If you can't handle the heat, stay out of the Philippines.

Rotorua's Sam Osborne is preparing to race in Xterra Danao in the Philippines this weekend, the second race on the Asia-Pacific tour.

The defending Asia-Pacific champion fired a warning shot to his competitors with a dominant win at Xterra New Zealand in Rotorua two weeks ago, finishing more than four minutes ahead of second place.

He finished second behind Xterra world champion Brad Weiss in Danao last year and said the biggest challenge racing in the Philippines was the "horrendous" heat.


"That changes the way you approach the race a bit, trying not to go too deep too early. Getting the hydration and nutrition is as important as your race craft.

"If you miss an aid station or don't get the fluids in early enough the wheels can fall off very quickly. Many a good athlete has been humbled in the heat here.

"The heat is by far the biggest challenge, it's not possible to stay hydrated, it's more a case of managing the dehydration so you'll still operate how you'd like. There's almost no cover on the course, so you need to keep yourself as cool as possible making use of the ice and water at the aid stations and having the confidence to stop or walk through an aid station to get the body temperature down, knowing it'll pay dividends in the back half of the race," Osborne said.

The race includes a new bike course this year, which Osborne has spent some time feeling out this week.

"It's a very different style of riding to what we have in Rotorua. There isn't a lot of flow to the course, it's very steep and everything is rock here. The consequences of getting off line are a bit more dire than home.

"But I always enjoy the technical riding and this has its fair share of that. I'm here to race and my plan is always really to race the man in front of you while being mindful of not red-lining too early in this heat. I don't think having concrete plans ever works, you need to try to take advantage of whatever situations arise and try to turn that into a good move.

"This is what makes the Asia-Pacific tour so tough to win, you have to perform well at such a large variety of courses and conditions. To race well across the series you have to be well balanced and I've been working hard to try to turn myself into as balanced an athlete as I can."

Osborne said, in terms of spectator support, the Philippines was always unique.


"It's quite an interesting set-up, our bike and run courses go through a whole lot of squatting villages - in some cases we are effectively riding through a backyard of someone's place. It brings the town into the race.

"There's not too many places that have more passionate people than the Philippines. We race through a whole lot of little villages and they all come out to watch, throw water on you or have their sprinklers set up on the course. The Filipinos love a good selfie too."

The race starts in the early hours of Sunday morning New Zealand time. Results will be posted at www.danao.xterraphil.com/race-results/