With the announcement this week of the 2014 XTERRA Asia Pacific Championship to be held in New South Wales’ Jervis Bay we thought we would catch up with Ben Allen who is taking on the XTERRA world champs this weekend in Hawaii. The XTERRA Asia Pacific Championship will be held in Ben’s backyard as they are only just over an hour away from his hometown of Wollongong.
Trizone: Ben, you are a former ITU triathlete who has found his calling racing the off road version of triathlon. You have crossed over to XTERRA and we wanted to know what is the appeal of off road triathlons?
Ben Allen: I really enjoyed my time racing in the ITU Triathlon World and, thanks to my coach at the time Jamie Turner, gave me a opportunity as a Surf Ironman Athlete to cross over to triathlon. Jamie really opened my eyes up to the demands of the sport and what I needed to achieve.
Through hard work and 100% commitment I listened, learned & tried to reach the outcomes, but I wasn’t able to achieve them under the direction of the national coaches. I knew if I wanted to achieve the outcomes I needed to gain the years of experience that I didn’t have and let my body evolve from a Surf Ironman into a Triathlete. I did some mountain biking as cross training trying to keep up with Josh Carlson a Pro Giant Bikes Enduro Rider, shredding around the Gong.
I discovered the sport of XTERRA through reading an article in an Aussie Tri Mag on Xterra Aus in 07′ and signed up to race. It was everything I was looking for and more. Adventure, thrill, challenging natural terrain, unique locations & laid back friendly people. I was hooked!
TZ: Both you and your partner Jacqui Slack are a bit of a power couple when it comes to XTERRA. Jacqui has been doing very well this year as you have. How is it traveling the world together and racing together?
Ben: To be honest, it’s a dream come trueâ€¦ I feel like the luckiest person in the world to spend each and everyday with some who is my best friend, has the same aspirations, loves the athletic lifestyle and enjoys traveling the world living each day as if it was your lastâ€¦.
I’m not going to lie we have our up’s and down’s and encountered numerous dummy spits. But at the end of the day we feel very blessed to have such wonderful family & friends who help us through the situations.
TZ: How has the preparation gone for this weekend’s world champs?
Ben: Preparations for this years Xterra World Championships has been the best ever. I feel fit, healthy and mental fresh ready to put myself in the hurt box until I drop.
I have a massive fire inside my belly from last year’s misfortune where my chain snapped to the point of ‘unfixable’. But I still managed to finish and pay respects to my amazing family, friends and sponsors who supported me throughout the year.
TZ: You recently won XTERRA England. This year has been a good year for you. Tell us about some of the other races you have done this year. What has been some of the highlights?
Ben: Winning Xterra England was the highlight of the season so far mainly because my partner and also Xterra Champion Jacqui Slack won and her family and friends where there to support us all the way.
My parents have made the trip over from Australia to support Jacqui and I. I have some amazing friends all over the world who have sent messages wishing me the best of luck. Not to forget my sponsors who have supported me throughout my journey and been there at every race. Thank youâ€¦
TZ: What does the XTERRA Asia Pacific Championships coming to your own backyard mean for you?
Ben: It’s a dream come true! To have a World Class XTERRA Championship in my own backyard is ‘Priceless’. The opportunity that my family, friends & sponsors can see what I have come to love do in one of Australia’s beautiful coastlines is awesome.
We have some of the best triathletes in Australia and it gives them the opportunity to compete at home in an international World Class XTERRA event against some of the best Off-Road athletes in the World.