Lebrun, Vanlandingham conquer Beav’ | VailDaily.com

Lebrun, Vanlandingham conquer Beav’

Chris FreudVail, CO Colorado

SPT Xterra 1 DT 7-17-10

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado – Upon further review, it wasn’t hot Saturday at the Xterra Mountain Championship triathlon in Beaver Creek.”For me, it’s not a hot day because where I live it’s really hot,” said Nico Lebrun, who hails from Esteoublon, France, and won his second straight Beaver Creek triathlon Saturday “For me, it was just altitude.”Since the victors write history, there was really no need for the kids (and their parents, in a supervisory role, of course) to hop into the fountain during the postrace awards ceremony, or anyone else to chug water, sports drinks or anything else to cool off from Saturday’s scorcher.Lebrun clearly had no problem on this cool day winning the race in a time of 2 hours, 13 minutes and 51 seconds, ahead of Boulder’s Seth Wealing (2:14:14) and Vail’s Josiah Middaugh (2:16:34). Durango’s Shonny Vanlandingham made it three in a row at Beaver Creek, capturing the women’s race in 2:31:58 in front of Boulder’s Sara Tarkington (2:39:34) and Gunnison’s Jenny Smith (2:42:33).”You can never expect it, but you can always hope for it,” Vanlandingham said. “The field is really tough. These girls are tough, so you’re better bring your A-game.”No regretsFor Middaugh, a five-time winner on the Xterra tour, a victory at Beaver Creek remains elusive. But, as opposed to last year when an endo off his mountain bike ended his chances of the top step of the podium, there are no regrets in 2010.”Nothing went wrong today,” said Middaugh after the race, while holding his 2-month-old daughter, Larsen, on his shoulder. “The bike worked well, no crashes. I can’t complain. It just didn’t feel good. I think I’ve been in a slump for a few weeks. I thought I’d crawl my way out of it, but I never came out of it, never felt good.”Everything was such a struggle. I wasn’t biking how I usually bike. Then I was waiting for the run because I was still in decent position, but I wasn’t putting time on anybody. Then in the run, I felt worse than the bike. Just a rough day for me. I’m trying not to overthink it.”Middaugh now has three second-place finishes and two thirds during the Xterra regular season as he sets his sights on nationals in Ogden, Utah. That certainly puts him in the running for a good performance in September, but he’s thinking about taking some time off from training to re-evaluate things before then.In the meantime, he was happy to race in front of a supportive crowd, which included his family. He finished the race with his 4-year-old son, Porter, running along side.”Crossing the line and seeing my family there, I’m not going to throw a fit or anything,” Middaugh said with a smile. “I’m thankful for everything I’ve got.”Starting overAs was the case last year, Lebrun just wanted to get out of Nottingham Lake and the swim within shouting distance of the leaders. His time of 20 minutes, 55 seconds did just that. Of the medalists, Wealing led the way at 18:38, followed by Middaugh (19:53).”I lost a lot of time. … I took it easy,” the Frenchman said. “I knew I would lose time there. I just don’t care. I knew when I started the bike, I would be in the race. The race really started for me there.”Lebrun posted the best biking time to take the lead and stayed within 5 seconds of Wealing in the final segment a 5.5 mile run.Last season, Lebrun generated some momentum by winning at Beaver Creek, capturing nationals in Ogden and thenfinishing second at worlds in Maui, Hawaii.”I won here, and then I won in Ogden and I got second in Maui,” Lebrun said. “Maybe this year, I want to change, to get second in Ogden and first in Maui.”Meanwhile, Wealing, battling a cold all week, was quite pleased with his finish.”I actually took a little bit of a wrong turn in the swim, so I was back of where I’m normally at,” he said. “I’ve had really good form this year. It’s not overly surprising, but I’m glad I placed where I did.”Three-peatVanlandingham on the podium at Beaver Creek is no surprise. Vanlandingham on a podium any where really is no surprise.Not only was this her third win at Beaver Creek, but it her third win of the season to go with two second-place finishes. She enters nationals in September with a commanding lead on the women’s side.Tarkington actually led Vanlandingham after the swim, but the latter essentially closed down the race in the biking portion with a time of 1 hour, 22 minutes and 51 seconds. That turned a 2-minute deficit into a 6-minute lead against Tarkington, and put Smith further in the rear-view mirror.”I surprisingly had a pretty good swim for me and moved up into first in the bike maybe in the first mile,” Tarkington said. “It was a matter of when Sonny was going to catch me. She caught me and I rode with her for a little bit, but decided that was not smart. She’s a very strong rider.”I’m very happy with second. To be second to someone like Shonny is just an honor in itself. She’s a great racer and a great person.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.