Middaugh, Snyder win XTERRA Costa Rica

By XTERRA
Apr. 9, 2017

Reigning XTERRA Pan America Pro Series champions Josiah Middaugh and Suzie Snyder captured the fourth-annual XTERRA Costa Rica Championship elite titles on a mercifully overcast morning at Playa Conchal in Guanacaste today.

It’s the first win in four tries for Middaugh, who had been the runner-up at this race the past three seasons.  “Hey, that’s better than 15 tries,” he laughed, referencing the 2015 XTERRA World Championship he won on his 15th attempt.

For Snyder, the win is her second in three weeks, the seventh in two years on the XTERRA Pan America Tour, and the ninth in her career.

“As I approached the finish and heard the announcer call my name as the winner I got goosebumps and broke out in a big smile,” said Snyder.  “I’m happy that I had a good clean race without any silly mistakes, got another good hard early season race effort in the books, and was able to take home the win!”

Complete Results

MIDDAUGH WINS 25TH MAJOR

All those hours in the outdoor pool at the Westin in the off-season, even as snow fell all around, paid big dividends for Middaugh today.  The XTERRA veteran, entering his 17th season of racing, picked up his 25th career victory on a steamy day on the beach in Costa Rica thanks in large part to a solid swim.

Branden Rakita and Ian King were first out of the water, followed by Jean-Philippe Thibodeau and Panamanian newcomer Billy Gordon, but Middaugh was just one-minute off the pace.

“My off-season training has gone really well and I felt good all day today, really strong,” said Middaugh, who chased down the lead on the bike within the first two miles and never looked back.  “I also added one more day to the front end of this trip, so was able to do the pre-ride three days before instead of two days before and I think that made a big difference.”

Middaugh posted the fastest bike split of the day in 1:08:34, nearly two-minutes quicker than Kris Coddens, and pulled further away on the run to take the tape in 2:06:51, four-minutes ahead of the Belgian star.

“It’s good to win,” said Middaugh.  “I realize Leo (Chacon) and Rom (Akerson) weren’t here today but I’ll look forward to seeing those guys later this season.  And it’s been an amazing trip here with my wife Ingrid and 6yo daughter Larsen.  We’ve done some fun things, lot of pool time, beach time, some nature preserve exploring, and ziplining too.”

Coddens, who finished third on the XTERRA European Tour last season and 4th at XTERRA South Africa to start this year, overcame an early set-back coming out of the swim-to-bike transition to work his way into second where he finished comfortably.

“I had a good swim, exiting the water right behind Josiah, but made a mistake by coming out of transition on the beach,” said Coddens. “Someone fell in front of me and then I fell so lost the connection with Josiah, but he was stronger than me on the bike.”

Like Middaugh, Coddens was able to pass the faster swimmers relatively early on, and then settle into a good rhythm.

“I really enjoyed the course, especially the beginning and end that went up and down,” he said.  “The end of the bike is twisting and turning and the middle section featured flat wide roads which suited me well.  I had another mistake coming into transition by going on the wrong side of the cones, but it didn’t make a difference because Josiah was about 1:30 in front and the others more than 2-minutes back. And luckily the run is in the woods and the shade because it was balancing effort out there between speed and heat. The run course was flat too which is good for me, but catching Josiah was impossible. He took some more time on me on the run, but I finished happily in second.”

Coddens, who is a teacher by trade and has two little ones of his own, brought his wife along for the trip and said “It’s been a very nice experience.  We’ve been married 10 years now, and this race fell perfectly on school holiday. Now it’s time to enjoy Costa Rica for a few more days before going home again.”

Thibodeau finished five minutes behind Coddens in third, and took the lead in the Pan Am Tour standings as a result.  Rakita, who was also taking part in his third race in as many weeks, finished fourth and moved into the second spot in the standings.  Ryan Ignatz rounded out the top five.

Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Josiah Middaugh, USA 2:06:51 75
2 Kris Coddens, BEL 2:10:51 67
3 Jean Philippe-Thibodeau, CAN 2:15:30 61
4 Branden Rakita, USA 2:17:29 56
5 Ryan Ignatz, USA 2:18:31 51
6 Ian King, USA 2:19:44 47
7 Greg Schott, USA 2:24:01 43
8 Federico Venegas, CRC 2:24:08 39
9 Guiherme Goncalves, BRA 2:27:30 36
10 Billy Gordon, PAN 2:29:36 33
11 Micheal Nunez, USA 2:31:33 30
12 Andres Zuniga, CRC 2:31:38 27

SNYDER FROM WIRE-TO-WIRE

In the women’s race, it was all Suzie Snyder all day long, from the swim to the sand shuffle to the finish line.

