USA Triathlon's 2014 National Championships season continues on Sunday, June 15, with the Off-Road National Championships in Richmond, Va., held in conjunction with the 16th annual XTERRA East Championship.
The race combines a 1,000-meter swim in the James River with a 32-kilometer mountain bike and a 10-kilometer trail run. The course has been part of the XTERRA circuit since 1999, and the River City is a premier destination for off-road racing adventures.
The men’s pro race is shaping up to be the most exciting showdown in recent memory with more than a handful of guys that could steal the show on Sunday. Start with Josiah Middaugh, winner of the first two regionals at the West and Southeast Championships this year who is fresh off his eighth straight win at the Ultimate Mountain Challenge in his hometown of Vail, Colorado last weekend.
Then there’s Dan Hugo – the defending Richmond champion and winner of five XTERRA World Tour majors this season including the high-profile Asia-Pacific Championship race. Fellow South African Conrad Stoltz won this race seven times in eight years from 2005 to 2012 (in 2008 Middaugh won it, and last year he did not race due to injury). This season has been a tough one for Stoltz and no doubt he’s looking to turn the tide here in RVA – site of his first-ever XTERRA race back in 2001.
“This year has been terrible,” said Stoltz. “Health issues, flat tires, bad luck, so I’m looking to change my luck this weekend and have a good race. I love racing here, it’s one of my favorite courses and favorite towns to visit. The rain is going to clear up and make for some good watching, and make for some tacky trails in good shape, it should be awesome.”
A third South African, Brad Weiss, is having a breakout season and finally got some rest this past month after a grueling stretch of racing across the Asia-Pacific region. Mexico’s Mauricio Mendez has been posting remarkable swim-and-run splits of late and threatens to chase down anybody if he’s in close enough range coming out of T2. And you can’t count out Americans Craig Evans and Branden Rakita who will be up front early.
For the women it’s all about who can stop Flora Duffy and her dominating ways. American Emma Garrard has come closest and cut the time gap from first-to-second place in half at last month’s Southeast Championship. Her familiarity with the intricacies of the Richmond course is certain to help.
There’s Shonny Vanlandingham who crushes on the bike, has won here before, and with the shortest swim on Tour will lose less time out of the water than she normally does. Christine Jeffrey is coming off a great race in Alabama, where Suzie Snyder also turned a corner. There’s no doubt all of those women are looking to reel in Duffy and steal one here in Richmond.
In the amateur race competitors include Hannah Rae Finchamp (Altadena, Calif.), who was named 2013 USA Triathlon Off-Road Athlete of the Year after winning the amateur women's title at XTERRA Worlds in Maui, Hawaii. There are also five Off-Road Nationals defending champions on the start list: Dillon Shaffer (M25-29, Lawton, Okla.), Charlie Karstrom (M25-29, Solana Beach, Calif.), Marcus Barton (M40-44, Waxhaw, N.C.), May-Li Cuypers (F45-49, Largo, Fla.) and Charlotte Mahan (F65-69, Lenoir City, Tenn.).
In addition to chasing national titles in Richmond and qualifying spots into XTERRA Worlds athletes also will be competing for prized spots on Team USA for the 2015 International Triathlon Union (ITU) Cross Triathlon World Championships, the date and location of which will be announced later this year by ITU. The top 18 finishers (rolling down to 25th place) in each age group will qualify for a Team USA slot.
Team USA is comprised of the nation's top multisport athletes who represent the U.S. at each ITU World Championships event. Visit usatriathlon.org for more on Team USA.
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
USAT NATIONALS / EAST CHAMP ELITES
Rank denotes current standing in 2014 XTERRA U.S. Pro Series after two races.
Rank – Name – Age, Hometown
1 - Josiah Middaugh – 35, Vail-Eagle, CO
2 - Bradley Weiss – 25, Cape Town, South Africa
3 - Craig Evans – 36, Hendersonville, TN
4 - Mauricio Mendez – 18, Mexico City, Mexico
5 - Branden Rakita – 33, Colorado Springs, CO
6 - Dan Hugo – 28, Stellenbosch, South Africa
8 - Chris Ganter – 35, Boise, ID
9 - Jeff Smith – 31, Portland, OR
13 - Karsten Madsen – Guelph, Ontario, Canada
11 - Nick Fisher - 28, Ogden, Utah
15 - Alex Modestou – 27, Washington, D.C.
17 - Ryan DeCook – 33, Rochester, MI
NR - Charlie Epperson – 37, Tamuning, Guam (TN)
NR - Andy Lee – 41, Lakeway, TX (Great Britain)
NR - Nicholas Miehe – 25, Tarpon Springs, FL
NR - Takahiro Ogasawara – 34, Tokyo, Japan
NR - Conrad Stoltz – 40, Stellenbosch, South Africa
NR - Jean-Philippe Thibodeau – 23, Quebec, Canada
NR - Noah Wright – 30, Austin, TX
NR - Brad Zoller – 36, Palatine, IL
Rank – Name – Age, Hometown
1 - Flora Duffy – 26, Boulder, CO (Bermuda)
2 - Emma Garrard – 32, Park City, UT
3 - Suzie Snyder – 32, Fredericksburg, VA
6 - Kara LaPoint – 26, Truckee, CA
8 - Amelia McCracken – 30, Philadelphia, PA
9 - Shonny Vanlandingham – 45, Durango, CO
10 - Christine Jeffrey – 41, Tucson, AZ (Canada)
12 - Debby Sullivan – 32, Rocklin, CA
13 - Caroline Colonna – 50, Taos, NM
14 - Rebecca Blatt – 34, Lakewood, CO
NR - Mieko Carey – 36, Tumon, Guam (Japan)
NR - Catherine Sterling – 37, West Boylston, MA