(Snowbasin Resort - Ogden, Utah) – Ruben Ruzafa, 25, from Spain and Flora Duffy, 27, from Bermuda captured the 2014 XTERRA USA Championship off-road triathlon on a beautiful blue sky day at Snowbasin Resort today.
Ruzafa, the current and two-time XTERRA World Champion, finished in 2:21:47, less than one-minute ahead of runner-up and 2012 USA Champ Josiah Middaugh of Colorado who crossed in 2:22:32.
The difference was the bike where Ruzafa, a former national team rider in Spain, posted the fastest split of the day in 1:18:01, two-minutes faster than that of Middaugh who had the second-best bike time at 1:20:00. Even though Middaugh ran one-minute faster, it wasn’t enough to reel in Ruzafa.
“It was tough. I couldn’t stay with him on the bike,” said Middaugh. “I needed to match him but he doesn’t have any weakness on the bike. You give him 10 seconds and it blows up to a minute real fast.”
Middaugh still won the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series for the second straight year and was the XTERRA National Champ (top American) for the 10th time.
For Ruzafa, it’s his eight straight win of the 2014 season. He won seven straight in Europe to capture the XTERRA European Tour Championship and also won the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship. The last time he didn’t win was here in Utah last year, when he crossed the line in 3rd place behind Leo Chacon of Costa Rica and Middaugh.
“This race was important to me because last year was really hard,” said Ruzafa. “I wanted to come back and do well here and happy that I did. I came here two weeks early and studied the bike course, memorized all the turns so I could go as fast as I could. I really like Utah, the people and the mountain.”
Eighteen-year-old rookie pro Mauricio Mendez from Mexico City finished in third, with South Africans Bradley Weiss and Dan Hugo taking 4th and 5th.
“It’s a dream come true, I’m so happy,” said Mendez. “I know there is a lot more work to do but I’m still proving to myself that I can do more than I think.”
The day started with Ben Allen leading the way in the swim with Mendez right behind, but at the four-mile mark after the first big climb through Wheeler Canyon Mendez got gobbled up by Ruzafa and Middaugh and when Brad Weiss and Dan Hugo came by Mendez jumped on board for the ride. By the bike-to-run transition it was Ruzafa, two minutes to Middaugh, then five minutes later Weiss and Mendez 3rd and 4th. The speedy Mendez quickly moved into third and stayed there through the finish.
The 6-thru-10 spots were filled with breakthrough performances highlighted by Brad Zoller’s best XTERRA in 6th, then Cody Waite, Craig Evans, Chris Ganter, and Alex Modestou.
|1||Ruben Ruzafa||30||Malaga, Spain||2:21:47||100|
|2||Josiah Middaugh||34||Vail, Colorado||2:22:43||90|
|3||Mauricio Mendez||18||Mexico City, Mexico||2:28:55||82|
|4||Bradley Weiss||25||Somerset West, South Africa||2:29:31||75|
|5||Dan Hugo||28||Stellenbosch, South Africa||2:32:06||69|
|6||Brad Zoller||37||Vail, Colorado||2:33:47||63|
|7||Cody Waite||36||Lakewood, Colorado||2:33:59||58|
|8||Craig Evans||36||Hendersonville, Tennessee||2:34:14||53|
|9||Chris Ganter||36||Boise, Idaho||2:34:42||49|
|10||Alex Modestou||28||Durham, North Carolina||2:35:46||45|
Also: Branden Rakita (41), Ryan Ignatz (37), Ben Allen (34), John O'Neill (31), Adam Wirth (28), Ryan Petry, Jeff Smith, Rory Downie, Andy Lee, Louis Tafuto
DONOVAN, FINCHAMP WIN OVERALL AMATEUR TITLES
JP Donovan and Hannah Rae Finchamp captured the overall amateur XTERRA USA Championship titles today. It’s the third time Donovan has won Nationals, but his first overall victory, while it’s the second overall title in three years for Finchamp (who has now won the 15-19 division four straight times).
“It feels really nice to take the title back,” said Finchamp, who is in her freshman year at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. “I felt really smooth and really good today, maybe more physically ready than ever because I’ve been training with the collegiate teams and it has been so much fun being with other people training. It does take a toll on you mentally, however, having to come all the way from Missouri and flying by the seat of my pants.”
Finchamp is on the cross country, cycling, and swim teams at Lindenwood this season, and said “I love it there, nowhere else I’d rather be for school.”
There was an interesting twist in the men’s race as Matthew Balzer, the reigning USA Champion, looked poised to capture his second straight until another guy – wearing the same kit – stormed past. And it was his fault.
“I’ve got to give thanks to Matthew Balzer from the Reno Running Company,” said Donovan, 27, a lifeguard from Incline Village, Nevada who has been racing XTERRA since 2006. “He hooked me up with a kit, drove me out here, and really pushed me to train the last couple weeks. I wasn’t even going to do it this year but he conned me into it. While he’s not my coach, he is in my mind, kind of like the conscience on my shoulder.”
The two came into transition close together but Donovan charged hard on the first steep incline out of transition and never looked back.
“I wouldn’t want to give it up to anybody else,” said Balzer, who finished second. “At least we got the kit involved.”
Cindi Toepel from Littleton reached a milestone mark today, winning her unprecedented 10th XTERRA USA Championship crown.
David Rakita, father to XTERRA pro Branden Rakita, won his 5th title (he got his first in 2002).
Craig Vogtsberger, who was honored as this year’s Mr. XTERRA award winner for best exemplifying the “Live More” spirit of the sport, captured his fourth National Championship in the physically challenged division.
