Middaugh, Snyder win XTERRA Oak Mountain

May. 21, 2016

Photos / Complete Results

Pelham, AL - Josiah Middaugh and Suzie Snyder took home the elite titles at the XTERRA Oak Mountain off-road triathlon in Shelby County, Alabama this morning.

The fourth of 10 stops on the 2016 XTERRA Pan America Tour had all the right ingredients … calm, clean, warm water to swim in, perfect racing weather, superb trail conditions, and great competition in both the amateur and elite fields.

Middaugh, the reigning XTERRA World Champion from Colorado, came out of the 1.5-kilometer swim in eighth position nearly three minutes behind Mauricio Mendez, the 20-year-old phenom from Mexico.

Once on the bike he quickly worked his way into the fourth spot, then passed Branden Rakita and Karsten Madsen about two-thirds of the way up the big climb, but didn’t reel in Mendez until a few miles before the bike-to-run transition.

“Really good racing,” said Middaugh at the awards ceremony flanked by Mendez who finished 2nd, Madsen who was 3rd, Rakita in 4th, and Kieran McPherson in 5th.  “All these guys up here, I came out of the water behind all of them.  And as I went by them on the bike I kept asking them ‘Where is Mauricio’ and they couldn’t tell me anything, just that they hadn’t seen him.  I was working harder and harder the whole day, and finally caught him towards the end of the bike and it was just a battle on the run to stay a few steps ahead of him.”

Mendez even put up the fastest run split, but Middaugh held on for the win in 2:19:17, 11-seconds in front of him.  For Mendez, who was fourth at XTERRA Worlds last year, the result proved his bike handling skills have improved dramatically.

“I know my weakest point is the bike and I’ve been working on it, and happy to see it improve,” said Mendez. “This bike course, I have so much respect for it.  Two years ago here everybody was catching me, so today I pushed as hard as I could.  When I saw Josiah coming behind me I lost my focus just for a few seconds and crashed into a tree.”

Middaugh took advantage and gave himself a little cushion going into the run.

“I knew I was close to Josiah and on the second lap I saw him in front of me, but he knows how to race.  It’s amazing to race him,” said Mendez.

“It feels good when it’s a battle like that, it feels rewarding” said Middaugh, who won XTERRA Tahiti last weekend.

Behind those two Madsen and Rakita kept pushing each other on the bike.

“Things went really well today,” said Madsen, who had a bad crash last year that sent him to the hospital.   “That was the lowest low-point for me, laying on a med tent, so my main goal was to dial it back a little and ride clean today.  It worked out, it was a complete race for me and I’m really happy.”

Rakita was also pleased with his day, saying “It was good. Felt like I rode well all the way through so happy with that.  On this course you really have to push the last four miles.  Karsten and I were really close and that helped us keep pushing.  I was happy with the swim, disappointed we couldn’t hold on to Mauricio’s feet, but he’s just got so much talent.  I thought we might reel him in on the bike but his bike handling skills have really improved. He works hard.  Then I ran as hard as I could, because I still had Chris and Cody behind me, so I was running scared.”

Kiwi Kieran McPherson had a solid day all the way around to take the 5th spot, just 14-seconds behind Rakita. He also won an XTERRA Wetsuit by chugging a bottle of Gatorade faster than a few dozen others in the post-race shenanigans.

Chris Ganter wasn’t too far off in sixth and Cody Waite returned to the XTERRA Tribe in fine fashion by finishing in the money in 7th.

Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Josiah Middaugh, USA 2:19:17 100
2 Mauricio Mendez, MEX 2:19:28 90
3 Karsten Madsen, CAN 2:23:49 82
4 Branden Rakita, USA 2:25:20 75
5 Kieran McPherson, NZL 2:25:34 69
6 Chris Ganter, USA 2:26:34 63
7 Cody Waite, USA 2:32:18 58
8 Ian King, USA 2:35:34 53
9 Thomas Spannring, USA 2:36:56 49
10 Michael Nunez, USA 2:42:19 45

Suzie Snyder


Last year Suzie Snyder was in the midst of her best season as a pro, fresh off wins at XTERRA New Zealand and the XTERRA East Championship and the odds-on favorite to win XTERRA Mexico.  Then she fractured her pelvis pre-riding and has been recovering ever since.

“It’s good to be back,” she said.  “My first race back since July. It was a hard reminder on how hard this sport is but I couldn’t be happier to be back here racing again.”

Snyder had an incredible swim that was three minutes faster than the second-best woman, posted the fastest bike split, and had the third-best run to take the tape in 2:43:57, more than four-minutes ahead of runner-up Maia Ignatz.

