A wild weekend of racing on the XTERRA World Tour as Dan Hugo and Renata Bucher won XTERRA Guam, Leonardo Chacon and Shonny Vanlandingham took the titles at XTERRA Costa Rica, and Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack conquered XTERRA Great Ocean Road in Australia.
Honolulu, HI (March 30, 2014) – A wild weekend of racing on the XTERRA World Tour as Dan Hugo and Renata Bucher won XTERRA Guam, Leonardo Chacon and Shonny Vanlandingham took the titles at XTERRA Costa Rica, and Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack conquered XTERRA Great Ocean Road in Australia.
Here’s the recaps:
March 29, 2014 (Piti, Guam) – South Africa’s Dan Hugo led from wire-to-wire, posting the fastest swim (19:39), bike (1:24:41) and run (44:20) times of the day to capture the 10th annual XTERRA Guam Championship in 2:28:40 on Saturday. In the women’s race the “Swiss Miss” Renata Bucher edged fellow Aloha Racing team member and island favorite Mieko Carey with a winning time of 3:03:52.
The victory is Hugo’s 3rd straight on the XTERRA World Tour, as he also captured the XTERRA South Africa in February and the Philippines Championship two weeks ago in Cebu.
“It’s been a stellar two weeks on Guam,” said Hugo. “It is a great training environment for Asian athletes needing to escape winter. Multiple running tracks, 50m pools, quiet roads. It has been great for both Brad and I, and that showed today.”
Hugo and his travel /training buddy Bradley Weiss, also of South Africa, pulled away from the entire field during the scenic, warm-water swim then tackled the signature hill climb right out of transition to bridge a gap that would never be contested.
“Did the first climb with Brad, setting up a good day for us both, and got time immediately onto the dirt which starts with a fun style of pump track riding that I enjoy,” said Hugo, who added that conditions were ideal for racing with “Sublime weather. Not much cloud, not much oppressive heat.”
By the time he got on the run Hugo could relax and enjoy perhaps the most adventurous route on the XTERRA Planet.
“I ran conservatively, especially down the waterfall sections. Unfortunately no camera gets down to the true magic of the run, where the creek meanders through thickets of old bamboo forest,” said Hugo. “The water pools were cool and joyous relief when going in neck deep.”
The post-race festivities in Guam are an event into themselves with great food and live music, and a community filled with the Live More spirit of XTERRA.
“These people are real home grown enthusiasts for the sport, and they produce an XTERRA with soul across a memorable swim-bike-run route,” said Hugo (read his race recap at dghugo.com). “It’s a bucket list race destination for certain.”
Weiss, who just turned 25-years-old, was in a world all his own on the day – finishing second with no one in sight, while Kiwi Olly Shaw followed in third. A deep, international elite field filled in behind with Nico Sterk (RSA), Markus Benesch (AUT), Guam-based elite Charlie Epperson – the top American on the day, placing 6th overall, and Mark Leishman (NZL) rounding out the top 7.
|1||Dan Hugo, RSA||2:28:40|
|2||Brad Weiss, RSA||2:35:43|
|3||Olly Shaw, NZL||2:39:12|
|4||Nico Sterk, RSA||2:43:52|
|5||Markus Benesch, AUT||2:45:30|
|6||Charlie Epperson, USA||2:54:05|
|7||Mark Leishman, NZL||2:55:18|
|8||Michal Bucek, SVK||3:15:33|
|9||Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN||3:23:53|
|10||Tyce Mister, USA||3:37:08|
BUCHER WINS AGAIN
Renata Bucher is the women’s Guam champ for the third time in five years and collected her 33rd career XTERRA championship title, but it didn’t happen the way she envisioned.
Austria’s Carina Wasle posted the fastest bike split of the day and had the lead into the run but missed an arrow and went off course, as did local favorite Mieko Carey, who was second out of transition.
