Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Economy Hits Triathlon--Xterra's Exodus from Southern California

Xterra logo

Coachubby is an Xterra lover.

So am I.

But he's good at it, and I'm good at getting injured at Xterra events, so he usually plans the Xterra schedule for the year, while I follow along, hoping to catch a glimpse of the bike course before each race so I don't mangle myself on race day. (Then I usually mangle myself on the run, instead!)

Therefore, you can imagine type-A, I-like-to-plan-in-advance coachubby's shock when he looked at the '09 Xterra schedule. There is not a single race within 5 hours of Los Angeles. Even farther for super SoCalers in places like San Diego.

Xterra's Andrew Marsh responded to the email from frantic Xterra fanatic coachubby, explaining a few race decisions for next year. As far as Southern California Xterra racing goes:

  • Castaic was not on the Xterra schedule in 2008 and will not be in 2009.

  • The Race Directors for Xterra Snow Valley are facing sponsorship/financial issues and will make a decision about the race by January 15th (according to their website.)

  • Economically Temecula (formerly a National and Worlds qualifier) was too expensive to produce, and will not return in 2009.

Xterra events are produced by independent companies in the US, many of whom are feeling the effects of the poor economy. Trail access and excessive venue fees, notes Marsh, make it extremely difficult to put on events in Southern California.

So what's a Californian Xterra fanatic to do? Unfortunately, a search on Xterra's website for 2009 point series races in California turns up completely blank, but there's still a little hope.

For those willing to travel far north for a non-championship race (Northern Californians are in luck!), Xterra REAL will be held at Folsom lake on March 29th. East of San Francisco near Livermore, Xterra Del Valle will be held May 10th. It also looks like there will be a few races in the Tahoe area, though the National Championships will be held in Ogden this year.

That leaves a trip to AZ (or far, far beyond) the weekend of May 30th as your only chance to take a bite out of that craving for Xterra racing. Should you make the trek to Show Low for the widely venerated Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival, word from coachubby and several other racers is you won't be disappointed.

So there you have it. Economy be damned, Xterra will still forge ahead. Just not in Southern California for right now. (And believe me, they are just as unhappy about it as you are. If you have any suggestions for Xterra as to how they can keep Xterra from flat lining in CA, contact the Xterra guys. Seriously. They welcome your help!)

Maybe 2009 should be a practice year for SoCalers--a time to prepare to massacre the field of competitors, hopefully coming to a town near you, in 2010. Or you can make a road trip out of a non-championship Xterra event, sign up now for one of the above races, and pray gas prices stay as low as they are right now.

Good luck, and in the words of the Xterra gods, LIVE MORE!

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