Berichten met tag: cross triathlon

XTERRA Italy 2015

One week after the European Championships Cross triathlon we had another race: XTERRA Italy. But since we had three days to recover before we could start pre-riding the XTERRA course, we decided to do some fun stuff first.


A five hour drive from Germany brought us at Lago di Garda. Not because we wanted to spend some time at the lake, but because we wanted to visit Gardaland. We had an amazing day!





After this nice experience we had another 5 hour drive to get to Chieti, near Pescara. Elisabetta her mother is not from Sardegna but from Chieti, so we used this opportunity to visit her family. Another wonderful day with amazing people.


Sadly we couldn’t stay more days with them because we had a plan: to perform very good at XTERRA Italy. I needed this to prove to myself, my sponsors and everybody who helps me that I’m a top level pro athlete. When you don’t do the results you think you can do for a while, you start having a lot of self doubt. And that’s one of the worse things that could happen if you’re a pro athlete.



Elisabetta had her own reasons. Last year she was too scared to do the downhills on the mountainbike during the race and she had to get of the bike a lot. She was passed by too many girls who stayed on the bike and she felt really bad because of this. She also had a lot a breathing problems, probably related to the stress of the downhills and the fear of losing too many positions.

Here you have last years Episode:

Scanno has probably the hardest XTERRA race course in the world, but it’s our favorite one because of the long uphills (for Elisabetta), the long downhills (for me), the amazing nature and atmosphere and just because it’s Italy. bikescanno

We checked the course with World Champion Ruzafa and he surprised us with his kind character and all his advise to improve Elisabetta her mountainbike skills. checkruben

By race day we were relaxed and convinced we could do a good result.



Elisabetta was the first woman out of the water. My swim was good as well, but with such a long bike and run, the swim at XTERRA Italy almost doesn’t matter.


After the first huge climb of around 45min I was in 5th position and Elisabetta was still leading. In the descent and the remaining part of the race I stayed in that 5th position, but Elisabetta lost three positions.

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We both felt tired during the run, but so does everybody at XTERRA Italy. I set the second fastest running time to move up to fourth place and Betta run herself towards her first podium finish at a World Tour XTERRA. In fact, she finished 4th like me, but the day after the race the organization disqualified the original third woman for an illegal bike change during the race.

Elisabetta Happy run kl finish Betta&Jim 11728972_10206325214161880_2520616283099335129_o




We left Scanno filled with positive thoughts and big smiles on our face. We train hard, everyday, and struggle sometimes in our life as pro athletes. But after our performances in Scanno we realize it’s all worth it. Definitely if you can share these moments with each other and the wonderful people in our lives. Confidence in your own capabilities is one of the most important things in the life of a pro athlete, and XTERRA Italy fed us with this.

 giant bettaferry


Outfit: Skinfit
Bike: Scott Spark 900SL
Fork: 88+ tuned Lefty
Wheel set: Notubes ZTR Valor
Seat: Cobb HC170
Shades: Oakley Radar Lock
Grips: ESI Grips Racer’s Edge
Helmet: Lazer Z1
Running shoes: WatermolenSport
Lube: Squirt dry lube
Wetsuit: Sailfish G-Range



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European Championships Cross Triathlon

After a season started with bad results at my first two big races, XTERRA South Africa and XTERRA Malta, because of energy problems during the race, all seems normal now.

Help and advise came from friends, coaches and other athletes. I made some changes in my nutrition and training and hoped for the best.

We left Sardegna by car. Being an island, this means we have to get on the ferry if we want to get out of this paradise.



In Schluchsee, Germany, we raced the European Cross Triathlon Championships. Last year I finished 3rd and Elisabetta used the first part of 2014 to start training again for off-road triathlon after a 3 year break. I knew a podium wasn’t possible this year, I was not ready to pull of such a performance yet. My goal is to be at my best in September and October when we will race the World Championships Cross Triathlon in Sardegna and the XTERRA World Championships in Maui. So our plan was to finish in the top 10 of the European Championships.


