Last weekend’s XTERRA Beaver Creek off-road triathlon and trail running weekend was about so much more than just racing. It was a full-blown reunion for the XTERRA Family, a healing and life affirming get together in the mountains of Avon, Colorado to reclaim their healthy, active, outdoors lifestyles.
Below are just a few of the stories from Beaver Creek about people who seized the day to Live More…
“I feel like this year is a victory lap for all of us,” said Deanna McCurdy, the 45-49 division winner who placed 5th overall on Saturday and then orchestrated a winning 5x5K relay team on Sunday. “We made it through the most challenging year in our history and now we get to celebrate doing what we love with dear friends again.”
McCurdy had her best race in Beaver Creek after six tries, and the next day headed out to Keystone, CO to host a High Altitude Running Camp for more than 40 high school harriers.
“It is some of the most fun I’ve ever had,” she said. “These kids are amazing and a blast to be around (not to mention crazy fast!) but I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so exhausted by the time I go to bed!”
Cathy Yndestad from Mesa, Arizona hadn’t raced an XTERRA in 15 years since placing third in the 25-29 division at the 2006 XTERRA World Championship. She came back with a vengeance last Saturday by winning the women’s amateur title, the 40-44 division, and placing a remarkable fourth overall.
“After 20 years in the sport of triathlon, I choose my events based on beautiful locations/courses and/or joining great friends. Given that criteria, I have a good feeling XTERRA Beaver Creek will become an annual event for me! It was so refreshing.”
Last year Porter Middaugh won the XTERRA Beaver Creek sprint race as a 14-year-old. This year, he posted the 19th best bike split of the day and finished 17th overall ahead of several established XTERRA elites in the full-distance race.
“It was awesome. Super fun and definitely one of the best races I do all year,” said the soon-to-be sophomore at Battle Mountain High School which is just down the road from the race site. “I enjoy running most, however, triathlon is definitely up there especially after this race.”
Libby Harrow has been racing XTERRA for 20 years. In 2001, she qualified for the XTERRA World Championship and won the 50-54 age group. Since then, she’s been a nine-time regional champ and three-time world champ.
On Saturday, she continued to inspire the XTERRA Family by crushing arguably the most grueling challenge in the sport. She finished second to only the incredible Jo Garuccio in the 70-74 division and qualified for Maui once more.
“I want to inspire people younger than me to become active and stay active and be consistent and then they’ll be better off at an older age,” she said. “It’s so important. The minute you stop things go downhill quickly.”
When Colin Szuch was in second grade, triathlon legend Tim Hola talked to his elementary school class about the sport of triathlon.
“He is a huge inspiration of mine, he got the dream of triathlon going for me that day,” said Szuch, now 19-years-old and going into his sophomore year at Metropolitan State University of Denver. “He explained the basics of triathlon, and how some people do it for a living. I was hooked. My parents started doing some triathlons of their own, and we all became huge fans of the sport.”
Fast forward 12 years and be amazed to find Szuch swim, ride, and run his way to a fifth-place overall finish in the same race as Hola (who himself was an impressive 36th overall and 2nd in the 45-49 division behind only local legend Mike Dorr). And, Szuch nearly caught his other idol, Sam Long.
“In May, I watched Sam Long battle with Lionel Sanders at 70.3 St. George, and I made the decision to do triathlon 100%,” he said. “I set my sights on XTERRA Beaver Creek and got to work.”
Szuch discovered XTERRA when he was 15, did his first one at Beaver Creek in 2018, and now has his sights set on mixing it up with the elites at the XTERRA USA and World Championship races while also focusing on his education (it’ll come as no surprise Szuch is majoring in Aviation and Aerospace Science because the man can fly)!
When it comes to the Long family, it’s clear the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Eric Long, Sam’s Dad, absolutely blitzed the XTERRA Beaver Creek course, winning the very competitive 60-64 division with the best bike and run splits in his age group wearing the same pink race kit as his kid.
“He showed me the love for endurance sports,” said Sam about his Dad in his post-race film. “Always awesome when you can race with your Dad. He actually didn’t show me triathlon, he showed me cycling, and now I got him into triathlon.”
Every bit as impressive as the performance by Colin Szuch was the display put on by 17-year-old Sullivan Middaugh, who finished sixth overall amateur just nine seconds behind Szuch.
He had the fourth best bike split of the day behind only four iconic elites = his Dad, Josiah, who finished third, Sam Long who was second, and Sam Osborne who won it. And consider he did this despite having to ride past 45 or so athletes that got on to the bike course before him.
“I was super stoked with my race, especially the biking portion,” said Sullivan. “I know my run could have been better if I was training more regularly for it. My main goal was to have fun and enjoy the race, but I knew if I had a good race I could get into the top ten.”
Sullivan hadn’t done any run training for months leading into the race due to a nagging injury.
“I was happy with my run mostly because I never felt any pain from my injury, however, I really struggled during the second half of the run because I wasn't able to run during the 16 weeks leading up to the race.”
Sullivan said he had ridden the Beaver Creek bike course probably a dozen times, but never as fast as he had on Saturday, “and that was 11 minutes faster than my time two years ago here.”
Up next for “Sully” is his senior year of high school, another season of cross country, Nordic skiing, and track, and then the endless possibilities for a brilliant endurance sports career – wherever that may lead him.
While the Middaughs are certainly the first family of XTERRA Beaver Creek, they can’t outnumber the crew from the Loftus clan!
The annual family tradition returned in grand fashion last weekend with 16 Loftus' in attendance (pictured at top) and every single one of them got into the action one way or another, from the kids race to a sprint relay team to individual challenges.
All-in-all 50 amateur athletes qualified to race at the 25th XTERRA World Championship to be held December 25, 2021 in Kapalua, Maui.
Among them are legends of the sport like former Mr. and Mrs. XTERRA award winners Janet Soule and Cliff Millemann, 9x XTERRA World Champ Barbara Peterson (also a former Ms. XTERRA), reigning 45-49 XTERRA World Champ Jennifer Razee, and former XTERRA World Champs McCurdy, Harrow, Sharon McDowell-Larsen, David Rakita, and Caroline Colonna.
It’s also exciting to see a lot of new faces like 15-year-old Julia Allred from West Haven, Utah (pictured above) on the top step, now with a chance to be the best of the best when the XTERRA World meets in Maui.