Thursday, October 11, 2007

Building to Maui

Heres a pre- race article from Xterra News. I think we are starting to get excited. Do you think there are enough men entered yet?

THE KAHUNA’S PRO RACE PREVIEW: Nobody on the planet has been to more XTERRA Championship events than the managing director of the XTERRA Global Tour – “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas. Having been to every World Championship race in Maui since creating the sport back in 1996, and having been onsite to see this years races unfold in Saipan, New Zealand, California, Italy, Alabama, Virginia, Denmark, Austria, Germany, UK, and the U.S. – the Kahuna is more than qualified to speculate on who might win it all this year. That doesn’t mean he’ll get it right, in fact, he’s hardly ever right (just 1 for 10 in picking winners over the last five years).
So, with a grain of salt (but with some tasty insight nonetheless) here are the Kahuna’s ’07 Maui prognostications:

It seems every year gets better. And I have to believe it does. The pro field is superb this year for both men and women; and the age group competitors are faster, stronger and more motivated than ever. So while I am excited, I face a real problem. Whenever I pick a winner it’s as big a curse to that athlete as being on the cover of Sports Illustrated. My record is 1 right for the last 5 years. But no matter, here’s how I see this fantastic upcoming event shaking out.
The women’s field is deep and will bring a great race. Three-time World Champ Melanie McQuaid has not had the season she wanted and she knows this is the BIG one that counts. Jamie Whitmore wrote last year after Maui that she had the “eye of the tiger” for 2007. Who can doubt her speed after winning 4 of 5 in the USA Championship Series? But there is more than the Melanie-Jamie shootout.
Julie Dibens (England) raced against a good women’s entry in Saipan and showed well. She stomped the field in the UK just a month ago and is rested and ready. Carina Wasle (Austria) had to work during the early part of the year and when she first appeared in Denmark did not have the spark of past years. But as she trained and raised her level of fitness she improved in Austria and won easily in Germany. This will be her third year in Maui and she says she knows what to expect.
Sibylle Matter has a 2d and a 3d at Maui the past two years and this year she is concentrating only on Maui. No Ironman double. Candy Angle has had an average year and surely wants redemption after last year’s bad crash. Anna Baylis-Scheiderbauer is a pro mountain biker who has triathlon history and won Denmark over Wasle and Matter. This is her kind of course. And speaking of mountain bikers we have many time mountain bike champ Shonny Vanlandingham and Dara Marks Marino, another NORBA gal, who has been consistently in the top 4 this year. Kiwi Jen Smith has been super fast this season finishing off the year with a stunning second at Tahoe and was 4th last year in her first attempt at Maui. Quiet and easy to overlook, Jen Smith is my dark horse.
You must look for Dibens and Matter to lead early. Julie is unbelievably fast in the water. Last year Matter came out about 2 minutes ahead of McQuaid and Julie is faster. Mel, Jamie, Carina and the others will have to chase these two on the volcano. The question is who will have the patience to stay within their limits and let their power and bike skills do the job?

