Josiah Middaugh and Fabiola Corona captured the third annual XTERRA Dominican Republic off-road triathlon elite titles on a beautiful day in Samana on Sunday, June 3, 2018.
It’s the second win on the XTERRA Pan Am Tour this season for both Middaugh and Corona.
In the men’s race, as has become custom, Middaugh exited the water more than one-minute behind the leaders, posted the fastest bike split to pass everyone but Rom Akerson heading into the bike-to-run transition, then unleashed “beast mode” on the run to take the tape in 2:18:35, more than three-minutes ahead of Akerson.
“Yes, I had a pleasant swim by myself in the turquoise clear waters of Coson Bay,” joked Middaugh, the reigning and two-time XTERRA Pan Am Tour Champion who has won 31 career XTERRA World Tour races despite trailing after the swim. “The relatively flat course profiles on the bike and run certainly did not suit my strengths, but with the heat and humidity and soft sand, it became a strength race eventually.”
Early on it was Karsten Madsen, Akerson, Branden Rakita, and Kieran McPherson leading the way in the water and pushing the pace together on the bike. It wasn’t long, however, before things started to fall apart for the lead pack.
“With a fast and flat bike we all knew it would be advantageous to work together to keep or extend the gap on Josiah,” explained Rakita.
“But it didn’t quite work out that way. I had a small slip on a corner that dislodged me from the group and even with a quick recovery I couldn’t catch the three guys hammering ahead. Then I suffered a flat tire, and as I stopped to fix it I noticed Kieran messing with his bike in a sandy section up ahead and learned he ran over a palm frond that bent his derailleur. His Kiwi mate Alex Roberts tossed him a link that he used to convert his bike into a single speed and carried on.”
Rakita would go on to encounter a series of unfortunate events that wiped out any chances of staying in contention but it did reinforce his belief in the spirit of XTERRA sportsmanship on the course.
“Despite his own troubles Kieran stopped and gave me his Co2 and sealant after my second flat and we had a quick joke that it was going to be the single-speed vs the double flat to dual it out for the last spot on the podium stage,” recalled Rakita. “Unfortunately, I had a few more issues fixing the flat and never had a chance to try to catch Kieran and would have had a hard time anyhow with how fast he is running. Thanks to Kara, Nike, Kieran and two age groupers I was able to get the flats fixed. They all showed the true XTERRA spirit in helping your fellow racer.”
With Rakita and McPherson working on fixing mechanicals Middaugh moved into third.
“I was able to stay focused and gradually make some progress on the first loop on the bike then I bridged the gap on the second loop,” said Middaugh, who caught and passed Madsen but wasn’t able to pull away from Akerson. “Rom stuck with me and I couldn’t shake him coming into T2. We started the run side-by-side and stayed that way for about the first mile until I opened up a little gap. I was able to push a little harder on the second lap of the run trying to negative split. Overall I felt really strong and had a great time in this tropical paradise. I love the challenges of racing in very different environments, but for now its back to the mountains of Colorado.”
It’s the second straight year Middaugh has won the XTERRA Dominican Republic, which was held in a different venue last year.
“It is a very different course compared to Barahona the last two years, where the only course you could have was up and down the mountains,” said Rakita. “In Samana, the bike was flat with the exception of a short steep climb in the middle of the bike loop followed by a steep, loose and root filled descent. The rest of the course was connecting short road sections to get to dirt sections and single track. A lot of the time we were passing through people’s back yards and it reminded me a lot of racing in the Philippines years ago. The two-loop run was pancake flat as well and twisted through the surrounding resort neighborhoods and along a beach path before the last mile put you back in the sand to Coson Bay.”
Akerson finished strong in second place, saying “Josiah is just so strong. I saw him 15-seconds behind me on the bike and by the time I looked forward he blew by me. After he caught me, for the remainder of the bike he would but in these huge surges and I put everything into my responses just to stay with him."
