By Jordan Winar –
All photos via XTERRA
Is anything going right in the United States? President Trump is possibly being impeached. A football player, Myles Garett, ripped off another players helmet and then tried to beat him with it. A women, at one time the fastest in the World, spoke out about Nike’s Oregon project. What or who can we even count on anymore as leaders?
With the world coming to an end in the news, the one saving grace you have is the ability to disconnect and be free through the sport of XTERRA. It’s the place you met your best friends or maybe even your spouse. XTERRA is the one place in the World that it didn’t matter if you were first or last because someone was always there to cheer you on. XTERRA, the place where a Pro took you and a bunch of other mountain bikers on a recovery ride the day after he won a race. Maybe the World is all wrong but at least XTERRA is all right.
Then you read the news. Your favorite local XTERRA race was not getting approved to be an XTERRA event anymore! It’s not just your favorite race its many races being cancelled with no option of renewal. How could they do this, especially before the holidays!?
US Racer Sentiment
Who’s running XTERRA? Why are they acting like Scrooge, The Grinch or maybe even a little like Old Man Potter from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.
The loyal racer with years and years of memories, left out on the street to only reminisce about what was.
And that begs the question, what event is next on the chopping block?
Could it be your race?
Global Racer Sentiment
For 24 years XTERRA has been focused on the United States. Regional championships and a point series to boot. What about the other 7.3 billion of us out here?
The racers in Asia are finally getting some attention!
XTERRA is doing a great thing by focusing beyond the United States border and taking this great sport to a new level at each race. Who would have thought that there’s more to the world than just the United States racers!
While us global racers understand it’s tough to lose a local race let us remind you that it took some of us 24 years to get JUST one race in our country! We now get to compete in our country against the best for a slot to race at the World Championship in Maui!
Furthermore, while some races were not renewed in the United States remember you still have 3 gold races that you should go check out. Even though we are sad your a few races got un-renewed remember you’re still lucky and we are still jealous at those awesome races you still have!
Elite Racer Sentiment
The best XTERRA athletes in the World get paid like paupers! XTERRA has recently committed to big purses and we can finally make a living at this!
It’s time that a global league per say be formed where the best can collide on a regular basis and be paid for the pain and agony that they put into being the best in the World! XTERRA’s strategic marketing and sales efforts to go after and pitch the biggest and best names in the World for sponsorship through their marketing plan of larger races and multi-day festivals. If anyone can pull it off, XTERRA can!
The PR release by XTERRA a few days ago was nothing but pure euphoria for the Elites.
The Real Sentiment
Do you see the problem overarching problem here? The United States again is at the center of selfishness rather than pushing for progress. XTERRA is making a massive push for progress to only be held back by old thinking.
In fact, maybe it’s time the United States racers got a wake up call on all levels of XTERRA. The last male US World Champ was back in 2015, Josiah Middaugh. The last female was nearly a decade ago in 2010, Shonny Vanlandingham.
And how about a US Amateur overall win?
2015 was Julie Baker who’s now an Elite and on the male side Neilson Powless back in 2012.
XTERRA has opened the door to race off-road on a global level and challenge us all to be our best but the US racer response to this news sounds like an old out of shape grandfather, “let me tell you about the good ole’ days of XTERRA when it was small and I used to win EVERYTHING!”
To put on any event takes planning, human capital, volunteers, racers, and a community to embrace it. To make it a multi-day event that’s memorable and worth coming back to takes an insane amount of energy, effort, and a world class organization! XTERRA has proven itself for 24 years in Hawaii! It is without question the determining factor of who the very best off-road triathlete is in the World!
So what about South Africa then?
Good question. There are two sides to every story. Why have so many other places agreed to terms with an outlier of South Africa? It begs the question, maybe the Race Director of South Africa was asking for to much? If everyone else can agree why can’t they?
The “It’s too expensive to race globally” Sentiment from the US racers
Let this story sink in. An 18 year old shows up in Maui after he qualified on a national level in 2019. He can’t rent a car because he’s not 25. He has to get an Air BNB because he’s either too young for most resorts or it’s out of his price range. He’s alone and he just graduated from High School. He shows up on race day in an Uber. He didn’t win his age group but he had the time of his life and he lives in Houston, Texas.
The point is, if you have enough desire and fire inside you, resources will be the least of your excuses. Being resourceful, just like him, is the key! We should all learn a lesson from him regardless if you race in Maui or not.
THE REST OF THE STORY
This story is not a conspiracy theory. It’s not to point fun at the United States racers. It’s just to remind us to look at the whole story, in context and not just the pieces you want.
The World is bigger than the United States. Go out and be an Ambassador for the US across the globe racing XTERRA’s. Show them we are more than the news. We are just like them. We are human beings just looking to get away from the stresses of the World and on to a trail less traveled with our friends both old and new.
In addition, The PRO’s deserve to be paid and it’s been a long time coming. Kudos to XTERRA for setting a new standard. Think of the kids in the future talking about becoming an XTERRA PRO. What a great current bunch of Pro’s to lead the way for the next generation.
In conclusion, here in the United States, it’s the week of Thanksgiving. Be grateful for all of what XTERRA has done and given to you so far and will continue to do so in the future. Tell them “thanks” this week. Encourage them to ‘do more’, ‘give more’ and continue to ‘live more’ like they have for the last 24 years.
In 2020, look outside the border to beyond. Travel to a new country, for new XTERRA adventure, meet new friends, have new experiences and you will never be the same. Remember this isn’t the end, it’s a new beginning.
Here’s to another 24 years of adventure we get to experience thanks to XTERRA!
It’s easy to look around and see what’s wrong but it’s just as easy to see what’s right! Be the latter not the former!
About Jordan Winar
The Rest of the Story series is contributed by off-road triathlete and freelance writer, Jordan Winar
Jordan competed in his first ever triathlon April 22, 2017. Prior to this, he had never competed in any triathlons, bike races, or outdoor swimming competitions. Jordan competed in 12 XTERRA events over the following 5 months, eventually qualifying for the XTERRA World Championships in Maui, Hawaii.
Jordan attributes his success to his newly found Vegan lifestyle and The Gazelle Mindset.