“Carina was very strong today and when she passed me on the bike I could not keep up,” explained Bucher. “Mieko rode well too, she was so motivated for her home race. So I came into transition in 3rd position. On the run, I just kept it steady and safe through the waterfall and the jungle sections. I didn’t run that fast but I had good sight of all the arrows. I ran a lot with Chuck Fortier (Canadian age-grouper who won mens amateur title) and we quite enjoyed the run. When I came to the finish line, I really thought I was second because the only person I passed on the run was Mieko, who also got off-course but Chuck and I saw it and cried loud to let her know to come back. After I passed the finish line, they put the XTERRA Guam band in my hand and told me I won the race. I was so surprised and asked where Carina is, but nobody had seen her yet. Winning a race like that, it feels different, not like winning, more like a present from the island of Guam and the people here. I love this place.”
To be fair, there is no telling what would have happened had Wasle and Carey not gone off-course, as Bucher has a long-history of pulling off stunning runs to win races, especially on the Asia-Pacific Tour, and was certainly within striking distance just two minutes back of Wasle out of transition.
“A bit disappointed as I had a good lead in the run and then missed an arrow,” posted Wasle to her Facebook page. “Went much too far and got lost in the river. Not a big win for me today, but I’ll be back next week at XTERRA Saipan.”
Carey, the reigning and 4-time XTERRA Japan Champion, finished 41-seconds behind Bucher in 2nd place. The trio will square off again next week at the XTERRA Saipan Championship.
|1||Renata Bucher, SUI||3:03:52|
|2||Mieko Carey, JPN||3:04:33|
|3||Carina Wasle, AUT||3:15:11|
March 29, 2014 (Playa Conchal, Costa Rica) – Home country hero Leonardo Chacon and former XTERRA World Champion Shonny Vanlandinghan won the XTERRA Costa Rica off-road triathlon on an incredibly hot day in Playa Conchal.
XTERRA managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas was on-site and brings us this report…
After days of super gusty winds and high humidity the weather Gods gave us a perfect Costa Rica day for racing. Not that it wasn’t hot or humid, but not oppressive at all.
The morning was truly festive with hundreds of athletes and spectators all wearing their XTERRA tattoos and smiling in anticipation. On the way down to the start, a loud family of howler monkeys was perched right above the road providing entertainment for all. These little guys are cute as hell and it is amazing the huge howls and growls they summon up.
Pro men started up on the beach right at 0645 followed by the pro women a few minutes later. The big age group field would start after the women were well into their second lap. The first lap out of the water, local and international pro Leonardo Chacon led followed closely by American Craig Evans and Mexican 20-year-old neo-pro Mauricio Mendez Cruz.
Evans went into the lead on the second lap and headed the field onto the bike with Chacon second, Maurizio 3rd, Brandon Rakita 4th and Roberto Garcia 5th. USA champ Josiah Middaugh was roughly 3 minutes back in 8th. Josiah quickly dispatched everyone ahead of him but Chacon, who had caught Evans and had the lead. At the start of “The Lollipop”, about 2/3 of the bike, Leo was 1 minute ahead of Josiah. “I was catching him on the hike-a-bikes, or so it seemed. I think I got to 40 seconds, but when we got back on the bike he really went hard” said Middaugh. “I knew Josiah was there and he was pushing me” said Chacon “I had to push so hard”. Hard? When I talked to Leo he was in the med tent on his 2nd IV. He left nothing out on the field.
Best race on the bike was birthday boy Craig Evans and his young protagonist Mauricio Mendez. They traded places and worked together the entire bike. “I liked racing with him, he is very good to ride with” said Mendez. “We had a good race but when we got to the run, he simply ran away” lamented Evans.
Leo was on a mission and put time on Josiah in the first couple K of the run and then held it, winning by just under 3 minutes. Mendez was a fantastic 3rd overall with the fastest run of the day and came across the line just a minute behind Middaugh.
