Middaugh and Dorr win age group titles at Xterra World Championships | VailDaily.com
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Middaugh and Dorr win age group titles at Xterra World Championships

Six Vail valley athletes were in Maui for 25th rendition of annual Xterra Worlds event

Josiah Middaugh takes on the mountain biking portion of the Xterra USA championship in Ogden, Utah, in September. He finished in sixth overall at the Xterra World Championship Dec. 5. Xterra races consist of outdoor swimming, mountain biking and trail running in a triathlon format.
Jesse Peters/Xterra

Josiah Middaugh had the faster time, but his son got the better accolade.

The 17-year old won the 15-19 age group and was 33rd overall in 2:58:35, while his dad, the 15-time Xterra U.S. champion and a 42-year old EagleVail resident, finished sixth overall and was the second American at the Xterra World Championships Dec. 5 in Maui, Hawaii.

For the first time since the inaugural 1996 race, the swim was canceled as hazardous rip currents and a massive surf crashed continually along the Maui course before the race. As a result, the format was changed to a run-bike-run duathlon. A 3-kilometer run preceded two 15.5-kilometer laps of a grueling bike course before finishing with an 11-kilometer run through forest trails and beach sand.



“I was really happy to mix it up. I was having a great day and was looking forward to that second lap on the bike, but my legs just kind of gave out a little, and I had to back off a bit,” Josiah Middaugh told Xterraplanet.com after the race.

“I felt like I had a really good day and a really strong run, but it wasn’t strong enough.”



Josiah was second overall at the Xterra USA Championships in Ogden, Utah, on Sept. 25. Because he was behind New Zealander Sam Osborne in that event, he was awarded the Xterra U.S. Elite Men’s Championship title as the top American in the field. In 2012 and 2014, he was the World Championship runner-up before winning the event in 2015.

His son Sullivan has been hot on his dad’s back, as has been recently reported. He finished 24 seconds behind his dad in a 1-2 finish of the Davos Dash in June before finishing sixth overall at Xterra Beaver Creek in July. At the latter event, his bike split was the fourth-fastest on the day, trailing only his dad, one of the premier climbers in all of Xterra; Osborne, who won the event; and Sam Long, who was second.

In Maui, the elite races began at 8 a.m., with age group athletes starting 75 minutes later. The technical nature of the course, which contained nearly 4,000 feet of combined climbing, became increasingly difficult as the day progressed. The arrival of rain at the start of the age group events reduced the course to a virtual slip and slide, according to XterraPlanet.com.

During the first lap of the bike course, Tokyo triathlon bronze medalist Hayden Wilde of New Zealand pushed the pace up front. “I just kept the pressure on during the first climb, and then a group got me just as we went into the second set of trail. So, from there we worked together and were all real competitive,” Wilde told XterraPlanet.com.

Josiah Middaugh was in that group with three other athletes before eventually falling off. The rain started as the group of five finished the bike leg, and it affected everyone, including the eventual winner, Wilde.

“I was slipping everywhere, and that’s when Ruben and the boys with all that experience on the islands flew away from us,” he told XterraPlanet.com.

Another Tokyo Olympian, gold medalist Flora Duffy from Bermuda, won the elite women’s title. Duffy won four straight titles from 2014-2017 before winning again in 2019. For Wilde, it was his first Xterra win as an elite, though he won the age group title now owned by Sullivan back in 2015 and 2016.

Avon’s Michael Dorr finished his strong season in style as well. After standing atop the M45-49 podium at U.S. Xterra Championships in Utah, he repeated the feat against the rest of the world on Sunday morning, finishing in 3:03:40.

“The race was a challenge, physically and mentally with the weather conditions,” he said in a written statement after the event.

“I had an idea that conditions could be really bad so I was prepared with adequate equipment and just tried to dig deep to put out the best race possible. (It was) very satisfying to get the age group win.”

A few other locals competed on the northwest coast of the Valley Isle as well. James Kirschner was fourth in the M30-34 division and 53rd overall in the race (3:10:05). In the later stages, the man pushing him to the line was someone who could just as well run into him on a typical ride along the Lower Arrowhead loop: Edwards resident Henry Reed, who finished just four seconds behind Kirschner in 54th. He was second for the M50-54 division. The final local in the 25th rendition of the Xterra event was Karl Edgerton of Vail, who came in 218th in 4:11:42 and was 15th in the 55-59 age group.

 

 


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