The X-Terra World Championships took place on Maui (Hawaii) a week ago yesterday and was won by Specialized rider Conrad Stoltz. Spesh were also chuffed that their two-time winner, Ned Overend, finished in fourth place.
It was in the bike section of the triathlon that Stoltz and Overend particularly shone, gaining the first and
second fastest bike splits of the entire race.
Below is Ned’s first-hand report on the race followed by Conrad’s comments
on his new Specialized equipment, sent to us by an understandably excitable Specialized.
Ned’s Race Report
The Xterra World Championships was last Sunday in Maui (that’s Hawaii folks). I managed a fourth place finish which was one place better than last year. I figure if I improve one place every year I will win it again when I turn fifty, I promise I will retire after that.
The big news was Conrad Stoltz opening up a 50 gallon drum of whup-ass on the entire field. He crushed us and he did it with the fastest bike split of the
day. Conrad received a new S-Works FSRxc about five days before the race so he didn’t have much time to get used to it. He only rode it three times
before the event, but evidently it was enough to get it dialed. We also sent
him a pair of new BG Pro shoes. He dug the fit, and he hasn’t even heard
Andy Pruitt’s rap about the Varus Wedge. (Look out for Cullen’s test on the
self same shoes sometime soon. Ed.).
Conrad came out of the water less than a minute behind the fastest swimmers
and went straight to the front on the bike leg. By the start of the run he
had over five minutes on second place, Jimmy Riccitello. I came out of the
swim in 45th place and made it up to third with the second fastest bike
split. But I didn’t have enough time on Kerry Claussen who caught me in the
run and went on to catch Jimmy to take second place.
The bike course was in terrible shape with deep silty soil over loose lava
rock. I was frustrated because I had to dismount at least five or six times
to run up steep climbs. I can put more time on the other triathletes when I
can ride the hills. Conrad has raced mountain bikes in South Africa and ridden
motocross bikes so he’s not afraid to hang it out on the downhills.
The prize list this year was the biggest of any race I have ever done, with $20 large going to the winner. Hey, Conrad! In America, we split our prize money with our team mates!!!”
Meanwhile back on top of the podium, Conrad Stoltz had the following sponsor-pleasing speech lined up;
“About my new M5 (a stock 2002 S-Works FSRxc, size large. First thing I
noticed, apart from the futuristic shape, was the weight: 24 pounds on my
host’s butcher scale. Balance was noticeable before I hit the dirt. Out of
nowhere I’m able to really wheelie and ride on the front wheel for short bits.
I only got to ride the bike three times before the race, but felt really
comfortable right away. The lockout was a dream come true. The first few
miles were rolling hills on the road and when the stuff got loose and nasty I flicked the switches and traction was there, control was there and so was
comfortable – I could pedal where other people were off the saddle to save their butts. (I know, I’ve been on a steel hardtail the last 2 races).
There was a certain steep, rocky, gnarly climb lined with reporters and
spectators, I picked a line and flew right up, the crowd went off. I remember
someone yelling: “Yeah, go Conrad on that new bike!”
On the downhill, the bike’s true colours showed. I didn’t know an inch of the
course, but thanks to great suspension, traction and predictable braking I
put 4 or 5 minutes on the 2nd placed guy on the downhill. (Reading Ned’s book
helped a lot too!)
I went over and through some nasty surprises that I didn’t think I’d be able
to pull off — the bike just ate it up! It honestly felt like riding an
off-road motorbike. The helicopter was following me a long way down, either
expecting to emergency airlift this guy, or getting some great TV shots!
When I started the run, my legs felt so good, it felt as if I’d just got off
a Lazyboy. The suspension saves energy and leaves one fresher for the run.
The helmet looks nice and sleek, doesn’t become too sweaty and I like the
(Mouthport) forehead ventilation. Couldn’t think of anything I’d change.
The shoes are the most comfortable I’ve ever worn and accommodated my wide
swimmer’s feet like slippers. The Velcro system is great for Xterra — fast
and fool proof. The tread rubber is softer than my old Sidis and makes
boulder hopping much less scary. The uppers got very muddy with sweat and
dust. But then, I couldn’t think of a more testing environment.
Thank you very much for taking such good care of me. I’m really proud to be
associated with such a respected company. Not to mention being on Ned’s team.
EVERYBODY wants to be on Ned’s team, the man is a true legend.”
So if you fancy swimming with sharks and getting sand in shorts, these are
the boys to beat, and looks like riding lots of stuff beginning with S won’t
We’ll bring you the dates of next years X-Terra events as soon as they’re