For the men it seems to be the year of the Caveman. Other than a mechanical in Utah, he has gone undefeated all season starting in April in South Africa and finishing in September at Tahoe. For the US side folks, Seth Wealing has had an up and down season but is always fast, Mike Vine is having a strong year, winning in Brazil, and taking 2nd in the US Pro Series. Josiah Middaugh and Greg Krause love Maui and always have strong finishes there. Andrew Noble has not done well at Maui, but the “ageless wonder” is always at the sharp end of the field.
Olivier Marceau (Swiss) has gotten so close to the brass ring he is the sentimental favorite for sure. Always fast, always gracious, the man has talent and style to burn. While he has concentrated on qualifying for his 3rd Olympics, never look for Oli anywhere but close to the front or in the lead. 2005 Champ Nico Lebrun (France) is potent at Maui and won Austria and the UK to take the European Crown for the second time. The “Professor” knows how to race and how to finish strong. The wild card here is Olympic Silver medalist Bevan Docherty. We will never forget another Kiwi Hamish Carter showing up last year and winning in his first attempt. Bevan is equally skilled but is keeping quiet about his mountain bike skills. Marceau, when he found out Docherty was coming said “bloody Kiwi’s”. If Oli is concerned, everybody should be concerned.
Those are the clear options for the Global men, but young German Felix Schumann is getting faster every race and was just 9 seconds behind Lebrun in Wales. Ronny Dietz and Nico Pfitzenmaier are strong bikers and Maui demands power on the mountain. Both have been here before. The other Kiwi is Tim Wilding who won down under in the spring and has the talent to surprise. The unknown here must be Cedric Fleureton (France) who is an ITU World Cup winner and also surprised us all in Italy a few years ago beating Marceau. He won the French series this year and is ready to take on the best.
The age group field is equally strong with entries from 20 countries and 40 States fighting for that very precious World Champion jersey.
So now I have to make the choices; it seems to me that Conrad is simply too strong this year with the options of Olivier Marceau and Frenchman Cedric Fleureton. On the women’s side it just seems it is Jamie’s year and if she paces herself she can catch Dibens and McQuaid for her second title. OK, now you know and we can all laugh at the party Sunday night 28 October… I can’t wait.
MAUI PRO START LIST: The professionals competing in Maui are the best-of-the-best in not only the world of XTERRA, but also the mountain biking, triathlon, and adventure racing communities. More than 70 pros, including eight Olympians and former XTERRA World Champions Nicolas Lebrun (2005), Eneko Llanos (2003-04), Conrad Stoltz (2001-02) Michael Tobin (2000), Melanie McQuaid (2003 & 2005-06), Jamie Whitmore (2004), and Candy Angle (2002), will toe the start line on October 28. Below is the tentative start list by race number, determined by their finish position at last year’s XTERRA World Championship, then alphabetically. Tentative as of 10.10.07.
# (place at last year’s WC) - Name - Age, Hometown (2007 Championship Wins)
1 (2) - Olivier Marceau - 34, Cannes, France (Saipan/Italy)
2 (3) - Seth Wealing - 28, Boulder, Colorado (U.S. Mountain Champs)
3 (4) - Josiah Middaugh - 29, Vail, Colorado
4 (5) - Eneko Llanos - 30, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
5 (7) - Greg Krause - 30, Denver, Colorado
6 (8) - Nicolas Lebrun - 34, Digne-les-Bains, France (Austria/UK)
7 (9) - Ryan Ignatz - 29, Boulder, Colorado
8 (10) - Nico Pfitzenmaier - 36, Besigheim, Germany (Japan)
9 (12) - Andrew Noble - 42, Gold Coast, Australia
10 (13) - Hektor Llanos - 35, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
11 (14) - Jimmy Archer - 35, Boulder, Colorado
12 (15) - Sam Gardner - 32, Surrey, Great Britain
14 (16) - Dominic Gillen - 30, South Royalton, Vermont
15 (17) - Brian Smith - 31, Gunnison, Colorado
16 (19) - Lieuwe Boonstra - 31, Cape Town, South Africa
17 (24) - Brian Astell - 26, Gualala, California
18 (27) - Jeff Sanders - 36, Lahaina, Maui
19 (32) - Felix Schumann - 24, Germany
20 (35) - Chad Seymour - 25, Honolulu, Hawaii
21 (37) - Michael Tobin - 43, Boise, Idaho
22 (38) - Taro Shirato - Tokyo, Japan
23 (40) - Will Kelsay - 26, Boulder, Colorado
24 - Rom Akerson – 23, Tambor, Costa Rica (Costa Rica)
25 - Rodrigo Altafini – Itapira, Brazil
26 - Jordan Bryden – 20, Alberta, Canada
27 - Ryan DeCook – 26, Rochester, Michigan
28 - Mario De Elias – 23, Neuquen, Argentina
29 - Ronnie Dietz – 29, Chemnitz, Germany (Denmark)
30 - Bevan Docherty – 30, Taupo, New Zealand
31 - Cedric Fleureton – 33, France
32 - Kelly Guest – 30, Vancouver, BC, Canada
33 - David Henestrosa – 30, Manresa, Spain
34 - Brian Hughes – 30, Randolph, Massachusetts
35 - Jason Jablonski – 33, Wenatchee, Washington
36 - John Koenig – 37, Glenview, Illinois
37 - Jan Kubicek - 27, Chodov City, Czech Republic
38 - Chris Legh - 34, Melbourne, Australia
39 - Mark Leishman - 27, Palmerston North, New Zealand
40 - Alexandre Manzan – 33, Brazil
41 - Jim McConnell – 34, Oxford, United Kingdom
42 - Nat Ross – 37, Golden, Colorado
43 - Jorg Scheiderbauer – 30, Offenburg, Germany
44 - Klayten Smith – 33, Sydney, Australia
45 - Conrad Stoltz – 33, Stellenbosch, South Africa (SA, U.S. West, S’East, East, & USA)
46 - Jim Thijs – 27, Belgium
47 - Simon Thompson – 29, Canberra, Australia
48 - Mike Vine - 34, Victoria, B.C., Canada (Brazil)
49 - Cody Waite – 29, Denver, Colorado
50 - Luke Way – 25, Calgary, BC, Canada
51 - Michael Weiss – 26, Vienna, Austria
52 - Tim Wilding – 23, New Zealand (New Zealand)
53 - Sascha Wingenfeld, 20, Germany
54 - Yu Yumoto – 29, Tokyo, Japan

# (place at last year’s WC) - Name - Age, Hometown (2007 Championship Wins)
61 (1) - Melanie McQuaid - 34, Victoria, B.C., Canada (U.S. West Champs)
62 (3) - Sibylle Matter - 34, Bern, Switzerland
63 (4) - Jennifer Smith - 34, Westport, New Zealand
64 (7) - Michelle Lombardi - 38, Somerset West, South Africa (South Africa)
65 (9) - Shonny Vanlandingham - 38, Durango, Colorado
66 (11) - Carina Wasle - 21, Kundl, Austria (Germany)
67 (13) - Claudia Frank – 37, Rottach-Egern, Germany
68 (14) - Nicole Logan- 34, La Jolla, California
69 (18) - Amber Monforte - 29, Reno, Nevada
70 - Candy Angle - 38, Weymouth, Massachusetts (Brazil)
71 - Anna Baylis-Scheiderbauer – 30, Offenburg, Germany (Austria)
72 - Christina Begy – 37, Denver, Colorado
73 - Erika Csomor – 33, Budapest, Hungary
74 - Julie Dibens – 32, Salisbury, England (UK)
75 - Linda Gabor – 37, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
76 - Sonia Hill – 29, Upper Atiamuri, New Zealand
77 - Lisa Isom – 35, Vail, Colorado
78 - Kristy Lanier – 36, Marlinton, West Virginia
79 - Dara Marks Marino – 32, Flagstaff, Arizona
80 - Sara Tarkington – 26, Boulder, Colorado
81 - Jamie Whitmore - 31, Somerset, California (U.S. S’East, East, Mountain, USA, Japan)

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