• Xterra Albay off-road series wows foreign, celebrity participants

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    DARAGA, Albay: The off-road international triathlon competition completely stunned both foreign and local participants composed of well-known professional triathletes, television personalities and Senator Pia Cayetano who displayed her extraordinary endurance in the challenging event on Sunday here.

    The contestants raced through an off-road course of terrain starting from sea, to cliff-to-cliff area, rocky grounds, grasslands, river bed and sandy and tricky trails before reaching the finish line at the historic Cagsawa Ruins in this town.

    The off-road race started at the shores of Barangay Lidong in Sto Domingo town wherein the participants swam a 1.5-kilometer span and raced for a 32-kilometer bike stage passing through tricky single point-to-point trails then negotiated a 10-kilometer run with difficult trails under the heat of the sun.

    The 10-km run passed through the famous Mayon’s ATV trail featuring uneven tracks with grassy, sandy and rocky areas and river bed.

    Bradly Weiss, 25, from South Africa, emerged as the fastest triathlete, beating other defending champions such as Ben Allen, Mauricio Mendez and Renata Bucher.

    Weiss arrived at the finish line in just two hours and 28 minutes.

    Next to him was Mauricio Mendez, a Mexican and 2014 Xterra world champion, and Ben Allen, 2012 Xterra triathlete champion.

    Weiss said the race trails in Albay were most challenging, which also featured the most remarkable scenery in the Philippines and wonderful villagers living along the race trails.

    “It was the most challenging set of trails, a lot of climbing; the locals are working around at the foot of the very beautiful Mayon volcano. It’s a race that I’m coming back for again and again,” Weiss said.

    Television celebrity Ryan Agoncillo was also mesmerized by the tricky race trails which, according to him, offered the most challenging feat, especially the biking stage and the run trails.

    Agoncillo said he will be coming back to Albay next year and promote the triathlon event hosted by the Provincial Government of Albay led by Governor Joey Sarte Salceda.

    He was accompanied by his wife, actress Judy Ann Santos, and their daughter.

    Another celebrity who joined and spiced up the international triathlon event here was Matteo Guidicelli.

    Both Agoncillo and Guidicelli reached the finish line.

    The event here is not only promoting sports tourism but also environmental preservation.

    It was part of the projects of the Department of Tourism-Bicol led by Maria Nini Ong-Ravanilla proving that “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” and asking tourists to “Visit the Philippines” in 2015, especially the countryside. PNA

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