Xterra European Championship – Czech Republic

The European Championship is the highlight of the Xterra European Tour. Almost every PRO Athlete is lining up, the race is bigger, stronger, faster and harder.

As I raced there back in 2015 for my first and last time, and I had to stop during the race because of multiple punctures on my tires, I definitely had to get back there. The last couple of years it just didn’t fit into my racing calendar, but this year when it was European Champs, I had to go there, and it was a big goal of me to perform well.

We traveled there early enough to practice the course. They changed it quite a bit, so it was new for me. The lake was obviously the same, we had to swim 2 loops with a little running passage in between. This time, due to the big starting field, they moved the transition area 1 to a bigger field so we had to run further to get to our bikes.

The bike course was super epic, there was lots of technical climbing and single trail sections. This race has 2 transition areas, and the second one is lower than the first one, so a good downhill technique is important for this race.

The run was tough, also some steep sections and mostly in the forest, really fun out there on the trails. In the end you reach the old town center of Prachatice for the second time where the finish line is in the middle of the city square- hundreds of people cheering.

Raceday

I felt pretty good in the morning and recovered and well trained after Xterra Italy/Scanno, which was 2 weeks before. I checked in my running shoes in transition 2, took my bike and went up to the lake to transition 1. I checked in there too, mounted my bike, my bike shoes, helmet and glasses to be ready to race. Shortly before the start it started to rain. I was well warmed up, but waited in my rain jacket until 15 minutes before the start- I did a 5 minutes swim warm up and was ready to go.

The PRO field started ahead of the age groupers, we were not allowed to use wetsuits, but the mass behind us was allowed. I got caught from a few age group athletes, because as we know, I am not the best swimmer.

Credits: Carel du Plessis

Onto my bike I felt ready to go, to push myself to the front, overtake some athletes and make up some time that I lost on the swim. I felt strong on the first few kilometers, I climbed well and was fast on the downhills. After a while I didn’t feel good, my legs started to feel heavy and weak. I tried to push threw it, but it didn’t help, it was too painful. After riding along for a couple of kilometers I found my girlfriend on the course cheering for me and making pictures. But I knew I wanted to stop and leave the race behind. It was the best decision and my health always comes first.

So I couldn’t finish the Xterra European Championship 2019, but I also couldn’t finish the Xterra Czech Republic for the second time. But I know one thing: I come back again.

On the next day there was a “short track race” for the best of the field from the day before- this time I was watching from the beginning, and it was a complete new feeling for me not being in the race. But it was a good one too.

Xterra Italy/Lago di Scanno

Definitely my favorite race in Europe

My 5th time at this epic place, its so beautiful and magical in the mountains of central Italy called Abruzzo. The old town of Scanno has its own flair, the big mountain behind it is brutal on the uphill and epic on the downhill, and the lake down the road is a blue cristal clear water with the perfect temperature for the daily open water swim or just to relax on the side in the sun for your daily lunch nap.

We traveled down from France and arrived there more than half a week before the competition. On our way there we stopped at two spots, the very known bike paradise in Alpe´d Huez/France and the little sea village called Moneglia/Italy where we spent some time for good training.

As we are traveling around Europe with my custom built Volkswagen van, we were camping at the campsite Ilupi close to the lake. It is the perfect spot for the daily training as well as for some relaxing time in between. Its calm and cosy, nice to stay at.

The race start was again a water start, the PRO field lined up between two buoys, the age group athletes started 5 minutes afterwards into the race. This time it was only one big loop of 1,5km with a little running section close to the swim exit.

Out of the swim it was about 100m to the transition area, enough time to pull down the wetsuit and get the legs shaked out for the bike. I changed quickly and jumped onto my bike. The course had a little pushing passage underneath the main road, then some stairs uphill before you actually reach the old town of Scanno. Some awesome downhill stair sections, switchbacks and gates are part of the course through the town. Behind that we had to follow a single trail to the back of the mountain, where the actual uphill starts. It goes all the way up to the top of the skiing slope, just to the start of the downhill section. Singletrails, some jumps and steep downhills are part of the amazing way down.

Back in transition I switched into my running shoes for the 10km trail run- again into the city. The steepest uphill I ever saw is also included into this course. It is almost impossible to actually run it, so a walk-push knees kind of movement helps here best.

I finished 12th this time, it was not that kind of result I was hoping for, but at least I had lots of fun racing again. Scanno will always be special for me, and I am sure to come back here again.

Xterra France

Back in France. This race is epic. I love it.

We got to race in Xonrupt in 2017 and it was awesome. The bike course is long, technical and awesome. It suits me really good and I was looking forward to race here again after my first time two years ago. The swim is in the beautiful lake which is mostly nice to swim in- without wetsuit. The finishing run is not really special or exciting, but its still a solid trail run. What the Frenchies are really crazy about are some steep wooden turns and bridges, jumps and pump tracks in the start and finish area, which we had to ride twice on the bike and run twice on the run.

