Paul Mitchell XTERRA Finishers Badge

The Paul Mitchell Badge of Honor

The 2015 Paul Mitchell digital XTERRA Finisher’s badges are all about recognizing athlete accomplishments. While simply participating and living the healthy, active, outdoors lifestyle is reward enough, actually surviving the rigors of an XTERRA deserves a special shout out and it’s fun to see and read some of the stories from first-time racers and those just elated with their performance.

Here are what some of this year’s XTERRA Warriors had to say about their Paul Mitchell badge of honor…

“Completed Deuces Wild XTERRA with my 13-year-old son, his first. This will always be one of my most memorable XTERRA races.” – Alan Abeyta

“This badge means a full time working mother of three can do anything!” – Denise Kirkman

“From training with friends, to pushing myself beyond what I thought I was physically capable of, this was one of the most rewarding physical experiences I’ve ever had. And the ocean view was spectacular! I’m grateful that my first triathlon was XTERRA! I dedicate this race to Marene Hammitt, my dear stepmom with alzheimers, who hiked many mountains with me all through my youth. She was with me in this race every step of the way.” – Shannon Walker

“Finished, placed 3rd, even after wipeout off of the “elevator” drop! And THAT’S how I spent my 53rd Birthday! :)” – Penny Munz

“It was the biggest accomplishments of my life,” – Luis Salazar

“This was crazy amazing. So fun and great people. I love my dad for getting me hooked on triathlons. Overall, awesome,” – Anna Heustis

“My new RA Diagnosis doesn’t mean I have to stop, it just changes things a little,” – Jennifer Schrage

“Great day at Beaver Creek. Altitude and the 5,000 feet of total vert made it one of the hardest XTERRAs I’ve done,” – Bob Koehler

“This was the biggest challenge for me since I began running in 2010. There were many times I really didn’t think I would finish, but I did. Now I am asking what challenge is next?” – Andrea Rountree

“Hardest XTERRA I’ve done so far. Curt Gowdy,” – Kelci Weese

“This was my 1st XTERRA Off Road Triathlon and the beginning to a new love for the sport!” – Kenji Takanishi

“Loved doing this awesome race with two of my siblings and having the other two there to cheer us on!!!” – Katelyn Dickson

Read more stories here / Other XTERRA Finisher Badges

Maui Checks

XTERRA Worlds Quick Facts

WHAT IS XTERRA:  The world’s premier off-road triathlon.  In Maui it combines a 1.5-kilometer (1-mile) swim that starts in front of the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua … a 30-kilometer (18.6-miles) mountain bike that climbs more than 3,000 feet up and down the lower slopes of the West Maui Mountains, and a 10.5-kilometer (6.5-miles) trail run that traverses forest trails and beach sand.  Top pros finish in roughly two-and-a-half hours.

WHO RACES IN MAUI:  A sold-out field of 850 racers including 70 professionals and more than 700 amateurs representing 43 countries & 43 U.S. states, ages 14 (Tate Haugan) to 78 (Ron Hill).  95% of the field is from out of state.

WHEN:  The XTERRA World Championship starts at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 1.  The XTERRA Kapalua 5km and 10km trail runs and costume contest are on Halloween day, Saturday, Oct. 31 at 9:00 a.m.

WHERE: At The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui’s northwest coast.

WHY:  The XTERRA World Championship race is the last in a series of more than 100 off-road triathlon races held in 30 countries and 37 U.S. States.  The concept is to provide a bona-fide world championship for amateur and pro off-road triathletes. For pros there is $100,000 in prize money at stake.

HOW THEY QUALIFIED:  Amateurs enter the World Championship through one of two means:
1. Earn a slot by qualifying as one of the top finishers in their age group at an XTERRA Championship race in South Africa, Philippines, New Zealand, Saipan, Costa Rica, Malta, Tahiti, Reunion Island, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Guam, Australia, Malaysia, Spain, Greece, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Great Britain and Alabama, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Virginia in the United States.  For those “lucky-you-live-Hawaii-guys” there was a local qualifyier, Freedom Fest! at Kualoa Ranch on Oahu.
2. Enter through the at large drawing – a limited number of slots were offered on a first-come first-serve basis in January.

XTERRA  BACKGROUND:  This is year 20 for the XTERRA World Championship on Maui – the birthplace of off-road triathlon.  The first XTERRA race was held here on November 3, 1996 with just 123 participants and was televised on Fox Sports Net.  The demand for the sport of XTERRA exploded thereafter and there are now more than 30,000 competitors from all 50 states and more than 50 countries worldwide.

