Held in New South Wales, Australia in the Snowy Mountains, the championship course was not challenging elevation gain wise but it did serve up technical and tight terrain with river crossings on the 32.8km mountain bike and 10km trail run. “It was a very different course with almost no elevation gain and almost 100% of the bike was on tight, twisty single track.” Adding to the tight technical trails, athletes also had to stay alert for the potential to contend with the local wildlife including kangaroos, wombats, emus, platypus and kookaburras.
The 1.5 km fresh water Lake Crackenback swim consisted of 2-laps with a 50 meter run in between. Middaugh swam to a 2:08 deficit to the fastest swimmer, Ben Allen and 53 seconds behind eventual winner Ruben Ruzafa.
Middaugh put in the second fastest ride on the fast single track pulling himself closer to the front of the race. “I really have to tip my hat to all of the competitors who displayed great sportsmanship throughout the race and I was able to pass without too much trouble.” Meanwhile, Ruzafa made his way to the head of the race early on the ride and continued to distance himself even from Middaugh who commented “Ruben Ruzafa’s skill on the bike could not be matched and he had a pretty good cushion going into the run.”
Middaugh pulled out the fastest 10km run of the day in 46:20 edging out New Zealander Braden Currie towards the end of the run, earning a silver medal at the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship behind Ruzafa.
“That was definitely a good cap to a long season. I finished the XTERRA World Championships with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, so it was good that I had one more big race on the schedule.”
Team USA landed 3 athletes in the top-10, with fellow First Endurance triathlete Branden Rakita in 9th and Brian Smith in 10th along with a 5th place in the mixed team event (Suzie Snyder, Humberto Rivera, Janelle Holt, Josiah Middaugh) capping the results for the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships.
1. Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) 2:34:25
2. Josiah Middaugh (USA) 2:37:43
3. Braden Currie (NZL) 2:38:14
4. Brice Daubord (FRA) 2:40:12
5. Ben Allen (AUS) 2:40:49
6. Rom Akerson (CRC) 2:43:03
7. Sam Osborne (NZL) 2:44:40
8. Oliver Shaw (NZL) 2:44:47
9. Branden Rakita (USA) 2:47:45
10. Brian Smith (USA) 2:47:53