(Pelham, AL) – Braden Currie from Wanaka, New Zealand and Lesley Paterson from Sterling, Scotland won the 10th annual XTERRA Southeast Championship triathlon at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama this morning.
The men’s race came down to a sprint finish between Currie and last year’s champion, Josiah Middaugh from Vail, Colorado. The two ran stride for stride for the entire six-mile trail run, the final stage of the race, with Currie taking the tape in 2:18:23, just three seconds ahead of Middaugh.
In the women’s race two-time XTERRA World Champion Lesley Paterson was the sixth pro woman after the one-mile swim in Double Oak Lake, took the lead about a one-third of the way through the 20-mile mountain bike stage, and won comfortably in 2:39:13, more than four-minutes ahead of runner-up Emma Garrard of Park City, Utah.
Today’s race also doubled as the USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championship race. As such, the top American finishers Middaugh and Garrard were honored as the USAT Elite National Champions.
Here’s what some of the pros had to say about their day:
Braden Currie, who captured his third XTERRA of the year (following back-to-back wins at XTERRA New Zealand and XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in April).
- It’s a real mental game. I’d only ridden the course once so I knew Josiah had that advantage there and probably as well that he’s a lot stronger rider than I am, but I had that break out of the swim so he had to work really hard to catch up from the start (Josiah was 2:15 behind Braden out of the swim).
- I caught Craig Evans on the bike and I asked him when does Josiah normally catch you and he says not until the run, but then I looked back and Josiah was only five meters behind me so sure enough he shot past.
- (Out of the bike to run transition) I tried to go out at the start but Josiah hung on so I figured there was no point in killing myself so I set back
- Josiah is a really strong cyclist, so I knew he’d catch up somewhere. When he did I let him go passed and followed him around, then ran into a tree and had to catch back up again. We headed out on the run together. I sat behind him for the second lap and when he grabbed a drink at that last aid station I ran as fast as I could and it worked. Look forward to a season of racing him.
- Awesome day, great racing, really competitive. That course is fun, a mountain bikers ride, really cool.
Josiah Middaugh, runner-up at the last five championship races he’s done (Twice to Ruben Ruzafa at the USA and World Championships last year, to Rom Akerson at XTERRA Costa Rica in March, to Francisco Serrano at the West Championship last month, and to Currie today).
- I was trying to feel it out first lap a little bit and he went out really hard and I thought maybe he might be bluffing. On that first lap I figured out I was a little bit stronger on the climbs, and he was a little bit faster on the flats, so on the second lap I hit every climb as hard as I possibly could but I just couldn’t shake him. I’d open up a couple steps and he’d come right back. Congrats to Braden for running really tough, just really mentally tough. Coming down that last straight I was just trying to hang on to the rope. At the end of the second lap we hit the pavement and I grabbed some water – not to drink but to wake myself up – and he took off. I wasn’t giving up, though. I was pumping my arms, giving everything I had.
- We were both trying to soften each other up a little bit on the run. We would put in these half moves, tons of bursts, but not really full on, it was just to see if the other guy would fall off.
- I can’t remember a race this close before. I liked it. It was a little tactical. We attacked each other probably a dozen times on the run. I was attacking on the hills but there weren’t enough of those.
Chris Ganter (matches career-best 3rd place finish he also achieved at West Champs last month)
- Got out of the water around Josiah and Olly. Olly was a lot smoother on the terrain so I stayed with him. And there are only two places where you can really use your fitness, the jeep trail climb and Johnson's Mountain, and I used those two spots to move myself up in the race. Moved through everyone except Craig, Braden, and Josiah.
- I was two minutes down in transition, and really worried about Olly behind me. I ran hard, had the effort level at pegged. Caught Craig on the second lap on the bridge, gave him a pat and said let’s do this.
- I’m really pleased, my fitness was better today than in Vegas but couldn’t use it because it’s a skill course.
Fastest swim: Craig Evans, 19:39 / Sara McLarty, 20:09
Fastest bike: Josiah Middaugh, 1:21:20 / Lesley Paterson, 1:36:09
Fastest run: Braden Currie, 34:11 / Lesley Paterson, 38:32
- Karsten Madsen crashed at mile six, suffering a bad cut on knee and had all kinds of other nicks and scrapes, got back at it and pulled into second place before suffering through three flat tires. DNF’d.