TELEVISION:  This will be the 20th straight year a nationally broadcast one-hour show will be produced on the event, which showcases Maui’s natural beauty. The 2015 XTERRA World Championship will be seen by more than four million viewers via national syndication (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX) and Fox Sports Network.  We are also planning expanded European distribution. This year’s show will start its run in national syndication in mid-January 2016.

ECONOMIC IMPACT:  Direct visitor expenditures from the 2014 XTERRA World Championship were $5.7 million.  The average length of stay on Maui is 7.1 nights (9.3 nights in Hawaii), the average party size is 3.1, and 58% of the field had a household income of more than $100,000 (expenditure source: DBEDT).

Online Resources: … Videos: … Event:


The Maui Countdown is On!

It’s on! 31 days and counting to the greatest celebration in XTERRA history, the 20th edition of the World Championship in Maui.

We start the hype with news that defending champs Ruben Ruzafa from Spain and Flora Duffy from Bermuda will have their toes in the sand once more and are getting ready right now to take on all-comers November 1. It’s important to note, however, that the men’s and women’s champions have never been the same in back-to-back years … could this be the season that all changes?


Flora Duffy, the most dominant woman in off-road triathlon, has done just about everything she set out to accomplish in 2015 and now has her sights set on defending her XTERRA World Championship.

“XTERRA Worlds is my next and final race of the season and I’m really looking forward to it,” exclaimed Duffy, fresh off an impressive wire-to-wire win at the ITU Cross Tri World Championships in Italy.

Since the start of 2014 Duffy has been near perfect in XTERRA races, winning 11 of the 12 championship events she entered. Her lone blemish during the stretch was at the XTERRA Germany Championship, which doubled as ITU Cross Worlds last year.

This season she won the first two XTERRA World Tour races of the year in the Philippines and at her adopted second-home in South Africa, took the prestigious XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship title in Australia in April, and avenged some demons by winning the XTERRA Mountain Championship in Colorado this July (it was at that race in 2013 she finished 6th and vowed never to do another).

Duffy also had her best year yet on the ITU World Triathlon Series with podium finishes in Abu Dhabi and Edmonton, and a seventh-place ranking in the final standings that has all but assured her spot on Bermuda’s Olympic triathlon team for the third time.

“It is not 100% solidified because qualification does not end until May 2016, but right now I am ranked well enough that an Olympic slot for Rio 2016 is pretty much a sure thing,” explained Duffy.

As for her secrets to success this year, she said “This season sort of took me a bit by surprise, I never expected to have two podiums and finish 7th overall in the series. I had a really great winter of training and managed to stay injury free which allowed me to work a lot on my running. There is a lot of cross over between XTERRA and ITU training, however, to really dial things in for Maui I tend to do a bit more volume on the bike, and do more hill reps on the run…..because we all know that the run just goes up, up and up! I’ve also neglected my mountain bike a bit this summer so will spend the next four weeks riding as much trail as I can!”

All that training will be done in the triathlon mecca of Boulder, Colorado.

“I just arrived back from a two week race trip which leaves me with four solid training weeks in Boulder, a week taper, then race time. Hopefully the weather stays nice in October here in Boulder,” said Duffy. “You just never know how it will be- could be cold and snow, or warm and beautiful. Either way, I have a great support system here so find it beneficial to spend as much time as I can here before leaving for Maui.”

As for the Maui course itself, Duffy says she has a “love/hate relationship” with it.

“It suits me, so in a way I have to like it but it is not my favorite,” she explained. “It is an honest course, but very specific and not a course for everyone, and you need a certain skill set to really excel on it. There just isn’t anywhere to hide on the course.”

Duffy won last year’s race by more than two-minutes after posting the best swim, the best bike (despite a wicked crash that sent her flying into the bushes) and the second-best run behind only runner-up Barbara Riveros.

We’ll have more on the challengers like Riveros – who has been able to get the better of Duffy on the road but not in the dirt – plus two-time XTERRA World Championship winner Lesley Paterson, America’s best Emma Garrard, and European great Helena Erbenova in the weeks to come.



As for the men’s race, it’s the world vs. Ruzafa.   It’s been a couple years of races in more than a dozen countries against the best from everywhere and no one has figured out a way to take down the three-time World Champ.

He’s won 15 straight XTERRA majors since winning Worlds in October of 2013, and the closest race he had was against Conrad Stoltz in England this summer, and now the Caveman is retired.

Ruzafa also just won his second-straight ITU Cross Tri World title last weekend, and if someone doesn’t work some magic in Maui he’ll wrap up his second-straight perfect season and win his fourth XTERRA World Championship (matching Stoltz’ record).