Credits: Xterra

So we rented a little house close to the venue and stayed there with 6 other friends and Xterra athletes from Great Britain, Germany, Denmark and Portugal. The mood was great, I always had a partner to go and train with, checkout the course of just spin out the legs.

My preparation for the race went pretty well, I felt good, very rested. I didn’t really know what to expect due to my 4 weeks off training just before the race, but I was exciting to put it all out on the course.

Credits: Xterra

The start of the race was a bit late on the day- only in the afternoon, which was nice to heat up the lake with the midday sun. This Xterra is the biggest in Europe, and the transition area is probably twice as big as normally. I got a good spot and set everything up perfectly- my Mountainbike was ready to go, and also my Salming OT Comp was waiting for a fast run.

Credits: Xterra

The swim start was from in the water because there is no smooth transition between the beach and the lake. We had to wait for a bit in the water before the starting horn blasted. I didn’t feel really fast on the swim, so it was always very crowded around me- especially until the first buoy. I found my pace and could swim a solid split.

Credits: Xterra

Onto my bike I didn’t feel comfortable, but I just thought it was of the training break. My excitement was still high. I overtook a bunch of athletes until the hammer hit me hard. My nutrition was perfectly planned and also the hydration was good, my body was just not ready for racing again. With a lot of pain in my legs and also arms I made it back to T2 where I changed into my running shoes. The race was over for me already, but I didn’t want to pull out.

Credits: Xterra

I was a bit running and a lot walking, and I still finished the race. It was good for me mentally and to get some race feeling back, but I was far away from my goal. Next race will be in two weeks time back in Italy again.

Xterra Italy/Lago di Garda

The third Xterra race of the season brings me back to Italy. I really love this country. This time we are heading to the lake Garda, I know this place from prior training camps some years ago, but I have never raced the Xterra there. Normally all the Mountainbike action is happening in the north of the lake at a little village called Riva, but the spot where the Xterra is happening is a little bit south on the west coast in a Village called Toscolano Maderno.

Our drive started in Vienna, and due to the distance we made a stop in Salzburg/Austria for one night, and kept on driving the next day. We arrived in Maderno in the afternoon and went for a bike ride immediately.

I heard a lot of good reviews of the course, and my teammate Markus who raced there last year told me: “this is the hardest MTB course of all the Xterra races in Europe”. Luckily they changed it a bit to last years one and so there were lots of awesome single trail sections and not these crazy steep uphills anymore.

Credits: Carel du Plessis

Raceday was on Sunday, during the night before I got a little bit of a cold, but I still decided to race. The lake was freezingly cold, but the air was nice and warm. Due to the water temperature the swim was with wetsuit, but still very cold on my head. I managed to swim a good pace and was super stoked for the mountainbike. I pushed on the first kilometers hard, to catch up with the front guys. I was riding pretty well when I suddenly lost all the strength and had to slow down. This happened about half a loop (8km) into the bike course.

Credits: Carel du Plessis

I never forget to smile in a race, but this one was just a race to tick off and keep going. It was definitely not a good decision to race this one. After the race back home I went to the doctor to get my lungs and my heart checked out. A four weeks training stop was the result.

Credits: Carel du Plessis

I got slower and slower and had to let all the others go. I got some motivation push every time someone overtook me, but after a few meters it was too much pain in my lungs but also my legs. I definitely wanted to finish the race, so I kept on racing into the run. My run was not really fast anymore- most of the course I was only walking, my legs felt heavy and slow. I still finished the race, but I was about 1 hour later at the finish line of my estimated time.

Credits: Carel du Plessis

I still loved the course and especially the people, I am a big Italian fan and I will definitely come back to Toscolano Maderno in future.

ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship

Pontevedra/Spain 2019

After my travels to Cyprus and Greece, testing my performance and getting into racing cross triathlon again after the long winter break, brought me to Pontevedra/Spain. I have been to Spain only once in my life, and I liked it a lot. Also this time I was pretty stoked getting there, even if it was raining the first few days.

Credits: MW Photography

Together with some friends from Austria and Germany I stayed in a big apartment, training on the course together, having fun as well as cooking together the best food. The preparations and the vibes were on point.

Credits: MW Photography

The WCS race course:

1000m swimming

30km mountainbiking

7km running

ITU Triathlon Multisport World Championship

The swimming course was in the end of the river that joins into the sea right next to Pontevedra city center. The temperature was about 14,2 Degrees Celsius, which made it really tough in the beginning, as well as some current going down from the river.

