XTERRA Brazil



This was an absolute whirlwind of a trip. I received the call asking if I’d want to go to Brazil to do a couple of races and less than 9 days later, I had my visa and was on a plane to Brazil. Not that it was easy to get all that together (in fact it was quite the opposite).

With over 30 hours of travel time to get there (and back) in only 4 days, my form was not quite up to par. But hey, I was in Brazil! The trip was originally planned to be a day longer, but the visa processing agency screwed things up royally and I didn’t have my visa and passport until 9:30am Thursday morning (an hour and a half after my flight left). I hopped on another flight to Miami just a few hours later. If the visa agency had processed my visa in the same manner that the taxi driver took me from the airport to my hotel in Brazil, I would have had it in the blink of an eye. That guy had all four tires squealing on our SUV and we careened down narrow two lane roads to Santa Barbara.

If you are looking to do a superbly organized race in an exotic location, then I have to recommend XTERRA Brazil. Bernardo, the man with the plan in Brazil, had everything sorted out perfectly. I was incredibly impressed with the whole set up. They had a duathlon Saturday morning, a night run Saturday evening, and a mountain bike race Sunday. It was an entire weekend of off-road fun.

As soon as I arrived, I put the bike together and was off to the pre race meeting/dinner. Along the way, I got a glimpse of why big trucks shouldn’t go down steep roads. There was a pretty big scene surrounding all of it. What a hoot!

The morning of the race I got a real treat as I walked into the breakfast hall. CAKES! SWEETS! YUMMY DESSERTS! If you know me, then you know I have a sweet tooth. The giant buffet of colorful cakes and sugary goodness had me salivating at 7am. But I mustn’t forget, I have a race!

The duathlon was 3k run, 35k mountain bike, 9k run. There were some really interesting parts of the course, but to my disappointment, there was no single track on the bike or run. Some beautiful double track through gorgeous country side, but no single track. I’ve written about my strengths and weaknesses before and I know this is not my ideal type course. That, along with the injury I had developed from sitting in a car for 14 hours on the drive back from North Dakota, did not bode well for me as the gun went off and the racers took off.

I was so concerned with my leg and the injury, I was hardly paying attention to where I was overall in the first run and coming into T1. Had I been paying better attention, I would have seen that I was just off pace from the lead pack of 3. Ideally I would have been with them coming out of T1 and onto the bike, but alas, I was just 10 seconds back. I couldn’t bridge the gap and after passing just one of the guys, I consequently ended up riding the majority of the bike by myself in 3rd. I had lost over 2 minutes to the 2 leaders, and knew that I would have to run like hell to hold off my pursuers.

Hobbling most of the second run, I couldn’t keep from getting caught by one guy. I kept on pushing worried that I was moving slow enough to get caught by more runners, but luckily I was able to keep them away and hold on for 4th.

Suzie Snyder, the other American to travel down for the weekend, had a much better race and took the win. That made 2 for 2 for Team Luna Chix as Suzie’s teammate and former XTERRA World Champion Shonny Vanlandingham took the win at the XTERRA Brazil Championship in Manaus the week before.

Suzie and I were a bit smoked and sore from the race that morning that we didn’t take part in the 6k night run that evening. We instead cheered the athletes on as they navigated a similar run course to what we did that morning, but using headlamps and a more cautious step.

The next morning it was back to the start line for a 65 km mountain bike race. In the rush that I left the house earlier that week, I forgot my heart rate monitor strap. And I don’t have power on my mountain bike either, so it was a bit more of a “play it by feel” type race. Here is the GPS file that I have from my Timex Global Trainer. If I had had power and heart rate, it would be easier for you to see that the race involved a lot of attacks uphill (led by the smaller guys) and attacks downhill (led by yours truly). In the end, there were more uphills than downhills and I crossed the line in 5th for the pros. A bit disappointing, but again, I knew going into it that I wasn’t the best dirt road rider out there.

Sticking with that whirlwind theme, as soon as we finished, Suzie and I had to clean up, eat, pack the bikes, stop by for the awards, and then jet off to the airport to fly home. The trip left me wanting more and I really, really hope I get the invite back again for another one of the amazing Brazilian races. Now it’s time to prep for the XTERRA Mountain Championship in Beaver Creek, CO on the 14th.


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