Vail triathlete Josiah Middaugh wins Xterra Canada
Vail, CO Colorado
WHISTLER, British Columbia – With an eye on nationals in Ogden, Utah, at the end of the month, Vail triathlete Josiah Middaugh got ready by winning Sunday’s Xterra Canada Championship in Whistler, British Columbia, on Sunday.
There was a definite chill in the air as the sun tried to come out from behind the clouds at Alta Lake for the 9 a.m. The swim was two laps of 750 meters with a short sprint in between and was led by Jordan Bryden, with Christine Jeffrey only seconds behind.-
Hot on their heels was three-time world champ Conrad Stoltz, Middaugh’s nemesis all season, and U.S pro Branden Rakita. Canada’s first Xterra champion, Mike Vine, was a minute back with fellow Canadian Karsten Madsen, and another 30-seconds behind was Middaugh.-
Then came what everyone had been waiting for – 19 kilometers over two laps of what may arguably be Xterra’s toughest bike course followed by 11K of up-and-down trail running, with a little pavement providing welcome relief from the roots, rocks, slipping and sliding.
It was here that it came down to a contest between Vine and Middaugh. The two pulled almost identical bike splits, with Middaugh taking fastest bike time by only one-tenth of a second.-
“I like going uphill, and the technical stuff was OK,” Middaugh said, “but Mike Vine was awesome – he was whaling that stuff – it was crazy. I was trying to keep it close, but he would put 40 seconds on me on the descent. He started the run about 40 seconds up, and I got him on the top of the first climb. He stayed pretty close. He could always see me, so it wasn’t over – I had to keep working.”-
Middaugh took the win with a margin of 35 seconds over Vine to finish in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 30 seconds. It’s his first win this season and his second Xterra Canada Championship title (he picked up his first-ever championship win in Canada back in 2004).-
“It feels good to have a win,” Middaugh said. “I’ve been close all year and I needed this. … When you’re on, you’re on; I felt good all day.”
Vine took second in 2:10:22 in Whistler, his stomping grounds and his favorite place anywhere to ride.-
“I didn’t know what to expect as I haven’t been racing these guys all year. I raced in Saipan (in March), but none of the U.S. guys were there, and since then, I started my new career working full time at a physical job,” Vine said. “It takes the pressure off racing – I’m doing it for the enjoyment. I came out to have a good time today, and it felt good to go full throttle and let it rip.-Josiah had a really good ride – for him to come up here and ride these trails that well is impressive – I was definitely better prepared.”
Going out on the run, Vine and Middaugh were followed by Stoltz and Rakita. Rakita caught Stoltz on the run to take third in 2:17:37.-Stoltz took a wrong turn on the run and, while finding his way back, was passed by Colorado’s Cody Waite and Idaho’s Adam Wirth, who took fourth and fifth, respectively, in 2:20:41 and 2:23:31. Stoltz took sixth in 2:24:12.