Press and Media Center
Lebrun, Vanlandingham win Mountain Champs
(Beaver Creek Resort - Avon, Colorado) - Nico Lebrun and Shonny Vanlandingham won the XTERRA Mountain Championship off-road triathlon on a beautiful, blue sky day at Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, Colorado this afternoon.
It’s the second straight year Lebrun has won the title, and the third in a row for Vanlandingham.
The day started with a mile swim in the 68-degree waters of Nottingham Lake but was decided on the 15.5-mile mountain bike section that included more than 3,000 feet of climbing from 7,400 to 9,500 feet elevation. That’s where Lebrun used the climbing skills he developed while growing up in the French Alps to make up a two-minute deficit on the swim leaders. By mile nine Lebrun was in front, and despite a tight chase pack that consisted of Seth Wealing, Josiah Middaugh, and Branden Rakita, he was able to hold off all chargers and win his second XTERRA championship race in seven days (he won XTERRA France last Saturday).
“This race is so hard because of the altitude. You can’t breathe and you feel terrible so you just have to judge how you are doing by where you are against the others. So when I passed Josiah, and then I saw Dan and Seth I thought I must be doing o.k.,” said Lebrun, the 2005 XTERRA World Champ.
Rakita, one of the 15 pros from Colorado in this race (out of 24), was Lebrun’s last hurdle (pictured). Rakita had the best swim (17:57), was the first rider up the big climb that gained 2,000 feet in five miles straight out of the swim, and held the lead until about mile nine before Lebrun made his move.
Where the other riders had a chance was on the downhill, as Lebrun was riding an incredibly light bike (19lbs) that was meant for climbing, but not so much for descending.
“I pushed on the uphills because my bike is great for climbing but I was cautious on the downhills because the lighter tires are slippery, and I didn’t want to risk a crash. I knew that if I could get out on the run close then I would be in good position.”
Indeed he was, heading out on the run in first but not by much. As Lebrun left transition he could hear the announcers calling in Middaugh, Wealing, and Rakita.
“When I heard they were all right behind me I thought ‘oh no’ because Seth and Josiah are really fast runners, so I went as hard as I could on the first climb (600 feet) so I could be out of sight of those two and hopefully take away some of their motivation. I was running like it was a 5k and not a 10k and so I really suffered on the last climb (also 600 feet) but luckily was able to hold on,” said Lebrun.
Wealing, who is on a racing path that could lead to representing Team USA at the London Olympics, showed that his training is in prime form. Despite going off-course and missing a buoy during the swim that cost him maybe a minute he recovered nicely and was strong all day.
Considering he had the fastest run and finished just 23 seconds behind Lebrun one can only wonder how the race might have played out without the miscue.
Middaugh, meanwhile, who lives just a few minutes down the road from this course and was favored by many to win because he’s had such a strong season (fastest run split and 2nd place finishes in three of the last four races) just didn’t have the power today.
“I really don’t know what happened,” said Middaugh after the race as his two-month old daughter Larsen took a nap on his chest. “It was just one of those days, and I kept pushing and waiting for my legs to kick in and feel strong but it just never happened.”
Rakita, recovering from some knee ailments that have slowed him a bit this season, had his best showing of the year in fourth, and Cody Waite rounded out the top 5. The results were similar to last year when Lebrun won, Mike Vine (who did not race today) was second, Middaugh third, Waite fourth and Rakita fifth.
Also of note, ITU long-course road triathlete Justin Hurd finished sixth, Will Kelsay posted his third straight top 7 in 7th, Dan Hugo (who said he felt stronger today than he did three weeks ago when he was second at the XTERRA East Champs in Richmond, VA) was in contention on the bike but fell to 8th. Age group phenom Jason Michalak, the reigning amateur XTERRA National Champ, finished 9th overall and won the amateur division, and Brad Zoller who lives a stone’s throw from the Lake placed 10th.
Shonny Vanlandingham (pictured) had the body markers put a "41" on her calf before the race, and it was a number (her age) that super strong women nearly half her age barely got a glimpse of all day.
The two-time XTERRA National Champ was more than two minutes behind the swim leader Suzie Snyder but absolutely crushed the bike course and finished more than seven minutes ahead of eventual runner-up Sara Tarkington.
Vanlandingham's bike split was 1:22:51. The second best women’s split was 1:28:18, posted by XTERRA Amazon champ Jenny Smith who came in third today.
“I love high mountain riding,” smiled Vanlandingham after the race as she stood next to her proud father who rode his motorcycle all the way from Texas to take in the event. “I’ve spent the last 12 years in Durango, and the last four weeks riding up in the mountains so I just felt really good.”
