Vail’s Middaugh competes Xterra nationals
Vail, CO Colorado
Since 2001, the Xterra U.S. Pro Series has belonged to a two-time Olympian from South Africa, Conrad Stoltz (pictured), who has won seven of the last nine – including the last three.
Vail’s Josiah Middaugh hopes to change that Saturday at Xterra nationals in Ogden, Utah, a gathering of the best off-road triathletes in the nation and world.
Middaugh has his work cut out for him.
This year, Stoltz was simply perfect, winning all four regional events he competed in, and comes in to Saturday’s race with 400 points.-The series takes an athletes fest four results out of five qualifiers.
The closest men’s pro to Stoltz is Middaugh , who has been the top American in the series’ the last three years and five times since 2004. While there are literally hundreds of different scenarios, for Middaugh to steal the series from Stoltz, he’d need a victory on Saturday coupled with a ninth-place finish or worse from Stoltz.- Another way to look at it, if Stoltz places eighth or better, he’ll win his eighth U.S. Pro Series crown and the $10,000 purse that goes with it.-
The women’s pro standings are closer, although Durango’s Shonny Vanlandingham, who won at Beaver Creek earlier this year in the Mountain Cup, is in a great position to become the first American since Jamie Whitmore in 2007 to win the series title.
The magic spot for Vanlandingham is seventh place
The race venue at Snowbasin Resort was home to the downhill and supersG races of the 2002 Winter Olympics.-
The race starts with a 1.5-kilometer swim in the Pineview Reservoir situated at about 4,500 feet above sea level. The 30K mountain-bike ride traverses dirt trails as it meanders into Wheeler Canyon. From there, competitors will climb about 2,300 feet on the way to the Snowbasin lodge area. The total climbing on the bike is more than 3,000 feet with the top of the course peaking at about 7,500 feet.
The single-loop 9K singletrack run has a few short, very steep uphills and another 700 feet of climbing before finishing in front of spectators .