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Saturday, February 18, 2012
CEBU’s top triathletes are gearing up for the Vaseline men Xterra off-road triathlon Championship Series on March 18 in Liloan, Cebu.
However, this year’s edition will be missing Cebu’s top female triathlete Lohriz Echavez Lopez, who was the Filipino elite division champion last year. The newly-married Lopez is expected to give birth next week.
“I would be missing this year’s race, which has attracted a lot of the top triathletes in the country. I believe it’s going be a tougher and more challenging race,” she told Sun.Star Cebu. “I wish the local triathletes for next month’s Xterra all the best.”
Cebu will now be banking on Rochelle Tan and Lovelienell Casidsid in the female elite category, in her absence.
Tan topped last year’s 18-24 age group, while Casidsid secured the fourth spot in the women’s elite category.
“My training’s going fine. I go mountainbiking to Busay and go swimming almost every day,” Tan said.
Casidsid, on the other hand, is aiming to improve on her fourth place finish.
“I just had my 40-kilometer ride under the sun. Nagpa-init ko sige ron, kay init raba kayo ang lumba ana. Hopefully I can beat my time and improve my last year’s fourth place finish,” Casidsid said.
With this year’s race giving away 40 slots for the top age group finishers to the Xterra World Championships in Maui, Hawaii on Oct. 28, Noy Jopson, who was fourth in the Filipino elite men’s division, is aiming to top the 35 to 39 age group.
“I’ve joined the Ironman World Championships, the ITU Olympic distance and I also want to compete in the Xterra world championship,” he said.
However, Jopson finds a spot in the Xterra world championship harder to achieve because it is a more challenging race compared to regular triathlon races.
“I am used to the road bike and it’s a risk competing in Xterra because I find it difficult with the mountain bike course. I had a hard time in last year’s downhill route, especially the dreaded area called the graveyard because 90 percent of the participants had a hard time there,” Jopson said.
The graveyard was a key segment of the off-road triathlon, due to the difficult terrain that it poses in the mountain bike segement of the race.
Aside from Tan, Casidsid and Jopson, other local triathletes who are joining the event are Elmo Clarabal, Kristian Cabahug, Vincent Raymund Escobido, Zaldie Velano, Junki Flores, Tabuelan Mayor Rex Gerona, Chris Aldeguer, Gerrie Calinawan,Franz Baguio, Alan Chuachoy, Meyrick Jacalan.
Last year’s mixed team relay champion Lorendale Echavez and Mendel Lopez will try to defend their title with new member Joseph Millier, while Liloan Mayor Duke Frasco’s team will try to improve on their third place finish in the all-men team relay.
Registration is still on-going and interested participants may register online at www.xterraphil.com or visit the Runnr or ROX store in Ayala Center Cebu as well as the brick multisport store at the JC Mall.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 19, 2012.