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Xavier Jourson – The Transition Xavier Jourson is a 35-year-old former rugby professional from Montreal with one goal: become a triathlete. And he’s going about it in the most extreme way possible.

Xavier Jourson – The Transition Xavier Jourson is a 35-year-old former rugby professional from Montreal with one goal: become a triathlete. And he’s going about it in the most extreme way possible.

Norway’s notoriously difficult Norseman Xtreme Triathlon begins with a four-meter jump off a ferry into the frigid waters of the Hardangerfjord. Even for those with the courage to take the leap, these first four meters may be the least harrowing of the entire event. They’re followed by a 3.8 km swim, a 180 km bike ride across the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, and a grueling 42.2 km run to the peak of the Gaustatoppen, 1850 meters above sea level.

The Norseman is billed as an event made “for people with fight, resilience, and minds tougher than their bodies.” In other words, it’s not a challenge anyone can take lightly. But for Canadian Trek Ambassador Xavier Jourson, completing it is personal.

 

Five years ago, after a hand injury sidelined his rugby career, Xavier was inspired by the memoir Finding Ultra by vegan ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll. The book reached him at the exact right time, charting his life on a new course: transitioning from rugby player to triathlete.

But Xavier is motivated by more than glory. He’s determined to become the first Black athlete to conquer the Norseman, and to set the precedent for others to follow

“My goal is to break the stereotypes weighing on the Black community,” Xavier explains. “I am here to create a new community of people who, just like me, will be up for the challenge to try and conquer their own Norseman.”

The platform for providing that inspiration to others is a forthcoming documentary called “The Transition” by French Canadian filmmakers URBANIA. They’ve been following Xavier’s journey from the start and will be covering the training, the leadup, and the race itself. (Yes, including the four-meter leap from the ferry.)

“I want young Black people to watch the documentary and see a Black man thrashing around in that cold water and to know there is a place for them in triathlon, too,” he says.

Xavier and his production crew visited Trek Headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin, in June 2021, where he met with the road product team to find the best gear for this unique race, dialed in his fit in the Performance Research Lab, and picked out paint for the Project One Madone SLR he’ll ride in Norway.

Extreme challenges like The Norseman are somehow bigger than the sum of their parts. It’s a difficult event, to be sure—but it’s more than that, too. And for Xavier, who’s paving the way for others to follow, this is especially true.

Follow his journey @xavierjourson and xavierjourson.com, and stay tuned for sneak peeks of the documentary, stories from his training, and coverage of the race in the coming months.

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