Josiah Middaugh and Fabiola Corona captured the third annual XTERRA Dominican Republic off-road triathlon elite titles on a beautiful day in Samana on Sunday, June 3, 2018.
It’s the second win on the XTERRA Pan Am Tour this season for both Middaugh and Corona.
In the men’s race, as has become custom, Middaugh exited the water more than one-minute behind the leaders, posted the fastest bike split to pass everyone but Rom Akerson heading into the bike-to-run transition, then unleashed “beast mode” on the run to take the tape in 2:18:35, more than three-minutes ahead of Akerson.
“Yes, I had a pleasant swim by myself in the turquoise clear waters of Coson Bay,” joked Middaugh, the reigning and two-time XTERRA Pan Am Tour Champion who has won 31 career XTERRA World Tour races despite trailing after the swim. “The relatively flat course profiles on the bike and run certainly did not suit my strengths, but with the heat and humidity and soft sand, it became a strength race eventually.”
Early on it was Karsten Madsen, Akerson, Branden Rakita, and Kieran McPherson leading the way in the water and pushing the pace together on the bike. It wasn’t long, however, before things started to fall apart for the lead pack.
“With a fast and flat bike we all knew it would be advantageous to work together to keep or extend the gap on Josiah,” explained Rakita. “But it didn’t quite work out that way. I had a small slip on a corner that dislodged me from the group and even with a quick recovery I couldn’t catch the three guys hammering ahead. Then I suffered a flat tire, and as I stopped to fix it I noticed Kieran messing with his bike in a sandy section up ahead and learned he ran over a palm frond that bent his derailleur. His Kiwi mate Alex Roberts tossed him a link that he used to convert his bike into a single speed and carried on.”
Rakita would go on to encounter a series of unfortunate events that wiped out any chances of staying in contention but it did reinforce his belief in the spirit of XTERRA sportsmanship on the course.
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