Xterra pros Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack tell us why off-road triathlon is worth a try

By Eloisa Lopez | Photo courtesy of Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack

For a country rich with trails and mountains, it’s a surprise that the multisport industry still has not gotten into off-road triathlon. Also known as “cross triathlon,” it’s also composed of swimming, biking, and running. The only difference is that racers will be biking along a mountain range and running on a trail, as in hilly, muddy, and unpaved terrains.

That may sound deadly but Xterra professionals and couple Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack swear it’s the total opposite. In Slack’s own words, “it’s challenging but never dangerous.” According to this inspiring tri couple, a typical off-road triathlon course caters to all abilities. Whether a pro, a first-timer, a hobbyist, or just another weekend warrior, off-road triathlon could be for you. The hardest part, they say, is getting to the start line.

“Once you are there, the race will change your life forever. You will encounter challenges and obstacles that will take you out of your comfort zone—in a good way—that will enhance your skills both physically and mentally.”

The training aspect is not much different. Just a few additions of mountain bike training and trail running to your regular triathlon training schedule, and it’s all good. Slack shares that her favorite thing about off-road triathlons is challenging herself against Mother Nature whom she says is her biggest competitor.

“You will grow confidence in your ability to overcome any situation, not only on the race course but in life, too.”