“Hardest I’ve pushed myself since Beaver Creek last year, so it hurt really bad,” said Snyder.  “I had a good swim.  I’ve been swimming with Matt Balzer, and in a master’s class so my swim is improving and I needed that today.  On the run I was afraid I went too hard.  I went out too fast because I knew there were fast girls behind me and I didn’t want it to come down to a battle.  I was trying to get out of sight.”

For Maia Ignatz her second-place finish was a career-best.

“I’m so happy.  Thrilled with how things went today.  I was able to stay upright, I rode well, I ran well, but I can’t say I swam well,” smiled Ignatz, who came out of the water in 4th but more than three minutes behind Snyder.

Kara LaPoint was third out of the water, passed Maggie Rusch early on the bike to move into 2nd and held that spot until but Ignatz caught her early on the run.

“I couldn’t hang on to Maia, she is such a good runner,” said LaPoint.  “My goal was top three, and the race shaked out pretty similar to what I thought would happen. I’m happy with it.”

Debby Sullivan had a strong race all the way around to finish in fourth and XTERRA Brazil Champion Sabrina Gobbo rounded out the top five.

Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Suzie Snyder, USA 2:43:57 100
2 Maia Ignatz, USA 2:48:12 90
3 Kara LaPoint, USA 2:51:25 82
4 Debby Sullivan, USA 3:00:31 75
5 Sabrina Gobbo, BRA 3:04:35 69
6 Caroline Colonna, USA 3:08:37 63
7 Sarah Gravves, USA 3:10:18 58
8 Rebecca Blatt, USA 3:15:14 53
9 Maggie Rusch, USA 3:28:05 49


Josiah Middaugh: "I’ve been coming out to Alabama for a long time.  I love the park here, amazing trails, but it’s always a challenge.  I’ve got a little bit of a love-hate relationship with this course.   Broke my kneecap here one year, had to have surgery.  Had a lot of ups and downs, kind of a roller coaster ride, and it’s always a challenge. Good to see all the XTERRA Warriors out here really pushing it on that bike course.  It’s definitely a mountain bikers course."

"People from team sports, running, biking or swimming, you just have to give it a try.  It’s a whole lot of fun, and there is a lot of camaraderie out here."

Suzie Snyder: "This is one of the best races in the world.  I love this course. I think Oak Mountain does such a great job, such a beautiful venue."

"The run course was tough.  My run fitness isn’t great so I was running scared.  It took a toll on me."

"Crash knocked me out for eight months.  I’m rebuilding.  I’m finally at a point where I can train pretty strong. Couldn’t run until March.  That’s been a huge challenge.  I was trying to take it slow and focus on the swim and bike, and the run is what it is."

"It’s scary to be chased.  A giant target on your back and you don’t know where anyone is at.  When you’re out there all alone you just have to go like hell."

"It was a beautiful day.  Humidity was low, sun is out, little clouds, perfect temps, didn’t overheat, it was a great day and I’m super happy."


With two wins in Argentina and Alabama and a runner-up finish in Costa Rica Josiah Middaugh has a big lead after the first four races on the XTERRA Pan America Pro Series, and his next race will be in his back yard in Beaver Creek, Colorado in July.

In the women's chase Brazilan Sabrina Gobbo has the points lead as the only elite women to have raced in three events.  Racers count their best four scores plus what they earn at the XTERRA Pan American Championship race September 17 in Utah.

Learn more about the XTERRA Pan Am Tour at http://www.xterraplanet.com/xterra-pan-am-tour/

Here's a look at the elite standings after four:

