Vail’s Middaugh third in East Xterra
RICHMOND, Va. – It’s been a tough road trip for Vail triathlete Josiah Middaugh, so welcome home.
First off, it’s important to define what “tough” means for Middaugh. The 31-year-old finished second three consecutive times in Xterra triathlons before taking third Sunday in the East Championship in Richmond, Va.
He is comfortably in second place in the overall standings with 352 points, ahead of Craig Anderson of Henderson, Tenn. (284). The problem is that South Africa’s Conrad Stoltz is 4-for-4 this season with 400 points.
Stoltz won Sunday’s event in Virginia with a time of 1 hour, 46 minutes and 28 seconds, ahead of fellow South African Dan Hugo (1:47:39) and Middaugh (1:50:40).
“It’s hard for me not be frustrated with the results,” Middaugh said. “I’m happy to be on the podium. That’s good to see, but it’s hard being second so many times and third doesn’t feel much better.”
Middaugh is quick to say that he doesn’t want to sour about his results, but like any focused athlete he wants to win. While he enjoys the sport, one doesn’t swim 1 kilometer, mountain bike for 24K and then run another 10K, the element’s of Sunday’s race, just for fun.
But the Xterra tour may be taking a turn in Middaugh’s direction. Its next stop is Beaver Creek July 17, which is a home race for Middaugh. It’s also the first of three races, including nationals in Ogden, Utah, and worlds in Maui, Hawaii, that involve major elevation change, something conspicuously absent in the first four events of the series.
“All the races so far have been at sea level with little elevation gain,” Middaugh said. “My strength, coming from Vail, is being a climber. The next race in Beaver Creek, as well as nationals and worlds, will all be races that favor strong climbers. So long answer to the question (of contending for the overall title) is when it comes to racing in the mountains, I hope it’s a different story. I just need to be patient.”
According to Middaugh, the biking part of the Xterra event at Beaver Creek has 3,500 feet of elevation change, and he should know. The Beaver Creek course is MIddaugh’s training ground.
Another factor in Middaugh’s frustration with his results to date and his optimism for future races is the state of his right knee. He had an injured T-band, which he got fixed up last winter.
Having not been able to train the running portion of the triathlon for two year, his knee is as good as new. He had won the running segment of the first three races of the year and made a big move on an 80-foot climb in Richmond Sunday.
But after two weeks on the road, he gets to return home to his wife, Ingrid, and their 5-week-old baby girl and his two young sons.
“I’m definitely missing the family,” he said.
Middaugh hopes to win at home in July and later at nationals in Utah in September, and, maybe, get some help in the form of some less-than-invincible performances from Stoltz.
“I think for the rest of the year, the secret will be staying around home, doing the great training around the Vail Valley,” Middaugh said. “We’ve got great local bike races and the trail-running series. That’s always worked well for me with Xterra.”
To that end, look for Middaugh in July 3’s Vail HillClimb running race, as well as the Davos Dash bike race July 7.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.