This year the day ended with a much better outcome for Middaugh than his previous year attempt. Having won the race in 2015, Middaugh returned in 2016 but fell ill prior to the race start and ended up having an emergency appendix surgery and was unable to start. Returning for some unfinished business, Middaugh was relieved to recapture the XTERRA Mexico title successfully in one piece, commenting “I know my wife (Ingrid) was holding her breath on race day, hoping her husband would return in one piece”.
Middaugh’s day was set up well by his performance in the water, only 30 seconds shy of the top swimmers Serrano and First Endurance team mate Branden Rakita. “My swim has been steadily improving, and I was able to come out of the water almost in contact with the lead group. That definitely takes some pressure off early in the bike and I was able to race a little more tactically.”
Following his strong swim, Middaugh made the catch in the early miles of the bike leg, allowing more time to build on his lead throughout the bike. By the end of the ride, Middaugh was close to 90 seconds ahead of Serrano despite not riding full speed or pushing his physical limits. “With the conditions, I knew a crash and/or a mechanical could take me out of the race, so I was a little more cautious on some of the downhills and took chances with my effort rather than with risky lines. I managed to stay upright and my bike was filthy, but mechanically kept working smoothly throughout the race.”
On the technical muddy run course, Middaugh continued to cautiously extend his lead to finish in a winning time of 2:25:28 – 2:50 in front of 2nd place Serrano and 4:44 ahead of Kieran McPherson in 3rd. Earning his 4th win of the series and reclaiming the XTERRA Mexico Champion title Middaugh said
“This was a good personal victory for me after my experience last year. The sensations are good for this point in the season and I continue to learn from each race.”
Middaugh now sits second in the overall series standings, slowly inching closer to Branden Rakita who has been holding the lead throughout the series.
August 5, 2017
1 Josiah Middaugh 2:25:28
2 Francisco Serrano 2:28:18
3 Kieran McPherson 2:30:12
4 Gonzalo Tellechea 2:31:07
5 Saucedo Mata Leonardo 2:32:51