After 4 - 5.21.16          
Men     S G S G
1 Josiah Middaugh, USA 267 67 100 DNS 100
2 Karsten Madsen, CAN 172 DNS 90 DNS 82
3 Ian King, USA 106 DNS 53 DNS 53
4 Mauricio Mendez, MEX 90 DNS DNS DNS 90
5 Jonatan Morales, ARG 82 DNS 82 DNS DNS
6 Karl Shaw, GBR 75 75 DNS DNS DNS
7 Oscar Galindez, ARG 75 DNS 75 DNS DNS
8 Albert Soley, ESP 75 DNS DNS 75 DNS
9 Branden Rakita, USA 75 DNS DNS DNS 75
10 Lucas Mendez, ARG 69 DNS 69 DNS DNS
11 Kieran McPherson, NZL 69 DNS DNS DNS 69
12 Felipe Moletta, BRA 67 DNS DNS 67 DNS
13 Mario De Elias, ARG 63 DNS 63 DNS DNS
14 Chris Ganter, USA 63 DNS DNS DNS 63
15 Rom Akerson, CRC 61 61 DNS DNS DNS
16 Diogo Malagon, BRA 61 DNS DNS 61 DNS
17 Facu Medard, ARG 58 DNS 58 DNS DNS
18 Cody Waite, USA 58 DNS DNS DNS 58
19 Francois Carloni, FRA 56 56 DNS DNS DNS
20 Bruno Silva, BRA 56 DNS DNS 56 DNS
21 Federico Venegas, CRC 51 51 DNS DNS DNS
22 Frederico Zacharias, BRA 51 DNS DNS 51 DNS
23 Mauro Ayesa, USA 49 DNS 49 DNS DNS
24 Thomas Spannring, USA 49 DNS DNS DNS 49
25 Greg Schott, USA 47 47 DNS DNS DNF
26 Raul Furtado, BRA 47 DNS DNS 47 DNS
27 Victor Arenas, ARG 45 DNS 45 DNS DNS
28 Michael Nunez, USA 45 DNS DNS DNS 45
29 Henrique Lugarini, BRA 43 DNS DNS 43 DNS
30 Parada Penagos, ARG 41 DNS 41 DNS DNS
31 Eduardo Marcolino, BRA 39 DNS DNS 39 DNS
32 Rodrigo Altafini, BRA 36 DNS DNS 36 DNS
33 Stenio Bezerra, BRA 33 DNS DNS 33 DNS
34 Rogério Paula, BRA 30 DNS DNS 30 DNS
35 Ramon Bustos, BRA 27 DNS DNS 27 DNS
36 Cristiam Suzin, BRA 25 DNS DNS 25 DNS
37 Juscelino Vasco, BRA 23 DNS DNS 23 DNS
38 Wellington Conceição, BRA 21 DNS DNS 21 DNS
Women   S G S G
1 Sabrina Gobbo, BRA 205 61 DNS 75 69
2 Miriam Guillot-Boisset, FRA 175 75 100 DNS DNS
3 Kara Lapoint, USA 149 67 DNS DNS 82
4 Laura Mira Dias, BRA 149 DNS 82 67 DNS
5 Caroline Colonna, USA 114 51 DNS DNS 63
6 Suzie Snyder, USA 100 DNS DNS DNS 100
7 Rebecca Blatt, USA 100 47 DNS DNS 53
8 Fabiola Corona, MEX 90 DNS 90 DNS DNS
9 Maia Ignatz, USA 90 DNS DNS DNS 90
10 Erika Simon, ARG 75 DNS 75 DNS DNS
11 Debby Sullivan, USA 75 DNS DNS DNS 75
12 Isabella Ribeiro 61 DNS DNS 61 DNS
13 Sarah Gravves, USA 58 DNS DNS DNS 58
14 Caitlin Snow, USA 56 56 DNS DNS DNS
15 Luisa Saft 56 DNS DNS 56 DNS
16 Vanessa Cabrini 51 DNS DNS 51 DNS
17 Maggie Rusch, USA 49 DNS DNS DNS 49
18 Fernanda Prieto 47 DNS DNS 47 DNS
19 Brisa Melcop 43 DNS DNS 43 DNS
20 Beatriz Granziera 39 DNS DNS 39 DNS
21 Melania Giraldi 36 DNS DNS 36 DNS
22 Monalisa Vieira 33 DNS DNS 33 DNS


The amateur racing was at an all-time best with one of the toughest fields ever assembled at Oak Mountain State Park.

For the second time in three years Daniel Molnar from North Dakota (via Hungary) won the overall men's title while Hallie Blunck - a former road tri pro from right here in Birmingham, Alabama - took top honors in the women's field in her first-ever off-road tri.

Every age group was hotly contested, and of note, Anthony Snoble out-lasted Daryl Weaver in a sprint to the finish to win the 40-44 division by one-second.  It's the first age-group loss in Weaver's award-winning career, ending a streak of roughly 30 straight age group wins.

There was also feel-good moments to be had all day long.  David DeSantis finished his 5th race of the year in his 16 for 16 campaign and with the help of the Paul Mitchell Cut-a-thon raised a ton of money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.  Charlotte Mahan, at the age of 71, was giving pep-talks to the nine-year-olds racing the Xticer, and Nat Grew from Costa Rica and Rodger Bivens from Arizona are still going strong well into their 70's.  Between the perfect weather, great course, and good people today was certainly one of the most memorable XTERRA races in the eleven years the sport has raced at Oak Mountain.

