On December 2nd, XTERRA announced a shakeup in its America Tour. According to the XTERRA website, the company “announced the formation of the XTERRA Pan American Tour which connects the sport’s major events in South, Central, and North America as well as the Caribbean. The inaugural 10-stop series for both amateur and professional athletes starts March 20th at XTERRA Costa Rica and concludes September 17 with the XTERRA Pan American Championship race in Ogden, Utah. In between are two majors in the U.S., two in Canada, and one each in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.”
This might not appear to be huge news if you’re not an off-road triathlete, except for what was missing from that list of race locations: Richmond.
Richmond has hosted a championship-level race for pros and amateurs alike for the past 15 years. It’s XTERRA’s second longest running race host, and it’s practically an institution in here. Well, the folks at XTERRA clearly recognized this, because yesterday they released a Q&A on their site that was heavy on Richmond details.
Q: How can you let Richmond go, it’s one of the oldest and most popular races?
A: The Richmond race is one of the all-time greats, no doubt. It’s at our roots, and is our longest-running race outside of Maui at 17 years. We helped start and establish those trails. Some of our best friends in life are there. Trust us, it hurts. Without a destination sponsor to offset the production and marketing cost we can’t continue. We are forever grateful for the support of Salary Shield and Luck Stone which kept RVA alive over the last several years. We’re open to support for next year and the future, and are also exploring opportunities with other organizations to produce that event. Until then, heed the advice of Dr. Seuss … “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Q: WTH? XTERRA isn’t XTERRA without Richmond!
A: We hear ya. But would add that XTERRA is a lifestyle, a spirit. And, there is nothing stopping you from riding those sweet trails in Richmond whenever you want. The James River Park System is expertly managed and well kept year-round.
Q: Have the costs of hosting events at Brown’s Island gone up significantly and made it cost prohibitive? Perhaps there are too many other events happening at the venue for XTERRA to get the date they wanted?
A: There is some truth to the first part. It’s expensive to rent and operate on Brown’s Island. And there are all sorts of logistic problems to try and stage the event at another RVA spot and use the same trails. We’ve considered, reviewed, evaluated, and kicked dirt around at numerous alternative spots with no success. As for the second part of question, getting the date wasn’t a problem.
Later on in the Q&A offers this tidbit that I’ll be following up on on Monday:
Q: In theory, Richmond and/or Vegas could come back if a promoter wants to take it over, right? It just won’t be a regional championship?
A: In theory, yes, and we’re actually working on that now and hope it will happen.
So, while this is definitely not good news for triathlon lovers in Richmond, stay tuned. It appears all hope is not lost.