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PC: Jesse Peters/XTERRA

Josiah Middaugh brought home his 5th XTERRA Oak Mountain win this past weekend, making it his 3rd in a row to defend his title in a time of 2:23:56.

Following a difficult swim where Middaugh was not at his best, the defending champion was facing a 2:45 deficit to the front end of the field, including 2 of his main threats Karsten Madsen and Rom Akerson and commented “A non-wetsuit lake swim has always been a challenge for me, and it didn’t help that I had a hard crash on my mountain bike 3 weeks ago and haven’t been able to swim with both arms until race week. Thankfully my biking is on good form right now and I was able to claw my way back into the race.” 

Looking to gain back precious seconds anywhere he could on the bike, Middaugh said “Rom and Karsten were out of sight until the very end of the bike so it was tough to stay focused through the twists and turns of the dense Oak Mountain forest. I closed down the gap right before T2 and all three of us were in transition together.”

PC:Jesse Peters/XTERRA

Crediting his specific training since his last XTERRA in March in Costa Rica, Middaugh charged to a dominating race best ride split of 1:20:56. “XTERRA is about 65% mountain bike and for the big races I need to be at the very highest level. Some mountain bike racing has always been an important part of my preparation and after Costa Rica I was able to jump in the Moab Rocks stage race and really challenge myself. I felt like I got a good fitness bump and also some good technical development. It sometimes takes me several weeks for my technical skills to come around after 5 months of almost exclusively indoor riding, so I felt like that really gave me a bump.”

PC:Jesse Peters/XTERRA

Middaugh held strong to close out the day with the second fastest run split in 39:04 “We charged the first mile of the run full bore trying to get to the single track first. I was able to open up a small gap by keeping the pressure on and working some of the short ups and downs. I had better energy than expected in the final leg of the race”.

Middaugh’s stellar bike-run performance propelled him to his 3rd victory in as many years winning in 2:23:56 with 1:20 to spare on Madsen, 3:29 on 3rd place Brian Smith and Akerson 1 second further back in 4th. The 5-time winner said

“Twelve years ago I shattered my patella on this course and spent race day in surgery. Ever since I have been determined to rewrite the story.”

“It has always been a goal of mine to be competitive on every type of XTERRA course. Since every course is so different there are often different horses for different courses. Very little about the Alabama course suits my strengths, but I have been able to do well here by staying focused and squeezing every second out of the course that I can.”

PC:Jesse Peters/XTERRA

 

 

 

 

 

XTERRA Oak Mountain
Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama
May 19, 2018

1. Josiah Middaugh 2:23:56
2. Karsten Madsen 2:25:16
3. Brian Smith 2:27:25
4. Rom Akerson 2:27:26
5. Kieran McPherson 2:27:46
6. Sam Long 2:30:41
7. Branden Rakita 2:33:05
8. Will Kelsay 2:34:36
9. Brent Mattison 2:34:58
10. Will Ross 2:37:44