(Tapalpa, Jalisco) - America’s best off-roader Josiah Middaugh of Eagle-Vail, Colorado and Fabiola Corona, an Olympian from Mexico, captured the eighth running of the XTERRA Mexico Championship on a rainy, muddy day in Tapalpa, Jalisco on Saturday.
It’s Middaugh’s third XTERRA major win in as many tries since winning the East Championship in June, and all came against World Championship contenders. For Corona it’s her third straight win in Tapalpa and fourth Mexico title in six years.
In the men’s race super swimmer Irving Perez blitzed the field out of the water with a 16:30 split that was one-minute faster than Mauricio Mendez, two-minutes faster than Olympian Francisco Serrano, and a full three minutes better than ultimate winner Josiah Middaugh.
In XTERRA, however, what you do on the bike and run is a lot more important and that is where Middaugh took over. His 1:16:41 bike split was the best of the day, and nearly three minutes faster than Serrano, the runner-up.
“I knew I couldn't take anyone for granted and I would really need a smokin' bike to be able to pull it off,” said Middaugh, who’s been in the top 4 at XTERRA Worlds in each of the last four years and was 2nd twice (last year to Ruben Ruzafa and in 2012 to Javier Gomez).
Serrano, who upset Middaugh to win the XTERRA West Championship in April, is from Monterrey, Mexico – a sea-level town that’s hot and humid, quite the contrast to Tapalpa, a mountain town that sits above 6,000-feet. The altitude played more to Middaugh’s strength’s than Serrano’s.
“Josiah passed me right at the bottom of the main climb,” explained Serrano. “I kept up about half way then he took off, but I was able to extend my gap to the rest of the field. I tried to come close to Josiah on the run but altitude sucks for me. Still, against this field, I’m really happy with this result.”
Middaugh said, “The course was very muddy, and had two challenging climbs on the mountain bike with the last one lasting about 6km and parts at 22% grade. I caught Perez, Rom, and Paco going into the long final climb and Paco hung on for a while and then I was able to break away and I just kept pushing hard. As hard as the climbs were, I think I actually put more time on the flatter sections that had hard pedaling through bumpy grassy cow pastures with lots of puddles and mud bogs. The run was long and also had some stream crossings and also very muddy. Everyone was pretty spent by the run but Mauricio had a superb run to break Perez and catch Rom.”
Mendez, who was 5th at XTERRA Worlds, had the best run of the day before to work his way into third at the finish line. Rom Akerson, who upset Middaugh to win the XTERRA Costa Rica Championship in March, placed fourth and last year's winner Irving Perez placed 5th.
|1||Josiah Middaugh, USA||2:18:55|
|2||Francisco Serrano, MEX||2:19:52|
|3||Mauricio Mendez, MEX||2:21:33|
|4||Rom Akerson, CRC||2:23:07|
|5||Irving Perez, MEX||2:24:40|
|6||Branden Rakita, USA||2:29:15|
|7||Esteban Rosas, MEX||2:39:06|
|8||Juan Gayton, MEX||2:41:01|
|9||Eduardo Padilla, MEX||2:43:13|
|10||Gustavo Penagos, MEX||2:47:37|
|Also: Manuel Arenas|
In the women’s race the highly anticipated showdown between Corona and American great Suzie Snyder never happened as Snyder crashed pre-riding on Thursday, landed hard on her hip, and was too injured to compete on Saturday.
“She was still out there cheering the loudest for me while on crutches with a fractured pelvis. Tough chica,” said Middaugh.
Snyder’s injury left Corona to do her thing, in front of an adoring local crowd.
“I swam with Maria Barrera, but in the last buoy I passed her and took the lead,” said Corona. “The Bike course was muddy but rideable and I began the run with six-minutes of advantage. With my family and friends, and my father’s town, I can’t ask for more. I am very happy to win in my country!”
Barrera took second, Dunia Gomez third, and Laura Mira Diaz of Brazil held off Ana Guerrero by 18-seconds to take fourth.
|1||Fabiola Corona, MEX||2:59:39|
|2||Maria Barrera, MEX||3:09:12|
|3||Dunia Gomez, MEX||3:10:09|
|4||Laura Mira Diaz, BRA||3:18:13|
|5||Ana Guerrero, MEX||3:18:31|
Right about now XTERRA Warriors from near-and-far are enjoying the awards ceremony, fireworks, and post-race party in the town square of Tapalpa with literally thousands of locals and the best food, drink, and vibes you could imagine. Tapalpa has been designated a “magic town” for having such rich history and beauty.
ALL-TIME XTERRA MEXICO CHAMPIONS
2015 (Tapalpa) Josiah Middaugh, Fabiola Corona
2014 (Tapalpa) Irving Perez, Fabiola Corona
2013 (Tapalpa) Leonardo Chacon, Fabiola Corona
2012 (Tapalpa) Francisco Serrano, Renata Bucher
2011 (Tapalpa) Seth Wealing, Shonny Vanlandingham
2010 (Valle de Bravo) Seth Wealing, Fabiola Corona
2009 (Valle de Bravo) Seth Wealing, Shonny Vanlandingham
2006 (Puerto Vallarta) Francisco Serrano, Jamie Whitmore
Next up: August 15 - XTERRA Germany Championship, Zittau*
2015 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
The XTERRA Mexico Championship was the 29th of 40 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world qualify for the 20th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Nov. 1.
* European Tour / + Asian Tour / # America Tour / ! Canada Series / = Hawaii qualifiers