Trust there are men on their way to Maui with plans of an upset like American great Josiah Middaugh, Aussie star Ben Allen, Mexico Champ Francisco Serrano (who was just 30-seconds back on Saturday in Italy), Kiwi adventure racing guru Braden Currie, Costa Rica Champ Rom Akerson, and the young guns Mauricio Mendez, Bradley Weiss, Olly Shaw, and Arthur Forissier.

It’s only one month away, let the imaginations run wild…


2014: Ruben Ruzafa (ESP), 2:29:56 (Josiah Middaugh)
2013: Ruben Ruzafa (ESP), 2:34:34 (Asa Shaw)
2012: Javier Gomez (ESP), 2:26:54 (Josiah Middaugh)
2011: Michael Weiss (AUT), 2:27:00 (Dan Hugo)
2010: Conrad Stoltz (RSA), 2:31:07 (Franky Batelier)
2009: Eneko Llanos (ESP), 2:37:22 (Nico Lebrun)
2008: Ruben Ruzafa (ESP), 2:37:36 (Michi Weiss)
2007: Conrad Stoltz (RSA), 2:40:54 (Olivier Marceau)
2006: Hamish Carter (NZL), 2:42:36 (Olivier Marceau)
2005: Nicolas Lebrun (FRA), 2:38:19 (Eneko Llanos)
2004: Eneko Llanos (ESP), 2:28:44 (Olivier Marceau)
2003: Eneko Llanos (ESP), 2:32:56 (Nicolas LeBrun)
2002: Conrad Stoltz (RSA), 2:22:55 (Eneko Llanos)
2001: Conrad Stoltz (RSA), 2:28:48 (Kerry Classen)
2000: Michael Tobin (USA), 2:30:53 (Mike Vine)
1999: Ned Overend (USA), 2:32:50 (Michael Tobin)
1998: Ned Overend (USA), 2:24:46 (Wes Hobson)
1997: Mike Pigg (USA), 2:28:48 (Ned Overend)
1996: Jimmy Riccitello (USA), 2:27:42 (Mike Pigg)

MEN’S RECORD BOOK (Just for fun)
Swim Record: Glenn Wachtel (USA) 18:10 (2000)
Bike Record: Michael Weiss (AUT) 1:17:30 (2011)
Run Record: Jan Rehula (CZE) 33:14 (2004)
Winning Time: Conrad Stoltz (RSA) 2:22:55 (2002)

2014: Flora Duffy (BER) 2:47:59 (Barbara Riveros)
2013: Nicky Samuels (NZL), 2:57:48 (Lesley Paterson)
2012: Lesley Paterson (GBR), 2:44:12 (Barbara Riveros)
2011: Lesley Paterson (GBR), 2:45:59 (Marion Lorblanchet)
2010: Shonny Vanlandingham (USA), 2:58:20 (Julie Dibens)
2009: Julie Dibens (GBR), 2:56:42 (Lesley Paterson)
2008: Julie Dibens (GBR), 3:03:57 (Danelle Kabush)
2007: Julie Dibens (GBR), 3:01:24 (Melanie McQuaid)
2006: Melanie McQuaid (CAN), 3:07:53 (Danelle Kabush)
2005: Melanie McQuaid (CAN), 3:07:16 (Sybille Matter)
2004: Jamie Whitmore (USA), 3:01:35 (Melanie McQuaid)
2003: Melanie McQuaid (CAN), 2:57:08 (Jamie Whitmore)
2002: Candy Angle (USA), 2:57:33 (Jamie Whitmore)
2001: Anke Erlank (RSA), 3:00:59 (Cherie Touchette)
2000: Kerstin Weule (USA), 3:07:04 (Melanie McQuaid)
1999: Shari Kain (USA), 3:04:19 (Kerstin Weule)
1998: Sue Latshaw (USA), 2:58:49 (Uli Blank)
1997: Cameron Randolph (USA), 3:04:25 (Lesley Tomlinson)
1996: Michellie Jones (AUS), 3:04:53 (Shari Kain)

WOMEN’S RECORD BOOK (Just for fun)
Swim Record: Raeleigh Tennant (AUS) 18:31 (2000)
Bike Record: Melanie McQuaid (CAN) 1:29:27 (2011)
Run Record: Erika Csomor (HUN) 38:18 (2004)
Winning Time: Lesley Paterson (GBR) 2:45:59 (2011)


T S Restaurants Line-Up Concert Series During XTERRA Worlds Week

The Maui T S Restaurants, title sponsors of the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs, will host a concert series featuring legendary Hawaiian music during the week of the 20th XTERRA World Championship events at Leilani’s on the Beach, Hula Grill and Duke’s Beach House

