(Lake Las Vegas - Henderson, Nevada) – Josiah Middaugh and Flora Duffy won the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series opener at the XTERRA West Championship around the desert of Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada this morning.
It’s the third time in four years Middaugh has captured the West Championship title.
It started in the calm 58-degree waters of Lake Las Vegas fronting the Reflection Bay Golf Clubhouse with 18-year-old sensation Mauricio Mendez (last year’s amateur XTERRA World Champion from Mexico) leading the swim ahead of a pack that included Dan Hugo, Craig Evans, Branden Rakita, and Flora Duffy.
Hugo, winner at XTERRA South Africa, Philippines, and Guam already this year, quickly asserted his will on the bike and broke away from the field. He had a one-minute lead on second-place Mendez after the first of two bike laps and when he zipped by the 13-mile mark he looked poised to run away with the win. That was until he flatted on a tricky section a few miles later, and then again not long after. They weren’t your ordinary flats, either, rather the kind that would send most to the bike shop for help, and it took him totally out of the race. He soldiered on to finish 7th. Hugo put it mildly when he said “It was a nightmare. Never had that happen before, but its part of the game.”
For Middaugh, the day started two minutes, thirty seconds behind the lead swimmers but as he has so many times before, he pedaled his way back into the race on the bike. He picked off 10-of-the-11 guys ahead of him by the second-lap and passed Hugo when his troubles struck and took a 15-second lead into the bike-to-run transition that he built into a comfortable two-minute margin of victory.
“Certainly wish Dan would have had a mechanical-free day so we would have had a clean race, but it was still a good race, and a good day for me,” said Middaugh, who has won five of the last six U.S. Pro Series majors since 2012. "Brad (Weiss) was climbing stronger than I’ve ever seen him and he was pretty much matching me on the climbs so he’s going to be tough this year, and Mauricio is really figuring it out."
For Brad Weiss, it was a career day. When Middaugh caught him on his hard charge towards the front on the bike the young South African responded with everything he had and went along for the ride – something not many have ever been able to do. He was rewarded with a U.S. Series career-best runner-up finish against a class field.
“Today, for the first time, when he (Middaugh) caught me I was really aggressive and I wasn’t going to let him go. I sat on his wheel most of the second lap, and he’s riding a step above what I’m capable of, so I was really hurting by the end there. Still, for the first 4K or so on the run the gap didn’t change much. Into the descents though he seems to have the longer stride and really opened the gap up and there was not much I could do.”
Mendez, the rising star from Mexico City, beat everybody out of the water then hung tough with some of the sports best riders and entered the bike-to-run transition with Branden Rakita and Craig Evans. Despite the heavy legs he had enough in the tank left to pull away and finish third in convincing fashion.
“It was a very hard race, very tough but it feels amazing and such a great experience being with all these guys I really admire,” said Mendez. “When I finished the bike, I was like ‘oh my gosh I have nothing left’, but I gave all I had on the run and it was a very good result. It’s my dream to follow this path.”
Branden Rakita and Craig Evans finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Its Evans best performance in the desert yet, made even sweeter because his wife and two kids flew in from Tennessee to watch it unfold up-close. Also of note Ryan Petry was stellar in his pro debut, finishing sixth overall.
|1||Josiah Middaugh||35||Vail, Colorado||2:10:07||100|
|2||Bradley Weiss||25||Cape Town, South Africa||2:12:08||90|
|3||Mauricio Mendez||18||Mexico City, Mexico||2:13:00||82|
|4||Branden Rakita||33||Colorado Springs, Colorado||2:15:11||75|
|5||Craig Evans||36||Hendersonville, Tennessee||2:15:40||69|
|6||Ryan Petry||22||Tempe, Arizona||2:18:17||63|
|7||Dan Hugo||28||Stellenbosch, South Africa||2:19:22||58|
|8||Chris Ganter||35||Boise, Idaho||2:20:18||53|
|9||Matt Lieto||35||Bend, Oregon||2:21:33||49|
|10||Ryan Ignatz||35||Boulder, Colorado||2:24:49||45|
|Also: Justin Thomas (41), Jeff Smith (37), Will Kelsay (34), Ryan DeCook (31), Will Ross (28), Chris Bagg, Nick Fisher, Brian Astell, Andy Lee, Chris Legh|
DUFFY DOMINATES WOMEN’S RACE
Flora Duffy was sensational on Sunday, posting the fastest swim, bike, and run times on her way to a convincing win in the desert.
Just a year ago after placing sixth at the Mountain Championship race in Colorado Duffy wasn’t sure she ever wanted to do another XTERRA. Then she had a break-out race at XTERRA Worlds, placing third, trained in South Africa over the winter (where she spent a lot of time on the mountain bike) and won the XTERRA South Africa Championship.
“I rode my mountain bike all winter so I think that’s showing and I feel more comfortable on it so I can go through things faster which makes a huge difference,” said Duffy. “I was pleased I could ride it pretty well. Some sections were so rutted out and dry, it was hectic out there.”
Emma Garrard, who won the race for second and was the top American for the third time in a row said Flora “is super talented, and I think she may have just found her niche in triathlon.”
