XTERRA Spain: Pre-Race Report

XTERRA World Tour Managing Director, Dave “Kahuna” Nicholas is in Tarragona, Spain,  and he brings us all the latest news two days before the race:

XTERRA returns to Spain this Sunday and already our athletes are praising the trails. The course is a wonderful mix of ocean, city and country in a way that only an ancient port city like Tarragona could create.  The actual founding date of Tarragona is not known but the city is full of fabulous Roman ruins.  It all kicked off with a press conference at City Hall as well as local TV coverage that XTERRA was taking over.

We start at a beach on the Mediterranean at Placa dels Carros.  The street running past is closed and becomes T1.  It’s typical XTERRA with two 750m laps and a neat, white sand beach run between laps.  The bike goes through city streets and along the river for about 5K  before it hits the hills above town.  Then it will be two 13K laps with 350m of climbing each lap.  The course is rocky and rooty and plenty technical without being overly difficult.  T2 is in the parking lot of the Puente del Diablo, a magnificent Roman aqueduct built around the time of Christ and still standing proud.  The run, like the bike and swim is two laps on rocky, fun trails and the finish is under one of the Roman arches that make the bridge.  Quite a dramatic finish photo.
Tarragona itself is about 130,000 people and sits only a little over an hour  south of the Barcelona airport.  The old, walled city is beautiful and filled with small restaurants, tapas bars, outdoor cafe’s, the magnificent 12th century Cathedral and endless narrow streets and passageways that overflow with neat surprises.
The newer city has broad boulevards, lots of good hotels and shopping and more wonderful Catalan cuisine and very tasty white wines.  A fun part of being in Catalunya is all signs are in Catalan first with Spanish beneath.  These are very proud people and will never let go of their heritage.
Organizer Roger Serrano is better known as a race winning athlete and has worked with partner Sebastiano Alba to make this event happen.  They created a fantastic Athlete Guide sent to everyone who entered and even got sponsorship from Mercedes-Benz to supply a couple vans for the event.  The weather started a bit rainy but changed to perfect today.  More practice and course scouting tomorrow with the briefing at 6:00pm.  Then Sunday at 10am it all kicks off at the beach.  Nico Lebrun and Kostas Koumargialis will be doing constant photo updates on facebook so get online and read the action as it happens.
XTERRA Spain was limited to 400 entries and is sold out.  What a wonderful way to start what surely will be a popular and long running event.
Follow XTERRA Europe on Facebook at www.facebook.com/xterraeurope for all the latest updates and coverage on race day!