The concert schedule is as follows:
Thursday, October 29th | Leilani’s on the Beach
3:00 to 5:00 p.m. John Cruz
Friday, October 30th | Duke’s Beach House
5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Raiatea Helm
Sunday, November 1st | Hula Grill Kaanapali
2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Walt Keale, Andrew & Jay Molina

Grammy winning musician, John Cruz is known for his soulful vocals and unique acoustic style of music. Cruz is a ‘Ki ho’alu’, slack key master and his album ‘One Of These Days’ was named one of Hawaii’s greatest albums of the new century by Honolulu Magazine. Don’t miss this unforgettable performance by John Cruz on Thursday, October 29th from 3:00 to 5:00p.m. at Leilani’s on the Beach.

Renowned songbird, Raiatea Helm is celebrated for her natural leo ki`eki`e (falsetto) voice. Helm is an eight time Na Hoku Hanohano Winner, Grammy Nominee and winner of the Native Arts and Cultural Foundations ‘Fellowship in Music’ Award. Enjoy an evening with Raiatea Helm on Friday, October 30th, 5:00p.m. to 7:00p.m. at Duke’s Beach House. Bring your chairs and blankets foradditional seating on the grass area.

Walt Keale, musical storyteller, is known for his original style. Keale’s music resonates the influence of Niihau, the bluegrass of the Dustbowl & the latino strings of jarocho, cumbia & ranchera. Father and son duo, ukuklele master Andrew Molina and electric bassist Jay Molina will open the show. Hula Grill hosts an incredible lineup on Sunday, November 1st from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.

The concert series is open to the public with seating in the restaurants. For more information please call or visit:

Leilani’s on the Beach, 808-661-4495,
Duke’s Beach House, 808-662-2900,
Hula Grill Kaanapali, 808-667-6636,

About T S Restaurants of Hawaii and California

Founded in 1977 by Rob Thibaut and Sandy Saxten, T S Restaurants owns and operates 14 restaurants in Hawaii and California, including in Hawaii: Duke’s Waikiki and Hula Grill Waikiki on Oahu; Kimo’s, Leilani’s on the Beach, Hula Grill Kaanapali and Duke’s Beach House on Maui; and Duke’s Kauai and Keoki’s Paradise on Kauai. The California locations are Jake’s Del Mar, Sunnyside Restaurant and Lodge, Sandy’s, Duke’s Huntington Beach, Duke’s Malibu and coming in October 2015, Duke’s La Jolla. For more information about T S Restaurants visit

Daryl Weaver

Weaver Wins ENVE Performer Award

ENVE Composites – makers of incredible wheels and components produced by riders, for riders – has its manufacturing facility and test lab in Ogden, Utah.

For the fourth straight year they sponsored XTERRA’s ENVE Performer of the Year award, which is presented at the Night of Champions dinner on the eve of the XTERRA USA Championship just a few blocks from their headquarters.

This is the fourth year now that ENVE has sponsored the Performer of the Year award, and previous winners include Chris Scott (2012), Alex Modestou and Hannah Rae Finchamp (2013), and Rob Ricard (2014).

This year there were many standouts to choose from, but, to really get into the conversation you needed to be one of the 64 racers to score at least 300 points in the Series this year. If you score that many points in just four races you were performing at a very high level.

To narrow that field of exceptional athletes down even further we looked at the 19 racers this season that amassed the perfect score of 325 points. That means they won their division at a minimum of four races including a regional championship event.

Now as great of a season as that group had, this year’s award winner had by far the best. He won his division in all seven races he entered. He won the overall amateur USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championship in Alabama and finished 8th overall behind only the top seven pros in Richmond.

From Lititz, Pennsylvania, this year’s ENVE Performer of the Year award winner is Daryl Weaver, who also won the 40-44 XTERRA National Championship on Saturday.

Janet and Cliff

Meet Janet and Cliff, Mrs. & Mr. XTERRA

“It’s about time,” said just about everyone when Janet Soule and Cliff Millemann were named the 2015 Mrs. and Mr. XTERRA award winners at Friday’s Night of Champions awards dinner in Utah.

“Awesome people and ambassadors for the sport and LIFE in general,” exclaimed XTERRA Pro Suzie Snyder.

The award is given annually to the man or woman, or sometimes both, who best exemplify the spirit of XTERRA and the camaraderie, commitment, challenge, discovery, and style that is the essence of the sport.

Janet and Cliff have exemplified all those traits for more than a decade now. In fact, Millemann has been racing XTERRA for 16 years. In his very first one he got swept down the Columbia River and had to be rescued by the Hood River County Sheriff’s boat.

