The XTERRA World Championship mountain bike course has been reimagined from one big 32km loop to two 16.4km loops. This is in order to improve the race and spectator experience and minimize the impact severe weather has on the route.
Last year at XTERRA Worlds, following weeks of torrential rain, the mud-soaked bike trails created less than desirable race conditions for competitors.
“We’ve always said that in XTERRA, Mother Nature is your toughest competitor, and while last year’s mud-fest was certainly entertaining, challenging, and even fun for some, it’s not the kind of race experience we want to deliver on our sports biggest day,” said XTERRA President, Janet Clark.
The 2019 XTERRA World Championship is scheduled for October 27 at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Hawai’i.
XTERRA Race Director Chris Appleton, in conjunction with landowners at Troon Golf and the Maui Land & Pineapple Company, identified alternate routes to eliminate trouble spots and maximize the best riding sections.
In late April, Appleton and the operations crew travelled to Kapalua to cut new trail, connect existing sections, and solidify a 16K loop that will provide ‘a great mountain bike riding experience comprised of single track, switchbacks, berms, and opportunities to pass.’ XTERRA adds that it’ll also feature a ton of climbing and descending with roughly 1,500-feet of climbing and descending per lap (3,000 total).
The course restructure is a year-long effort that will involve several trips by Chris Appleton and the crew to build a sustainable trail system to benefit the local community and XTERRA for years to come.
“By cutting the route now and having local mountain biking enthusiasts ride it regularly until October it’ll create a much better racing surface and bike grooves; and the soil will be in better condition to absorb wet conditions should we be faced with that again,” said Chris Appleton. “Plus, it’ll be open from sun-up to sun-down, so pre-riders and locals alike can enjoy it year-round.”
The two-loop course will also route onto hotel grounds to provide a better spectator experience and a more engaging live stream for viewers online.
“We’re thrilled with the changes and believe the athletes and their families will love it too,” added Janet Clark.
To provide a clean race for the professional field, the elite race will start at 08:00 local time, and the age group field will start at 09:00 (tentatively). This should allow elites to get on to their second lap of the bike before the first age groupers start their first lap.