- Craig Evans led early then stayed with Braden Currie and Josiah Middaugh on the back half of the bike. Entered T2 in third and held on for fourth. It’s the seventh time in eight years he’s been top four here, including two runner-ups, and three third-place finishes.
|1||Braden Currie||28||Wanaka, New Zealand||2:18:23||100|
|2||Josiah Middaugh||36||Eagle-Vail, Colorado||2:18:26||90|
|3||Chris Ganter||36||Boise, Idaho||2:24:32||82|
|4||Craig Evans||37||Hendersonville, Tennessee||2:25:49||75|
|5||Olly Shaw||23||Rotorua, New Zealand||2:27:14||69|
|6||Branden Rakita||34||Colorado Springs, Colorado||2:27:58||63|
|7||Alex Modestou||28||Durham, North Carolina||2:28:37||58|
|8||Ryan Ignatz||36||Boulder, Colorado||2:29:35||53|
|9||Brad Zoller||37||Avon, Colorado||2:31:40||49|
|10||Chris Foster||32||Redondo Beach, CA||2:41:50||45|
|Also: Will Ross (41)|
Lesley Paterson (winner of three straight this year at XTERRA Costa Rica, West Champs, now here. It’s the third time if four years she has won this race, and she missed last year due to injury).
- Just tried to stay smooth. I had a couple slips out on the bike early so once I took the lead I just wanted to keep the rubber side down.
- Swim is still tough with the shoulder (she fractured it pre-riding in Costa Rica) and I was a little sore bumping around on the bike, but it has been improving.
- Great to be back and winning races.
- This course is very rooty, twisty, turny … so I tried to recreate that training in San Diego before the race by practicing cornering and all that stuff. It’s a technically challenging course.
- I love the Southern hospitality here, the people are so sweet and the volunteers were great.
- It was a really tough day out there for the whole field so hope everyone gets through their injuries and tough times and comes out stronger.
Emma Garrard (Runner-up to Paterson for second time this year)
- I flew off on the first slick bridge, twisted my seat around. Hit a root wrong, twisted my handle bar, smashed my head, roughed up my shoulder. I crashed like four times today, all before Blood Rock. After that I was fine.
- Lesley will now switch focus to chasing her dream of making Great Britain’s Olympic mountain biking team. She’ll probably not race another XTERRA until Maui, aside perhaps from a European race.
- Suzie Snyder had a bad crash early on and suffered the whole day, audible in a ton of pain, but soldiered through to finish third.
- Catherine Sterling had a XTERRA career day, her first top four.
- Christine Jeffrey was brilliant in her first race of the year, riding in second until Emma and Suzie caught her late. She came with a bum ankle but still managed a solid fifth place finish.
- Maia Ignatz had one of her best days as a pro, finishing in sixth.
- Hannah Rae Finchamp had a tough day in her pro debut, crashing hard at the very beginning of the bike and eventually had to pull.
- Katie Button was riding strong, much like her Canadian counterpart Madsen in the men's race, but three flats took her out of contention.
|1||Lesley Paterson||34||San Diego, California (Scotland)||2:39:13||100|
|2||Emma Garrard||33||Park City, Utah||2:44:10||90|
|3||Suzie Snyder||33||Fredericksburg, Virginia||2:46:52||82|
|4||Catherine Sterling||38||Ayer, Massachussetts||2:49:17||75|
|5||Christine Jeffrey||42||Tucson, Arizona||2:50:51||69|
|6||Maia Ignatz||34||Boulder, Colorado||2:51:45||63|
|7||Sara Schuler||34||Boulder, Colorado||2:52:54||58|
|8||Kara LaPoint||27||Truckee, California||2:53:21||53|
|9||Jaime Brede||37||Breckenridge, Colorado||2:56:43||49|
|10||Sara McLarty||32||Clermont, Florida||3:01:14||45|
|Also: Amelia McCracken (41), Emily Bashton (37), Rebecca Blatt (34), Debby Sullivan (31)|
- There are a lot of really tough racers in XTERRA. The slick bridges and roots, and tough technical course led to a bunch of crashes and the walking wounded were everywhere after the race. Incredibly, it didn’t seem to damper spirits at all, more so served like a badge of honor. Big thanks to the guys at Pelham Fire for taking such good care of the athletes.
