Reigning XTERRA Pan America Tour Champions Josiah Middaugh and Suzie Snyder successfully defended their titles at the 12th annual XTERRA Oak Mountain Championship race on a sweltering hot day in Pelham, Alabama.
Middaugh (Eagle-Vail, Colorado) has now won four of the last five races at Oak Mountain State Park and this is his second win of the season. He won XTERRA Costa Rica last month. For Snyder (Reno, Nevada) the win is her second straight in Alabama and third this season. She also won XTERRA Argentina and Costa Rica earlier this year.
More than 350 triathletes from 12 countries and 42 U.S. states traveled to Shelby County for the race, which was the fifth of 10 events on the XTERRA Pan America Tour and the first of three majors on the XTERRA America Tour. It combined a one-mile swim in the 77-degrees waters of Double Oak Lake with 20-miles of perfect single-track mountain biking and six-miles of twisting, rolling, tree-lined trail running.
Entering his 17th season of racing XTERRA, and his 12th year racing here in Alabama, Middaugh mixed an un-matched level of experience with unbelievable speed to take the win in 2:25:23.
The 2015 XTERRA World Champion was eighth out of the water, a full two-minutes behind the lead group of Ian King (USA), Karsten Madsen (CAN), Veit Hoenle (GER), Branden Rakita (USA), Francisco Serrano (MEX), and Jean-Philippe Thibodeau (CAN), and he trailed Kieran McPherson (NZL) by roughly 30 seconds. By the time he got to the climb only two of those men were still ahead of him.
“I knew it was going to be a tough day, and it was even harder than I expected,” said Middaugh. “I knew Francisco and Karsten were off the front early, and they were a long way out front. I just kept digging all day trying to catch up.”
Middaugh posted the fastest bike split in 1:26:00, nearly two minutes faster than the next best time posted by Madsen, but still didn’t reel in either Madsen or Serrano by the bike-to-run transition.
“I finally got close to Karsten and Francisco the last four or five miles of the bike but they were riding so well I couldn’t make up any time technically. I just had to dig really deep to make up time on the pedaling sections. I got in contact coming off the bike and the race was on.”
Serrano took the lead out of the bike-to-run transition, followed roughly 10 seconds later by Madsen and another 10 seconds by Middaugh.
“Josiah caught me on the run about a mile into it,” said Serrano. “He was running so fast and on my best days I feel I can run with him. I thought today was going to be one of those days. I was feeling good on the bike and I was feeling a lot of power. I was not so fast on the technical parts, they’d always bridge the gaps there but every time I would hit a hill I would pull away. I thought I might have the legs for the run today, but I didn’t. My energy levels were toasted.”
As Middaugh pulled away on the run the chase behind him for second was on.
“I thought I might be able to hold on for second-place but Karsten was just right on my heels the whole time, and I was running on fumes,” said Serrano.
For Madsen, who finished third last year at this race and crashed-out two years ago, it was a rewarding runner-up performance.
“I bled everything I had into this race today,” said Madsen. “I’m runner-up, but to the classiest guy in the sport, and I gave everything I could and that’s all that matters. I’ve wanted it here so badly for so long. You always wonder when it’s going to be your time and I just missed it by a bit with Josiah today but I gave literally everything I possibly could and that is just so satisfying.”
Brian Smith, one of many Coloradoans who is coached by Middaugh, outran his mentor by three seconds to post the fastest 10K of the day in 36:43 and finish in 4th place. Branden Rakita, who was solid all day, rounded out the top five.
In the women’s race, Boulder’s Maia Ignatz handled the day seamlessly and put in a great run, the third-best split behind only winner Suzie Snyder and runner-up Lesley Paterson, to finish in fourth, while Liz Gruber, a fellow Coloradan, placed fifth.
With his strong fifth place showing today Branden Rakita moves into the pole position in the 2017 XTERRA Pan America Tour elite rankings. Jean-Philippe Thibodeau moves down a spot to No. 2 and Josiah Middaugh moves up into third with the win.
In the women’s chase Snyder moves into the top spot with the win, Kara LaPoint moves into 2nd place and Sabrina Gobbo jumps into third.
In the amateur race, Colorado’s Deanna McCurdy from Littleton captured the women’s overall title and dozens of the fastest age groupers from around the nation punched their ticket to Maui today.
