Race Rules
XTERRA Competition Rules Print E-mail

1.    Swim

1.1.    Wetsuits are allowed based on water temperature measured the day prior to the event and confirmed the day of the event.

•    Pro/Elite Athletes: wetsuit are allowed for pro athletes if the water temperature is below 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees centigrade).

•    Age Group Athletes: wetsuits are allowed for age group athletes if the water temperature is below 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees centigrade).

•    Mandatory Wetsuit: Wetsuits are mandatory below 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees C)

•    Challenged Athletes: Wetsuits are allowed but not required at any water temperature.

•    Note: XTERRA follows the Swim Rules for Wetsuit Use established by the ITU Competition Rules for specific details.

•    Note: The XTERRA/ITU rules may be waived by the XPS race directors in favor of USA Triathlon Swimming Conduct rules.  See Section 4 of the USA Triathlon Rules for specific details.


•    Note: If a race is governed by the USAT Article IV Swimming Conduct rules, the following portion of Section 4.4 will apply.  “When the water temperature is greater than 78 degrees, but less than 84 degrees Fahrenheit, age group participants may wear a wetsuit at their own discretion, provided however that participants who wear a wetsuit within this temperature range shall not be eligible for prizes or awards”.  Specifically: the athlete will not be eligible for Xterra Points.


1.2 Swim Caps: Swim caps are required to be worn by all athletes during the entire duration of the swim.

1.3 Buoys: Any athlete confirmed cutting a buoy will be assessed a minimum 2 minute penalty or longer at the discretion of the race director.

1.4 General Swim: No fins, swimming aids, snorkels, etc., are allowed.


2.    Bike

2.1 Equipment: Only mountain bikes are legal for competition.

    * Cyclo-cross bikes are not allowed.

    * No drop handlebars are allowed. No aero bars are allowed.

    * All bikes must have 26” or 29” wheels.

    * Bar extensions or grips off the handlebars may not exceed five inches (5”).

    * Any/all bar ends must be capped.

2.2 Helmets: Helmets that meet or exceed the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (SPSC) must be worn, with chin strap buckle securely fastened, at all times while the bicycle is being ridden.  Both feet must be on the ground before the chip strap is unbuckled.

    * Warning: Two (2) minute penalty.

    *Refusal to wear helmet: Disqualification.

2.3 Personal Audio/Music Devices: No type of sound/music devise is allowed during competition. Examples: NO headsets, tape players, CD players, MP3 players or 2 –way radios may be worn.

2.4 One Bike: Racers shall complete the entire event on the same bicycle upon which the event was begun.  Athletes must return to the Bike/Run transition with that bicycle to be allowed to continue.

2.5. Cutting the course: Short-cutting and/or cutting trail switchbacks or course is not permitted and may result in disqualification.  A rider is required to stay on the designated trail that is marked and or specified as the racecourse.  It is the rider’s responsibility to know the designated racecourse.  Lack of tape or barriers on the course will not constitute an excuse for cutting course violations.

2.6 Passing: Lapped riders must yield to overtaking riders. Riders should voice the command ‘Track!” or “On your left”, when overtaking another.  It is the responsibility of faster rider to overtake safely.  Slower riders must yield to the passing rider on the first command.  In the event two riders are racing for position, the leading rider does not have to yield his position to the challenging rider.  However, a rider may not bodily interfere with or impede another rider’s progress.

2.7 Drafting: Drafting is allowed

2.8 Bike Numbers: Bike numbers must be mounted on the handlebars facing forward.  Cutting of numbers or altering or altering with sponsor stickers is not allowed.  There will be a warning for not having your number on the front of your bike; second infraction will be a 2 minute penalty.  A 2 minute penalty will be assessed for losing your bike number.

3. Run:


3.1 Numbers: Numbers must be worn on the front of the body.  Cutting numbers or altering with sponsor stickers is not allowed.  There will be a warning for not having your number on the front of your body; second infraction will be a 2 minute penalty.  A 2 minute penalty will be assessed for losing your run number.

