XTERRA Saipan Championship
This Saturday March 13.
The undisputed “Crown Jewel” of the XTERRA World Tour will take place for the ninth time Saturday in the middle of the Western Pacific Ocean. XTERRA President Janet Clark and the managing director of XTERRA “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas are on-site at XTERRA Saipan, and had the following to report.
The temperature is in the mid 80’s with a nice breeze today. Perfect racing weather and probably the nicest temperatures we’ve ever had here.
Switzerland’s Renata Bucher looks fit – she came in from San Diego and had been in Chile doing a big mountain bike race. Luckily she got out before the earthquake hit. She took one look at the Pacific Islands Club (the host hotel) last night and said “I’m home!” This race is very special and important to her as the 5x defending champ – and she wants #6!
Canadian Mike Vine looks fit too – and he’s teaching XTERRA University Camp with Oga-san (Japanese mountain bike phenom Takahiro Ogasawara). The guy knows how to avoid paying bike fees to airlines – one box of wheels and the frame in a bag. One of their students (Mr. Yukawa) saw XTERRA Saipan on TV last year and tried XTERRA Japan – so he’s thrilled to be racing in his TV inspiration.
G.L. Brown is back, as is XTERRA Warrior award winner Juergen Fehrenbach, XTERRA amateur world champ Daz Parker from England, Carolina Colonna from New Mexico, a bunch of Europeans and a ton of Japanese racers.
“The course and island are dry. No rain for a while making pounding stakes very difficult. Everything I have seen today, which is about 80%, says it will be fast,” said Nicholas. “The island looks more prosperous than in the past few years and new construction is happening around the island.”
The Micro Beach start/finish area has been totally re-done. Those who come here might recall Mother Nature in the form of the China Sea wanted some of that beach back and erosion actually put the permanent bathrooms hanging out over the beach a few years ago. All that has been removed, new bathrooms put in about 150 meters away from the beach, the perimeter road removed, new grass and trees and the entire beach line straightened and cleaned up.
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