“I probably should have stopped doing them right then and there,” he joked to the crowd at the awards ceremony.

Undeterred, however, he kept racing and after all those years finally won the uber-competitive 50-54 XTERRA Regional Championship for the first time in 2012. He’s won it every year since, and this year did more races (9) and scored more total points (639) than any racer in the XTERRA America Tour.

“He also recruited a bunch of new people into the sport,” said XTERRA Ambassador program director Raena Cassidy. “He talks up XTERRA everywhere he goes to anyone who will listen. He’s the ultimate ambassador and an awesome person to boot.”

As for Soule her smile says it all, it really does. She’s the most radiant XTERRA racer on the planet, full of life and energy and positive vibes.

Her impact on the sport runs deep. When Jamie Whitmore was diagnosed with Cancer back in 2008 Janet was the one to step forward, organize the “J-Dawg Crew” and set-up an auction at XTERRA Nationals to rally support for her.

Through the years Janet has modeled clothes for XTERRA Gear, wrote stories about her adventures for Triathlete Magazine, encouraged every racer who ever passed her, handed out flyers, put up posters, and stuck around for post-race shenanigans at every stop.

Like Cliff, who she has been married to for more than 20 years (see XTERRA Valentine’s Day video) and done upwards of 200 races with, Janet raced a lot but didn’t win many. That all changed last year when she won her division for the first time at the XTERRA West Championship. She made winning a habit thereafter, and captured her first regional championship last year as well. And this year, just hours after being named Mrs. XTERRA, she won the 50-54 XTERRA National Championship for the first time.

While winning is nice, it’s never been about that for Soule, it’s been about the effort. Never was that more clear than in her reflections from XTERRA Worlds 2014 when she had a world title in her grasp only to have her body break down and her race end in a crawl to the finish line.

Janet Soule

“I had no signs things were going horribly awry until they suddenly did!” she explained. “No cramping. No dizziness. It hit me instantly. I suddenly had no quad muscles to break me on the downhill after the pavement hill. Strangest feeling ever. I’d get going fast and just fall forward. I must have fallen/rolled 7 times easily at full speed. Sad thing is there was no doubt in my mind I was going to be a world champ at last. I had it! Until my body stopped. Seriously, the spirit of XTERRA was what got me through that last beach/grass stretch. I knew at that point the only thing I’d win would be the satisfaction of finishing. So proud to have made it across the finish line. May have been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was a tough race for a lot of people. Personally it taught me what my brain is capable of when my body is done and showed me once again the true spirit of XTERRA when people I didn’t even know helped me cross the finish line by shouting encouraging words of support.”

Last year Soule came up with the idea for the XTERRA Tribe to dance to the “Happy” song in Maui several months before the race. When she was asked just before the race if it was still an appropriate song she said, “Hell yeah. You’re happy. I’m happy. Who the hell isn’t happy?”

Janet credits her longevity to her post-race ritual “I love a couple cold beers and some french fries after a race…followed by more beer.”

The first time she ever competed in a full-distance XTERRA was at Worlds in 2001.

“I was pretty apprehensive. My best moment was crossing the finish line and realizing I had completed something I’d never thought possible.  Two years prior to that I was sidelined with a knee injury and the surgery I had undergone had only complicated things. I had doctors telling me to sell my house and buy one without stairs, saying I’d never be in sports again, and telling me to find something else to do to fill my time.  I was so excited to cross the finish line and know that I had beat the odds!”

By day Janet is an award-winning PR executive, the co-owner of Me Communications, and her personal mantra is “Don’t fall, keep going, don’t fall, keep going (repeat).”   She’s also a trophy-winning body-builder, something she got involved in recently because “I always wanted to try it.”

Janet says her favorite XTERRA athlete is the legendary Anthony Snoble (oh, and husband Cliff too, of course). To her, XTERRA is “a wild adventure that keeps you young and smiling. You’ll meet amazing individuals that will turn into lifelong friends. It’s a healthy lifestyle filled with moments of sheer terror followed by a lasting feeling of complete exhilaration!”

On Sunday, a day after Nationals, Janet and Cliff both raced in the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship half-marathon, like they have many times before. Out on the trail, in the forest with no one around, a race photographer could hear somebody shouting words of encouragement…

“Yeah buddy, way to go!!! You’re running like a rock star, keep it up!”

Of course, it was Soule, cheering on a young guy in the race who had just passed by.

And the legend grows…

(Watch the 2015 Mr. and Mrs. XTERRA Video about Cliff and Janet)

2015 Mrs. and Mr. XTERRA from XTERRA TV on Vimeo.

Flora Duffy

XTERRA Worlds Flashback Finale

Our look back in time at every XTERRA World Championship race broadcast since the sports’ inception in 1996 is now complete.