“I think the weather gods were on our side today, it was overcast for most of the race which was a huge relief because the course was challenging enough,” exclaimed Snyder.  “The bike course has some steep climbs and soft dirt that can really zap your legs, unless maybe I just had tired legs from the past couple weeks?  My legs felt cooked when I began the run, so thankfully there was just one good hill right at the start, and I knew I had a 3.5-minute lead so I felt that if I focused on maintaining a smooth tempo and high cadence to regulate my effort and temperature until my legs loosened up, I should be safe. The temps were increasing but the legs started to come around on the forested single track loops so I tried to push it a little more there before hitting the soft deep sand over the last mile which I knew would be slow and tough to run hard through.”

Maia Ignatz, last year’s runner-up on the Pan Am Tour, was putting on a hard charge behind Snyder and had passed Kara LaPoint to move into the second spot and was closing in on the lead before taking a wrong turn.

“Well, today was bittersweet,” said Ignatz.  “I had an amazing day, but I missed the second small loop on the run and ended up disqualified. It would have been close, I think, and its a tough lesson learned, massively disappointing and heartbreaking. I will do better next time. Onward and upward.”

As a result of the miscue by Ignatz, Kara LaPoint, who was on her third race in as many weeks just like Snyder, finished 2nd here in Costa Rica for the second year in a row.

“I had a solid race today, and am really happy with my performance,” she said.  “Coming in my legs were a little bit tired from having raced the past two weekends, and all the travel along with that, but I ended up feeling pretty strong out there. I had a great swim, stuck with Laura, who has my "favorite feet" to hang on to (she is ALWAYS strong on the swim and always nails the sighting!), so I was really happy with that start. She, Maia and I all started the ride together. I was able to pull away fairly early and get a small gap. I never really looked back, but I had a good feeling Maia was hanging on not too far behind, as she is always a fighter and I could tell she was strong today. I really tried to keep my foot on the gas, which can be tough on this course when you're riding alone. Came in to T2 in a solid second position, just a few minutes out of the lead, and was feeling good and ready to run! Maia came into transition as I was heading out, so I knew I had to be quick, as she's so amazing on the run! I put it all out there and maintained 2nd for the first couple miles before she came flying by, looking super strong. I was absolutely gutted for her when I found out what had happened at the finish, and it definitely made my result much less sweet. For the rest of the run I just tried to stay relaxed and efficient. I knew I had a decent gap behind me, but you can never let up too much, as you never know what can happen out there! It was a hot run, but not nearly as bad as last year for me, where I really suffered, and I was super happy to finish strong and still feeling good.  I am especially happy to have continued to improve my performances over each of the last three weekends, and feel that I'm steadily inching my way closer to the front, which is exciting! It's been an amazing experience here in Costa Rica, and throughout my whole travels these last three weeks. Wouldn't trade it for anything!”

Annie Bergen from Canada finished in the third spot, Laura Mira Dias from Brazil finished fourth for the third time in four years at this race, and Liz Gruber rounded out the top five.

Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Suzie Snyder, USA 2:41:44 75
2 Kara LaPoint, USA 2:42:31 67
3 Annie Bergen, CAN 2:50:57 61
4 Laura Mira Dias, BRA 2:51:52 56
5 Liz Gruber, USA 2:53:43 51
6 Caroline Colonna, USA 2:56:55 47

All-Time XTERRA Costa Rica Champions

2014 – Leonardo Chacon/Shonny Vanlandingham

2015 – Rom Akerson/Lesley Paterson

2016 – Karl Shaw/Myriam Guillot-Boisset

2017 – Josiah Middaugh/Suzie Snyder

THIBODEAU, SNYDER LEAD PAN AM TOUR           

Canadian Jean-Philippe Thibodeau and American Suzie Snyder hold the top spots in the 2017 XTERRA Pan Am Pro Series following the first three races in South and Central America.  Every race counts in the Pan Am Tour, and you can read more on how the series works for elites here.

Next up: XTERRA Brazil, May 14 in Ilhabela.

Learn more about the XTERRA Pan Am Tour here.

