Middaugh at the top and healthy at the Xterra triathlon | VailDaily.com

Middaugh at the top and healthy at the Xterra triathlon

Published: Special to the Daily

PELHAM, Ala. ” Josiah Middaugh has two sets of goals for Sunday’s Xterra off-road triathlon in Pleham, Ala.

There was the real, but jocular goal, and the real goal.

Goal No. 1: Finish the race without an injury. Goal No. 2: Finish in the top three.

He got both of them.

Middaugh, the local triathlete, took third in the second Xterra race of the year, clocking in at 2 hours, 6 minutes and 24 seconds, less than 30 seconds off second place.

“I was pretty happy to get out unscathed,” Middaugh said, alluding to a broken kneecap he sustained at the same race last year. “My goal is the top three. I always feel like I have a chance to win.”

On a course not as well suited to Middaugh’s strengths, the 28-year-old did a good job of playing catchup to earn the top American finish.

“The bike was a different type of technical (course) than I was used to,” Middaugh said. “It was through the woods, twisting and climbing, and nothing where I could get into a rhythm. I’m used to sustained climbs and downhill singletrack.”

Middaugh was in 16th after the first leg ” the swimming portion.

“I always want to try to cut my losses in swimming,” Middaugh said. “I’d like to be within two minutes of the lead. I was about three (minutes) off.”

A solid biking leg put Middaugh right with the pack. Then, Middaugh pulled in the top run among the pros to finish third.

In the first Xterra race of the year in Temucula, Calif, Middaugh had a tough time with the run and took fourth overall.

“I was second guessing my fitness,” Middaugh said of his running. “But after racing in the Teva Games, I knew I had it in me and I just tried to attack every hill (in Pelham).”

At the Teva Games, Middaugh had a great trail run on a very challenging course. In Pelham, Middaugh took advantage of a comparatively easier course.

“It was a good course for me on the run because there were eight steep climbs,” Middaugh said. “But after doing the Teva Games it didn’t seem tough.”

Middaugh’s older brother, Yaro, had a solid race, taking 27th in the pro division and fourth in his age group.

This weekend, Middaugh will be in Richmond, VA. for another Xterra race.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.

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