This week we re-live last year’s race where Ruzafa’s reign continued and the rise of Flora Duffy began; and all that’s left is 37 days of anticipation until the 20th running of the XTERRA World Championship on November 1, 2015.

Watch the 2014 Show and all 19 in history / 2014 Results

2014 Race Review: One elite became an instant legend in her home country and another solidified his status among XTERRA’s all-time greats at the 19th running of the XTERRA World Championship.

Flora Duffy, who first dreamed of becoming a world champion when she was 8-years-old, became the first pro triathlete from Bermuda to win a world title and Ruben Ruzafa from Spain captured his third XTERRA World Championship and wrapped up a perfect season that featured nine straight wins, the XTERRA European Tour Championship, the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship and the XTERRA USA Championship.

More than 800 endurance athletes from around the world participated in the off-road triathlon, which started and finished at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua hotel on Maui. The course consisted of a 1-mile swim, a 20-mile mountain bike, and a 6- mile trail run.

RUZAFA REIGNS: It used to be all about the bike for Ruben Ruzafa, who has now posted the fastest bike split at all three XTERRA World Championship races he’s entered (and won) , but now he’s almost just as strong at swimming and running.

“I feel great, it’s incredible. Until you finish the race you don’t know if you are going to win. Today, I knew it was going to be hard because Josiah was really good. I am surprised because I swam very well… but Josiah did really well in the ride, and running of course he was very fast. So, it wasn’t until the end of the course that I knew he was not there.”

Ruzafa came out of the water less than one-minute behind the leaders and made all that up and more to take the lead on the bike by the six-mile mark when he passed the other 11 riders in front of him and finally Ben Allen. More importantly, his 20:51 swim split was 1:45 faster than his toughest opponent, Josiah Middaugh.

He extended the gap on Middaugh by 50-seconds on the bike and even though the American XTERRA icon ran more than a minute faster in the final leg of the race, it wasn’t enough.   Here’s how Middaugh explained it…

“I knew I had to have a really good swim. I had a great start today and I had the best swim I’ve ever had here. I was a little over two minutes behind the lead, but really close to the people I was racing with but Ruben was off ahead with an even better swim. He wasn’t too far off the front. I caught the top 5 on the bike really early and I put together the best race I have done here.  It wasn’t quite enough to win but I’m very happy with second. I feel like I pushed really hard all the way through. I feel like I emptied the tank like 50 times and put every single thing into this race. Best day I’ve had.”

Aussie Ben Allen came out of the water up front with Mauricio Mendez, was the first out on the bike course after a quicker transition and held the lead until Ruzafa caught him at around mile four.  Middaugh passed 33 people in front of him before he passed Allen at mile 13 and moved into second. Allen stayed in third the rest of the way. Here’s what he said after the race:

“I’m so stoked to back up my third-place last year. It’s been a roller coaster ride but I’ve finished top 5 in every race and to come here and back it up, it just goes to show it wasn’t a fluke last year and shows me that I’m a force to be reckoned with in the sport of XTERRA. I mean, I really dug deep today and had the attitude that I had nothing to lose and gave it a crack.”

Dan Hugo, who won seven races on the XTERRA World Tour this year, also came in to the main event in fine form. Much like Middaugh, he was happy with his effort, if not the result that came with it.

“The guys set the bar exceptionally high, maybe the best expression of XTERRA we have ever seen,” said Hugo. “Salute and credit where due, especially my friend Joe in second, so sublime, he’s in the best shape and he must be recognized for that. Personally, I came in digging and I really wish there was more but it felt great. I wish it felt this way but I went quicker.”

In a finish for the ages, Mauricio Mendez from Mexico City (who turned 19 earlier in the week) edged Bart Aernouts and Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz by two seconds. Aernouts went on to finish 6th and Stoltz was 7th.

“Being fifth place in my first year as a pro is unbelievable. When I started running I just told myself that this was a fight with me, nobody else,” said Mendez, who moved up eight spots from 13th to 5th with a blistering run split of 38:50 that was second only to Middaugh.

DUFFY DOMINATES: It was only a little more than a year ago when Flora Duffy finished out of the top five at the XTERRA Mountain Championship and told herself, “never again.”

There was an again, fortunately, at Maui last year where she surprised herself with a 3rd-place finish. After that she went to South Africa – where XTERRA roars – and honed her skills in the craft of mountain biking and the results were remarkable. Combine the fitness she already possessed with some mad skills and Duffy turned into a dominant racer.  She won everything except XTERRA Germany, and by big margins.

