Following his win last weekend at XTERRA Mexico, First Endurance triathlete, Josiah Middaugh set his sights on earning the XTERRA Dominican Republic championships after missing out on the inaugural win last year after he was plagued by a comedy of mechanical errors. In his second attempt, Middaugh proved unbeatable and managed to avoid mechanical issues to claim the 9th race in the XTERRA Pan American series.
The race kicked off with an ocean swim at a surf beach near Barahona. Although 2 minutes off of the swim leader Leonardo Chacon, Middaugh found himself in good company stating “This year the ocean was a bit calmer and I felt great in the warm salt water. Leonardo Chacon put a good gap on us, but I managed to stick with a small group including Branden Rakita and Kieran McPherson.”
Putting in a race best bike split, Middaugh was quick to take back the front position. The demanding course had some very steep, sustained climbing ideal for Middaugh to reel in Chacon early, but Middaugh commented that “it took a little longer to put some time into Kieran”.
While Middaugh held a little over a 2-minute lead after the ride, he continued to build on his lead holding strong for the fastest run split of the day. Middaugh broke the tape to win XTERRA Dominican Republic in 2:25:55, 3:29 ahead of 2nd place Kieran McPherson and 7:51 ahead of 3rd place Chacon. Claiming the victory here put Middaugh just 16 points shy of First Endurance teammate Branden Rakita who finished 4th on the day and still holds the overall XTERRA Pan American series lead with only one race remaining, the Pan American Championships.
Finding success on his return to the Caribbean at his 2nd time racing the event, Middaugh said “This area of Dominican Republic is a bit off the beaten path in an area starting to become known for eco-tourism. The ocean water is amazing and the terrain is quite rugged. The course has improved from last year to include more single track and they are committed to continue to improve the mountain biking with things like ‘switch backs’. The race was hosted at a boutique hotel called Casa Bonita and the hospitality was unbelievable. The race staff exemplifies the family atmosphere that XTERRA is known for. I also think the course shares some similarities with the World Championship course in Maui, so it was a good test for me to race in that environment against some good competition.”
Packing a lot of racing into a short time frame, Middaugh is following up his last two back to back weekends of successful racing with ITU Cross Worlds on August 23rd, a little over a week away in Penticton BC. “I knew this month was going to be tough with all of the travel and back to back racing. It is hard to be away from my family for that long, so my expectations were high and I am staying focused on proper training and winning races. I was able to get in some good training between the events so I won’t feel like I have been on a 3-week taper heading into the ITU Cross Worlds. I joked that I was there for a training camp and it was a great location to do it.”
1) Josiah Middaugh 2:25:55
2) Kieran McPherson 2:28:24
3) Leonardo Chacon 2:33:46
4) Branden Rakita 2:47:23
5) Julien Buffe 2:47:47