Madsen came into the run in third position and finished there as well, a solid effort considering DR was his fourth World Tour major in five weeks. Same should be said for Roberts who finished in fourth, and McPherson who never gave up and finished in fifth ahead of Rakita.
|1||Josiah Middaugh, USA||2:18:35||75|
|2||Rom Akerson, CRC||2:21:38||67|
|3||Karsten Madsen, CAN||2:25:30||61|
|4||Alex Roberts, NZL||2:33:29||56|
|5||Kieran McPherson, NZL||2:49:00||51|
|6||Branden Rakita, USA||3:08:20||47|
In the women’s race it was all Fabiola, all day, and the reigning XTERRA Argentina Champion from Mexico crossed the line in 2:53:48, nearly three minutes in front of Kara LaPoint.
“This place is a paradise, I love it here,” said Corona, who moved into a tie for first-place in the XTERRA Pan Am Pro Series with the win.
“As soon as I jumped in the water my plan was to give my best and open a good gap. I was able to do that and my transitions were fast and done without any mistakes. On the bike, I felt strong and kept pushing. I enjoyed the course so much and was happy to be able to run without pressure. I could enjoy the run here without suffering so much like I did two weeks ago in Alabama when I had to fight for third.”
LaPoint posted the fastest run split among elite women and was solid in second position the entire race.
“Proud and honored to finish up in 2nd place after leaving it all out there,” posted LaPoint to Instagram. “It was HOT – like really, really, feel-like-I-am-roasting-in-an-oven hot! – which added some extra challenge, but overall things went really well and I am happy with the effort.
There’s been a lot of focus on results and performance lately, as I continue to chase hard for that elusive first XTERRA major win…and while I’d still love to get it one of these days … I put passion and joy at the forefront and let them fuel me.” (paraphrased)
Nike Matanza finished third in her XTERRA elite debut and Kelli Montgomery held on for fourth. Montgomery, like Madsen, McPherson, and Roberts for the men, and LaPoint for the women, was racing for the fourth time in five weeks across four countries.
|1||Fabiola Corona, MEX||2:53:48||75|
|2||Kara LaPoint, USA||2:56:25||67|
|3||Nike Matanza, USA||3:08:06||61|
|4||Kelli Montgomery, USA||3:47:37||56|
McPherson, Corona/Montgomery lead XTERRA Pan Am Tour
Kieran McPherson, who has competed in six of the seven races so far on the XTERRA Pan Am Pro Series, sits atop the standings with 429 points, the result of two wins (Argentina and Brazil), two runner-ups (Chile and Uruguay), and two 5th place performances (Oak Mountain and DR).
Madsen is 52-points back in second, Rakita is 132-points behind in third, and Middaugh is 187-points back in fourth. With five races to go one might think McPherson would be hard to catch, however, anything can happen in the “every race counts” era. Prognosticators must also take into account that the season-finale XTERRA Pan Am Championship race on September 15 in Utah is worth double points for elites, which has the potential to result in a 200-point swing.
In the women’s chase, with her victory in Samana, Fabiola Corona moved into a tie for first place with Kelli Montgomery. Each woman has 299 points. Kara LaPoint is only 15-points behind in third, and our previous leader, Carito Nieva, is just 25-points behind in fourth position.
