Asa Shaw: I never expected to reach the Xterra podium

British athlete describes winning silver at the recent Xterra Worlds


Britain’s Asa Shaw shares his surprise at winning silver at the Xterra World Championship in Hawaii recently


220: Congrats Asa, you must be so pleased to reach the podium! How was the race for you?

Asa: I was absolutely delighted to reach the podium – I never expected it, it was just as much a surprise for me as for everyone else.

I felt quite comfortable in the swim, and when I came out of the water I knew I wasn’t far from front pack, and had a fast transition. When I jumped on my bike I felt good straight away.

I started slowly overtaking people and putting in a good pace at the start of the first hard climb. Three-quarters of the way through the course I got overtaken by [Ruben] Ruzafa and Stoll [Conrad Stoltz], but kept up with Stoll as Ruzafa pulled away from us.

All through the bike course I made sure I took on plenty of water, and was pouring water over myself to keep my body temp down. I had a very fast T2 and when I went off I gradually started catching up and overtaking people on the hard climb.

After overtaking Ben [Allen] at the top I wasn’t sure if I was in second position, so for the downhill I just gritted my teeth to keep my position to the end.

When I arrived on the sand I realised I was in second, and I knew the job was done and a dream had come true.

How did it compare to other Worlds races in previous years?

This is my fourth year in Maui, and every year I’ve slowly progressed. It’s a race that suits me: in my first year I came 35th, in my second I came 14th, and in my third year I came seventh.

How has the 2013 season as a whole gone for you?

2013 started not too badly, but with working [Asa is a full-time carpenter in France] and doing so many courses, as well as having a few problems with the bike on certain courses, it didn’t go as well as I hoped.

When I went to race in Germany and pulled out – that was when I realised I was burnt out, and needed to go home to recover and concentrate on preparing for Maui.

When I decided to do all the European races plus ITU Worlds plus a few local French races, I knew I was taking a risk keeping up physically.

How do you plan to relax and recharge during the off season?

Every year I take two or three weeks off training and take time to go on the dirt bike.


And then gradually I will start back into training, so for the beginning of January I can start back training and preparing for the season.