Here’s a look at all of today's age group champions:

Division Name Hometown Time
15 - 19 Heather Horton Draper, UT 3:17:51
25 - 29 Stephanie Brunnemann Salt Lake City, UT 3:28:28
30 - 34 Hallie Blunck Birmingham, AL 2:54:50
35 - 39 Courtney Kaup Hinesburg, VT 3:03:08
40 - 44 Kelli Montgomery Wallingford, CT 2:58:40
45 - 49 Christy Fritts Carlsbad, CA 3:13:53
50 - 54 Margo Pitts Raleigh, NC 3:13:51
55 - 59 Tamara Tabeek Ramona, CA 3:14:33
65 - 69 Linda Usher West Upton, MA 4:51:52
PC Beth Price Spanish Fort, AL 4:53:53
Division Name Hometown Time
15 - 19 Austin Harper Vestavia Hills, AL 3:41:06
20 - 24 Caleb Baity Boonville, NC 2:56:44
25 - 29 Kris Ochs Vail, CO 2:43:32
30 - 34 Daniel Molnar Bismark, ND 2:31:25
35 - 39 AJ Petrillo Blue Ridge, GA 2:39:45
40 - 44 Anthony Snoble East Islip, NY 2:41:15
45 - 49 Marcus Barton Waxhaw, NC 2:42:48
50 - 54 Ali Arasta Asheboro, NC 2:48:38
55 - 59 Jean-Paul Martin Oakton, VA 2:54:16
60 - 64 Steve Cole Alpharetta, GA 3:15:05
65 - 69 Michael Orendorff Pueblo, CO 3:18:39
70 - 74 Rodger Bivens Tucson, AZ 5:33:38
Clydesdale Thorsten Oelschlaeger Northport, AL 3:58:18

Special Thanks to our Sponsors

XTERRA Oak Mountain is presented by Paul Mitchell, Shelby County Tourism, and XTERRA Travel.  Sponsors include Outrigger Resorts, Muscle Milk, Gatorade Endurance, PowerBar, Optic Nerve Sunglasses, Greenlayer, Oak Mountain State Park, Blue Cross/Blue Shield-Alabama, XTERRA Wetsuits, XTERRA Fitness, XTERRA Boards, Compex, the Shelby County Reporter, and the Utah Sports Commission.  Click here for special offers from our partners.


XTERRA Oak Mountain Championship was the 15th of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 21st annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Oct 23.

7-Feb XTERRA Philippines Brad Weiss/Lizzie Orchard
21-Feb XTERRA South Africa Brad Weiss/Flora Duffy
5-Mar XTERRA Motatapu Olly Shaw/Mary Gray
12-Mar XTERRA Saipan Brodie Gardner/Carina Wasle
20-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica Karl Shaw/Myriam Guillot-Boisset
26-Mar XTERRA Argentina Josiah Middaugh/Myriam Guillot
3-Apr XTERRA Malta Roger Serrano/Brigitta Poor
16-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Braden Currie/Lizzie Orchard
17-Apr XTERRA La Reunion Ruben Ruzafa/Carina Wasle
23-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Braden Currie/Lizzie Orchard
7-May XTERRA Malaysia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Championship Ben Allen/Jacqui Slack
7-May XTERRA Brazil Albert Soley/Sabrina Gobbo
7-May XTERRA Greece Roger Serrano/Helena Erbenova
14-May XTERRA Tahiti Josiah Middaugh/Lesley Paterson
21-May XTERRA Oak Mountain State Park Josiah Middaugh/Suzie Snyder
21-May XTERRA Portugal Golega
11-Jun XTERRA Belgium Namur
25-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Vallee de Joux
25-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter Milton, Ontario, Canada
3-Jul XTERRA France Xonrupt
10-Jul XTERRA Victoria Victoria, B.C., Canada
16-Jul XTERRA Beaver Creek Beaver Creek, CO, USA
23-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound Ontario, Canada
31-Jul XTERRA Italy Lago Di Scanno
31-Jul XTERRA Dominican Republic Barahona
6-Aug XTERRA Mexico Tapalpa
7-Aug XTERRA Poland Krakow
13-Aug XTERRA Sweden Hellsgaarten, Stockholm
14-Aug XTERRA Canmore Canmore, Alberta, Canada
20-Aug XTERRA Germany – XTERRA European Championship Zittau
27-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
27-Aug XTERRA Korea Daeahn Reservoir, Wonju City
3-Sep  XTERRA Japan Hokkaido
4-Sep XTERRA Denmark Mons Klint
4-Sep XTERRA Quebec Quebec City, Quebec
11-Sep XTERRA Woolastook New Brunswick, Canada
17-Sep XTERRA USA / Pan Am Championship Ogden, Utah, USA
23-Oct XTERRA World Championship Kapalua, Maui
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