3.2 Personal Audio/Music Devises:  No type of sound/music devise is allowed during competition.  Examples: no headsets, tape players, CD players, MP3 players or 2 way radios may be worn.

3.3 Cutting the course: Short-cutting and/or cutting trail switchbacks or course is not permitted and may result in disqualification.  A runner is required to stay on the designated trail that is marked and or specified as the racecourse.  It is the runner’s responsibility to know the designated racecourse.  Lack of tape or barrier on the course will not be constituted as an excuse for cutting course.


3.4 It is not necessary to wear your run number during the bike segment.  Mountain Bike numbers are large and obvious; therefore it is not mandatory to wear a run number for identification purposes.


4.    Transition:


4.1 You may not mount your bicycle before the exit of the transition area.  You must dismount your bicycle before entering the transition area.  In other words, no riding your bike in transition.  Riding your bicycle in transition will result in a 2 minute penalty.


4.2 Helmets:  You must have your helmet on and buckled before leaving transition, and YOU MUST have your helmet on and buckled when you return to transition.  This is simple common sense- prove to us you are not stupid –wear your helmet.  There will be a 2 minute penalty for helmet violations.


4.3 Athlete’s or the athlete’s representative must present a race number to the transition personnel to remove bikes and race gear after the event.


4.4 Bicycles must be returned to the same location on the bike rack.


      Bicycles must be securely placed on the bike rack-not left on the ground.


5.    Event General Rules:


5.1    Ignorance of the rules is not admitted as an excuse for violations.

5.2    It is the racer’s responsibility to maintain adequate hydration.  Organizer will provide hydration stations on the bike and run.

5.3    Cutting the course:  Short-cutting and/or cutting trail switchbacks or course is not permitted and may result in disqualification.  A rider/runner is required to stay on the designated trail that is marked and or specified as the racecourse.  It is the rider’s/ runner’s responsibility to know the designated racecourse.  Lack of tape or barrier on the course will not be constituted as an excuse for cutting course.

5.4    Outside Assistance:

•    Limited outside assistance is allowed from another athlete competing in the same event.

•    No outside assistance is allowed from any person not competing in the same event.  These include but are not limited to spectators, friends, family, volunteers, support crew, photographers, police or marshals.

•    Assistance is limited to tools, tubes or any item that would be used to repair a faulty part or damaged bicycle or water, food, or first aid.  Changing bikes is not allowed.

•    Example:  a competing athlete can give another athlete a tire patch, tube or complete wheel.  But an athlete cannot exchange bikes with another competitor so that the competitor with the broken bike can simply continue without fixing the break.

•    Challenged Athletes: Challenged Athletes may be permitted a handler during the event.  The athlete must identify their handler(s) to officials prior to the race start and describe their duties.  These duties include helping with prosthetic devices, lifting athletes in/out of wheelchairs, removing wetsuits/clothing, repairing flats and other equipment.

5.5    Conduct:  Foul riding or running, unsportsmanlike behavior or the use of profane or abusive language is grounds for warning, relegation, disqualification or fine.

5.6    Protests:  Protests of any nature must be submitted within one hour of the finish time of the person lodging the protest.  Protests must be submitted in writing and signed by the accuser. Saying somebody cut the course is not good enough-it must be written and described as possible.  All protests will be investigated.  Because of the nature of XTERRA, it is not always possible to see infractions.  XTERRA is in the woods, out of sight and marshaled only where necessary.  In every case there will need to be verification of the infraction.  Officials will not be drawn into a “hear-say” argument.

5.7    Penalties:  Penalties will be determined by the severity of the infraction.  The minimum penalty will always be 2 minutes.  The maximum penalty will be disqualification from the results of the event and/or a loss of prize money.

5.8    Cut-Off Times: There will be cut-off time enforced every USA National Championship (NXCS) Race.  Cut off will be at T2; the bike to run transition. All athletes must make entry to T2 within 4 hours of the start of the race.  Where there are wave starts, the 4 hours will be measured from the last start of the race.

•    In some cases the head official may alter the cutoff time.

•    International XTERRA events or XTERRA Points Series races may or may not include cutoff times.

•    Each of these events must publicize a cut off time if one will be enforced.