- Josiah Middaugh, USA, 2:25:23
- Karsten Madsen, CAN, 2:26:04
- Francisco Serrano, MEX, 2:26:52
- Brian Smith, USA, 2:28:29
- Branden Rakita, USA, 2:29:28
- Kieran McPherson, NZL, 2:30:43
- Chris Ganter, USA, 2:31:47
- Ryan Ignatz, USA, 2:33:18
- Veit Hoenle, GER, 2:33:22
- Cody Waite, USA, 2:35:59
- Cedric Wane, TAH, 2:39:50
- Jean-Philippe Thibodeau, CAN, 2:41:40
- Ian King, USA, 2:41:52
- Michael Nunez, USA, 2:50:16
- Ryan DeCook, USA, 2:56:30
- Will Kelsay, USA, 2:56:30
- Suzie Snyder, USA, 2:45:29
- Lesley Paterson, GBR, 2:51:36
- Julie Baker, USA, 2:54:42
- Maia Ignatz, USA, 2:55:49
- Liz Gruber, USA, 2:58:40
- Katie Button, CAN, 2:59:39
- Kara LaPoint, USA, 3:00:41
- Sabrina Gobbo, BRA, 3:02:12
- Katharine Carter, CAN, 3:03:26
- Emma Garrard, USA, 3:03:30
- Debby Sullivan, USA, 3:04:10
- Anne Usher, USA, 3:06:17
- Kellie Montgomery, USA, 3:07:25
- Annie Bergen, CAN, 3:10:37
- Caroline Colonna, USA, 3:10:52
- Jaime Brede, USA, 3:15:12
- Laura Mira Dias, BRA, 3:19:21
Men’s Pan America Tour Standings
- Branden Rakita, USA, 228
- Jean-Philippe Thibodeau, CAN, 215
- Josiah Middaugh, USA, 175
- Gonzalo Tellechea, ARG, 142
- Felipe Moletta, BRA, 136
- Kieran McPherson, NZL, 130
- Maximiliano Morales, ARG, 118
- Ian King, USA, 108
- Ryan Ignatz, USA, 104
- León Drajer, ESP, 94
Women’s Pan America Tour Standings
- Suzie Snyder, USA, 317
- Kara LaPoint, USA , 242
- Sabrina Gobbo, BRA , 235
- Laura Mira Dias, BRA, 221
- Morgane Riou, FRA, 128
- Liz Gruber, USA, 120
- Annie Bergen, CAN, 92
- Lesley Paterson, GBR, 90
- Julie Baker, USA, 82
- Barbara Riveros, CHI, 75
- Caroline Colonna, USA, 75
- Maia Ignatz, USA, 75
Men’s Age Group Winners
15-19, Will Stacey, Nashville, TN, 3:07:33
20-24, Caleb Baity, Huntersville, NC, 2:55:16
25-29, Humberto Rivera, Chula Vista, CA, 2:46:42
30-34, Brett Tack, Boulder, CO, 2:53:38
35-39, AJ Petrillo, Blue Ridge, GA, 2:49:34
40-44, David Dornaus, Wayland, MA, 2:47:45
45-49, Marcus Barton, Waxhaw, NC, 2:47:04
50-54, Darren Cox, Toana, VA, 2:49:06
55-59, Ali Arasta, Asheboro, NC, 2:54:49
60-64, Tom Monica, Thousand Oaks, CA, 3:12:59
65-69, Frank George, Rome, GA, 3:57:17
70-74, Dale Vaughan, Macon, GA, 3:45:50
Women’s Age Group Winners
15-19, Heather Horton, Draper, UT, 3:13:45
25-29, Jessie Koltz, Truckee, CA, 3:05:05
30-34, Heather Zimchek-Dunn, Olympia, WA, 3:10:14
35-39, Sue Finney, Knoxville, TN, 3:31:39
40-44, Deanna McCurdy, Littleton, CO, 3:01:05
45-49, Angie Childre, Milledgeville, GA, 3:20:23
50-54, May-Li Cuypers, Largo, FL, 3:45:41
55-59, Stephanie Landy, Ballston Spa, NY, 3:23:12
60-64, Lucia Colbert, Cordova, TN, 3:39:26
65-69, Linda Usher, Upton, MA, 5:13:54
Source: XTERRA Planet