly-anticipated return of XTERRA Whistler goes down on September 17.
There are also two in Ontario and the Great Lakes of North America - XTERRA Conquer the Crater in Sudbury, famous for raising and donating 100% of its proceeds (hundreds of thousands of dollars) to the Northern Cancer Foundation’s Miles Against Cancer Fund for kids, and XTERRA Sleeping Giant in Thunder Bay - the sunniest city in Eastern Canada.
Quebec has four sweet spots - Tremblant, Quebec City, Bromont, and Gaspesia. They’re all amazing, so much so that the editors of Triathlete Magazine named Quebec one of four international destinations to have a “race-cation” last year.
And however you want to XTERRA, they’ve got an option - night runs, night swim-runs, kids triathlons, duathlons, MixTerra for gravel racers, half-and-full trail marathons and sprint, super-sprint, long-distance, and World Championship qualifying off-road triathlons.
XTERRA Quebec also coincides with an 11-day music extravaganza, the Quebec City Summer Festival, that jams from July 6-16.
The “Live More” spirit of XTERRA is alive and well in South America, with three spectacular destinations in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil combining travel experiences rich in natural beauty, culture, and history with unparalleled off-road triathlon racing.
The first XTERRA Argentina happened all the way back in 1997, the year home-country hero and former Olympian Oscar Galindez took the tape. The race is held at the magnificent setting of the Ullum Dam, near the province of San Juan at the foot of the Andes Mountains.
One of the area attractions to visit before or after the race is the Provincial Park of Ischigualasto, also known as “Valle de la Luna” (Moon Valley), to see geological formations that have been calculated to be between 200 and 250 million years old.
XTERRA Chile is unveiling a new venue this year in Cachagua, a glamorous coastal community and resort town on the Pacific Ocean about two hours away from the capital in Santiago.
And for the ultimate bucket-list event, head to the Amazon rainforest for XTERRA Brazil. This race is held in conjunction with and supported by the Brazilian Army and delivers a real-life jungle ride like no other.
Feb 25 - XTERRA Iceman
Apr 01 - XTERRA Argentina
Apr 16 - XTERRA Puerto Rico
Apr 22 - XTERRA ATX
Apr 30 - XTERRA Chile
May 07 - XTERRA New Jersey
May 20 - XTERRA Oak Mountain
Jun 10 - XTERRA Cameron Park
Jun 10 - XTERRA Tremblant
Jun 17 - XTERRA Lory
Jun TBD - XTERRA Brazil*
Jul 08 - XTERRA Magnolia Hill
Jul 09 - XTERRA Victoria
Jul 09 - XTERRA EX2
Jul 16 - XTERRA Quebec
Jul 22 - XTERRA Conquer the Crater
Jul 22 - XTERRA DINO Northern Indiana
Aug 12 - XTERRA Sleeping Giant
Aug 26 - XTERRA USA Championship
Aug 27 - XTERRA Bromont
Aug 27 - XTERRA Laguna Beach*
Sep 03 - XTERRA Gaspesia
Sep 17 - XTERRA Whistler
Sep 17 - XTERRA Lake Tahoe
*Some dates are still being confirmed, so be sure to bookmark the XTERRA Americas Tour schedule to keep up to date with all the latest info. Within each event you’ll also find distances, difficulty levels, course maps, additional races and more.
For those with speed on the feet, 2023 and the relaunch of the XTERRA Trail Run World Series brings with it the chance to end the season with not one but two championship crowns. More than half of the stops on the XTERRA Americas Tour also offer half and/or full trail marathons that serve as qualifiers for the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship to be held at Sugarloaf Resort in Maine on October 1.
It’s the first-time XTERRA has offered a qualifier-only championship race for trail runners and the first time the championship will include both half and full marathon distances. There’s also the new DUO category and segment challenges to add spice to the event as well shorter trail run distances open to anybody keen to feel the full spirit of the championship event.
For those hunting a double crown this season, you can get everything you need to know about the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship here.
It’s a long and exciting season ahead, but it feels good to be back and we cannot wait to get it started.
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