The heat finally got to Craig Evans and another hard charging Costa Rican- Rom Akerson – caught Craig with only a few hundred meters to go.
For the women, Canadian Chris Jeffrey had a massive lead out of the water. Chris’ nickname is Big Fish and the announcers continued to use that name the entire race. At the end, in the timing tent, the scoring crew asked me to verify that Big Fish was not her real name !! Shonny Vanlandingham had a good swim and was just 4 ½ minutes back.
We need to talk about the swim. The beach is pure white, the water azure blue. But yesterday and today there was a massive influx of jellyfish. I don’t think massive is even a big enough word. ”It was like swimming into a wall at times” said Brandon Rakita. “There were times you could not see if front of you because they were so thick”. Josiah laughed that it was “weird when you started a stroke and your hand punched into one – yuck”. He finished “They were so thick the stinging danglers were always down and the only time I felt anything was when one would get tossed up”. The beach was full of them, leftover from the high tide but nobody got stung.
Vanlandingham did not catch Jeffrey until well into the bike. “She is a strong biker on those flats and I had to wait until the technical parts to make any kind of gain on her” said Shonny. Indeed Christine had a great bike to finish an uncontested 2nd. Farther back Costa Rican pro Vivian Chavarria came out of the water second to Jeffrey but by the Lollipop Brazil pro Laura Diaz was in 3rd with Brit Flo Dannah 4th. Diaz, like so many others, suffered on the run and Flo caught her about the same place as Akerson passed Evans. The finish for the women was Vanlandingham first, Jeffrey 2nd, Flo Dannah 3rd, Laura Diaz 4th and Chavarria 5th.
A great first race. The area is fabulous. The event is held inside Playa Conchal which features hundreds of great condos from 1 to 3 bedrooms and the swanky Westin Resort. For those on a budget there are a dozen or more smaller places nearby that start at $29 a night. Plenty of camping as well, but don’t expect the campsites to be deluxe as in the States. This area is basically a Costa Rican surf resort. Lots of waves, coffee houses and small restaurants of a very high quality. Cuisine seems to be largely Italian and Mediterranean, but as mentioned, there are dozens of neat café’ style places to choose from that are quite varied. Oh – and the local Imperial Beer is always cold and tasty.
For this area you can fly into a good sized airport in Liberia. Then about a 45 minute drive to the venue. The Capitol City of San Jose is from 2.5 to 4 hours depending on traffic – and there is traffic in the big city.
Costa Rica is just a neat place. I had heard loads about it but never had been here. It meets all your expectations and then some. I’ve said it about a dozen places and this is another one. Get that Live More spirit going and come play in the sun and the surf next season.
|1||Leonardo Chacon, CRC||2:17:43|
|2||Josiah Middaugh, USA||2:20:40|
|3||Mauricio Mendez, MEX||2:21:46|
|4||Rom Akerson, CRC||2:25:05|
|5||Craig Evans, USA||2:25:47|
|6||Sebastian Neef, GER||2:26:39|
|7||Branden Rakita, USA||2:29:25|
|8||Llewellyn Holmes, GBR||2:31:59|
|9||Jan Kubicek, CZE||2:34:29|
|10||Sebastian Bauer, GER||2:42:26|
|Also: John Garita Zamora, Roberto Garcia Lachner, Fabrizio Bartoli|
|1||Shonny Vanlandingham, USA||2:51:08|
|2||Christine Jeffrey, USA||2:58:23|
|3||Flo Dannah, GBR||3:14:35|
|4||Laura Mira Diaz, BRA||3:14:58|
March 30, 2014 (Anglesea, Victoria, Australia) – The power couple of XTERRA, Ben Allen from Australia and Jacqui Slack from Great Britain, captured the 2nd running of the XTERRA Great Ocean Road off-road triathlon amidst a perfect bright blue sky day in the seaside town of Anglesea, Victoria on Sunday.