But Elisabetta had to deal with some bad luck. The Italian federation allowed only one woman to race as an Elite. They choose Monica Cibin, who’s a very strong athlete and who deserves this selection. But the fact that Elisabetta couldn’t race as an Elite, even if she paid her own registration, hotel, travel, national suit, … made us very sad. If she would do a great top 10 result, she wouldn’t even get prize money. And she had to start 3 minutes behind the Elite race in the open age-group race. We tried everything to change the Italian Federation their decision. Even other federations tried to convince them, but nothing worked.


So Elisabetta had to watch our start and 3 minutes later she could race as well. Already during the swim she could close the gap and catched some Elite Woman. She continued racing fast on the bike and run and kept on catching other Elites. She finished as the first age-group woman and took the European title. But we were more excited to find out that she put the 8th time amongst the Elite woman. We suppose the Italian federation realized they made a mistake because a few minutes after the race they selected her as an Elite for the World Championships. We both started crying from happiness because this frustration with the federation took so much energy out of us the last months. She lost the prize money for an 8th place, but she took the European amateur title. Not too bad after all.

Our favorite Belgian triathlon girl, Kiara Lenaertz, finished 7th in the Junior Women race. It was her first off-road experience and she loved it. Two weeks later she surpized everybody with another 7th place result at her first international road triathlon, the ETU Junior Cup in Tabor.

Video by Rudi Lenaertz:

My race was very good and I was happy with my performance. My swim was better than expected. On the bike I was a little bit afraid to go too fast. The images of a struggling Jim in South Africa and Malta were always on my mind. So I took no risks and played it safe. Maybe too safe. I had a great run and catched 5 guys. But I only finished 14th. Good race, good feelings, but bad result. Looking at the results I feel less bad about my result. If I rode a little bit faster with a little bit more confidence, a top 10 result was possible. And this race was all about racing again at a high level without energy problems. And that’s what I did.


I was impressed with the level of the German U23 and Elite athletes. It felt like there were 20 of them racing at the front. I will have to race at my absolute best at the World Championships to beat them.


We left Schluchsee relieved, both for our own reasons and previous struggles. One week later we had another race, XTERRA Italy. A race that changed our lives.



Outfit: Belgian national outfit
Bike: Scott Spark 900SL
Fork: 88+ tuned Lefty
Wheel set: Notubes ZTR Valor
Seat: Cobb HC170
Shades: Oakley Radar Lock
Grips: ESI Grips Racer’s Edge
Helmet: Lazer Z1
Running shoes: WatermolenSport
Lube: Squirt dry lube


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Like there aren’t particularly a lot of sardines in Sardinia or canaries at the Canarian island, we didn’t spot a lot of Maltese dogs in Malta.


But Elisabetta and I were not in Malta for sightseeing, we were ready to race hard against the best European XTERRA triathletes.


Elisabetta had an amazing race. She battled until the final kilometer with Maud Golsteyn for the podium. She lost that battle with 12 seconds, but she finished for the first time in her career in the top 5 of an XTERRA race.


With this result she becomes the best Sardinian cross triathlete ever. She turned the mountainbike part of the race into her weapon in one winter. From losing too much time to setting one of the best bike splits.

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All the training on her Scott Spark in the Villacidro mountains payed of. Her coach Renata Bucher can be proud and happy, she’s making the progress we were all hoping for.




My race…


Good swim, first 20K of mountainbiking were good, started feeling weak, made a lot of mistakes in transition area because I couldn’t focus, ran 500m, had to start walking because I felt I was going to collapse, walked 500m and dropped out of the race.

Yes, I dropped out. The first time since god knows when. Why? Because it was to dangerous and because there is absolutely no point of finishing a race in 100th position while walking instead of racing at the front. I’ve finished too many races like this and I decided this winter to drop out if I have this problem again.

So, what is the problem? Read more here.


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Thijs is Thijs / Season 4 / Episode 4

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This is Thijs / Season 4 / Episode 2

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