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Yesterday, pros from around the world gathered at Snowbasin Resort in Utah for the Xterra U.S. Championship pro press conference. Here’s what the pros had to say.
Conrad Stoltz (RSA), four-time Xterra world champ and undefeated in Xterra races this year
“I’ve made the mistake in the past where I’ve let the pressure get to me. … It was about the performance and not so much about the enjoyment, and I realized that if I do this sport for the reason I did it initially when I was a little kid, which was the enjoyment of it, then the results will follow. So I make sure I enjoy the sport, I enjoy the training, I enjoy the racing, and it’s pretty easy because my friends are my competitors, and the sport itself is a lot of fun because of the courses and the terrain we do and that kind of stuff. The sport lends itself to having fun.”
Danelle Kabush (CAN), 2012 Xterra Mountain champ
Since she’s a sports psychologist, Kabush was asked her advice to age groupers preparing for the race. “It’s such a beautiful course, I think you can enjoy it no matter what the outcome is. It’s a long course, it’s a hard course, just be prepared that it’s going to hurt, particular sections more than others. Just stay in the moment is the biggest key to any mental preparation, I think—is not thinking too far ahead of you and just focusing on what you’re doing one step at a time or one hill at a time, on this course, I would say.”
Josiah Middaugh (USA), seven-time Xterra national champ
“This has always been a good course for me, as far as my strengths, and … a lot of times I’ve arrived here in peak fitness and just something has happened or got sick the week before, or whatever. But, you know, everything, I feel like, has lined up pretty well this year. The beard [Middaugh has been growing his beard out since the Xterra Mountain Champs] is more that I just had a huge break in the season and it’s my mind-set of ‘I’m home, I’m training in the mountains, and that’s what I’m doing.’”
Nico Lebrun (FRA), 2012 Xterra European Tour champion and 2011 Xterra USA champion
“I think I’m in good shape, better shape than last year. More consistency in the year. I always enjoy this race; it’s the kind of race that I like.”
Lesley Paterson (SCO), reigning Xterra world champion & ITU Cross Triathlon world champ
“It’s been a great summer, I’ve done some good training, and I’m excited to come back and race again. … It would be really great [to win]. I love this course, I think it’s a course that suits me. I’ve been here all week prepping for it, and it’s gorgeous. It reminds me a lot of home. … There’s a lot of good girls here, so I just gotta be on my A-game and keep hustling.”
Ben Allen (AUS), won four 2012 Xterra international races
“I started in ITU racing, and I raced for a French pro team, a Belgian pro team, any team I could get my hands on in Europe just so I could survive. I’ve heard stories about Conrad doing the same thing. I’ve had those moments where I’ve slept on my backpack in airports, and driven to races in a small car with 10 other athletes, sleeping in the car, getting up to race, finishing, grabbing the money and then get in the car to drive to the next venue to race on Sunday. A lot of Aussie triathletes—Crowie and Macca have both done the same thing. … I’m really passionate about the sport, and it started in [road] triathlon, but I’ve really found Xterra is where I thrive. … To me, being involved in Xterra races and traveling around, it’s awesome. It’s unreal because of the lifestyle, the people you meet and the places you get to go.”
Watch the Xterra U.S. Championship tomorrow at 9 a.m. MST at Xterralive.com. The professional athletes will have GPS trackers on for the mountain bike and trail run portions of the race.