XTERRA VR Racing Season Starts Today

August 28, 2020

The XTERRA Jade Mountain VR Duathlon will be held over five days - Thursday, August 27 to Monday, August 31. Participants are tasked with completing the full or sprint distance duathlon (run, bike, run) as a traditional one-day event or over the course of those five days.

It’s a whole new (VR) world for the XTERRA family starting today. Participants for the first-ever XTERRA VR race are being encouraged to envision themselves in the image above, 12,000-feet high atop the majestic Jade Mountain in Taiwan.

“Imagine it’s a cool misty morning, the sun is breaking through the clouds casting a purple glow across the rocky horizon,” smiled XTERRA President Janet Clark as she sets the scene.  “You’re surrounded by friends and fellow XTERRA racers and looking sharp in all your best gear. It’s T-10 minutes to the start of the XTERRA Jade Mountain Duathlon and you’re ready to race. Now let your imagination run wild as you run and bike your way along the beautiful ridgelines and coastlines of Taiwan.”

With that the XTERRA VR Racing Season is underway with the first of eight online events this season. At each stop XTERRA will honor one of their dream destinations – this time it’s Taiwan, home to the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship.

The competition will be held over five days – Thursday, August 27 to Monday, August 31.  Participants are tasked with completing the full or sprint distance duathlon (run, bike, run) as a traditional one-day event or over the course of those five days.

The Full = 5K Run + 26K Bike + 10K Run
The Lite = 2K Run + 13K Bike + 5K Run

The races can be done as an individual or as part of a two or three-person relay team. Participants are encouraged to use their favorite tracking device to log their unique course route and finish times, and submit those results online. XTERRA will verify results and keep an active leaderboard to recognize men, women, and team divisions.  Learn more at xterraplanet.com/jade-mountain.

In other XTERRA News…

XTERRA Adventures “Inspiring Athletes” Episode Premieres Sept. 3

Inclusivity has long been a hallmark of XTERRA and ever since Paul Martin conquered the grueling XTERRA World Championship on one-leg in 1996, athletes with all kinds of physical challenges have been invited to participate, persevere, and excel in the sport.

In the next episode of XTERRA Adventures we meet four of the sports’ most inspiring athletes; Jamie Whitmore, Willie Stewart, Jiachao Wang, and Judy Abrahams.

Whitmore (pictured above) won an unprecedented 37 XTERRA World Tour majors before being diagnosed with cancer in 2008. The subsequent removal of her gluteus and hamstring left her without the use of her lower left leg, and she was told she would never ride or run again – let alone compete in XTERRA – but she did both and went on to win Paralympic gold.

For Willie Stewart, the first athlete with one-arm to race XTERRA thanks in large part to receiving a prosthetic arm from the Challenged Athletes Foundation – whose mission is to help those with disabilities reach their athletic goals – it’s all about getting in the game.

“The first time I ever put on a prosthetic arm was when I did XTERRA in 2004,” said Stewart, who has been racing off-road ever since.  “It’s like, you can do anything, but you can’t do anything unless you get the guts, the courage to get on that starting line.”

Jiachao Wang from China lost his arm in an electrical accident when he was just five years old, but that didn’t slow him down.  He learned to swim by himself in a river by his house, and went on to become a world-class swimmer and his sights set on the Tokyo Paralympics.

Two-time XTERRA PC Division World Champion Judy Abrahams, a below-knee amputee, has overcome obstacle after obstacle in the years since a bike accident changed her life and has this advice for those facing tough times of their own.

“Yeah, some times are hard but you can get through them, you can pull through them,” said Abrahams.  “And it’s not bad all the time. There are some great days out there, you just have to sometimes fight a little harder for them, but it’s well worth it.”

XTERRA Nouvelle-Aquitaine this weekend in south of France

The inaugural XTERRA Nouvelle-Aquitaine off-road triathlons will proceed with safety modifications this weekend, August 29-30, at Lac de la Cadie in the south of France.

“The night race, short track, and trail running events were all removed for safety, but the local organizing team led by Clement Besse and Celine Champion of Time 2 Sport have done a magnificent job working with the local authorities to put safe-race procedures in place for the other three events,” said XTERRA Europe director Nico Lebrun.

The weekend racing starts with a Super Sprint event on Saturday morning featuring a 250-meter swim, 5K mountain bike, and 2K trail run.  The full-distance race (1.5K swim, 30K mtb, 10K run) for elites and amateurs will be held on Saturday afternoon, and a medium distance offering that combines a 500-meter swim with a 15K mtb and 5K run will be staged on Sunday.

“The swim start area was moved to a beach with lots of space, masks and social distancing are mandatory for everyone, and spectators are not allowed at the beach,” explained Lebrun, noting just a few of the comprehensive list of restrictions.

While the event is catering to predominantly French participants, there are a few notable elites coming to the event.

“All the best French XTERRA racers like Arthur Serrieres, Arthur Forissier, Maxim Chane, and Francois Carloni are here, plus Ruben Ruzafa and Geert Lauryssen. For the woman Morgane Riou will come if she can escape from work duties, plus Alizee Paties, Marta Mendito, and Solenne Biloin,” said Lebrun. “It’ll be interested to see how they’ve all stayed in shape during these last several months.”

Last weekend at the French Cross Triathlon National Championships Maxim Chane (pictured above) proved he’s been busy this “off-season” by leading the race from start to finish on his way to upsetting ITU Cross Tri World Champ Arthur Forissier, who placed second by seven seconds.  Carloni was third.

“I’m full of confidence now after winning the French title and know I can run fast and everything works really well,” said Chane, who placed second in the final XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour standings last year and finished ninth at XTERRA Worlds. “Still, on paper, there are three very strong men in this race with Forissier, Serrieres, and Ruzafa.  Ruben is still the boss and super strong on the bike, but I think Serrieres scares me the most. I just need to focus on my own race.”

Serrieres, the XTERRA European Race and Tour Champ, and Ruzafa, a 7x World Champ (3 XTERRA titles and 4 ITU Cross Tri crowns), finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively, at XTERRA Worlds last October in Maui.

“I’m very happy to compete again but I don’t know how the body will respond,” said Ruzafa, who has won 35 of the 48 XTERRA majors he’s raced since 2008.

Serrieres, who helped the organizing team in advance of the race, added that “This race will be fast, but not easy at all. Most of the loop (16K) is on twisty single track, similar to Maui last year, but with the addition of lots of short climbs. I like it because it’s something different compared to the other current European races. I think it’ll be a close race and a good fight between the athletes from the start to the end. The run is like a cross country race, up and down. The countryside here is lovely, loads of vineyards, green spaces and Bordeaux is a beautiful town to visit.”

Also last weekend at the French Cross Tri event Morgane Riou (pictured), the reigning XTERRA European Champion who won four races in a row last year – Lake Garda, Belgium, France, and Czech –  chased down Paties on the run to take the French National Title for the fifth time in her career.

The event was shorter than the traditional full-distance XTERRA, giving Paties some hope for a different outcome on Saturday.

“I’m ready, feeling better after the first race of the year last weekend and will do my best,” she said.  “I’ve been training for this distance so I think I’ll do better here, so we will see if I’m in good enough shape and can come out on top.”