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Surprise! XTERRA Launch Pan American Tour and Fundamentally Change Pan-Am Pro Racing

Big Shake Up for XTERRA in North America

Team Unlimited, owners and producers of the XTERRA cross triathlon series, have announced the launch of the XTERRA Pan American Tour, a significant step forward in developing the world’s most successful cross triathlon brand within the North, South, and Central American markets.

For most of the past 20 years the XTERRA America Tour has served as the world’s premier professional cross triathlon series. However, recently long standing events within the XTERRA America Tour have become conspicuously overshadowed by larger and better produced international events. Thus, XTERRA have trimmed the fat so to speak and focused on growing a broader series of professional events within the Pan American region.

XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas explained,  “While our roots are here in Hawaii, our sport is truly international. Creating the Pan American Series aligns our events in the Americas with our structure in Europe and Asia-Pacific regions, and provides a platform for our Canadian, Latin & South American friends to be part of a competitive regional series of events”.

2016 XTERRA PAN AMERICAN TOUR

March 20 – XTERRA Costa Rica (Playa Reserva Conchal) *SILVER
March 26 – XTERRA Argentina (Dique Ullum, San Juan) *GOLD
May 7 – XTERRA Brazil (Ilhabela) *SILVER
May 21 – XTERRA Oak Mountain (Pelham, AL, USA) *GOLD
June 25 – XTERRA Mine Over Matter (Milton, ON, CAN) *SILVER
July 10 – XTERRA Victoria (B.C., CAN) *SILVER
July 16 – XTERRA Beaver Creek (Avon, CO, USA) *GOLD
July 31 – XTERRA Dominican Republic (Barahona) *GOLD
Aug 6 – XTERRA Mexico (Tapalpa) *GOLD
Sep 17 – XTERRA Pan American Championship (Ogden, UT, USA)

Thus, on the whole this is a good thing, particularly for the professional athletes. The new Pan American series creates a cohesiveness which was lacking in the disjointed XTERRA America, Canada, and Brazil series, and links to various other major events previously lacking supporting National series’. Plus it gives Pan American pros more opportunity to race with better reach and exposure for their sponsors.

At the time of posting this article, and after reaching out to XTERRA, it is unclear exactly what will happen with races previously on the XTERRA America Tour, i.e. XTERRA West in Las Vegas, and XTERRA East in Richmond, VA. Currently, neither of these races are listed on the XTERRA Series schedule.

What we do know is for amateur athletes most of the XTERRA America Tour will remain with the XTERRA Pan American Tour serving to compliment the American events and American amateur athletes’ path to the XTERRA World Championship.

Fanatical and loud costumed crowds bring a cyclo-cross vibe to XTERRA Richmond, making it one of the world's best off road tris.
Fanatical and loud costumed crowds bring a cyclo-cross vibe to XTERRA Richmond, making it one of the world’s best cross triathlons.

However, the pros will lose a real gem in the longest standing event of the XTERRA America Tour, the XTERRA East Championship in Richmond, VA. (This author for one is extremely disappointed to hear this news, as Richmond may well have been the best event on the XTERRA American calendar)

Those paying attention would have seen this change coming. To put it bluntly, many newer global events, particularly in Europe and South Africa, have been kicking the ass of the classic America series events. The international events are larger, spectator friendly with a festival atmosphere, and the race courses are just better. Yet, some of these issues were not entirely due to the venue or the organizer but rather American governmental regulations limiting trail access, impossibly fluid local schedules leading to conflicting events, and remnants of the 2009 economic downturn.

Producing premier events within any sport is a very difficult proposition. XTERRA have had some issues in the past and have had their hands full over the past decade building a truly international brand. During that time the XTERRA America Tour seemed to have stagnated, particularly in the professional ranks. However, the creation of the XTERRA Pan American Tour shows us Team Unlimited isn’t done yet. They’re still innovating and they’re still relevant. Perhaps reigning XTERRA World Champion, Josiah Middaugh said it best,  “I think it could really re-energize some of the pros that might be stale with the same races and open up to some other pro athletes to be competitive, especially in Mexico, Canada, Central and South America”.

