On October 29th, 27-year-old South African Brad Weiss nabbed the title of 2017 XTERRA World Champ in a nail-biter of a race against the best off-roaders in the world. In the process, he captured the hearts of racing fans around the world with his steely determination and quiet confidence.
So how has life changed since Weiss captured off-road triathlon’s highest honor? We caught up with him this week to find out . . .
“Once the dust settled and some sanity and routine was reinstalled into my daily life, I can’t say there is a whole lot different from before,” said Weiss from his home in Stellenbosch. “But there is a feeling of true contentedness which is a very empowering emotion. And I have taken a lot of confidence away from this victory, which I think this is one of the biggest changes.”
After Maui, Weiss took a holiday with his girlfriend Nina and toured Southern Africa for a few weeks. “I believe I single handedly played a big role in some impressive profit margins for select wine estates,” he joked.
When asked what the secret to his success was last year, Weiss replied, “There is no magic ingredient that takes you from zero to hero, unfortunately. Consistent, diligent hard work over a prolonged period of time is what it takes. Each year brings with it a few added strengths and eventually, when it’s your time, a fairy tale comes true and the fruits of your labors are finally realized.”
Weiss also mentioned the support of his family gave him the platform from which he could put in all those hours of work to become the best.
“My parents are the single reason I am standing here today as the XTERRA World Champion,” said Weiss. “They have been supportive beyond measure and I am eternally grateful that I was blessed to have them as my parents. From my foundation years within the sport of triathlon they provided everything I could ever have wanted and always encouraged me to strive for more. Having them in Maui to watch me win my first XTERRA world title was incredibly special and a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
And today, less than four months after his big win, Weiss says he’s ready to get back to racing at his home country’s marquee event, the FedHealth XTERRA South Africa Championship on February 24 at Grabouw Country Club.
“Starting my 2018 XTERRA season at my national championships could not be more important for me to get going on a positive note,” said Weiss. “I won this title back in 2016 and after narrowly losing it to Richard Murray last year, I am definitely hungry as ever to get 2018 off to a winning start. Being my first race as the XTERRA World Champion of course brings with it some added pressure, but I am up for the challenge and cannot wait to get out there later this month.”
This year, with Murray out of the line-up, XTERRA Italy Champ Xavier Dafflon from Switzerland looks to be the biggest threat to Weiss in Grabouw. Dafflon is one of XTERRA’s premier mountain bikers and will certainly thrive on SA’s world-renowned bike course, but Weiss is a stronger swimmer and will look to take the lead early and never look back.
Other contenders in the elite men’s race include XTERRA Tahiti Champ Brice Daubord from France, and several local standouts including Michael Lord and Antoine van Heerden.
After South Africa, Weiss will make a return trip to XTERRA Reunion (a race he won in 2015), then head to the Philippines where he’s won three straight years, this time for the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race in Danao. In June, Weiss will adventure to Europe for majors in Belgium, Switzerland, France, and a European Championship title defense in Germany. Then, just like his schedule last year, it’ll be back to the U.S. for the XTERRA Pan American Championship in Utah, a bit of solid training, and on to Maui to protect the crown.