Saturday, April 18, 2009

8th Annual XTERRA Saipan Championships

The 8th Annual Saipan XTERRA Championships took place this weekend with professional triathletes from all around the globe including: Australia, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, US and the UK.
In the past, we've hosted several pro Xterra triathletes to stay in our home. This year, we welcomed Mike Vine, the 2002 Inaugura XTERRA Saipan Champion from Vancouver, Canada. Mike had a great race (2nd place) and enjoyed the island hospitality. We hope that he'll return next year and stay for both the XTERRA and Tagaman.

The other day, a group of us got together to swim around the tanks.
On Saturday morning, volunteers write numbers on the competitors.
Bobbi & Irene assist Kevin & Cesar.
Mom, Russ & Rich. This is the first triathlon that they get to see Russ race.
Russ with his favorite ladies.
On Friday, Mieko san asked me which suit she should wear, the all pink or pink & black.
I chose all pink as it stands out more in photos and here she is, showing it off!
The swim start at 6:30am... unlike past years, the waters were relatively calm and the conditons were good. The buoys stayed in place this year!This year, I volunteered to drive around Nils Nilsen and Trey Garman as the official media vehicle. We drove to some of the picturesque areas, waiting for the competitors.
To view some of Nils' amazing photos, see: www.xterraphotos.com/09saipan/
UK Pro Jim McConnel rides the hill near Wiseman's property.
A lot of racers dismounted this tough incline section.
We caught Russ riding out of Sadog Tasi and towards Wireless smiling and enjoying the race.
UK Pro Julie Dibens led the swim and bike early on, but when we saw her going up Tapochau, she said that she crashed earlier and thought that her ribs might have been broken. We called the organizers and asked for the medic to meet her at T2 to check her out.
As a true sportswomn, she finished the entire race, riding and running in pain.
A valiant effort for the XTERRA World Champion.
We saw Tyce and Sam running the same route as the two trails converge near Navy Hill.
Mike had a solid race and was 3 minutes behind Sam in this place of the run.
Sam at the finish! Congratulations on capturing the Saipan XTERRA Championship!
The 2009 Saipan Sportsfest
All the trails were marked with Blue or Red Xterra arrows. Blue for Bike and Red for Run.
Jim McConnel (UK), Cooper Graf (Saipan Swimmer), Ulli Katzer (Austria), Renata Bucher (Switzerland) and Kai Staal (Saipan Swimmer).
Russ finishing up the race on Microl Beach. The last one mile run on the beach under the hot sun is brutal and can seem a lot longer than it is.
Russ finished in just under 4 hours! He did all three legs this year in Guam and Saipan. Mike & Russ
The top three Pros: Mike Vine (Canada), Sam Gardner (UK), Sasha Wingenfield (Germany)
The top 4 women Pros: Julie Dibens (UK), Renata Bucher (Switzerland), Shonny Vanlandingham (US), Mieko Carey (Saipan)
Mieko injured herself on the top loop of Tapochau and badly bruised her ribs. She finished the bike and continued with the run.
First time Xterra Saipan competitor, Gester Garcia, age 16 finished the race!
At the awards dinner, Kahuna Dave and Russ banter back and forth.
Russ won the "Olivier Marceau healthiest body award"
Mike and Kevin looking sharp!
Me, Nils, Trey, Russ & Mike at the Awards Banquet PIC at sunset
Top Men's age groupers. There were many competitors from Japan this year, thanks to Taro and Mai. XTERRA Japan is growing!
Top Teams
Top Men's Pros
Mike with his 2nd place trophy
Cooper, Russ and Kai (Russ' snowboard buddies)
Lindsey, Russ & Glenn hang out with the Japanese guys
Kahuna finds a dancing partner
Trey & Tyce
Julia, Allen are from Down Under. They're staying all week for the Tagaman, too.
Kahuna and me. Thanks Team Unlimited for the Hawaiian chocolates, coffee and cookies!

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