- XTERRA’s trail etiquette was on fine display today. There were countless numbers of courteous passes (on your left when you can, please, thank you, good jobs, etc…). Really great displays of sportsmanship all around Oak Mountain State Park today.
- Some good work was put in by Dr. Jay Cofield and his mass communication students from the University of Montevallo, who filmed and editing a highlight video at today's XTERRA Southeast Championship race at Oak Mountain State Park in Shelby County, Alabama that we could load to our Facebook page. Also a terrific job by XTERRA’s social media team of Briana Rickertsen for updating @xterraoffroad, and showing live coverage through periscope, and Allison Moore for posting pics and updates to Facebook.
- Special thanks to the 2015 XTERRA Southeast Championship sponsors Paul Mitchell, XTERRA Resorts and Shelby County Tourism. Also Outrigger Resorts, Muscle Milk, Gatorade Endurance, PowerBar, LifeProof, Optic Nerve, Greenlayer, XTERRA Coffee, XTERRA Wetsuits, XTERRA Fitness, XTERRA Boards, the Shelby County Reporter, and the Utah Sports Commission.
XTERRA U.S. PRO SERIES UPDATE
Having won the first two races Lesley Paterson is the only pro with a perfect score, but this was likely her last race of the Series and if that holds true Emma Garrard is in the best position with two runner-ups and 180 points. Suzie Snyder is not far behind with her two third-place showings. In the men’s chase Middaugh is the man right now with 180 points but with today’s win Currie made a bold statement and he is planning on doing the rest of the series. Pros count their best three scores in the first four, plus what they earn at Nationals on September 19 in Utah regardless of how they do.
Next up: The 17th annual XTERRA East Championship in Richmond, Virginia on June 14.
|XTERRA U.S. Pro Series Standings (After 2)|
|Pros count best 3-of-4 regionals, plus USA Champs|
|1||Josiah Middaugh, USA||90||90||180|
|2||Chris Ganter, USA||82||82||164|
|3||Craig Evans, USA||58||75||133|
|4||Branden Rakita, USA||69||63||132|
|5||Alex Modestou, USA||49||58||107|
|6||Brad Zoller, USA||53||49||102|
|7||Francisco Serrano, MEX||100||DNS||100|
|8||Braden Currie, NZL||DNS||100||100|
|9||Ryan Ignatz, USA||45||53||98|
|10||Ben Allen, AUS||75||DNS||75|
|11||Olly Shaw, NZL||DNS||69||69|
|12||Karsten Madsen, CAN||63||DNF||63|
|13||Chris Foster, USA||DNS||45||45|
|14||JP Donovan, USA||41||DNS||41|
|15||Will Ross, USA||DNS||41||41|
|16||James Hadley, GBR||37||DNS||37|
|17||Jimmy Archer, USA||34||DNS||34|
|18||Kyle Hughes, USA||31||DNS||31|
|1||Lesley Paterson, GBR||100||100||200|
|2||Emma Garrard, USA||90||90||180|
|3||Suzie Snyder, USA||82||82||164|
|4||Kara LaPoint, USA||63||53||116|
|5||Sara Schuler, USA||58||58||116|
|6||Maia Ignatz, USA||49||63||112|
|7||Sara McLarty, USA||41||45||86|
|8||Debby Sullivan, USA||45||31||76|
|9||Melanie McQuaid, CAN||75||DNS||75|
|10||Catherine Sterling, USA||DNS||75||75|
|11||Brittany Webster, CAN||69||DNS||69|
|12||Christine Jeffrey, CAN||DNS||69||69|
|13||Rebecca Blatt, USA||31||34||65|
|14||Katie Button, CAN||53||DNF||53|
|15||Jaime Brede, USA||DNS||49||49|
|16||Amelia McCracken, USA||DNS||41||41|
|17||Emily Bashton, USA||DNF||37||37|
|18||Lauren Thompson, USA||34||DNS||34|
THE AMATEUR RACE
More than 300 triathletes from 40 states and six countries took part in today’s event, which combined a one-mile swim with a 20-mile mountain bike and six-mile trail run.