XTERRA PAN AM ELITE STANDINGS
After 7 - 6.3.18
|1||Kieran McPherson, NZL||429||67||75||DNS||67||100||69||51|
|2||Karsten Madsen, CAN||377||DNS||DNS||61||75||90||90||61|
|3||Branden Rakita, USA||297||61||56||DNS||DNS||75||58||47|
|4||Josiah Middaugh, USA||242||DNS||DNS||67||DNS||DNS||100||75|
|5||Rom Akerson, CRC||217||DNS||DNS||75||DNS||DNS||75||67|
|6||Alex Roberts, NZL||212||DNS||DNS||DNS||61||58||37||56|
|7||Rafael Juriti, BRA||204||51||43||DNS||47||63||DNS||DNS|
|8||Alejandro Sfriso, ARG||151||DNS||51||DNS||51||49||DNS||DNS|
|9||Maximiliano Morales, ARG||117||56||61||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|T10||Alexandre Manzan, BRA||82||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||82||DNS||DNS|
|T10||Brian Smith, USA||82||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||82||DNS|
|12||Humberto Rivera, USA||78||DNS||DNS||47||DNS||DNS||31||DNS|
|13||Mauricio Mendez, MEX||75||75||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|14||Diogo Malagon, BRA||69||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||69||DNS||DNS|
|15||Gonzalo Tellechea, ARG||67||DNS||67||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|16||Sam Long, USA||63||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||63||DNS|
|17||Luis Piedra, CRC||56||DNS||DNS||56||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|18||Andres Darricau, ARG||56||DNS||DNS||DNS||56||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|19||Felipe Moletta, BRA||53||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||53||DNS||DNS|
|20||Will Kelsay, USA||53||DNS||DNS||DNF||DNS||DNS||53||DNS|
|21||Federico Venegas, CRC||51||DNS||DNS||51||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|22||Brent Mattison, USA||49||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||49||DNS|
|23||Gustavo Torres, ARG||47||47||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|24||Lucas Mendez, ARG||47||DNS||47||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|25||Eduardo Lass, BRA||45||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||45||DNS||DNS|
|26||Will Ross, USA||45||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||45||DNS|
|27||Andres Zuniga, CRC||43||DNS||DNS||43||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|28||Gabriel Angeloro, URU||43||DNS||DNS||DNS||43||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|29||Fernando Toldi, BRA||41||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||41||DNS||DNS|
|30||Pericles Andrade, BRA||39||DNS||39||DNS||DNS||DNP||DNS||DNS|
|31||Harold Ramos, CRC||39||DNS||DNS||39||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|32||Rodrigo Braga, BRA||37||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||37||DNS||DNS|
|33||Ian King, USA||36||DNS||DNS||36||DNS||DNS||41||DNS|
|34||Paulo Cabrera, BRA||34||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||34||DNS||DNS|
|35||Victor Arenas, COL||34||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||34||DNS|
|36||Gustavo Pereira, BRA||31||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||31||DNS||DNS|
|37||Wellington Santos, BRA||28||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||28||DNS||DNS|
|38||Ryan DeCook, USA||28||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||28||DNS|
|T1||Fabiola Corona, MEX||299||67||75||DNS||DNS||DNS||82||75|
|T1||Kelli Montgomery, USA||299||DNS||DNS||75||61||58||49||56|
|3||Kara LaPoint, USA||284||DNS||DNS||DNS||67||75||75||67|
|4||Carito Nieva, ARG||274||61||56||DNS||75||82||DNS||DNS|
|5||Laura Mira Dias, BRA||146||DNS||DNS||DNS||56||90||DNS||DNS|
|6||Allison Bacca, USA||136||75||61||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|7||Jessie Koltz, USA||130||DNS||DNS||61||DNS||DNS||69||DNS|
|T9||Sabrina Gobbo, BRA||100||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||100||DNS||DNS|
|T9||Lesley Paterson, GBR||100||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||100||DNS|
|11||Rebecca Blatt, USA||97||DNS||DNS||56||DNS||DNS||41||DNS|
|12||Julie Baker, USA||90||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||90||DNS|
|13||Luiza Zanini, BRA||69||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||69||DNS||DNS|
|14||Adilia Jimenez, CRC||67||DNS||DNS||67||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|15||Camila Nicolau, BRA||63||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||63||DNS||DNS|
|16||Katie Button, CAN||63||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||63||DNS|
|17||Nike Matanza, USA||61||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||61|
|18||Erin Storie, USA||58||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||58||DNS|
|19||Tatiana Queiroz, BRA||53||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||53||DNS||DNS|
|20||Anne Usher, USA||53||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||53||DNS|
|21||Maria Lujan Soto, ARG||51||DNS||DNS||DNS||51||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|22||Ana Prade, BRA||49||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||49||DNS||DNS|
|23||Brisa Melcop, BRA||45||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||45||DNS||DNS|
|25||Vanessa Teixeira, BRA||41||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||41||DNS||DNS|
Up next: XTERRA Victoria (B.C., Canada)