Q & A with Josiah Middaugh, a Legend Hovering Under the Radar

Josiah maui run 1 2014Josiah Middaugh, First Endurance XTERRA athlete and TEN Time XTERRA National Champion, may have more national titles in multiple disciplines including snow shoe national championships as well as winter triathlon nationals, than anyone else.

Few can say they have won a National Championship in XTERRA (especially since Josiah has won most of them) but to be able to say you have won 10, is on a level so far beyond thinkable but Josiah Middaugh holds that right. The National Championships win streak started in 2004 and there’s no sign when the streak will end. At 36 years of age, he certainly has some years left in him. The fields continue to deepen yet year after year Josiah has managed to put it all together on race day for the US XTERRA series. Despite 10 National Championships, a victory at the XTERRA World Championships still eludes him. In 2014, Middaugh climbed one spot further up on the podium to 2nd place and was the only person to come close to threaten Ruben Ruzafa for the win. Perhaps 2015 will be the year he seals the deal!

Q&A:

  1. Word on the street is you found a unique spot to “store” your CO2’s in Hawaii last year, can you elaborate on this?  Indeed.  I routinely travel with CO2s all over the world, but the Maui airport is tough to fool.  After having 5 CO2s pulled from my bag the previous year, I decided to stash my prized Big Air CO2’s. I found a secluded place on the bike course, dug a hole, and covered with a rock.  I double plastic bagged the CO2s and they were in good shape this year despite the climate.  I hid them again this year and hope to unearth them again in October.  Hopefully I will never need to actually use them. Also, the big air CO2s are an endangered species and hard to find so I didn’t want to risk losing them.
  2. In an unfathomable 10 years of winning the XTERRA Nationals, which one stands out as the most memorable and which one was the most difficult win and why? So, the National Championship title is for the first American in the US point series.  I only actually won the race outright once in 2012.  That was definitely the most memorable.  I spent 12 weeks growing a scraggly beard and it really seemed to help.
  3. What is the worst or strangest thing that has ever happened to you in an XTERRA race?  In 2006 I crashed and had an open fracture to my patella pre-riding the course with Conrad Stoltz the day before the race.  I had emergency surgery with screws and wire to put it back together at 1:00am and I remember trying to convince the hospital staff that I would be at the start line the next morning.  That year I pedaled with one leg for about 8 weeks in the middle of the season and then returned to race the world championships where I placed 4th.
  4. If you were a race director what would you do differently? XTERRA does a wonderful job of directing races.  One thing I’ve learned is that triathletes are hard to please, especially the professionals.  You can please most of the people most of the time but you can’t please all the people all the time.  Bob Marley said something similar to that.
  5. How many snowshoe championships do you have under your belt & how many National championships do you have combined in all sports? I have won the USSSA snowshoe national championship 6-times in 6 attempts. I actually haven’t been beaten on snowshoes in over 10 years.  Some people collect baseball cards, but I decided to collect national championships.  I guess I am at 19 total right now, not including the 8 times I won the North American Snowshoe Championship.  They include XTERRA, USAT Winter Triathlon, United States Snowshoe Association, and USAT Long Course.
  6. What do you attribute your longevity and consistent success in the sport to and how do you keep your motivation up for the day after day training over a ten year winning streak?  I guess I contribute most of my success to the peanut butter and raisin sandwiches that I have eaten every day for lunch the past 14 years or so.  Also I have been so busy with work and family that I haven’t fallen into the same overtraining predicament that most professionals find themselves in.  I have been able to produce good results with 50% of the training volume as my competitors with a more scientific approach to training and a different periodization model. For some reason, motivation has never been a problem for me.  The beauty of multi-sport training is that there are always areas to improve.
  7. If you weren’t an Xterra athlete, what would you be? What do you see yourself doing when the year comes that you decide to retire and any thoughts as to when this might be? Right now I am pretty invested in the sport with my training and coaching business, but I could see myself doing a variety of things.  I fulfilled all of the pre-med requisites in undergrad and finished a master’s degree in human movement a couple years ago.  I could also see myself as a college professor.
  8. What is your favorite sport outside of the events you compete in? Growing up I played a lot of basketball and my kids are at a fun age where they are sampling a lot of sports.  It is fun to have daddy all sports days with them.
  9. What is your favorite race and why? My favorite winter race is the Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon in Grants, New Mexico which I think I have won 9 times.  It is a unique race in which you summit a mountain with biking, running, skiing, and snowshoeing and then do all of the events back down the mountain.  
  10. What equipment and or nutritional evolution has provided you the greatest gains? First Endurance has been a sponsor of mine for over a decade now and has been an important part of my success, allowing me to recover faster between bouts of intense training, therefore adapting to more frequent hard efforts. 
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