Posts Tagged ‘specialized Command post’

XTERRA Italy 2014

Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Swim exit BlueSeventy

When I planned my racing calendar this year, I decided to only do races I enjoy.  Fun, technical, challenging, well designed, adrenaline filled and true to the XTERRA nature I fell in love with 13 years ago.  I dont necessarily pick races to suit my strengths, (like this one with its 1600m of climbing on bike and 550m of climbing on run) but I like real mountain biking, real trail running, and preferably an interesting destination. That's why I'm still passionate about racing. When I'm having fun, I enjoy doing my job and I'm fast. Unfortunately the XTERRA Italy course changed from last year, and the fun factor was replaced with a "either you can, or you cant" attitude. Not the best way to attract newcomers to the sport, and not the reason I do this. While I'm on the topic: I'm writing this blog at the location of my next race. (Location withheld to protect the innocent.) Even though the course suits me relatively well, I'm quite disappointed with the seemingly hours of boring gravel road, dangerous down hills (only 30 seconds of it)- obviously not meant for mountain biking-  avoidance of single track, and a no-imagination run course. All this when we're riding right through thousands of hectares of stunning pine forests – perfect single track terrain. Maybe I'm a quality course snob, but the poor quality of many XTERRA courses is frustrating and confirms my dreams of sometime soon building a phenomenal course(s) which would redefine the sport. Fun for the hard core athletes, yet accessable to beginners & kids.  Think XTERRA / Urban Rage / Tough Mudder, with a lot of Caveman sprinkled on top…. Anyway, back to Italy:   Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Swim

Got out the swim with Kiwi Braden Curry and someone else. About 30" behind Roger Serrano the Bearded Beast.

Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 T1

Hoping for rain because that's the tyre I've got. Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Secialized

Early on we did a fun loop through the old town of Scanno. Probably my favourite part of the race- narrow cobbled alleys, down century old stairs, Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Scanno town cobbles

Watch out for fellow competitors, super slippery cobbles, and maybe an opening door… Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Scanno town old lasy

Past old ladies in traditional black, where today they watch a different world go by…   Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Specialized Epic Suunto Clif Bar Hoka Oakley

Get off the brakes and bring some speed- faster is easier. After the fun and games of whizzing through town we climbed. And Climbed. And CLIMBED. As you can see below on my Suunto Movescount file, the 1st climb was 700m in one go – 43min for me. Mostly steep, gravelly,  jeep track. I dont mind climbing, but then the down hill must be good. Unfortunately this year it plunged almost straight down the ski slope. In dry training conditions I glazed my brake rotors its so steep.  Yet, going slowly due to the rain, it took me less than 8 minutes to get down. Not a good "Yahooooo!!" rating. (Divide Suffering time by Fun time to get Yahooooo rating: 43/8 = 5.3 Yahooooos) Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Suunto Movescount file

Click here for full interactive Movescount file. Braden and I climbed together, but when Ruben Ruzafa caught us, Braden went with him and I couldnt respond. My legs were heavy and HR low- an indication that my legs werent rested enough, and I was paying the price for too much pre riding. As can bee seen in "Bar Chart and Curve" section, my avs HR was only 146. I spent only 1hr36 (of 2hr55) going Very Hard (between 146-163),  39min going Hard (127-146) and 16min below 126HR. When fit and rested I can do 3hrs at 155hr avs. As we summited, the rain started coming down in huge drops, and the ski slope instantly became an ice rink. The Yahoooo factor went up. Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Specialized Epic Muddy hair pin

Loved the Command Post, (now available at your Specialized dealer) dropped the saddle, and the big knobblies on the front Ground Control 2.3 tyre came nicely into play. Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Specialized Epic Suunto Muddy hair pin & scanno town

In less than 5 minutes, I was in the village down theeeeere. Straight down the ski run in the back ground.  Some sections through the trees were real slippery, the trick was finding traction on the leaves and not in the mucked up "trail". Please dont do this on a under normal conditions on a normal MTB trail. But these were mostly goat trails and I didnt want to make unnecessary cartwheels and have to fix my bike with a piece of wood like this guy…

Hand made handlebar fix XTERRA Italy 2014

It was tough tough times for the age groupers! This guy broke his handlebar, found a stick to make a #Cavemanstyle plan. Classic! Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 T2

Coming in with Carloni (FRA), behind a flying Ruzafa. Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 wood run

