Middaughs ready for Xterra World Championship on Sunday
EagleVail triathlete Joshia Middaugh is currently in Hawaii with his family, but they’re not visiting the Aloha state to enjoy a vacation.
In fact it’s quite the opposite as the Middaughs are on Maui to suffer through the hardest off-road triathlon event on the calendar, the Xterra World Championship.
The World Championship is returning after taking 2020 off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Middaugh also took the 2019 season off Xterra racing to participate in the “World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji” program on Amazon Prime.
Returning to the sport after two years away, Middaugh was pleasantly surprised to learn he’s still the top American on the Xterra circuit, earning the Xterra USA Championship prize for the 15th time in September in Utah. Middaugh was second overall to Sam Osborne of New Zealand, but as the first U.S. competitor to cross the finish line, he was awarded the Xterra U.S. Elite Men’s Championship title.
With the Xterra World Championships scheduled for December as opposed to the October standard that had been established prior to 2020, Middaugh said he didn’t have high hopes for a good training season heading into worlds.
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But the warm fall in Eagle County, while frustrating for snow riders, was welcome for Middaugh.
“Every year I spend about a month almost exclusively indoors on the bike, and this year it was pushed back about a month with the weather and I was able to stay outside all the way through most of November,” Middaugh said at an Xterra press conference on Thursday.
‘Unfortunately, it’s already happened’
Josiah’s son Sullivan Middaugh is also participating in Xterra racing in Maui. Sullivan, who is a senior at Battle Mountain High School, is coming off a long running season, where he set a new school record in the 5k.
“He went 3 months without swimming or biking, and just picked up the bike and the swim about a week ago when he finished the cross country season,” Josiah said of Sullivan.
In addition to running, Sullivan has already proven himself to be a formidable opponent in mountain bike racing. At Vail’s Davos Dash mountain bike race this summer, Sullivan beat all the pros in the field except one, his father.
Not far behind them was Porter Middaugh, who is in 10th grade at Battle Mountain and also broke the 5K record this season, although not by as much as his brother.
“I love watching my kids compete, but it’s really weird when I’m racing against them, because if Sullivan passes me I’m like ‘yeah go go go,’ and then I’m like ‘oh shoot I gotta go,’” Middaugh said with a laugh.
At the Xterra World Champsionships press conference on Thursday, Middaugh expressed some relief about not having to race against Sullivan.
“Thankfully he’s doing the age class race (as opposed to the main championship event),” Josiah said of Sullivan.
When asked how long until Sullivan starts beating him, “unfortunately, it’s already happened,” Josiah responded. “We did a little Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving, 5K, I thought I could take him, I should have done the long finish but I let it come down to the sprint.”
And Sullivan wasn’t the only one to defeat Josiah in the Turkey Trot as Porter out-sprinted him, as well.
“Out kicked,” Josiah said. “I got beat by both my kids. Maybe that was a sign.”
The Xterra World Championship begins at 8 a.m. Hawaii time on Sunday and combines a 1.5-kilometer ocean swim, a 31-kilometer mountain bike ride and a 10.5-kilometer trail run. For more information visit xterraplanet.com/worldchampionship.