Middaugh nabs first win of season at Xterra Quebec; triathlon series heads to Beaver Creek next | VailDaily.com

Middaugh nabs first win of season at Xterra Quebec; triathlon series heads to Beaver Creek next

Eagle Vail triathlete Josiah Middaugh at the Xterra event in Quebec, Canada, on Sunday, July 14. Middaugh posted the fastest split in each of the three mountain biking laps to overtake the top spot, which he held onto throughout the running portion of the race to claim his first victory of the season on the Xterra circuit.
Special to the Daily

EagleVail athlete Josiah Middaugh captured the Xterra Quebec off-road triathlon elite title Sunday at Lac Delage in Quebec.

It was the first win of the season for Middaugh, his second in a row in Quebec, and the 35th major victory of his storied career.

The event started with a 1.5K swim, followed with a grueling 27K mountain bike on epic trails at Empire 47 and finished with a tough 10K trail run.

In the men’s race Middaugh was eighth out of the warm — no wetsuit necessary — water of Lac Delage, about four minutes behind the swim leaders, Edmond Roy and Karsten Madsen. But he quickly went to work on the bike, posting the fastest split in each of the three laps and caught Madsen for the lead just before the bike-to-run transition.

“I’m in a little funk with non-wetsuit swims so I gave up more time than I wanted to, but I felt good on the bike and was able to reel everyone back in,” said Middaugh, the reigning Xterra Pan American champion. “It’s such a technical course, even more technical than Victoria last week, and it featured a lot more up and down. I was able to catch Karsten right at the end of the bike, and we ran out of T2 side by side. The run here starts out up a hill, and I hit the first climb really hard, and Karsten backed off and from there I just tried to hold the gap.”

Middaugh ended up posting the second-best run time, just a few seconds slower than Matthew Alford, who finished sixth, and took the tape in 2:46:18, more than two minutes ahead of Madsen in second.

“It feels good to get the first win of the season, and now I’ll head back home and see if I can defend the home turf at Xterra Beaver Creek on Saturday,” Middaugh said.

As for Madsen, he went all out from the gun to see if he could swim and ride away from Middaugh.

“I went after it today,” Madsen said. “I wanted to put as much time on Josiah in the non-wetsuit swim as possible. On the bike I knew I would lose some time to him, but I felt I was riding the downs really good. On the third lap I made a mental mistake and crashed hard over the bars and my face took most of the impact. I collected myself and got going again when Josiah came by me like a freight train. We came into (the second transition) together, but I was running hurt. Racing full out to try and win is risky, and today I found myself on the ground, but I’m happy I took my shot at it. Honestly, every race and training session my heart does what it should, is building confidence again in my mind.”

Will Ross had arguably his best race as an elite to finish third, just two minutes back of Madsen and four minutes off the pace Middaugh set. Edmond Roy finished fourth, and Branden Rakita rounded out the top five.

On the women’s side, Katie Button captured the elite title at Lac Delage in just her second Xterra World Tour win as an elite.