Middaugh second at Xterra Victoria; Beaver Creek race set for July 21
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Eagle-Vail resident Josiah Middaugh continued his impressive performance on the Xterra off-road triathlon circuit on Sunday with a second place finish in the Partridge Hills of Canada.
Xterra races are a dirtier version of a traditional triathlon, with trail running and mountain biking replacing their road racing counterparts.
Middaugh, a former World Champion Xterra competitor and the reigning Xterra series overall winner, has made his mark on the sport and at age 39, does not appear to be slowing down.
This season he has found a rival in New Zealander Kieran McPherson, who — after being defeated by Middaugh in a couple of other races in May and June — came out on top on Sunday.
Middaugh said he knew it was going to be a challenge as he had not given himself much time in Canada to learn the course, which took place in Durrance Lake, Mt. Work Park and the Partridge Hills.
“It was a tough course to ride without good course knowledge,” Middaugh told race promoters. “I knew it was a risk arriving late, but I still put myself in a good position to go for the win.”
‘HE WAS CHARGING’
Xterra veteran Brent McMahon led the first leg of the race, the swim, with Branden Rakita and Ian King right behind. McPherson and Middaugh stayed together in the water, exiting more than two minutes behind the lead swimmers.
“When we caught Branden I put a small gap on him, but he stayed close,” Middaugh said. “Branden was also riding well and after blowing through a corner I found myself behind again and playing catch up.”
Middaugh and McPherson posted the best bike splits of the day to move into the lead on the second leg, with Middaugh slightly ahead of McPherson.
“I thought it was enough of a gap to hold off Kieran, but he was charging and I didn’t have enough of a response,” Middaugh said.
McPherson had the fastest run of the day with a time of 37:24, nearly two-minutes faster than Middaugh. His total time for the 1500-meter swim, 24-kilometer mountain bike ride and 9-kilometer trail run was 2:06:03, 37 seconds faster than Middaugh.
Rakita rounded out the podium, finishing in 2:12:19.
Conspicuously absent from the race was Karsten Madsen, an Xterra competitor who finished runner up to Middaugh at the Xterra Oak Mountain race in Alabama in May, and also took third to Middaugh’s first at the Xterra Dominican Republic race in June.
While the Victoria course is actually Madsen’s home venue, he skipped the race to take part in the International Triathlon Union’s cross tri competition in Denmark on Tuesday.
In the overall Xterra Pan America Tour standings so far this season, McPherson holds a 127-point advantage over Madsen, who currently sits in second.
Though Middaugh is not far behind in fourth, the father of three says he will not be pursuing his third consecutive tour overall victory this season as he won’t be able to make it to a lot of the races.
“It’s just going to be too hard for me to chase points all over South America,” he said. “I’ve decided not to race all those back-to-back weekends and spent too much time away from family.”
The next race in the Xterra circuit will be Middaugh’s home course in Beaver Creek, which Madsen says he will be attending.
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