Credits: MW Photography

We checked out the bike course several times, it was hard in the beginning, because it had lots of turns and hidden corners. It was full of gravel road, and some single trail sections, but mostly it was super fast. We had to climb to bigger mountains, so gain about 1200hm on the whole course. Drafting was definitely helping putting down a fast bike split.

Credits: Susanne Aumair

The run was super flat and fast, mostly straight and a little bit of uphill single trail. It wasn’t much of an “offroad trail run”, more some ITU road racing course with a touch of nature.

RACEDAY

At the raceday we decided to cycle to the venue, it was a nice 10k road cycle- perfect for warming up the legs. The start was only at the afternoon, so the typical “race tension” was a bit gone over the day. I was putting all my gear into transition area, my bike, my running shoes, helmet and glasses. This time it was a wetsuit swim, because of the low temperatures, so I put it on and went for a little swim, checking out the river one more time.

Credits: MW Photography

“always beat your number”

Dominik Wychera

We lined up for the starting ceremony, this time I had bib. number 9 (from the 2018 ranking) and I was super stoked about it. My first goal is always beating my number, but this time it was really unlikely and I set my goal for the TOP15.

Credits: MW Photography

We all jumped into the water and waited between the two starting buoys for the final starting shot. It was a big mess, everyone was excited to race fast and I got some hits on me. I tried to find my rhythm, but it was really hard this time, the current and the low temperature didn’t make me feel comfortable and fast. As I am already an average swimmer I lost even more time because of the current. I exited the swim at the very end of the field.

Credits: MW Photography

Onto my bike and I felt comfortable again, I could push from the beginning, closed the gab to the group in front of me very fast, and found myself with some other good mountainbikers. Together we tried to catch up the time we lost on the swim, it worked pretty well, but slowly I lost all of them behind me. I felt really good on the bike and rode mostly by myself, catching one after the other. I made up more than 20 positions on the bike and entered T2 on the 24th spot.

Credits: MW Photography

My legs were already a bit tired because I never had the possibility to relax a bit on the bike due to riding most of the course by myself- no drafting possibility. So I jumped into my running shoes and tried to put the hammer down, behind me already some other athletes. In the beginning I couldn’t see anyone close in front of me. But then I got a nice running pace and caught two other athletes. The problem was, that there came faster runners from the back and shortly before the finish I lost 2 positions again and finished on the 24th spot in the end.

Credits: MW Photography

It wasn’t really close to my goal of finishing in the TOP15, but with a better and relaxer swim, it would have definitely been possible.

Credits: MW Photography

thanks Pontevedra 2019

Dominik Wychera

Xterra Greece

  • 2nd Xterra of the season
  • 2nd time at Xterra Greece
  • 2nd in the 2019 European Tour standings

I am back here in Greece, I just love this beautiful place south of Athens called Vouliagmeni. And its not only the beautiful landscapes and the great weather that made me come back, its the whole atmosphere here at the race venue, the great service with a pickup from the airport with a personal rental car, the perfectly marked race courses, the time management before and during the race and of course the people.

Credits: 641 photography / Xterra

After my Xterra season opener in Cyprus I came here for my second race of the season, I already know the course from last year, so it was a very easy preparation for me. I still did two loops on the bike course to know where to attack, and one loop on the running course, to get a feeling of the 2 steep technical uphill trails again.

Credits: 641 photography / Xterra

On the day before the actual race, the XTERRA Greece crew also offered a couple of other events to take part in, for kids, beginners and just for fun. So we took part in the Laser-Gun-Run. It was actually planned to be a game for the little kids, but then also the PRO athletes wanted to be part of it, so we had a little fun battle with shooting and running.

1000m swim (with a quick run between the 2 loops)

30km mountainbike

10km trailrun

XTERRA Greece
Credits: 641 photography / Xterra

The race start of this years Xterra Greece was at 10 in the morning, which was good as the weather was pretty cold the last few days before the race, so some extra minutes of sun before jumping into the cold sea was pretty awesome. I set um my transition, put on my Zoggs FX1 wetsuit and went for a warmup swim. The PRO field started ahead of the age groupers, and we had to swim 2 loops each 750m with a little beach-run in between.

Credits: 641 photography / Xterra

I came out the water in 9th position, just behind Kris Coddens, my transition was really fast so we went on the bike together, and pushed each other to ride fast. So we came back to T2 with the 4th and 5th fastest split of the day, I knew he can run fast, so I tried to get a gap between us with changing fast in transition, I ran out some seconds ahead and had a small gap, I wasn’t really thinking back, only wanted to catch the one in front of me. At this stage I didn’t know how far this would be, but all my focus was to the front. Kris then could catch me and we were running together on the first loop. These 2 technical uphills were really tough after our fast bike ride. I unluckily lost some time on the fast running downhills due to some little cramps in my legs. I was now in 7th position for the second running loop. I still had a good pace, but there was no chance of running to the TOP 5 anymore.

