As the 2015 XTERRA World Champion with 4 back to back wins in his home town race, the pressure was on for Josiah Middaugh to repeat, as the reigning world champion and a deep field of athletes looked for a way to dethrone him at the 7th stop of the XTERRA Pan American Series. Rising to the challenge, Middaugh put together a near-perfect race to win XTERRA Beaver Creek for the 5th straight year.
Looking forward to the challenge of competing against a top notch field right in his own back yard, Middaugh said “There is always more pressure for me at my home race and race week ends up being pretty hectic. My phone just goes off all day with people coming into town and needing something. It’s a tough balance to try to be there for everyone else and still be able to focus on my race.”
Leading out of the water with a 19-second gap on Branden Rakita and Ian King, the current world champion, Mauricio Mendez, was quick to put the pressure on Middaugh who had his work cut out for him with the 8th best swim, 1:41 behind the leader.
Knowing he had to make the catch early on the bike, Middaugh said “It was going to be a very tough race if I was going to have a chance to beat Mauricio. It took me a couple miles before I started making up time on Mauricio on the bike. In the first 5 miles we climbed over 2000 ft and at the top of the climb, I was still about 1 minute behind. I finally caught him at about mile 11 but the Beaver Creek course is only 15 miles long, so I didn’t have much time to build a cushion before the run.”
Middaugh lay down a crazy fast race best ride, 3:38 faster than First Endurance’s Sam Long – last year’s 2nd place finisher and this year’s 3rd place finisher – and 3:39 faster than Mendez. Commenting on his effort, Middaugh said
“Course knowledge was definitely a factor. I felt like I knew every shift on the course and was able to conserve momentum in more places and I knew exactly how long every steep climb was so I could crest every hill strong.”
“At the very end of the course there is a trail called Corkscrew and while trying hard to extend my lead I washed out my front wheel and went over the bars. I lost a little time there, but it was worth riding on that red line to extend my lead.”
Riding flat out into T2, Middaugh started the run with just under a 2-minute advantage. “I felt pretty terrible on the run after such a high effort on the bike and at about the halfway point I only had about a 1-minute advantage. I dug pretty deep to hold him off on the last hard climb.” Only to be out paced by Mendez on the run, Middaugh pulled out the 2nd fastest run split of the day, quick enough to defend his winning streak at XTERRA Beaver Creek.
Finishing in 2 hours 7 minutes flat, with 41 seconds to spare on 2nd place Mendez and 5:38 ahead of 3rd place Sam Long, Middaugh fulfilled his goal on the day and was thrilled to see his son add to the Middaugh family success.
“Going up against the defending World Champion is no joke, so feeling equal parts relief and accomplishment.”
“The part that made the day so special though was my 13-year old son, Sullivan, surprised us all and won the sprint race. It was fun to share the victory with him and take him through the logistics on race morning.”
XTERRA Beaver Creek
Beaver Creek, Colorado
July 15, 2017
1 Josiah Middaugh 2:07:00
2 Mauricio Mendez Cruz 2:07:41
3 Sam Long 2:12:38
4 Brian Smith 2:14:42
5 Ben Hoffman 2:17:13