2017 XTERRA PAN AM TOUR ELITE STANDINGS - AFTER 3

Elite Men

S S S
PL NAME, NAT TOT ARG CHI CRC
1 Jean-Philippe Thibodeau, CAN 178 61 56 61
2 Branden Rakita, USA 159 56 47 56
3 Gonzalo Tellechea, ARG 142 75 67 DNS
4 Maximiliano Morales, ARG 118 67 51 DNS
5 León Drajer, ESP 94 51 43 DNS
6 Julien Buffe, FRA 82 43 39 DNS
7 Felipe Barraza, CHI 75 DNS 75 DNS
8 Josiah Middaugh, USA 75 DNS DNS 75
9 Ian King, USA 74 DNS 27 47
10 Kris Coddens, BEL 67 DNS DNS 67
11 Felipe Moletta, BRA 61 DNS 61 DNS
12 Ryan Ignatz, USA 51 DNS DNS 51
13 Andres Darricau, ARG 47 47 DNS DNS
14 Greg Schott, USA 43 DNS DNS 43
15 Federico Venegas, CRC 39 DNS DNS 39
16 Diego Moya, CHI 36 DNS 36 DNS
17 Guiherme Goncalves, BRA 36 DNS DNS 36
18 Gaspar Riveros, CHI 33 DNS 33 DNS
19 Billy Gordon, PAN 33 DNS DNS 33
20 Benjamin Munizaga, CHI 30 DNS 30 DNS
21 Micheal Nunez, USA 30 DNS DNS 30
22 Andres Zuniga, CRC 27 DNS DNS 27

Elite Women

S S S
PL NAME, NAT TOT ARG CHI CRC
1 Suzie Snyder, USA 217 75 67 75
2 Kara LaPoint, USA 184 61 56 67
3 Laura Mira Diaz, BRA 154 51 47 56
4 Morgane Riou, FRA 128 67 61 DNS
5 Sabrina Gobbo, BRA 107 56 51 DNS
6 Barbara Riveros, CHI 75 DNS 75 DNS
7 Annie Bergen, CAN 61 DNS DNS 61
8 Liz Gruber, USA 51 DNS DNS 51
9 Caroline Colonna, USA 47 DNS DNS 47
2017 XTERRA World Championship Qualifying Series Schedule
XTERRA Costa Rica was the ninth of 41 events where amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 22nd annual XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 29.
Date
Race
Elite Winners or Location
Feb 25
Richard Murray / Flora Duffy
Mar 4
Dougal Allan / Josie Wilcox
Mar 18
XTERRA Saipan + Silver
Sam Osborne / Carina Wasle
Mar 25
Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder
Apr 1
Kieran McPherson / Renata Bucher
Apr 1
XTERRA Chile # Silver
Felipe Barraza / Barbara Riveros
Apr 2
XTERRA Malta * Silver
Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor
Apr 8
Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen
Apr 9
Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder
Apr 16
La Reunion Island
Apr 23
XTERRA Cyprus * Silver
Lara Beach/Akamas, Paphos
Apr 23
Danao, Cebu, Philippines
Apr 29
Langkawi, Malaysia
Apr 30
XTERRA Greece * Silver
Vouliagmeni
May 6
Moorea
May 14
XTERRA Spain * Silver
Taragonna
May 14
XTERRA Brazil # Silver
Ilha Bella, Sao Paolo
May 20
Pelham, AL, USA
May 27
Golega
Jun 10
Namur
Jun 17
Milton, Ontario, Canada
Jun 18
Imatra
Jun 24
Vallee de Joux
Jul 2
Xonrupt
Jul 9
Victoria, B.C., Canada
Jul 15
Beaver Creek, CO, USA
Jul 30
Scanno, Abruzzo, Italy
Aug 5
Tapalpa
Aug 5
XTERRA Norway * Silver
Norefjell
Aug 6
Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Aug 12
Quebec City, Canada
Aug 12
Ontario, Canada
Aug 13
Barahona
Aug 13
XTERRA Poland * Silver
Krakow
Aug 19
Zittau
Aug 26
XTERRA Sweden * Silver
Hammarbybacken, Stockholm
Aug 26
Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
Sep 2
XTERRA Japan + Silver
Hokkaido
Sep 3
Mons Klint
Sep 16
Ogden, Utah, USA
Oct 29
Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
* XTERRA European Tour / # XTERRA Pan American Tour / + Asia-Pacific Tour
Silver = Min. $7,500 pro purse & 75-point scale // GOLD = Min $15,000 pro purse & 100-point scale
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