Sam Osborne and Samantha Kingsford from New Zealand captured the XTERRA Albay off-road triathlon elite titles in the Philippines on Sunday.
It’s the eighth XTERRA World Tour win for Osborne, and the first for Kingsford. With the win Osborne also secured the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour title for the second year in a row, while Penny Slater won the women’s tour by virtue of her second-place showing in Legazpi today.
“Incredible mate, and special to share the top step of the podium with Samantha,” said Osborne of his girlfriend and travel partner.
“I never thought I would be stepping on the top of the podium this year with only just starting the sport, and definitely not at my third-ever race,” replied Kingsford. “And it was awesome to share it with Sam as well!”
In the men’s elite race the day started with Osborne, the reigning XTERRA World Champ Bradley Weiss, and Olly Shaw exiting the water and swim-to-bike transition close together.
“I had a great swim and was only 15 seconds down on Sam and 10 seconds behind Brad starting the ride,” said Shaw, who hails from mountain bike riding paradise of Rotorua, New Zealand, just like Osborne. “Brad caught Sam quite quickly on the first climb and then we all came together when I was able to bridge up after about 10 minutes on the bike. From there we rode together for the entire ride. In the first lap we all found ourselves at the front at various points but into the 2nd lap I found myself leading most of it. It was a really fun course to ride and definitely gave an advantage to skilled riders.”
For Osborne and all competitors, half the battle was managing the heat.
“It was one of those days when the body didn’t really seem to want to fire I had a really off swim and didn’t manage to split anything, and that seemed to translate onto the bike,” said Osborne. “I lacked a fair bit of power, but you know the heat does funny things to your body and it seemed Brad was lacking a bit of fire power on the bike as well. I just come out of NZ winter, where on a good day we get double digits, so its very tough on the body to race in the extreme heat of the Philippines.”
Osborne, Weiss, and Shaw posted near identical bike split and it all came down to the run.
“I really threw all my eggs into the running race basket,” said Osborne. “I knew coming into T2 that I had to pull all the strings in my transition bow and put Brad & Olly under some pressure. It was a bit of a gamble but the running legs had come out to play and found a good stride, the legs just kept getting better and better and I thought if anyone could close me down with how I feel now, they deserved this.”
As for Shaw, he said, “I felt awful early on in the run and had to watch Sam and Brad pull away. After about three kilometers my body came around and I was able to get into a decent tempo and slowly pulled closer to Brad. I wasn't quite able to close the gap and finished in 3rd, around 20 seconds behind Brad.
Osborne posted the fastest run of the day and crossed the line in 2:16:58, more than two-minutes ahead of Weiss in second-place. With the win, Osborne also snapped Weiss’ string of four straight wins in the Philippines, two of which came here in Albay.
“Racing in Albay is an absolute bucket list race, you get so immersed in their culture here,” exclaimed Osborne. “The Filipinos are so passionate about their sport and really come out to make it such a memorable race. This is the living and travelling experiences we all love.”
Elite Men's ResultsPos Name, NAT Time Points 1 Sam Osborne, NZL 2:16:58 100 2 Bradley Weiss, RSA 2:19:26 90 3 Olly Shaw, NZL 2:19:43 82 4 Joe Miller, PHI 3:04:24 75 5 Akihiko Maeda, JPN 3:12:18 69 6 Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN 4:19:57 63
In the women’s race it was Kingsford from wire-to-wire. She posted the fastest swim (20:50), the best bike (1:39:48) and the second-best run to Penny Slater to take the tape in 2:54:18, more than five minutes ahead of Slater.
“I managed to get a gap on the other girls in the swim and continued this lead the whole race,” explained Kingsford. “I knew I had to pace myself on the bike and not use up all my energy on the first lap as it was going to be a very hot day. I managed to extend the lead on the bike each lap. The course was technical and I knew I had to ride smart so I didn’t crash or get a mechanical.”
Kingsford came into T2 with a comfortable lead and was able to manage her efforts on the run to stay in front the whole way. “The run was tough,” she said. “It was so hot, especially on the steep climbs.”
For Slater, coming in second in Albay and winning the tour was a rewarding experience.
“I feel really stoked that I managed to win the tour as it was one of my main goals this year,” she said. “It’s been pretty amazing to travel to all the fantastic locations that the races have been this year. The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour definitely offers a unique experience to race and travel.”
As for the race itself, Slater said “It was tough! The course was very well built and all the athletes were impressed with the effort that had gone into making the course. I didn’t know what to expect coming into the race as I suffered a concussion from a nasty crash about 2.5 weeks ago and had only ridden my mountain bike once since! Personally, I suffered in the heat and had a hard crash early on in the bike which left me and my bike a bit battered. I was chasing Samantha all day but just couldn’t find that next gear! The whole experience on course was amazing, however, as the locals lined the bike course and with the back drop of the volcano it was definitely pretty spectacular.”
Leela Hancox finished in third, and Kristy Jennings was fourth for the elite women.
Elite Women's ResultsPos Name, NAT Time Points 1 Samantha Kingsford, NZL 2:54:18 100 2 Penny Slater, AUS 2:59:36 90 3 Leela Hancox, AUS 3:17:04 82 4 Kristy Jennings, NZL 3:23:24 75
Sam Osborne and Penny Slater are your 2018 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champions. Bradley Weiss and Ben Allen finished 2,3 for the men, while Leela Hancox and Samantha Kingsford placed 2, 3 for the women.
2018 XTERRA ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR ELITE STANDINGS