The third year of elite and amateur racing across the XTERRA Pan America Tour gets underway on Sunday 18 March at the XTERRA Chile off-road triathlon sports festival in San Bernardo. XTERRA Chile is the first of 12 events in nine different countries on the 2018 Tour. It’s a Silver event, offering 26 qualifying spots into the XTERRA World Championship in Maui for the top amateurs in each division along with points and prize money for elites.
For 2016 XTERRA World Champ Mauricio Mendez, it’s the first step towards redemption. Just minutes after crossing the finish line in second-place at last year’s World Championship, Mendez was already thinking about 2018. “The truth is I have mixed feelings right now,” he said moments after the race was over. “Having a second place is great but from right now until October 28th next year, I am going to be thinking of one thing and that’s getting that title back.”
XTERRA Chile director Rodrigo Ballivian said he was thrilled to have Mendez in the field, adding that “the presence of Mauricio gives a tremendous boost to this event. He is a world champion as a person and a racer, and we look forward to watching him perform this weekend.”
Both the men’s and women’s elite races will feature new winners, as neither inaugural winners Felipe Barraza or Barbara Riveros are returning to defend their crowns.
In the men’s race, 2017 Pan Am Tour runner-up Branden Rakita of the US and third-place Tour finisher Kieran McPherson of New Zealand will join Maxi Morales of Argentina, Rafael Juriti of Brazil, and hometown favourite Gaspar Riveros in a chase to keep Mauricio Mendez in sight.
The women’s elite race features former Olympian and four-time XTERRA Mexico Champion Fabiola Corona of Mexico, Allison Baca of the US, Anne Sophie Marechal of Belgium, and Carolina Nieva of Argentina.
The main event features a 1500m swim in the lagoon ‘Lago Maipo’ followed by a 30km mountain bike segment, and 10km trail run. The trails are primarily hard, packed earth and rocks, due to the arid environment, and the mountain bike course includes several technical sections, including an 1800m climb out of a dry riverbed followed by a quick drop.
The XTERRA event is part of a three-day race festival, which includes open water swims, kids competitions, trail races, plus 30K and 60K mountain bike races. In the following week, there are two races on the XTERRA Pan America Tour with XTERRA Argentina on March 24 and XTERRA Costa Rica on March 25.