Credits: 641 photography / Xterra

I finished 7th on my second Xterra Europe race of 2019, and I am super happy how it came out. My 5th place from Xterra Cyprus and my 7th place from Xterra Greece means a 2nd place in the overall European Tour ranking, just behind Xavier Dafflon (lots will change, because we are only 2 of a few having 2 races in the calculation).

Xterra Cyprus

Season opener of the 2019 Xterra European Tour in Cyprus.

Its my first time here in Cyprus and of course my first time in the Xterra Cyprus. The course got changed to last years one and is super fun racing on.

Credits: Carel du Plessis

We arrived in Cyprus a couple of days before the race, spent our time on the course and enjoyed the island a lot. I went onto the bike course several times, it had nice and long climbs, as well as technical downhills, rock gardens and water sections- of course some single trail. The run was not as fancy, mostly flat and fast with a little bit of climbing and off-trail-feeling, but still nice for racing.

1500m swimming

38km mountainbike

10km trailrun

Xterra Cyprus
Credits: Carel du Plessis

The start was at 9am and we jumped into the Cristal clear water of Paphos. As always it was a triangle course with two loops, I started a very solid pace in the beginning, but I had to take out some speed for the second loop before my arms started to explode. With two minutes back on the leaders I exited the swim.

Credits: Carel du Plessis

Now the fun part started: Onto my new Scott Spark RC World Cup, I pushed it all out on the awesome bike course. I found a good speed and felt very confident from my last MTB-Races the weeks before. I was able to make up some positions, catch the guys ahead of me. I really had fun out there. I cycled to the 4th place when I suddenly crashed in the rock garden.

A lady who got overtaken decided to change the side of the single trail, as I was only short before this section- shit happened and I jumped over my handlebar. I have no idea how I did it, but I landed onto my feet, no scratches, no hits, nothing. I was sad about my bike but luckily even my bike didn’t get any pain, the only problem was the handlebar twisted sideways from the impact. I was very loose so I could turn it back, but I didn’t bring a tool to fix it. So I rode very carefully back to T2 (about 5k) downhill and at the beach over some rocky sections, very carefully of not loosing control over my bike because of the loose handlebar.

Credits: Carel du Plessis

Onto the run I was in 5th position, fighting with another athlete from Denmark for the 4th spot. The podium was too far anyway so we both went for the points and the cash. We started a very solid running pace and pushed each other going faster. It was a really great competition until Jens started to attack at the last turning point (2,5km before finish). I couldn’t hold his speed anymore and had to let him go. I tried to catch up again, but in the end it was a 16 seconds gap between us.

Credits: Carel du Plessis

I had the fastest run of the day in 35:11.5

Xterra Cyprus

I finished 5th in the first Xterra of the season and made some points for the European Tour standing. Cyprus is a great place and I might come back in future.

Credits: Carel du Plessis

ITU Cross Triathlon ECS Ibiza/Spain

The last big race of the season was the this years ITU Cross Triathlon European Championship on the beautiful island of Ibiza.

We arrived there a week before the race. I shared an Appartement with friends from Switzerland, it was great. We had lots of fun, good training and amazing food. My season was already super long, and it was hard for my head to focus on the race. We checked out the bike and run course properly to know exactly where to ride and run during the race. It was a very fast course with lots of rocks and some roots, my Scott Spark fully from Nora Pure Sports was the perfect weapon for this terrain. Also on the running course it was super rocky with some sharp rocks and deep sand passage on the beach.

The start was pretty late at only 2pm in the afternoon and the swim course was one big loop of 1000m. There were lots of fast swimmers in the elite field so I couldn’t really follow. I was pretty much swimming all by myself with 2 other athletes behind me. As I am not one of the fast swimmers its hard for me to swim any tactics like I could do on the bike, my rule is always fulgas and giving all I have.

I came in T1 quite far back with 2 other guys which I dropped back already by only changing onto the bike. I pushed as hard as I could on this crazy loop course. We had to ride 4 laps each 5km which is only 20km in total with a super high average speed which made it even harder to catch up some time on the bike. My legs were quite lazy that day and not really well performing. So I came in T2 still out of top 20 which made me really focusing on the run.

The run started on the beach which was super tiring but fun, and lots of people were cheering us threw the deep sand. I found a good pace and made the run to my personal best discipline of the day. I was running together with a friend from Portugal and we pushed us to the limits together. My running pace was quite nice and I could made up some places.

In the end I just finished in the Top 20 at this ITU Cross Triathlon European champs. Extremely far away from my top 7 goal but still happy to finish without crash or cramps. There are some very good days and there are days where you just can’t show your performance.

I am glad to finish this 2018 season on this beautiful island to get the first relaxation on such a beautiful place. Program for the next few weeks: offseason, legs up and party.