XTERRA debuts in Beaver Creek today | VailDaily.com

XTERRA debuts in Beaver Creek today

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado
Published: Daily file photo/Special to the Daily

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” A 4,500-foot elevation climb, 34.5 kilometers and three different events ” all on a Saturday morning, right? For nearly 200 triathletes, it is.

Some of the best triathletes in the world will converge on Beaver Creek today for the first XTERRA Beaver Creek triathlon. The race begins at 9 a.m. with a 1.5-kilometer swim at Avon’s Nottingham Lake. A 25K bike ride and 8K run follow.

“We’re thrilled to be able to host a XTERRA event here,” race director Mike Kloser said. “This is the first year at it for us. We are hoping to make it an annual event.”

The competitors can blame any pain and suffering on Kloser and Josiah Middaugh. The pair designed a course that Kloser said is challenging, but hopefully, enjoyable for all the athletes.

“The most important thing is having a fun course, from the swim to the run,” Kloser said. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job with that considering our available terrain and trails we have to work with. I think the only thing people might struggle with is the first climb on the bike.”

The race starts at Nottingham Lake where competitors will complete a 1.5K swim. From there, a 25K bike race along the trails of Arrowhead, Bachelor Gulch and Beaver Creek should test the athletes with a 3,500-foot elevation climb. The triathlon finishes with an 8K run and another 1,000-foot gain that ends in Beaver Creek Village.

Area athletes aim for titles

An elite field of both professional and amateur athletes hope to bring home titles and a portion of the $10,000 purse from XTERRA Beaver Creek. A number of area competitors should be in the mix, starting with Middaugh. The three-time and reigning U.S. XTERRA champion is using today’s race as a tune-up for next Saturday’s XTERRA Mountain Championships in Ogden, Utah.

Middaugh looks to be in title-winning form, taking first in the XTERRA East Championship in Richmond, Va., earlier this season.

“I would obviously like to win, especially on my home turf,” Middaugh said. “It’s not the biggest race on my schedule, but it’s one I want to perform in. I’ll bring my A-game.”

Another local fixture, Dan Weiland, is also poised for a high finish. Kloser expects Weiland to make the top-five.

On the women’s side, Glenwood Springs resident Sari Anderson could find herself in the winner’s circle. Anderson won the XTERRA Winter World Championship in March.

“I think she’s kind of the darkhorse,” Middaugh said. “She wouldn’t be picked as the favorite by many people. She’s super strong on the bike and on the run. If she can get out the water, she’ll do really well.”

One of the favorites in the women’s division is Melanie McQuaid. The Victoria, British Columbia, native is a three-time XTERRA World Champion and on Wednesday competed in the Beaver Creek Blast to help herself prepare for today’s race. That isn’t to say the altitude isn’t affecting her.

“I am still suffering a little bit with the altitude since 0 to-8,000 feet takes some time for adjustment, but I hope to at least put up a fight tomorrow,” McQuaid said. “I will be happy that Ogden (Utah) starts at a measly 4,500 feet.”

Fans hoping to catch their favorite athletes are encouraged to watch the action from the deck of Beaver Creek Chophouse.

Sports writer Ian Smith can be reach at 970-748-2935 or ismith@vaildaily.com.

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