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Mon 26th Sep 2022
Sam Gardner: XTERRA Saipan report
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Wednesday 13th March 2013

Tags  Saipan  |  Sam Gardner  |  XTERRA Saipan

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For several years now Sam Gardner ( has been the figurehead of elite off-road triathlon racing in the UK. As a new dad last year, perhaps we should refer to him as the father figure...?!

Supposedly (though we thought that last year?!), in his final 'elite' season, Sam is in the middle of the annual early season Pacific Tour, which includes XTERRA races in The Philippines, Saipan and Guam, along with next weekend's Tagaman road triathlon - in 2011 he won them all.

Third last weekend in the Philippines, it was fourth place this week in Saipan, a race he has previously won three times. Here is his report.

XTERRA Saipan - Saturday 9th March 2013

The second race of the Pacific Xterra series (read Sam's report from the Philippines last week, HERE), went similar to the first.

I'd been hoping to be closer to contesting the win, but due to my poor jet-lagged little baby Abi (who arrived from the UK the night before), who kept me up the night before the race wanting to play, I had very little sleep and felt pretty sluggish for most of the race.

The swim was a battle against a really strong current and although I came out in a similar position to usual, I lost four minutes on the leaders.

I'd warmed up lots on the bike before the race, and was planning to try to make up time quickly but I never really got in the zone.

Half way round the lap, I was still in fifth place. I'd over cooked a couple of corners trying too hard to make up time and ended up with silly crashes. Eventually on the main 20 minute climb, I managed to get into third place, past South Africa's Bradley Weiss. I knew I needed a gap though, as Bradley nearly caught me on the run last week in the Philippines. My luck only got worse when I went to tighten my shoe which felt like it had worked loose and the strap snapped off at the stitching, meaning I couldn't pedal properly from then onwards.

A minor course detour as I missed an arrow left me back in fourth place again, with only 7km to go on the bike! I did make the most of the torrential weather, which was making the course very slippery and British, and heading into transition I had about a minute lead over Brad, but was seven minutes behind Ben Allen and Dan Hugo.

I ran loads better than the Philippines and nearly kept third place, but heading back to the final 2km along the beach I heard Brad's footsteps behind me and knew that my chances of being on the podium were slim.

I was disappointed not to defend my title which I'd won three times 2009, 2010 and 2011 (I missed last year when Abi was born), but Ben was the strongest athlete on the day by a mile. His girlfriend Jacqui Slack from the UK, won the women's race in commanding style.

Pos Male Female
1 Ben Allen (AUS) 2:36:36 Jacqui Slack (GBR) 3:06:00
2 Dan Hugo (RSA) 2:44:18 Carina Wasle (AUT) 3:13:30
3 Bradley Weiss (RSA) 2:50:54 Renata Bucher (SUI) 3:16:49
4 Sam Gardner (GBR) 2:52:04 Mieko Carey (JPN) 3:22:01

The next race is the Tagaman road triathlon this weekend, and I am in need of plenty of sleep and rest beforehand. I've tried to train for the last two days but keep feeling as if the two races so far have taken lots out of me, along with several bad nights sleep. So it's time to listen to my body and relax, which is nice.

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