While “Shonny V” rode away from the field Tarkington – who holds down a full-time job as a social worker in Boulder – was busy having her best day in XTERRA, topping only her third place finish at this race last year.
Emma Garrard finished fourth for the third time this season on the same day her 61-year-old dad completed his first-ever triathlon (and won his age group!) at the XTERRA Hammerman off-road triathlon in Alaska.
In fifth place was Snyder, a former amateur XTERRA National Champ in her first big race as a pro.
XTERRA U.S. PRO SERIES UPDATE
Conrad Stoltz had a perfect 400 points score going into this race, and because pros count just four of their best five regional scores, he stayed perfect without even racing. The big move was made by Seth Wealing, who went from 5th to 3rd with today's runner-up finish. Lebrun also made a jump, from 11th to 7th. In the women's standings Shonny V won her third race of the season to stay on top, while the top five women remained unchanged.
The 2010 XTERRA U.S. Pro Series consists of six events - five regional championships and Nationals. The next stop is the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series finale at the USA Championship in Ogden/Snowbasin Resort, Utah on September 25th.
The top 15 pros at each event are awarded points based on overall pro finish. Pros count their best four-of-five scores plus the points they get (or don’t get) at the XTERRA USA Championship in Utah. Thus, the final point total combines an athletes’ best four scores in the first five races, plus the USA Championship race points. He/she with the most points in the end is declared the U.S. Pro Series Champ. The U.S. Series will dish out $132,500 in prize money: $10,500 at each regional, $20,000 at the USA Championship, and $60,000 to the top overall points scorers in the Series. Note: The XTERRA World Championship Oct. 24 in Makena, Maui is a stand-alone event worth $100,000.
2010 XTERRA U.S. PRO SERIES STANDINGS (AFTER 5)
2 = XTERRA South Central Championship (Waco, TX) - May 23
3 = XTERRA Southeast Championship (Pelham, AL) - June 13
4 = XTERRA East Championship (Richmond, VA) - June 20
5 = XTERRA Mountain Championship (Beaver Creek, CO) - July 17
6 = XTERRA USA Championship (Ogden/Snowbasin, UT) - Sept. 25
Key: 1=100, 2=90, 3=82, 4=75, 5=69, 6=63, 7-58, 8=53, 9=49, 10=45, 11=41, 12=37, 13=34, 14=31, 15=28
Nearly 500 athletes from 26 states took part in today’s main event. Jason Michalak won the men's amateur overall and Kim Baugh won the women's race. Here's a look at all of today's age group champs:
XTERRA MTN CHAMPS (FEMALE AGE GROUP)
Division Name Time Hometown
XTERRA MTN CHAMPIONS (MALE AGE GROUP)
Division Name Time Hometown
TEAM USA QUALIFIERS
Today’s championship distance race was the third of four qualifying events for TEAM USA into the inaugural 2011 ITU Cross Triathlon (aka off-road triathlon) World Championship race in Extremadura, Spain on April 30, 2011.
The top five age group finishers in each age group (18-19, 20-24, up to 90 years of age), rolling down to 10th place after the age-up rule, qualified for the ITU race in 2011. Results will be posted soon at xterraplanet.com.
There are four total qualifying events, which also included the XTERRA East Championship (June 20 in Richmond, Virginia), XTERRA South Central Championship (May 23 in Waco, TX) and the upcoming Scott Tinley Adventure off-road tri (October 3, 2010 in San Luis Obispo, California). Complete details can be found at usatriathlon.org. Note: This does not replace or have any bearing on qualifying procedures for the 2010 XTERRA World Championship in Maui on Oct. 24, 2010 or future XTERRA World Championships.
A special thanks to Mike Kloser and his team at Beaver Creek Resort for providing a first-class experience today.
The 2010 XTERRA Mountain Championship was presented by Paul Mitchell and Degree Men Adventure. Sponsors included Beaver Creek Resort, Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, East-West Resorts, Utah Sports Commission, Avon-Colorado, XTERRA.TV, GU Energy Gel, Gatorade, Zorrel, and the XTERRA Alliance - Wetsuits, Gear, Cycling, Fitness, and Footwear.
TEAM Unlimited, a Hawaii-based television events and marketing company, owns and produces XTERRA. In 2010 there are more than 100 XTERRA off-road triathlon and trail running events held in 15 countries worldwide. It all started with 123 competitors one afternoon in Maui, and has since evolved into the most prestigious off-road multisport race in the world.
© 2013 TEAM Unlimited LLC