There are rule changes again this year for the XTERRA Points Series here in the U.S. of A… and they’re juicy. In the distant past, in order to recognize the top performers in each XTERRA region, you would race as much as you wanted and the points series would automatically count your best 4 races. There were also different races with different point values. The rules were complex and confusing. Last year, the points series was changed to count ALL races towards the race to the top. However, feedback was given that this only promoted racing a lot and not necessarily recognizing the fastest, top performers. Furthermore, for folks that lived in the middle of tim-buck-too that may live too far from having a good selection of races made it nearly impossible to be a regional champ, especially if their region’s races were sparse. Therefore, XTERRA, apparently listening to feedback, has brought back the concept of only recognizing your top races. BUT… the rules are a little different than years past. So let’s break it down bit-by-bit.
First, for the new folks, why regional recognition? “What’s in it for me?” you might be asking. Well, for starters, it’s a way of recognizing age group racers in a region and giving you a little carrot of motivation to compete. Do pretty good at your local XTERRA race? Then take it a step further and participate in the points series. Not only will you get some gear identifying you as the regional champ, but you’ll also get a qualifying spot to race XTERRA Worlds in Maui.
Last year, the points series was changed so that all races counted. Race 10 races? All points counted. Race 14 races? All points counted.
This year the points series is changing again. Back by popular demand is a design in rules that appears to reward fast competition in addition to participating in multiple races.
The most glaring change is the number of races that count towards your points. Here’s a little primer on how you garner those points.
Points accrual: To get points, you race and accrue them by how you finish the race. The higher you place, the higher the points. There are also two types of races with different point values. “Gold” races (currently only Oak Mountain and Beaver Creek) have a higher point value. The rest of the U.S. races are considered “Silver” and have a lower value.
So for many of you, that seems all fine and dandy since so far this hasn’t changed much from last year. However, Here are the two, very super-duper important changes from previous years. This year, only the top three races count! For example, let’s say that you’re a kick-ass racer and you won five Silver races, because only the top three count, you would max your points out at 225 points. If you won two (75 each) and got a second place finish (67) and then had a flat in a race and only earned 23 points, then your final score would be 217 points (your top three races).
For those that are in a region with less races to chose from, don’t fret. You only have to race TWO races to be eligible for recognition as the regional champ. Of course, you should shoot for three, as the top three races will be counted. If you stop at two and your competitor goes for three, they have a chance at knocking you off the top step.
Another distinction from years past: in the past, you could only count one Gold level race in your points at the higher point value. I won’t go into all the confusion, suffice it to say, this coming season, all Gold races will be used at the 100 point value when calculation of the top 3. This means that if you race BOTH Oak Mountain and Beaver Creek, they both count as 100-point races. In this scenario you could win both Oak Mountain and Beaver Creek, and then won a race in your region, you would max out points at 275. One additional requirement is to race at least one race within your region.
Tie Breaking: Should you tie with someone within your region, there are several ways to break it.
– 1. Person with most wins – Yep, being on the top of the podium in your age group.
– 2. If still tied after counting wins, the person finishing highest in the most recent race where both competed (head-to-head).
– 3. If no head-to-head exists, tie-breaker goes to the person finishing highest in the most recent race.
So, as you can see, the big difference is that now, only top 3 races count, with being able to count both the Gold races at 100 point value. That means if you win both races, you get 100 points each, unlike years past.
Becoming a regional champ not only gives you recognition, but it also qualifies you XTERRA Worlds on Maui. If the Regional champ has already been awarded a slot at another race and/or they are registered, their regional champ slot rolls down the list of top points earners.
Regions and Age Groups: What are the regions? Keep in mind that you’re not just competing against your age group, but all folks in your age group that also live in your region. That’s a key point. Age groups run on 5 year increments just like other USAT-based triathlons. 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, so forth and so on. The regions have not changed from last year. Here are the regions:
ATLANTIC (AT) – Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia.
MIDWEST (MW) – Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin.
MOUNTAIN (MT) – Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming.
NORTHEAST (NE) – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont.
NORTHWEST (NW) – Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington.
SOUTH CENTRAL (SC) – Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas.
SOUTHEAST (SE) – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, U.S. Virgin Islands. WEST (W) – Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, Pacific Territories.
Overall, I think this is an awesome change. I always really liked the way it was before where only a certain number of races counted. It allowed (and required at times) for a bit of strategic planning of my race calendar. Adding in strategy always makes for an interesting race season. Get to planning!!
You can find the full rules here: https://www.xterraplanet.com/race/tour/america#amateur-rules