Exactly two weeks on from finishing the world’s toughest IRONMAN in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, professional Kiwi endurance athlete Braden Currie is raring to go again and will line-up for the World XTERRA Championships on Monday morning (NZST).
He quickly moved on from the disappointment of puncturing on the bike ride during his debut at Kona and will use the frustration of not achieving the top-ten finish he was on track for, to fuel an all-out assault on the globe’s greatest off-road triathlon.
Held on the Hawaiian island of Maui, the race features a beach start in Kapalua, and the forecast is for shore-pounding breakers. It means Currie and the other 39 elite men could face some epic-sized waves throughout their 1.5km ocean swim. The Wanaka-based, Red Bull athlete thrives on a challenge and negotiating massive surf is no exception.
“A couple of years ago we had huge swells in this race and it was actually quite fun swimming in that environment. Probably in on-road triathlon the organisers would have cancelled the swim but XTERRA is a bit more rugged,” Currie says.
The competitors must return to the beach in between the two-lap course, which will test their body-surfing skills.
“It means you have two chances of getting smashed but I always enjoy the big waves and have a bit of fun with it. They definitely separate the field out, which could play into my advantage as swimming has become one of my strengths and could mean I get a few minutes buffer on the slower swimmers going into the mountain bike,” Currie says.
The 32km mountain bike climbs 1000m up and down the humid, lower slopes of the West Maui Mountains and although he has been predominantly focused on upping his road bike kilometres for ironman training, Currie has still made time for his mountain bike.
“I’ve been using my mountain bike twice a week as cross training and to give me more time on the bike overall, so now I’m looking forward to racing my Specialized S-Works Epic. Overall the XTERRA world’s course suits more of an endurance athlete. The ride has really long climbs and the run is predominantly strength-focused with a lot of climbing. I think it will cross over fine,” Currie says, of how he expects his long-distance training to transfer to an under three-hour event.
The XTERRA race finishes with a high-speed 10.5km trail run that traverses forest tracks, and beach sand. This is where running machine Currie will be hoping to get the edge over his main rivals defending XTERRA World Champion Mauricio Mendez from Mexico City, three-time XTERRA World Champ Ruben Ruzafa, off-road racing legend Josiah Middaugh and Australian swim-specialist Ben Allen.
Currie has proven his worth in Maui with three top five finishes, including a runner-up showing in 2015 and getting this one right in Maui, is still high on his racing priority list.
“Yes, it’s been a long time for me racing XTERRA and I feel like last year was a bit of a let-down for me [finishing fourth] and in some ways I feel that taking the pressure off this race being the focus race might allow me to enjoy it more and race better,” he says.
Currie plans to utilise his well-honed endurance base and race strong and consistent all day to see what he can achieve against the world’s best off-road athletes.
“I’m over my Kona come-down and I’m stoked to have had the experience of racing it. Now I’m excited to have another opportunity to race a world championship race and see if I’ve still got the goods in off-road,” Currie says.
Follow the race online at XTERRAMaui.com, on Twitter @xterraoffroad and live on Facebook /xterraplanet starting Monday at 8am in New Zealand.
CAPTIONS Wanaka-based Red Bull endurance athlete Braden Currie races in the 2016 World XTERRA Championships. PHOTOS CREDIT JESSE PETERS/XTERRA
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Braden Currie’s multisport campaign is made possible with the support of:
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