For those into cycling, there is a mind bending amount of variety in where our hobby can take us. Factions might exist and occasionally squabble within the cycling world, but the thing that links us all together is the constant search for the next challenge. The next new thing to try.
The furthest, fastest, highest or hardest. There is nothing truly new under the sun when it comes to cycling challenges. It is the constant little innovations, the mixing of the pot that means it always feels fresh and there is always something unusual to sink our teeth into.
“Whilst their distance might be consistently at the traditional standard triathlon distance, be under no illusion of the toughness of some of these events, often seeing races racing anywhere from two to four hours”
2016 is our first year supporting Human Race Events as an official sponsor, and without wanting to sound like we’re bragging, that means the Yellow Jersey office have their pick of races to enter.
This has seen three of us throw our hats in a very different ring to what we are used to, and set our early season training towards their Mud Man event; an off road duathlon around a particularly muddy old army base.
To avoid unwanted surprises on race day, we thought we’d have a chat with one of our friends over at the British Triathlon Federation, Marc Preece, who is somewhat of an expert on the growing cross triathlon scene in the UK.
“Cross Triathlon is an off-road triathlon discipline that typically includes a 1500m open water swim, 20 to 30K mountain bike, and a 10k trail run. The rules governing cross triathlon are broadly the same as road triathlons, but cross triathlon brings a relatively new and exciting dimension to the sport.
“With each event being hosted in exceptionally scenic locations, these races attract a multi-faceted market including outdoor enthusiasts, adventure seekers, mountain bikers and road triathletes who are seeking an alternative challenge.
“Whilst their distance might be consistently at the traditional standard triathlon distance, be under no illusion of the toughness of some of these events, often seeing races racing anywhere from two to four hours.”
Back in November, Marc Preece successfully Kickstarted the website for X Tri Hub, on online space to promote and organise cross country triathlon events across the UK, and to draw unsuspecting cyclists and multi sport competitors into the racing.
“There are three-distinct championships within cross triathlon; firstly you have the ITU World Cross Triathlon and the ETU European Cross Triathlon Championships, these key races are run in exactly the same manner as their road counterpart.
“British Triathlon select a GB Age Group team spread over several age categories and athletes are selected for these races based on results from other triathlons and any off-road experience they may have.
“Over and above these championships; the largest event organiser of cross triathlons world-wide is Xterra. There is an Xterra European tour plus other world tours with the finale being held in Maui, Hawaii in October or November each year. Athletes need to qualify for the Xterra World Championships which is achieved by gaining sufficient points via either of their Xterra races.”
Cross Triathlon isn’t meant to be a pre season warm-up or something to keep you busy over winter. With the Xterra calendar running right through the summer along with a host of similar independent events, Cross Triathlon is competing directly with its traditional cousin for interest.
While the roster is still fairly limited in the UK, this means now is a great time to become involved in the grass roots of a growing branch in triathlon.