Photo Credit: Volume Photography
NSM caught up with a few XTERRA SA Warriors. Here’s what they had to say about XTERRA and the upcoming SA Champs in Grabouw this coming weekend:
1. What makes XTERRA Grabouw special?
Conrad Stoltz ~ Grabouw is the birthplace of XTERRA in South Africa. It has become an iconic event. Then there is the course – it’s a fantastic all round course – the perfect balance between fun, fitness and adrenaline.
Stuart Marais ~ I love racing in Grabouw. The crowds are super amped and the SA competition is unmatched in XTERRA worldwide. It is a full weekend of activities from the kiddies events to the XTERRA Lite and the main event rounding off the weekend. You literally can’t stand on the side-line.
Theo Blignaut ~ This must be the best triathlon in the world if you ask me! The vide and the stoke of the event is just amazing! The passion that XTERRA Grabouw shows is out of this world. I just love everything about this event. The thing that makes Grabouw so special is the people, the people who take part and the staff who make the event happen. Stillwater Sports puts on a rocking show!
Michael Lord ~ The vibe – Stillwater has always worked well with an amazing venue, creating a race village which you never want to leave and an overall vibe which is unmatched anywhere. It’s the kind of race that you are never nervous for, because you know it’s going to be pure fun, no stress at all.
Susan Sloan ~ Grabouw is special because it’s not just tough, it’s beautiful. The dam is pristine clean, and the bike course totally demanding, but one that you can really enjoy riding, with winding single tracks and technical rocky sections.
Mari Rabie ~ What I like about XTERRA Grabouw is that the terrain feels like something out of one of Tolkien’s books. So to me it feels more like a Sunday exploring adventure than a race! Of course it is always fun to race close to home.
2. How does the route compare to that of international XTERRA events?
Flora Duffy ~ It is better! I’ve only raced in the US but I can say with confidence that not a single race in the US (including World Championships) compares to Grabouw. I love that the course includes everything- climbing, technical aspects, and descending. The bike course is testing, challenging and keeps you guessing. And the run is beautiful, especially the final few kilometres along the white sand beach. I really enjoy the route.
3. What is your goal at this event?
Stuart Marais ~ I never start a race without wanting to win… XTERRA SA is no different.
Bradley Weiss ~ My goal is most definitely to win my first XTERRA SA Championship Title.
Conrad Stoltz ~ This is probably my final year racing at this level, so of course I want to step out with a win on my home ground.
Flora Duffy ~ To defend my title. I won XTERRA Grabouw last year and would love to do the same this year.
Michael Lord ~ I would love to see how I match up to the big boys, hopefully give some people a skrik as well. Now that I am living in Stellenbosch, the crew (Antoine, Stuart, Brad, Theo, Matt, Robyn, Neil, Vicky etc) has allowed me to tag along for missions. They are such a lekker group of people, super friendly and happy to allow the little oke to come along and free with training advice and tips. Big thanks to them, such a good atmosphere, everyone happy to help each other, and it works because they are dominating events worldwide now.
Susan Sloan ~ To qualify for World Champs XTERRA…
Theo Blignaut ~ I always enter a race to win. So yeah the goal is to win it for sure! I don’t love winning, but I hate losing. I will be happy with a top 3.
4. Why would you recommend this event to newcomers to the sport?
Bradley Weiss ~ This race is everything XTERRA stands for, beautiful testing terrain, fun challenging and well-marked courses but most of all a genuinely caring and supportive community of athletes and organisers alike. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of this?
Conrad Stoltz ~ Very well organised, stunning venue and course, strong field from all over the world, great publicity and this year the prize money is big! Well done!
Flora Duffy ~ I’d recommend XTERRA Grabouw to a newcomer because it is extremely well organized, fun and challenging. In my opinion, XTERRA is not about finishing on the podium, but about testing yourself and taking you out of your comfort zone. It is a personal accomplishment to finish XTERRA.
Mari Rabie ~ Because it’s an adventure and a great way to have a fun day out with friends and family.
Susan Sloan ~ You’re not an XTERRA athlete until you’ve done Grabouw 😉 Grabouw XTERRA is beautiful, the landscape is majestic, but holds nothing back to test you during the race…combining all the best! With a change of scenery to swim in the tannin black-brown water, everything a mountain biker could wish for with single track, technical rock gardens, steep climbs and fun descents, and a trail running course to test your mental strength…and any legs that may be left by that stage..! It’s just gotto be done!
5. What advice can you give to newcomers to the sport?
Susan Sloan ~ Hydrate! It can be extremely hot out there, especially on the run! Don’t go out too hard, because it may be a much tougher and longer day than you may expect.
6. You’ve taken part in the XTERRA Lite a number of times. Do you think it’s a good introduction into the sport of XTERRA?
Michael Lord ~ The XTERRA Lite at Grabouw is my favourite event EVER – the best vibe at any race, great route, everyone has the right attitude, and you can bring all your friends and family with as well. The route is manageable by anyone, and you know any person you bring with will enjoy themselves. A perfect introduction, gives you a proper idea of the spirit of XTERRA, challenges you a bit and generally convinces you that this is the best kind of racing to be had anywhere.