Bradley Weiss from South Africa and Flora Duffy from Bermuda captured the 24th XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon elite titles on a beautiful day at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui’s northwest coast.
It’s the second title in three years for Weiss, who won it in 2017 and was second last year, and the unprecedented fifth XTERRA World Championship crown for Duffy, who won four straight from 2014-2017 before sitting out last year due to injury. Both earned $20,000 for their respective victories, their share of the $100,000 elite purse.
More than 600 endurance athletes from 42 countries and 42 U.S. states competed in the event, which started with a one-mile rough water swim at D.T. Fleming Beach, continued with a two-lap 20-mile mountain bike ride that traversed the West Maui Mountains, and finished with a 6.5-mile trail run through forest trails and beach sand. There was nearly 4,000 feet of combined climbing on the technical bike and run courses, which were dry all week before a heavy downpour on race morning made the early riding slick and challenging.
“Typical Maui,” said Weiss after the race. “When I went down to transition this morning, I didn’t even look at the sky because the weather was perfect all week. Then true to form, the heavens opened. The course was dry and fast all week, but that rain added a slick layer on top.”
The morning rain served up a traditional Hawaiian blessing on the day then quickly gave way to bright sunshine and super-fast racing among the best off-roaders on the planet, including six past world champions and a wealth of young, talented competitors from more than 40 countries.
Sam Osborne from New Zealand was first out of the water, followed closely by the amazing Flora Duffy of Bermuda, Maxim Chane of France, and Weiss.
In the women’s race it was Duffy all day long with the fastest swim, bike, and run times to take the tape in 2:49:23. With the win Duffy becomes the first elite – male or female – to win a fifth XTERRA World Championship, and she’s now won her last 12 XTERRA races and 17 of 20 since 2013.
She had the fastest swim by over a minute, the fastest bike split by almost six minutes and the fastest run time by about three minutes. This is especially impressive given that she spent most of this year focusing on getting healthy after suffering a tear in her post-tibial tendon, which attaches the bones in her calf muscle to the bones on the inside of her foot.
“Getting healthy has been the main thing this year,” said Duffy, after the race. “So it’s great to win the XTERRA World title in a year that has otherwise been quite disappointing. This is a huge, lovely highlight to end my year with.”
Duffy came out of the water with the elite men’s leaders and was third overall heading into the swim to bike transition.
“I felt pretty good coming out of the water and tried not to extend myself too much,” she said. “On the bike, I knew I had to make the most of that first three-mile climb because after that the course gets technical, and that’s not really my strength.”
Despite the slick conditions, Duffy opened up a significant lead before the bike-to-run transition.
“During the run, I tried not to allow myself to say, ‘I’m going to win this,’ because this is XTERRA and anything can happen. However, once I got off the beach and headed towards the finish, it was a great feeling to know that I was going to win. It was stressful coming into XTERRA this year, because no one has ever won five XTERRA World titles. It’s a great feeling to be the first person to do that.”
Three-time and 2018 XTERRA World Champ, Lesley Paterson, also had a fantastic race despite a hamstring injury. She was out of the water quickly and dominated the bike and run in her usual fashion.
“I had a great swim and am super chuffed about that,” said Paterson. “I really went for it on the swim and I got into second pretty quick on the bike, but Flora was in a league of her own. She’s on fire.”
Once Paterson hit second place, she held onto it for the rest of the race and crossed the finish line in 3:03:36.
“I really did enjoy myself out there,” she said, “Because of my hamstrings, the run wasn’t pleasurable, but that’s OK. I have the off-season to heal them up.”
Helena Karaskova Erbenova was third in 3:04:38. Her last major performance was a fifth-place finish at XTERRA Worlds in 2016, and her podium finish this year was made even more sweet as this will be Karaskova Erbenova’s last race as an elite.
“I’m retiring after today, and this is the greatest celebration I can imagine,” she said.
In the men’s race, Colorado’s Josiah Middaugh came in sixth and was the top American for the ninth straight year and 12th time overall.
Top Elite Men
|1||Bradley Weiss||Stellenbosch, South Africa||2:33:39|
|2||Arthur Serrieres||Montpellier, France||2:34:54|
|3||Ruben Ruzafa||Malaga, Spain||2:35:23|
|4||Sam Osborne||Rotorua, New Zealand||2:37:02|
|5||Cedric Fleureton||Albigny, France||2:37:25|
|6||Josiah Middaugh||Eagle-Vail, Colorado, USA||2:40:36|
|7||Karel Dusek||Karlovy Vary, Czech||2:42:37|
|8||Karsten Madsen||Kitchener, Canada||2:43:39|
|9||Maxim Chane||Falicon, France||2:43:55|
|10||Karel Zadak||Brno, Czech||2:44:03|
Top Elite Women
|1||Flora Duffy||Devonshire, Bermuda||2:49:23|
|2||Lesley Paterson||Stirling, Scotland||3:03:35|
|3||Helena Erbenova||Jablonec nad Nisou, Czech||3:04:37|
|4||Morgane Riou||Fontenay Aux Roses, France||3:05:22|
|5||Lizzie Orchard||Auckland, New Zealand||3:05:32|
|6||Suzie Snyder||Reno, Nevada||3:06:00|
|7||Alizee Paties||Dijon, France||3:10:55|
|8||Penny Slater||Wamboin, Australia||3:11:53|
|9||Samantha Kingsford||Tirau, New Zealand||3:15:46|
|10||Carina Wasle||Kundl, Austria||3:16:31|