The run was really challenging -technical, super hilly, scenic & fun. Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Hoka One One Huaka run stairs

Stunning sections through Scanno. Loving the new Hoka Huaka racers. Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014

and surrounding hills. Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Scanno town

Save some energy for the views. Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Hoka One One Huaka

The rain didnt dampen the crowd's spirits. Braden Curry is a hard core mountain man, and came steaming past me up the last climb to get 2nd behind Ruzafa. Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 podium

3rd for Caveman, 1st Ruzafa (ESP), 2nd Curry (NZ)  Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Liezel Stoltz PrincessHotstuff! Still trying to shake the cold she pickup that day- running around in the rain, cheering, taking photos and giving splits at every oppertunity. Conrad Stoltz Liezel Stoltz Braden Curry

Eating lamb sosaties with Kiwis in Italy?!? Sam and Braden Curry & kids. Check out Bradens' adventure race, RedBull Defiance in NZ. Conrad Stoltz Caveman XTERRA Italy 2014 Ezechiel & family

Made many new friends (& touched up my French) here with Ezechiel and family from France. conrad stoltz Xterra Italy 2014 bike wash

A super tough race for the age groupers. Bike wash on the swim course – not so much sympathy for the bike after a long day 🙂 Liezel Stoltz #PrincessHotstuff Fiat 500

Ciao Italia! Grazie mille!!! Guten tag Deutchland und Austria for Specialized Germanic Dealer Event

Caveman’s specialized equipment choices in quest for 7th World title

Conrad Stoltz Caveman ITU Corss Triathlon Worlds 2013 World Champion Specialized Sworks Epic 29er Specialized Evade helmet beach racing

#aeroiseverything #soisfattyres #dittohorsepower

Conrad Stoltz Caveman 2013 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships youtube

ITU Cross Triathlon Worlds 2013 Long version

Cross Tri Worlds Highlights. (Short version- 2.40)

Racing through the dunes, stairs and sidewalks of Holland proved a fertile ground for innovative equipment choices.  From the video you can get a feel for the course- but the real test was the long sections of deep, soft sand.

I enjoy thinking about equipment and how to make it better while training, and have been doing the obvious tire reaserch for almost a year.

Conrad Stoltz Specialized Sworks 29er Epic Evade helmet beach racing Caveman ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships

Big was my surprise when I opened a “special box for sand racing” from Jason Chamberlain at Specialized. The biggest widest rims I have ever seen. Really wide. And light. Mounted with our biggest tire- Renegade 2.3- but more like 2.5 or 2.6 on this rim.

Conrad Stoltz Caveman ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships Den Haag beach sand racing

The dark sand is the easy part. There were 3 of these sections on each of 4 laps. Try picking a straight (existing) line, balance perfectly in it while deliverying seemingly a million Watts, WHILE being totally relaxed, BARELY holding onto the bars, ready to jump off and run the moment the front wheel digs in…

The Basics skills for sand riding: The tires need to float on top of the sand. The moment the front wheel sinks in, it snakes

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Caveman’s favourite tool for technical riding: Specialized Command Post

The Specialized Command Post lowers the saddle height with the push of a button. Initially I only used it for really technical courses, but now its a permanent fixture on all my mountain bikes. It lowers my centre of gravity, gets the saddle out the way for a better body position in the corners and drops, and on a few occasions I’ve used it for a (safe) really aerodynamic tuck.

I think this “drop seat post” will eventually become more and more prevalent amoungst Cross Country and also social riders. Once people realize weight is not everything, learn how to use it properly (I’m still learning proper cornering) and once they’ve made peace with the “funny”  look and feel. Remember when 29ers were “funny looking”?

If all else fails, you can go with Rappstar’s favourite tool for technical riding:


2012 ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion

Shelby County Cross Tri 003

Grateful and proud to win another World title…

The ITU and XTERRA partnership was great to see, the racing was fun, safe and fair. The multi lapped course for the pros made for great spectating and made media coverage. I think off road triathlon would make a great Olympic sport -hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

Click here for YouTube highlights of the men and womens’ Pro races.


For once in my career, according to ITU protocol, I was called up to the start first. (as defending champion) During my ITU World Cup days (When I was ranked between 15th and the 70s) I had to scramble for a start spot next to the slow hacks and/or crooked/violent swimmers.