Interestingly, Allen didn’t post the fastest swim, bike, or run time but still crossed the tape nearly three minutes ahead of Roger Serrano from Spain with a winning time of 1:57:14. Drew Box, an Aussie ITU racer, was first out of the water and also posted the fastest run split (just 11 seconds faster in both disciplines than Allen) while Serrano had the best bike split.
The lead Box held out of the swim-to-bike transition area at Anglesea River-mouth Park didn’t last long as Allen and Serrano sped along the early stages of the bike route that featured breathtaking views of the Surf Coast Walk before dipping into some rugged Australian bushland and single track.
“My new Liv Giant Obsess bike handled smooth on all the tight & twisty sections, but I must’ve been having too much fun and took a spill,” said Allen. “Nothing I couldn’t handle though, it’s part of racing and I just dusted myself off and fought on.”
Serrano, a friend of Allen who came to Australia to experience the culture and tackle the two majors (Great Ocean Road and the inaugural XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race in NSW on April 26) was in the mix on the bike all day.
“I tried hard to stay with Ben in the technical sections but he was too fast. I had a couple of close calls not to crash, but it was still great fun out there,” said Serrano.
Allen and Serrano came into the bike-to-run transition together, then Allen pulled away and put the hammer down on the 10K trail run that featured a mixture of soft sand, cliff face and headland.
“I had fun out there today,” said Allen. “I raced smart and in control. I had a plan and I executed it to perfection. I’m honored to win on home soil in front of my family and friends. A huge highlight was crossing the line with my nephew Jayden. My whole family came down to support Jacqui and I. It’s the best feeling in the world to put on a good performance and show them what I can do.”
It’s Allen’s first major win of the season, coming off a 2013 career-year when he posted an unprecedented seven XTERRA World Tour race victories. Serrano held on for second and Box ran his way into third position. Dr. Mitch Anderson, a former Ironman Champion, placed fourth and Alex Hunt was fifth.
|1||Ben Allen, AUS||1:57:14|
|2||Roger Serrano, ESP||2:00:07|
|3||Drew Box, AUS||2:02:40|
|4||Mitchell Anderson, AUS||2:05:27|
|5||Alex Hunt, AUS||2:07:08|
|6||Sam Kidd, AUS||2:08:19|
|7||Jarad Kohlar, AUS||2:12:13|
|8||Eduardo Sturla, ARG||2:13:45|
|9||Ben Pattie, AUS||2:14:52|
|10||Noah Wright, USA||2:22:26|
|Also: Tim Beardall|
SLACK DOMINATES WOMEN’S RACE
In the women’s race Aussie ITU and IM 70.3 great Annabel Luxford started strong in her XTERRA debut using her Aussie surf skills to lead Slack out of the water. Of note, age grouper Natalie Marshall – a champion Surf Swimmer – exited 1st ahead of both of them.
Slack showcased her XTERRA mountain bike skills right away by riding through the soft sand and into the trails in the first 200-meters, a spot where Luxford had to walk her bike through, and there was no looking back after that. Slack posted the quickest bike and run splits on the day to cross the line in 2:16:19, more than 11-minutes ahead of runner-up Deanna Blegg.
“I had a solid ride but had no idea how far ahead I was,” said Slack, winner of four XTERRA World tour races last season. “I took off on the run hard for the first 5km and once I knew I had a big lead I was able to enjoy the second half of the run and embrace the support from the crowds, family & friends that cheered me on. It’s always a huge highlight sharing the top spot of the podium with Ben. We are both very grateful for the opportunity to race and all those who support us on this journey.”