Obviously this is a big move for XTERRA. Yet, if done well and embraced by the athletes the creation of the XTERRA Pan American Tour could mark a new era for cross triathlon in the Pan American region. DirtTRI will be there. We hope you will be too.

Find XTERRA’s Pan American Tour press release below:

December 2, 2015 (Honolulu, HI) – TEAM Unlimited, owners and producers of the XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon World Tour, today announced the formation of the XTERRA Pan American Tour which connects the sports’ major events in South, Central, and North America as well as the Caribbean.

The inaugural 10-stop series for both amateur and professional athletes starts March 20th at XTERRA Costa Rica and concludes September 17 with the XTERRA Pan American Championship race in Ogden, Utah.  In between are two majors in the U.S., two in Canada, and one each in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

2016 XTERRA PAN AMERICAN TOUR

March 20 – XTERRA Costa Rica (Playa Reserva Conchal) *SILVER
March 26 – XTERRA Argentina (Dique Ullum, San Juan) *GOLD
May 7 – XTERRA Brazil (Ilhabela) *SILVER
May 21 – XTERRA Oak Mountain (Pelham, AL, USA) *GOLD
June 25 – XTERRA Mine Over Matter (Milton, ON, CAN) *SILVER
July 10 – XTERRA Victoria (B.C., CAN) *SILVER
July 16 – XTERRA Beaver Creek (Avon, CO, USA) *GOLD
July 31 – XTERRA Dominican Republic (Barahona) *GOLD
Aug 6 – XTERRA Mexico (Tapalpa) *GOLD
Sep 17 – XTERRA Pan American Championship (Ogden, UT, USA)

 “We’re evolving,” explained XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas.  “While our roots are here in Hawaii, our sport is truly international. Creating the Pan American Series aligns our events in the Americas with our structure in Europe and Asia-Pacific regions, and provides a platform for our Canadian, Latin & South American friends to be part of a competitive regional series of events.”

The XTERRA Pan American Tour will feature Gold and Silver level events, just like the XTERRA European Tour, where Gold events award points on a 100-point basis and Silver races award points on a 75-point basis.  

GOLD POINTS: 100-Point Basis

1=100, 2=90, 3=82, 4=75, 5=69, 6=63. 7=58, 8=53, 9=49, 10=45, 11=41, 12=37, 13=34, 14=31, 15=28

SILVER POINTS: 75-Point Basis 

1=75, 2=67, 3=61, 4=56, 5=51, 6=47, 7=43, 8=39, 9=36, 10=33, 11=30, 12=27, 13=25, 14=23, 15=21

Gold events offer the equivalent of $15,000 USD in elite prize money to the top seven men and women, plus 50 spots into the XTERRA World Championship for amateurs.

Silver races offer the equivalent of $7,500 USD in elite prize money to the top five men and women, plus at least 25 spots into the XTERRA World Championship for amateurs (the exception is XTERRA Brazil, which offers 50 spots to Worlds).

The XTERRA Pan American Championship race in Utah will offer $20,000 USD for the race and distribute an additional $60,000 USD in prize money to the top 10 men and women in the final XTERRA Pan American Pro Series rankings.

“I think it could really re-energize some of the pros that might be stale with the same races and open up to some other pro athletes to be competitive, especially in Mexico, Canada, Central and South America,” said XTERRA World Champion Josiah Middaugh.

Elites and amateurs competing in the XTERRA Pan American Tour count their best four scores (two Gold, two Silver) from the first nine events plus whatever they get, or don’t get, at the XTERRA Pan American Championship race which will be scored at the 100-point level. Five Scores Total.  Thus, the final point total combines an athletes best two Gold scores, best two Silver scores, plus their XTERRA Pan American Championship race points. 

Athletes can race in as many of the five Gold events as they like, but just their best two will count at the 100-point level, with other Gold finishes counting at the 75-point level.   

