After a one-year break, XTERRA, the premier off-road triathlon series, is back in Albay next month with a bigger, more explosive edition laid out on a new course tipped to challenge even the toughest bidders in the fold.
Bradley Weiss, who ruled the blue-ribbon event back-to-back from 2015, is back in pursuit of a three-peat although the South African ace has hinted at a challenging campaign given the depth of the competing international field raring to foil his bid in the 1.5km swim-28km mountain bike-8km trail run event, presented by the City of Legazpi, on June 17.
Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, who dominated the women’s side in 2016, won’t be around to defend her crown but the cast remains as tough as ever with Austrian Carina Wasle heading the compact roster that includes a slew of first-timers eager to prove their worth on a course that features a breath-taking view of the majestic Mayon Volcano.
Weiss and Wasle are actually gunning for a follow-up to their XTERRA Danao feats last month but observers feel that with a souped-up field, the in-form duo will be in for a rough, tough outing against the likes of New Zealand’s Sam Osborne, who placed second to Weiss in Danao, third placer Kieran McPherson, also of New Zealand, 2016 XTERRA Asia-Pacific titlist Ben Allen of Australia, Japanese Takahiro Ogasawara, the 2016 XTERRA Saipan winner, Akihiro Maeda, also of Japan, Kiwis Alex Roberts and Olly Shaw and local ace Joseph Miller.
“I can’t wait to take on whoever decides to show up,” said Weiss, adding that he’s been preparing hard to take on his fellow XTERRA warriors in the upcoming event. “It’s going to be fun and a memorable experience racing on Mt. Mayon, a very well-known volcano. I can’t wait to be back.”
Wasle, who has won 15 XTERRA world tour races, also braces for a spirited charge by the likes of Penny Slater and Kristy Jennings of New Zealand and Leela Hancox of Australia, among others in the event produced and organized by Sunrise Events, Inc.
“We have assembled an outstanding cast of pros and everybody is looking forward to a great, very challenging XTERRA race back in Albay,” said SEI founder Wilfred Uytengsu during yesterday’s launch of the event at SEDA BGC Hotel. “We take pride that on the 10th year celebration of Sunrise, we had the opportunity to do two XTERRA triathlons, including the Asia Pacific Championship in Danao last month.
The event was actually scheduled last March but was moved to June in light of the recent irregular behavior of Mayon Volcano.
Also on tap in the event, held as part of SEI’s 10th year of triathlon staging, are the duathlon (2km run-14km bike-4km run) and the lite XTERRa (750km swim-14km bike-4km run).
For details, visit www.albay.xterraphil.com or hashtags #XTERRAAlbay or social media accounts facebook /XTERRAAlbay, twitter @XTERRAAlbay or instagram @XTERRAAlbay.
Other backers of the event are Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines, Prudential Guarantee, @GO Express, Sanicare, AlcoPlus, David’s Salon, and media partners The Philippine STAR and HyperHD on Cignal.