To compete in XTERRA is to experience some of the most spectacular locations our planet has to offer. Even as they run, ride, and swim, XTERRA athletes must contend and commune with nature. With a racing calendar featuring hundreds of events across five continents, there is no shortage of stunning destinations to explore.
As far as race locales go, it doesn’t get much more exotic than the French Polynesian island of Tahiti, situated in the South Pacific. Every May, the XTERRA World Tour makes a stop in this paradise, a dream destination for honeymooners and of course, for off-road triathletes.
"Each country's landscape is so individually different. Like Asia is so rugged and raw, the trails are not necessarily clear-cut, and you could be riding through someone's backyard almost and they're sitting on the patio having their afternoon tea or something. And then you go to Europe and you have maybe more clean-cut trails, but you climb for an hour and you get to the top of the mountain, and you can see where you're going to descend to on the course." Penny Slater, 2019 Asia-Pacific Champion.
"It takes you to places that you actually really wouldn't go on your travels normally. So, it feels so much more real, you’re getting a real side of these countries that you're going to." Sam Osborn, 2x XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion.
Ten thousand miles away from the tropical paradise of Tahiti are several enchanting XTERRA destinations in Europe. In the Vosges Mountains of Eastern France, riders can experience the incredible wooden bike park one day, and then watch a stage of the Tour de France the next.
In the famous German town of Zittau, near the Czech and Polish borders, thousands of athletes race to the Hochwald Tower each year. And in the Czech Republic, in a quiet, underdeveloped expanse of countryside there’s a charming XTERRA venue, one that’s steeped in history.
In the Bohemian forest, in the southwestern part of the country, sits Prachatice. This Renaissance-era town was the site of the 2019 XTERRA European Championship, fifteen years after the Czechs hosted the first-ever continental championship there. Race director Michal Pilousek, who was born in the region, grew up playing ice hockey, but was introduced to XTERRA by his father, Michal Senior, who placed eighteenth at the World Championships in Maui in 1999 and then brought the sport to the Czech Republic, organizing the first-ever XTERRA European Championship in 2004.
Belgium has only been on the XTERRA calendar since 2016, but the event is steeped in history. The race takes place in Namur, with its cobblestone streets, river views and striking one-thousand-year-old Citadel.
Combining history and natural beauty is the event in Scanno, in the Abruzzo region of southern Italy. The course is demanding, with long climbs up to the surrounding mountains, and technical downhill trails that lead to the heart- shaped lake.
The U.S. is home to several excellent XTERRA locales, from Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama, which boasts arguably the best pure off-road triathlon racecourse in the world, the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. But the most breathtaking of them all, literally, is Beaver Creek, Colorado, eight thousand feet above sea level.
This sport has a truly global reach and in 2018, the XTERRA universe expanded to reach the dazzling southern shore of Taiwan with the inaugural event in Kenting, an outdoor sports paradise renowned for its rugged mountain terrain, coral reefs, and pristine beaches lining the South China Sea.
In September 2019, another milestone for off-road triathlon in Asia, as the inaugural XTERRA China event took place in Kunming, a city in the southwestern part of the country.
Maui, the Hawaiian island that is a dream vacation spot, a surfer’s paradise and the culminating event on XTERRA’s annual calendar, as the site of the World Championships. With magical waterfalls, spectacular geysers and lush forests, it is a beautiful place to visit and can be a brutal place to compete.
From Belgium to Beaver Creek, Tahiti to Taiwan. From ancient man-made structures to natural wonders. These off-the-beaten-track locations, each unique, each beautiful, are the settings that allow XTERRA athletes to “Live More.”