Penny Hosken finished less than a minute behind Blegg in third, with local favorite Peri Gray in fourth and Luxford in fifth.
|1||Jacqui Slack, GBR||2:16:19|
|2||Deanna Blegg, AUS||2:27:49|
|3||Penny Hosken, AUS||2:28:41|
|4||Peri Gray, AUS||2:29:51|
|5||Annabel Luxford, AUS||2:31:22|
|6||Bernadette Dornom, AUS||2:34:52|
|7||Rebecca Hoschke, AUS||2:35:47|
lso on the day age-groupers lined up to race for Victorian Off-Road Championship titles and qualification spots into the XTERRA World Championships in Hawaii. Anglesea local Sam Hume won the men’s amateur title and placed 4th overall, edging Daniel Neilson by just over a minute in 2:05:14. Naantali Marshall won the women’s amateur title, placing fifth overall among women. Hundreds of other competitors took on the XTERRA Sprint Tri, 21km Trail Run and 10km Trail Run/Walk events.
Next up on the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour is XTERRA Saipan on April 5, then XTERRA New Zealand on April 12, followed by the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Jervis Bay, New South Wales on April 26.
2014 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING EVENTS
XTERRA Great Ocean Road was the sixth of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26, 2014. Up next, the XTERRA Saipan Championship on April 5.
|Date||Race||Location / Pro Winners|
|23-Feb||XTERRA South Africa||Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy|
|8-Mar||XTERRA Motatapu||Braden Currie / Nicky Samuels|
|15-Mar||XTERRA Philippines Championship||Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher|
|29-Mar||XTERRA Guam Championship||Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher|
|29-Mar||XTERRA Costa Rica||Leonardo Chacon / Shonny Vanlandingham|
|30-Mar||XTERRA Great Ocean Road||Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack|
|5-Apr||XTERRA Saipan Championship||Northern Marianas|
|12-Apr||XTERRA New Zealand Championship||Rotorua|
|13-Apr||XTERRA West Championship||Lake Las Vegas, Nevada|
|26-Apr||XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship||Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia|
|17-May||XTERRA Southeast Championship||Pelham, Alabama|
|24-May||XTERRA Mauritius||Bois Cheri|
|25-May||XTERRA Spain Championship||Cieza, Murcia|
|8-Jun||XTERRA Brazil Championship||Ilhabela, Sao Paulo|
|15-Jun||XTERRA East Championship||Richmond, Virginia|
|21-Jun||XTERRA Greece||Lake Plastira|
|28-Jun||XTERRA Switzerland Championship||Vallee de Joux|
|5-Jul||XTERRA Ontario – Canadian Cross Tri Championship||Milton, Ontario, Canada|
|6-Jul||XTERRA France Championship||Xonrupt, Gerardmer|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Victoria||British Columbia, Canada|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Freedom Fest||Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii|
|19-Jul||XTERRA Mountain Championship||Beaver Creek Resort, Avon, Colorado|
|20-Jul||XTERRA Ireland||Killaloe, County Clare|
|26-Jul||XTERRA Italy Championship||Abruzzo, Scanno|
|2-Aug||XTERRA Mexico Championship||Tapalpa, Jalisco|
|9-Aug||XTERRA Czech Championship||Prachatice|
|16-Aug||XTERRA Germany Championship||Zittau|
|17-Aug||XTERRA Canmore||Alberta, Canada|
|24-Aug||XTERRA England||Cranleigh, Surrey|
|31-Aug||XTERRA Quebec||Lac Delage, Quebec, Canada|
|7-Sep||XTERRA Sleeping Giant||Thundery Bay, Ontario, Canada|
|20-Sep||XTERRA USA Championship||Ogden/Snowbasin, UT|
|26-Oct||XTERRA World Championship||Maui, Hawaii|
About TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA
TEAM Unlimited is a Hawaii-based television events and marketing company, founded in 1988. It owns and produces XTERRA and in 2014 will offer more than 300 XTERRA off-road triathlon and trail running races in 25+ countries worldwide. In addition, TEAM TV has produced more than 300 adventure television shows resulting in three Emmy’s and 42 Telly Awards for production excellence since 1990. View samples at www.xterra.tv, and learn more at xterraplanet.com and xterratrailrun.com.