Example:  Athlete A finishes 1st at XTERRA Argentina, 3rd at XTERRA Brazil, 5th at XTERRA Oak Mountain, 2nd at XTERRA Mexico, and 6th at the XTERRA Pan American Championship.  Athlete A will count his best two Gold scores, Argentina = 100 and Mexico = 90. His Gold score from Oak Mountain will convert to Silver/75-point level points = 51. He gets 61 for Brazil, and 63 for Pan Am Champs. 365 points.

Amateur athletes need to race at least two (any two) XTERRA Pan American Tour majors listed in schedule above to be eligible for Tour honors at the end of the season.  Athletes from all nations are welcome to race in the one-day XTERRA Pan American Championship race as no qualification is necessary. 

“This point structure gives amateurs and elites from all over the region a legitimate shot at the Pan Am Title,” said XTERRA President Janet Clark.  “It also encourages exploration and an opportunity to discover some amazing places.”

Note: The XTERRA Pan American Tour will not replace the XTERRA America Tour for amateur athletes, it will supplement it.  The XTERRA Pan American Championship race will also double as the XTERRA USA Championship race and award national titles to the top American finisher in each division.  U.S. amateurs still have the opportunity to race for traditional regional championship titles by counting their best four scores in the XTERRA America Tour.  In addition, and new this year, every regional champion will earn a qualifying spot into the XTERRA World Championship race in Maui.

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About Jimmy Archer

Founder and Editor at dirtTRI.com. Jimmy has been a professional athlete for over 15 years as a runner, cyclist, mountain biker, cross country skier, and primarily, triathlete. Jimmy has a degree in exercise science from the University of Colorado and is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling certified coach. Jimmy became a freelance writer in 2000 while competing and covering the ITU Winter Triathlon World Championship. Since that time Jimmy has been head editor at two magazines, been published in numerous publications within the endurance sport, recreation, and travel segments. Currently Jimmy is competing professionally in off-road multisport. In his spare time Jimmy passionately follows Formula 1, Moto GP, and is an avid cook.

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6 comments

  1. I can’t believe they’d cancel Richmond. That’s my hometown race and it’s the best. Kind of seems like a slap in the face to us mid-Atlantic racers who now have exactly one race in all of VA and MD. Seems like a grow at all costs move at the expense of one of the iconic American races. Maybe I’m too close to it though. Going to go cry into my cheerios now.

    • Indeed! We are very disappointed to see Richmond go, if that is truly the case. Even if it were not a pro race we’d still like to see it on the schedule. We do know it was an expensive venue to host a race and the park where the transition area and main venue was located was booked months and years in advance as it is in the heart of Richmond. As Richmond revitalizes the downtown area we assume XTERRA was either priced out or pushed out. We are working on a follow up story focused exclusively on the Richmond event.
      But, yes, if its gone for good it is a real tragedy.

      • Western Championship also cancelled ??

        • Humberto,
          Yes, it looks like the Lake Las Vegas race is not happening. It is not currently on the XTERRA event listing. We know it will not be a XTERRA championship race any longer. It still could be an XTERRA but at this time it looks like it will not be. We are reaching out to XTERRA for more information.

  2. Jimmy,

    The Foghorn Leghorn crew is sad on the RVA decision – won’t take away the years of beers & memories there in the “little valley of quit”; racers taking hand-ups put a smile on the faces of many of us with respect to the Velominati’s Rule #5.

    The conditions and spirit of the racers even had a few guys soften (tiniest of amounts) on:

    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
    If it’s preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run, it is not called a bike race, it is called duathlon or a triathlon. Neither of which is a bike race. Also keep in mind that one should only swim in order to prevent drowning, and should only run if being chased. And even then, one should only run fast enough to prevent capture.

    Tell Xterra we’ll be ready when they miss the debauchery. ☺

    -Mickey’s twisted cousin

    • Thanks man, we will do everything we can to preserve the race or, worst case scenario, revive the race.

      And… ya got it all wrong. XTERRA athletes (not standard triathletes mind you) are just too strong to stick to only one sport. We got banished from pure bike races for being too strong so they made us add the swim and run to mix it up a bit. 😉

      – The DirtTRI Syndicate

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