The sport of XTERRA was born on Maui in 1996, and after 15 years on Maui’s south shore, the XTERRA World Championship is headed north to the Kapalua Resort, which will serve as base camp for off-road triathlon’s greatest day on October 23, 2011.
The opportunity arose when the Maui Land & Pineapple Company graciously welcomed XTERRA to play in its 22,000 acre backyard which stretches from the mountains to the sea, and encompasses verdant rainforests, and a network of trails. A pair of the finest hoteliers in the world will host competitors. Race headquarters will be at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, with Outrigger Hotels & Resorts‘ Maui Condominium Collection properties as a co-host.
The Kapalua Resort is located on the northwest coast of Maui and its shoreline is distinguished by five lava peninsula-guarded bays and three white sand beaches considered to be among the best in the world. In fact, the XTERRA swim is planned for D.T. Fleming Beach, named “America’s Best Beach” in 2006.
The new location will create a dramatically different challenge for competitors. In stark contrast to the dry and dusty lava-strewn path up Haleakala, the northwest coast is wet and wild with lush rainforests and former pineapple fields that undulate in-and-out of gulches coming down from the West Maui Mountains.
“This new course will give our competitors a new and exciting taste of Hawaii,” said XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas. “We’ll be able to provide a fantastic mountain bike experience in Kapalua. First blush of the course shows 18 miles with just over 3,000 feet of elevation changes. As the trails move from field to field they drop hundreds of feet down to the bottom of a heavy forested area, and then back up again.”
Kapalua is roughly an hour from Maui’s major airport in Kahului and only five minutes from the Kapalua-West Maui Regional Airport. Merely 10-15 minutes north of the popular tourist destinations of Kaanapali and Lahaina, is the race headquarters hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua — an exceptional venue in an unspoiled setting.
“We are quite excited to partner in such a prestigious athletic event that brings world-class competitors to our property,” said Tom Donovan, vice president and general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. “This challenging race of endurance is the perfect way to showcase our resort and celebrate why Kapalua is a jewel.”
Co-host, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts offers magnificent condominiums throughout the area, including the luxurious Kapalua Villas only minutes from the race headquarters, and nearby Outrigger Napili Shores, Outrigger Maui Eldorado, Outrigger Royal Kahana, and Outrigger Aina Nalu.
“Outrigger has had a long-standing relationship with XTERRA, so we are excited to welcome the XTERRA World Championship to Maui’s Kapalua Resort,” said David Carey, president & CEO of Outrigger Enterprises Group. “World class events like XTERRA inspire people to travel. We look forward to extending our unique style of hospitality to the competitors, their family and friends, and others who will be staying at our Maui properties.”
In addition to what promises to be a great new course, the Lahaina to Kapalua corridor is Maui’s best and most developed visitor destination for amenities and accommodations, shopping galore, great nightlife, and magnificent places to eat. Kapalua is also home to two championship golf courses, and annually plays host to the PGA TOUR season-opening championship.
The XTERRA World Championship is the last event in an action-packed racing season that spans 15 countries with more than 100 events. A season-ending blow-out like no other, the World Championship is the culmination of a worldwide series of races held in Saipan, South Africa, Philippines, New Zealand, Italy, France, Brazil, Czech, Germany, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United States.
The new course at Kapalua will consist of a 1.5-kilometer roughwater swim at D.T. Fleming Beach, a 30-kilometer mountain bike on the lower slopes of the West Maui Mountains, and a 10-kilometer trail run.
The maxed-out field is limited to 550 competitors, who represent the best off-road, multisport athletes on the planet. It is a “winner take all” race, with one of the richest pro purses in multisport at $100,000, and it will be filmed for a nationally broadcast TV show. Last year, South Africa’s Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz became the first pro to win a fourth XTERRA World Title, while American Shonny Vanlandingham became the ‘oldest’ female to win the world title at 41-years-of-age.
A special prime, the Hawaiian Airlines Double, will pay $2,500 to the man and woman with the fastest combined Hawaii Ironman and XTERRA World Championship time and award round trip tickets for two to leading amateurs. Only two weeks and a narrow channel of ocean separate the two events, which each year attract some of the world’s fittest endurance athletes.