Shonny Vanlandingham overcame a big deficit out of the water to bike-and-run her way into the third position, with Suzie Snyder and Chantell Widney rounding out the top five. Danelle Kabush ran into 6th and Kara LaPoint finished in the money in her first race as a pro.
|1||Flora Duffy||26||Boulder, Colorado||2:25:48||100|
|2||Emma Garrard||32||Park City, Utah||2:37:06||90|
|3||Shonny Vanlandingham||44||Durango, Colorado||2:37:59||82|
|4||Suzie Snyder||32||Fredericksburg, Virginia||2:38:24||75|
|5||Chantell Widney||34||Edmonton, Alberta, Canada||2:39:14||69|
|6||Danelle Kabush||39||Calgary, Alberta, Canada||2:40:26||63|
|7||Kara LaPoint||26||Truckee, California||2:44:46||58|
|8||Katie Button||28||Victoria, B.C., Canada||2:55:00||53|
|9||Jaime Brede||36||Breckenridge, Colorado||2:57:13||49|
|10||Debby Sullivan||32||Rocklin, California||2:58:29||45|
|Also: Rebecca Blatt (41), Amelia McCracken (37)|
BALZER, FINCHAMP WIN AMATEUR CROWNS
A pair of familiar names - the reigning amateur XTERRA National Champ Matthew Balzer and the reigning XTERRA World Champion Hannah Rae Finchamp - won the amateur XTERRA West Championship crowns today. Maia Ignatz and Meghan Sheridan went 2/3 for the women while Cal Zaryski and John Hatala finished 2/3 overall for the men.
|XTERRA WEST CHAMPIONS (FEMALE)|
|15 - 19||Hannah Rae Finchamp||2:43:57|
|25 - 29||Heather Zimchek||3:14:12|
|30 - 34||Maia Ignatz||2:57:50|
|35 - 39||Meghan Sheridan||3:00:52|
|40 - 44||Kelli Montgomery||3:04:30|
|45 - 49||Linda Matheson||4:24:49|
|50 - 54||Janet Soule||3:21:01|
|55 - 59||Sheila Cotter||4:35:16|
|XTERRA WEST CHAMPIONS (MALE)|
|15 - 19||David Duncan||2:44:41|
|20 - 24||Rory Macomber||2:49:29|
|25 - 29||Tomas Matera||2:43:40|
|30 - 34||Matthew Balzer||2:31:04|
|35 - 39||Slater Fletcher||2:41:33|
|40 - 44||Mike Cabigon||2:41:14|
|45 - 49||Calvin Zaryski||2:34:52|
|50 - 54||Dennis Farrell||2:47:17|
|55 - 59||Dennis Brinson||2:54:30|
|60 - 64||John Royson||3:06:36|
|65 - 69||Dennis Freeman||4:14:51|
|70 - 74||Roger Kern||5:42:25|
2014 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING EVENTS
The XTERRA West Championship was the ninth of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26, 2014. Up next, the inaugural XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship at Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia on April 26.
|Date||Race||Location / Pro Winners
|23-Feb||XTERRA South Africa||Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy|
|8-Mar||XTERRA Motatapu||Braden Currie / Nicky Samuels|
|15-Mar||XTERRA Philippines Championship||Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher|
|29-Mar||XTERRA Guam Championship||Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher|
|29-Mar||XTERRA Costa Rica||Leonardo Chacon / Shonny Vanlandingham|
|30-Mar||XTERRA Great Ocean Road
||Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack|
|5-Apr||XTERRA Saipan Championship||Ben Allen / Carina Wasle|
|12-Apr||XTERRA New Zealand Championship||Conrad Stoltz / Barbara Riveros|
|13-Apr||XTERRA West Championship||Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy|
|26-Apr||XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship||Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia|
|17-May||XTERRA Southeast Championship||Pelham, Alabama|
|24-May||XTERRA Mauritius||Bois Cheri|
|25-May||XTERRA Spain Championship||Cieza, Murcia|
|8-Jun||XTERRA Brazil Championship||Ilhabela, Sao Paulo|
|15-Jun||XTERRA East Championship||Richmond, Virginia|
|21-Jun||XTERRA Greece||Lake Plastira|
|28-Jun||XTERRA Switzerland Championship||Vallee de Joux|
|5-Jul||XTERRA Ontario - Canadian Cross Tri Championship||Milton, Ontario, Canada|
|6-Jul||XTERRA France Championship||Xonrupt, Gerardmer|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Victoria||British Columbia, Canada|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Freedom Fest||Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii|
|19-Jul||XTERRA Mountain Championship||Beaver Creek Resort, Avon, Colorado|
|20-Jul||XTERRA Ireland||Killaloe, County Clare|
|26-Jul||XTERRA Italy Championship||Abruzzo, Scanno|
|2-Aug||XTERRA Mexico Championship||Tapalpa, Jalisco|
|9-Aug||XTERRA Czech Championship||Prachatice|
|16-Aug||XTERRA Germany Championship||Zittau|
|17-Aug||XTERRA Canmore||Alberta, Canada|
|24-Aug||XTERRA England||Cranleigh, Surrey|
|31-Aug||XTERRA Quebec||Lac Delage, Quebec, Canada|
|7-Sep||XTERRA Sleeping Giant||Thundery Bay, Ontario, Canada|
|20-Sep||XTERRA USA Championship||Ogden/Snowbasin, UT|
|26-Oct||XTERRA World Championship||Maui, Hawaii|
About TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA
TEAM Unlimited is a Hawaii-based television events and marketing company, founded in 1988. It owns and produces XTERRA and in 2014 will offer more than 300 XTERRA off-road triathlon and trail running races in 25+ countries worldwide. In addition, TEAM TV has produced more than 300 adventure television shows resulting in three Emmy’s and 42 Telly Awards for production excellence since 1990. View samples at www.xterra.tv, and learn more at xterraplanet.com and xterratrailrun.com.