Oak Mountain State Park is the perfect triathlon venue. Stunning lake, great trails and good facilities. The age groupers got to ride the best (BUMP) trail- where the XTERRA has been held the past 6 years- and the pros did a 3lap course on smoother, more groomed trails through tight woods. The lapped course may not have been as much fun as the BUMP route, but it offered great spectating possibilities and showcased the sport well.

The Pro bike course looked “easy”, but it was really hard to go fast- as Josiah Middaugh’s facial expression and creative line proves. Check out this amazing series of photos by jtalbot– the expressions shows the intensity of off road triathlon…


Being 6ft2, (high center of gravity in corners) and (in)famous for my “point and shoot” methodology, I dont consider myself as “the King of Cornering” (thats Greg Minnaar, whom I rode Sani2C with) and with all the cornering on this course, there was not a whole lot of pedaling to do.  But somehow the time gaps after the bike was much bigger than I’d anticipated: Evans at 50″ Stannard + Rakita at 3.30, Thibodeau and Bechtel around 4′, Chris Leigh at 4.30 and Middaugh at 5′


pic by Emma Garrard

Hauling the mail with Evans. I pre-rode the course with Craig about 10 days before the race, and realized he’s got it all dialed in. He can swim, he can corner, he knows the course really well (its a hard one to learn- as almost all of the 600 turns look the same) and he is really fit. He was so comfortable in the corners that he ran the Specialized Renegade 1.95  tires front and rear. I didnt have the guts to ride the smooth, fast Renegade in front and opted for the Fast Trak 2.00 with more grip in the front, as the corners got more and more gravelly with all the traffic and hot, dry weather. I also went with the Specialized Command Post which I have put to good use on this kind of course before. Its a telescopic seat post which, with the push of a button, allows you to drop your saddle height in the corners.

Day before the race I spent time re reading my favourite MTB Skills book: Mastering MTB skills by Brian Lopes.

“Carve flat turns” was by far the most relevant topic:


In the pic below I managed to stay off the brakes and you can see how how soft the tires are, fighting for every bit of traction as I try to “cram the tires into the ground”. Cornering will forever be “a work in progress”


Pic by JTalbot’s photos on smugmug


The “piece de resistance” of the age group course: Blood Rock. Here our Alabama home stay Casey Fannin makes it look easy. Casey is a machine- he won his 50-54 age group by 13 minutes!


Pic by Emma Garrard

Having a comfortable lead on the run allowed me to enjoy the racing, scenery and spectators. I was using the new Avia Mantis racing flat- a great shoe which will be my go- to racer in the future.


Winning sure is fun- especially under your countries’ flag.

In my hands you’ll notice my Cool Points, frozen sachets designed to keep your core temperature down during hot races. Here in Alabama we’ve had some rillers- due to high temps and humidity, fortunately it wasnt too hot this time round, but staying cooler is never a bad thing.


I’m truly blessed to be able to share these amazing experiences with my wife Liezel. She’s plays a huge role in my successes. And will even take a sweaty hug at the finish line…


Great to see Carla van Huyssteen on the podium at Worlds! (3rd) The 1st time I saw her run, (2005) I told the stranger next to me “this girl has talent!”- and it turned out to be her dad, South Africa rugby legend Gerrie Germishuys. Leslie Paterson backed up her XTERRA World title from 2011 and Aussie tough guy Chris Legh dodged all the trees on the bike and ran into 3rd. Craig Evans had the performance of his life. Coming down the finishing chute that is! His race result was ok too. Usain Bolt could learn a few moves from this guy: Evans’ moves at the finish. (at 6.20)

The young South Africans especially rose to the occasion- Bradley Weiss won the Elite u/23 World Title, (and overall Age Group race) Bradley Schuit won the Junior Men’s and Charne Prinsloo was 3rd in the Junior Women’s. A testament to the health of XTERRA racing in South Africa. Thanks to Triathlon South Africa for putting a lot of effort into sending a team and supporting our young sport. See TSA race coverage. and more RSA results.

Full race results here.

Thanks a lot to Joe, Jeff and Sandy from Specialized who brought “the Team truck”, their amazing support (and laughs) – my S-works Epic 29er and equipment was faultless. And cleaner than out-of-the box equipment every time I threw a leg over.