Nothing could stop her today, not a mechanical, not even a wicked crash that sent her flying into the bushes and ripped holes in her racing kit.

“I crashed so hard, I literally don’t know how I got back on my bike,” said Duffy. “You know how it’s a steep gnarly decent, I hit a root awkwardly and just flew into the trees head first with the bike on top of me. I was lucky I landed in the bushes. Then, five minutes later I had a mechanical. It was a hard day out there.”

It was even harder for all the elite women trying to keep up with Duffy. Last year’s women’s winner Nicky Samuels did her best, but said she lacked the fitness after her break from ITU racing.

“I had a break after the ITU season so I think 3rd is about where my fitness is, and to hold on to 3rd place was good enough for me,” said Samuels. “Flora probably pulled away at the 1k or 2k mark on the bike, so really soon. And I think she was pulling the same ground going down, so huge difference in her bike fitness and mine.  Barbara (Riveros) passed me on the last descent and then pulled away.”

Riveros, who was the runner-up two years ago and finished fourth last year, worked her way back into the second spot this year.

“I’m very, very proud of Flora,” said Riveros. “I’m happy for her for getting the title for her country. She’s a role model. She’s very strong and I knew she was the big contender here and she more than proved that today so clap for her and congratulations to everyone.”

Emma Garrard continues to shine bright as America’s top female racer and improved on her fifth-place performance of a year ago with a fourth-place showing today.

“I was about 12th out of the water but there were some girls not too far ahead so that was kind of helpful,” said Garrard. “By the ridge I had kind of caught up to Jacqui and Susie but didn’t pass them and on the next climb I could see Melanie.   Before we got to the single track at the end I made a move on Melanie and Kathrin. Susie wasn’t too far in front but I couldn’t catch her on the last section coming into transition. I was side by side with Susie and had no idea if Helena was behind us. I really hoped I could make it on the podium on the run but…”

Helena Erbenova was several minutes behind the leaders after the swim but coupled a great bike and run to work her way into fifth despite crashing on the bike.

2014 XTERRA World Championship from XTERRA TV on Vimeo.


XTERRA Kicks Off in Korea

The inaugural XTERRA Korea off-road triathlon took place earlier this month at the Daeahn Reservoir in Wonju City, Gangwon Province.

While the 2015 event was just a test race, it showed great promise for the sport in South Korea. In the race videos its clear competitors had a blast, as did the organizers who wore Aloha shirts and handed out lei’s at the finish line.

The 2016 race will be part of the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour that features stops in the Philippines, New Zealand, Saipan, Guam, Tahiti, Australia, Japan, Korea, and Malaysia.

XTERRA South Korea is scheduled for September 3, one week after XTERRA Japan, creating an enticing double for adventurous elites and foreigners.

“We’re excited to be part of the XTERRA World Tour and welcome athletes from around the world to enjoy XTERRA in South Korea,” said Daeik Kim, Manager of Planning & Marketing at SJ Company in Seoul, Korea.

Learn more at,, or by emailing

Josiah and Emma USA Champs

Looking Back at Nationals

The 15th edition of the XTERRA USA Championship was one for the ages.  An absolutely stunning day on the mountain with great racing all around…here’s proof:

Highlight Video // Photo Gallery // Reports

While the elite race in Utah garnered most of the attention last weekend there was some really great racing taking place in the amateur divisions as well.

Cole Bunn

Cole Bunn, a 19-year-old sophomore at CU-Boulder, had a breakthrough day to finish as the top amateur, 13th overall, in 2:39:01. In a field that featured 20 elite men Bunn posted the 9th best swim, 17th fastest bike and 12th quickest run.  He finished 1:33 ahead of the 2013 overall amateur champ Matthew Balzer.

“This was my best XTERRA finish ever,” said Bunn, who has been racing XTERRA since 2012 and also won the 15-19 division national title in 2013. “It’s by far my favorite course that I’ve ever raced on. It seems to be almost magical for me, everything always comes together perfectly when I race here.”

Bunn also credits the CU triathlon team he trains with for his steady improvement the past two years.

“I think we’ve won 16 of the past 18 national championships and six consecutively, so we have a great team and a great environment to train in,” said Bunn. “I have to give credit to my teammates because they are continually pushing me.”

The women’s amateur race was even more remarkable with Julie Baker finishing 4th overall and Liz Gruber finishing right behind her in 5th overall. It’s the first-time in the history of XTERRA Nationals that two amateurs have finished in the top five.

“It was a good day, for sure, it has to be my best XTERRA,” said Baker, a soil scientist by trade who is forced to spend weeks off from training at a time while she’s out in the field. “I’ve been working on my biking with a good group back home lately and that has helped.                                                             I caught a couple pros early on the bike, did the switchbacks with Jaime Brede, and no other amateurs ever caught up.”