Daryl Weaver, 42, from Lititz, Pennsylvania ran past 20-year-old Cole Bunn from Bettendorf, Iowa in the last 300-meters to win the overall men’s title in 2:35:27.
“Haven’t had that much fun on a bike course in a long, long time,” said Weaver, who was racing at Oak Mountain for the first time. “It was an awesome day. One of the best races I’ve ever had. I paced myself on the bike, paced myself on the run, and took it easy on the swim. I was just relaxed.”
Bunn, who was in the lead for 99% of the run and on his way to a big win said when Weaver caught him at the end “I was absolutely spent. I tried to stick with him but he really hammered it in that last 300 yards on the run.”
The future is bright for Bunn, a former amateur XTERRA National Champion in the 15-19 division, who just finished his freshman year racing triathlon at the University of Colorado.
In the women’s race 43-year-old Mimi Stockton from Stevensville, Michigan was four-minutes faster than 41-year-old Mary Rosser from Sterrett, Alabama with a winning time of 2:59:01.
“I spent a lot of time in the pain cave today,” said Stockton, a former XTERRA World Champion. “I was out all last season with a stress fracture so it feels good to be back racing and to win, even though I hit a tree and might’ve cracked a rib or something … but I’m okay ya know.”
In all, 21 amateur athletes representing 16 states captured USA Triathlon National Championship titles today. There were two local winners, David Meadows (45-49 division) and Lori Goldweber (50-54 division), both from Birmingham, Alabama.
There was a lot at stake today for amateurs. The top 15 finishers in each division qualified to race at XTERRA Nationals, Sept. 19 in Ogden, Utah. 50 amateurs punched their ticket to the XTERRA World Championship, and the top 18 finishers in each division qualified to represent Team USA at the 2016 International Triathlon Union Cross Triathlon World Championships, the date and location of which will be announced later this year. 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/teamusa for more on Team USA.
Here’s a look at the 2015 USA Triathlon Off-Road National Champions
|USAT NATIONAL CHAMPIONS (WOMEN)|
|20 - 24||Heather Wilson||Temecula, CA||3:42:33|
|25 - 29||Anna Frey||Atlanta, GA||3:56:16|
|30 - 34||Nicole Valentine||Germantown, MD||3:05:13|
|35 - 39||Melanie Etherton||Austin, TX||3:07:29|
|40 - 44||*Mimi Stockton||Stevensville, MI||2:59:01|
|45 - 49||Margo Pitts||Raleigh, NC||3:12:33|
|50 - 54||Lori Goldweber||Birmingham, AL||3:09:51|
|55 - 59||Stephanie Landy||Ballston Spa, NY||3:17:27|
|60 - 64||Susan Griffin-Kaklikian||Castle Rock, CO||3:36:53|
|65 - 69||Linda Usher||Upton, MA||4:38:30|
|70 - 74||Charlotte Mahan||Lenoir City, TN||5:28:39|
|PRO||Emma Garrard||Park City, UT||2:44:10|
|USAT NATIONAL CHAMPIONS (MEN)|
|15 - 19||Greg Schott||Chesterfield, VA||2:35:46|
|20 - 24||Cole Bunn||Bettendorf, IA||2:35:34|
|25 - 29||Justin McMurrer||Lehigh Acres, FL||2:41:07|
|30 - 34||James Haycraft||Charlotte, NC||2:36:52|
|35 - 39||AJ Petrillo||Blue Ridge, GA||2:38:35|
|40 - 44||*Daryl Weaver||Lititz, PA||2:35:27|
|45 - 49||David Meadows||Birmingham, AL||2:39:31|
|50 - 54||Ali Arasta||Asheboro, NC||2:51:08|
|55 - 59||Bruce Wilson||Temecula, CA||2:51:59|
|60 - 64||Doug Usher||Upton, MA||3:52:55|
|65 - 69||Alan Moore||Ada, MI||3:39:01|
|70 - 74||Ronald Scranton||Tijeras, NM||4:26:41|
|PRO||Josiah Middaugh||Eagle-Vail, CO||2:18:26|
2015 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
The XTERRA Southeast Championship was the 15th of 40 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world can qualify to race at the 20th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Nov. 1, 2015.