Donovan, Lucia Colbert, and Katherine Pollard each won their third USA Championships, while Balzer, Peter Lilley, Paula Maresh, and Meghan Sheridan captured their second each.
Here’s a look at all of this year’s National Champs:
XTERRA USA CHAMPIONS (WOMEN)
|15 - 19||Hannah Rae Finchamp (4)||3:03:09||Altadena, CA|
|20 - 24||* Katherine Pollard (3)||3:52:44||Roseville, CA|
|25 - 29||Amie Graf||3:40:54||Glenwood Springs, CO|
|30 - 34||Sian Turner||3:15:11||Truckee, CA|
|35 - 39||Meghan Sheridan (2)||3:14:28||Salt Lake City, UT|
|40 - 44||Kathy Waite||3:19:12||Lakewood, CO|
|45 - 49||Patty Smaldone||3:54:08||Portland, OR|
|50 - 54||Paula Maresh (2)||3:33:58||Littleton, CO|
|55 - 59||Lucia Colbert (3)||3:52:59||Cordova, TN|
|60 - 64||Cindi Toepel (10)||3:57:04||Littleton, CO|
|XTERRA USA CHAMPIONS (MEN)|
|15 - 19||David Duncan||3:02:36||Shingle Springs, CA|
|20 - 24||Billy Allen||2:52:23||Farmingdale, NM|
|25 - 29||*JP Donovan (3)||2:38:08||Incline Village, NV|
|30 - 34||Matt Balzer (2)||2:40:48||Reno, NV|
|35 - 39||Jeffrey Dewitt||2:53:37||Castle Rock, CO|
|40 - 44||Jack Cartwright||2:46:26||Austin, TX|
|45 - 49||Chris Phenicie||2:52:04||Lakewood, CO|
|50 - 54||Andrew Macnaughton||2:52:37||Newbury Park, CA|
|55 - 59||Dennis Brinson||3:03:48||Carson City, NV|
|60 - 64||Johnny Davis||3:24:25||Boulder, CO|
|65 - 69||David Rakita (5)||3:53:53||Durango, CO|
|70 - 74||Peter Lilley (2)||5:22:01||Charlotte, NC|
|PC||Craig Vogtsberger (4)||3:55:27||Littleton, CO|
|* TOP AMATEURS|
Now, it’s time to party at the Harvest Moon Celebration block party in downtown Ogden, Utah where the National Champs will be recognized on the main stage.
Tomorrow, it’s the trail runners turn as harriers from around the country will gather for the XTERRA Trail Running National Championship half-marathon at Snowbasin Resort at 9am. Learn more at www.xterrautah.com.
Of note, both the XTERRA Tri and Trail Run National Championship races are the culmination of 70+ race nationwide series and XTERRA TV is producing an hour-long, nationally broadcast television show on the USA Championship, highlighting Northern Utah as a mecca for outdoor adventure recreation (you can watch last year’s show right now at http://vimeo.com/84062339).
Highlight videos & images from today’s race can be found at https://www.facebook.com/XTERRAplanet
The 2014 XTERRA Nationals weekend is presented by the Utah Sports Commission, Paul Mitchell, and the XTERRA Live More Card. Sponsors include Snowbasin Resort, GOAL Foundation, Gatorade, PowerBar, ENVE, Utah Media Group, the U.S. Forest Service, XTERRA Wetsuits, Muscle Milk, Rockwell watches, XTERRA Fitness, LifeProof, XTERRA Coffee, Optic Nerve Sunglasses, Champion System, Greenlayer, and XTERRA Boards.
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.
2014 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
The XTERRA USA Championship was the last of 35 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.
|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||Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy|
|3-May||XTERRA Malaysia||Dan Hugo / Jacqui Slack|
|17-May||XTERRA Southeast Championship||Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy|
|24-May||XTERRA Mauritius||Sam Gardner / Karyn Southgate|
|24-May||XTERRA Spain Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova|
|1-Jun||XTERRA Portugal||Ruben Ruzafa / Coralie Redelsperger|
|8-Jun||XTERRA Brazil Championship||Felipe Moletta / Sabrina Gobbo|
|15-Jun||XTERRA East Championship||Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy|
|21-Jun||XTERRA Greece||Francois Carloni / Kathrin Mueller|
|28-Jun||XTERRA Switzerland Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller|
|29-Jun||XTERRA Norway||Dan Hugo / Cecilie Overbye|
|5-Jul||XTERRA Ontario||Sean Bechtel / Heather Pady|
|6-Jul||XTERRA France Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Victoria||Brent McMahon / Melanie McQuaid|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Freedom Fest||Sergio Florian / Laurel Dudley|
|13-Jul||XTERRA Sweden||Braden Currie / Helena Erbenova|
|19-Jul||XTERRA Mountain Championship||Josiah Middaugh / Chantell Widney|
|26-Jul||XTERRA Italy Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Helene Erbenova|
|2-Aug||XTERRA Mexico Championship||Irving Perez / Fabiola Corona|
|9-Aug||XTERRA Czech Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller|
|16-Aug||XTERRA Germany Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller|
|17-Aug||XTERRA Canmore||Mathieu Signoretty / Brittany Webster|
|24-Aug||XTERRA England||Conrad Stoltz / Emma Garrard|
|31-Aug||XTERRA Denmark||Conrad Stoltz / Kathrin Mueller|
|31-Aug||XTERRA Quebec||Jean-Philippe Thibodeau / Claude Godbout|
|7-Sep||XTERRA Sleeping Giant||Scott Hill / Charlotte McShane|
|20-Sep||XTERRA USA Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Flora Duffy|
|26-Oct||XTERRA World Championship||Maui, Hawaii|