Interestingly enough Baker and Gruber were the top two amateurs in 2013, but the roles were reversed with Gruber taking the overall crown.

Also of note Cindi Toepel won her eighth straight and unprecedented 11th XTERRA National Championship (60-64 division).  Willie Stewart picked up his fourth in the PC division, Matt Balzer and Liz Gruber each won their third, and Sian Turner-Crespo, Julie Baker, Libby Harrow, Cole Bunn, and Bryce Phinney all won their second title.



Sometimes the most impressive athletes take the most time to arrive at the finish line.  Such is the case for our 65-69 division women’s champion Libby Harrow from Fruita, Colorado and our 70-74 men’s champion Clark Griffith from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“I could go faster, but I wanted to get my money’s worth!” smiled Harrow, who has been racing XTERRA for 14 years now.

On Saturday she picked up her second national championship to go with two XTERRA World titles and seven regional championships.

“This race was special because it was my first year in the 65-69 age group, and I am separated from the great talented athletes like Cindi Toepel, Lorenn Walker, and Jo Garuccio, for one year only!” exclaimed Harrow.  “My day went smoothly, from start to finish, but I had forgotten just how challenging the Utah course is.  The last time that I raced there was in 2012. Due to foot surgery, I missed it in 2012 and 2013. Fortunately mountain biking is my strength so I was able to make to make the cut off.  I had in my mind that the climb was comparable to the mountain championship in Beaver Creek but it is significantly harder.”

In addition to being a terrific advocate for the sport of XTERRA Harrow has also made huge contributions to the communities where she lived. As the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory chairperson in Vero Beach, Florida, Libby helped construct over 76 miles of bike lanes, 57 miles of sidewalk, and several miles of unpaved trails.

“I actually struggled in Vero Beach to get land for a mountain bike trail from the county, for a decade, with no success.  They gave me land twice, only to take it away again,” said Harrow, who now lives in Fruita, Colorado.

“Now I can ride to the Colorado National Monument a few miles from my house, and do a 9-mile road climb. Many times I go out for an hour trail run with my dog in the Devil’s Canyon area, of the McInnus National Conservation Area, and it turns into a 2 hour run just because I am overcome with the beauty of the rock formations.”

As for Griffith, who edged two-time champ Peter Lilley by seven minutes after five and a half hours of racing, he said “the race went good – except for that dreadful swim. Once that was over, it was uphill from there!”

Of course, the time it takes Griffith to get to the finish is secondary to the time he gets to spend with his son.

“Me and my son, we try to go mountain biking once a week,” explained Griffith in a must-see pre-race interview.

“That’s my main pleasure in life … It’s just something I look forward to. Monday is waiting for Sunday to ride with my son. It’s a big pleasure. It’s exercise that helps me do that. He rides once a week, and I work my rear end off and still can’t keep up on Sunday. But I try.”

Suzie Snyder


“It was frustrating,” said Snyder, about her day on the course. The long-time XTERRA pro raced just six weeks after breaking her pelvis and by just finishing was able to hold on to her 2nd place Pro Series standing and the $6,000 paycheck that comes with it.

Todd Wells


There was a lot of excitement around the participation of Todd Wells, a three-time Olympic mountain biker.

“Well, you can see what Josiah can do on the bike coming two and three minutes down out of the water sometimes so I can only imagine what Todd could do,” said Braden Currie in a pre-race interview.

Wells, however, was worried about the swim and as it turned out, rightly so.

“Right now it’s nothing but pain,” said Wells when he crossed the finish line in 19th overall (15th elite). “When I came out of the water they said I was 10 minutes down, but at least I didn’t drown out there! I’ll tell ya that swim was every bit as bad as I thought it would be, even worse! But the bike was good and everyone was very nice and would let me by, way nicer than at mountain bike races.  Then the run was good too. I got passed by somebody going twice my speed, but then I didn’t get passed by anyone else so that was good.”

Wells had the fourth-best bike split behind Josiah Middaugh, Braden Currie, and Brian Smith.


Emma Garrard and Josiah Middaugh were honored as the pro XTERRA USA National Champions at Snowbasin Resort on Saturday.

The honor is bestowed upon the top American finishers in the final XTERRA U.S. Pro Series Standings.

Both Middaugh and Garrard won the Pro Series outright. It’s the 11th time in the last 12 years Middaugh has been crowned the National Champ (Seth Wealing won the title in 2006) and it’s the second-year in a row Garrard has won the XTERRA National Championship.