XTERRA Spain has had anything but a clean record. Poorly marked courses, professionals not being paid, race directors charged with fraud. All of this hasn’t boded well for the XTERRA name in the country of Spain. However, all of that is about to change thanks to the efforts of professional cross triathlete Roger Serrano. Known for his positive attitude, passionate competitiveness, warm smile, and bushy beard, Serrano has personal made it his mission to give XTERRA Spain a good reputation again.
We caught up with Roger to get the story on what happened in the past and what we can expect in the future. NOTE: Some responses were edited to account for the Spanish/English language translation.
DirtTRI: Can you share a brief history of what happened to XTERRA Spain in the past and how you brought it back this year?
Roger: To be brief but understandable, the last organizer was paying more attention to his bank account than taking proper care of the athletes.My decision was to bring back the event for the athletes. I have worked hard to offer the race at a reasonable price and create a nice course, despite not being able to find much sponsorship money.
The attraction of an XTERRA is not just the race, but the location as well. Tarragona is my home and an amazing city to discover. That is why I chose to hold the race there.
DirtTRI: Registration opened quite recently. How many people are registered so far? Are you limiting the size of the race?
Roger: There are already 96 registrations and registration only opened 10 hours ago, so I’m very happy. There will be only 500 entries. The two lap circuit on the bike and the narrow trail doesn’t allow for more people, while still being a quality race. This first year is about gaining the confidence of the athletes again. I don’t want them to make a long trip and leave Tarragona sad or with a bad taste in their mouth.
DirtTRI: What is the course like? What can athletes expect on race day?
Roger: Tarragona is one of the warmest cities in Spain. Last year the ambient temperature was 28ºC at max for the 14th of May. Water temperature, at the beach where we are going to swim was 19ºc. The mountain bike course begins with a 6km flat trail; 1.5km of road to take the single track from the beach to the river, then 4,5km of narrow single track until we enter the natural reserve.
“Two laps of 15km with an elevation gain of 350 meters per lap. There will be lots of singletrack trails with uphills and downhills. The terrain is technical because of the stones in the area.”
The run will be a two lap circuit around the romanic bridge with an elevation gain of 120 meters per lap. It to is very technical because of the rocks.
DirtTRI: What can athletes expect from the venue itself?
Roger: The town has 135,000 inhabitants, so it is not small. There is an old section of town surrounded on one side by the sea and the other with a romanic fortification. It’s 90km from Barcelona and is very easy to reach by car or via public transport. The famous theme park, Port Aventura, is 10km from the city and by May the new Ferrari Land Theme Park will be open. It has lots of good restaurants with typical food from the city like paella or seafood.
DirtTRI: Will there be other races outside of the triathlon at XTERRA Spain?
Roger: There will be a short XTERRA, but nothing more. We organize other races throughout the year in the area and because this is the first year for the XTERRA we wanted to focus entirely on the triathlon. We don’t want to fail because of other distractions.
DirtTRI: Have you signed a multi year contract with either XTERRA or your sponsors?
Roger: It’s a one year contract. I can’t take the risk without knowing how people will respond to the return of XTERRA in Spain. I hope everything goes well and Team Unlimited is happy enough to sign for many more years after the event.
To learn more about the event and to register, follow the links below.