It was touch and go or Liezel took off in “our new car”. The only vehicle which makes my XL Epic 29er look small…


Also thanks/welcome to Dewet from Squirt lube, who is an Official XTERRA Partner from this year. (Keep your eyes open for the “Squirt- win a flight to Maui competition” coming soon.) I think Dewet put more miles onto this bike course than any racer did… “Testing product”

Glad to see USADA was there for Drug testing. So far I have been tested at XTERRA Grabouw, ITU Cross Triathlon Worlds here in Bama and I was placed on the ADAMS anti doping whereabouts list. I think its important to make it clear to tainted athletes (sometimes from other sports or anyone who may consider cheating) that off road triathlon is not a “safe place” to further your pathetic “racing” career.


Liezel and I were in Bama 2 weeks before the race and did some fun training together. (If she rides the Roubaix and I the MTB, we’re the same speed. Conveniently, she (kind of) fits on my bikes- so we drop the seat and share)


Pre race interview with XTERRA.TV


From the comfort of the Specialized tent, Hal Richardson (the official massage therapist of the USA track & field team for the 2012 London Olympics) from Birmingham did some much needed massage the week before and came to the Specialized tent to help loosen up and more importantly -zap sore spots with his $20 000 Alternating Magnetic Therapy machine.

We’re in Boulder at the moment, getting ready for XTERRA Richmond VA. I’m spending a fair bit of time on my UCI illegal SHIV, as there is maybe a Boulder Peak Triathlon in the pipeline. ( a race I won 4 times and had the course record from 2000)

In Boulder everyone asks newcomers 2 questions: “How long are you here for?” Prolly most of summer. And “where are you staying?” For now we’re staying with our incredibly adventurous friends, Chris and Erin Ratay. Whom I met in Lydenburg South Africa, (because of their KTM 950 with Colorado plates) on one of their motorbike trips around the world. Check out their amazing lives: Work hard, play hard. Sounds familiar…




Story Time

Cavegirl on the way!!!

Cavegirl on the way!!!
Liezel and I are happy to announce our baby girl on the way! We are 23 weeks in, #PrincessHotstuff is fit and trim, and for me, time is not moving fast enough!  Due date 15-5-15. Suuuuper excited prix viagra en pharmacie! With these genes, she’ll be shooting hoops while wheelie-ing at the age of 3. […]
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Being the Caveman is hard work- have been busy…

Being the Caveman is hard work- have been busy…
As you all know, its easy to overindulge and pack on the pounds during the festive season, so Cross Training is a key ingredient to keeping the Caveman fit and flexable. Gotta keep on top of skills training too. Breakfast sure wasnt pretty. But its all part of the food chain… Like I said, being […]
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Caveman wins in mountain region of Scanno at XTERRA Italy

Caveman wins in mountain region of Scanno at XTERRA Italy
XTERRA Italy has the most amazing course! Parts through the old mountain town of Scanno. To the tune of "eye of the tiger" (thanks DJ Jack!) Caveman wins XTERRA Italy by 4 minutes. XTERRA Italy made is debut in the idyllic mountain town of Scanno, in the province of Abruzzo. In terms of the culture […]
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Caveman’s specialized equipment choices in quest for 7th World title

Caveman’s specialized equipment choices in quest for 7th World title
#aeroiseverything #soisfattyres #dittohorsepower ITU Cross Triathlon Worlds 2013 Long version Cross Tri Worlds Highlights. (Short version- 2.40) Racing through the dunes, stairs and sidewalks of Holland proved a fertile ground for innovative equipment choices.  From the video you can get a feel for the course- but the real test was the long sections of deep, […]
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a Caveman car for a Caveman situation…

a Caveman car for a Caveman situation…
Caveman’s Stellenbosch Kelfords Ford Fietsta Ambiente 1.4 [Open letter to friend and owner of Kelfords Ford and Mazda in Somerset West, South Africa] Dear Tristan, Thank you very much for the use of your wonderful little Ford Fiesta. We love the fuel economy, (5.9L per 100km) the nippy handling, the voice activated, hands free phone […]
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Cheers to a remarkable 2012

Cheers to a remarkable 2012
18 races, 1 World Title (ITU Cross Tri), my 10th XTERRA USA Series title, 10 victories, 16 podiums and many many special memories. My sporting highlight was winning my 2nd ITU Cross Triathlon World Title in Pelham Alabama, USA. a Personal highlight was sharing the entire year and all the remarkable experiences with my gorgeous […]
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