As you scroll through the list of athletes on the 2018 First Endurance Team, you may notice that more than half of them live and train in Colorado. In addition, all of the new athletes added to their roster are from Boulder.
Among the new additions for the 2018 season is Maia Ignatz, a professional XTERRA athlete who lives, works and trains in Boulder. Although recovering from a season ending injury in July 2017, Maia said she is ‘honored to be a part of the First Endurance Triathlon Team for 2018’. She adds, ‘I am grateful that First Endurance will be my nutrition during this crucial time for me, and I believe that I will be able to race again by mid-July. ‘
Watch for Maia at XTERRA Beaver Creek in July, XTERRA Pan Am Championships in September and on Maui in October for XTERRA World Championships.
2018 First Endurance Team
First Endurance is proud to announce its 17-member professional triathlon team for 2018. In 2017 the team earned high accolades; collectively the team won 4 podiums at world championships, set a World Record for the fastest IRONMAN (branded) time, set the fastest ever IRONMAN by an American, won the North American Ironman Championships, won 38 races and landed on the podium 81 times. For 2018 the team looks to continue to build upon these results while working hand in hand with First Endurance testing and collaborating in the development of products. Together with some of the best triathletes in the world, we continue to evolve our product line.
Josiah Middaugh (FE athlete since 2004), Vail
Heather Wurtele (FE athlete since 2010)
Trevor Wurtele (FE athlete since 2010)
Cam Dye (FE athlete since 2011), Boulder
Branden Rakita (FE athlete since 2012), Colorado springs
Angela Naeth (FE athlete since 2013)
Matt Hanson – Fastest American IRONMAN, North American IRONMAN Champion (FE athlete since 2014)
Danielle Mack (FE athlete since 2014), Boulder
Kevin Collington (FE athlete since 2015)
Jeanni Seymour (FE athlete since 2016)
Tim Don – Current IRONMAN (branded) World Record Holder (FE athlete since 2017), Boulder
Lindsey Jerdonek – ITU & long course triathlete, Boulder
Justin Metzler – long course triathlete, Boulder
Sam Long – XTERRA & long course triathlete, Boulder
Christen Brown – long course triathlete, Boulder
Maia Ignatz – XTERRA triathlete, Boulder
Jason West – short course triathlete, Boulder
Welcome to the XTERRA Indian Peaks Triathlon. On Saturday July 28th, 300 brave souls will depart in a time trial start on a chilly 1000 meter swim, followed by a 600 meter run to the transition area, a very hilly but beautiful 22km bike ride on the roads and single track of the Eldora Nordic Center, and finally a 7km run on the eastern trails of the Eldora Nordic Center.
USA Triathlon is headed to Waco, Texas for the 2018 USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championships! Hosted in conjunction with XTERRA Cameron Park on June 9, the 2018 Off-Road National Championship will take your breath away as you go up and down climb after climb, in and out of cedar breaks and into dark bamboo forests. From rocks, roots, limestone ledges, tight twisty turns and short power climbs, to narrow bridges and fast descents, this course has got it all and is often considered one of the most unique courses in the country.
After years of searching for the perfect mountain venue a private property owner, with a passion for water skiing and mountain biking, has created a one-of-kind venue. The swim starts out on a single lap 1200m swim in the crystal clear waters of Kodiak Ski Lake.
Once out of the water athletes will transition to their mountain bikes for the most iconic part of this event. The ride is a two-lap course (12 miles), or a NEW 1-Lap (6 mile) option that takes riders on flowing single-track and over wood features never before seen in an XTERRA event. The pictures on the course maps page only offer a mild snapshot on the one-of-a-kind experience this course offers.
The 5k run course starts out by taking triathletes on one of the most unique features on the property; a 3/4 mile long winding wood bridge over a pond. This run will fly by as you run through wild flower corridor and over a canal before hitting the finish line! And the kicker – riders will only get to experience this course two times per year, once on Friday for preview and then on RACE DAY!
NEW for 2018: We’re offering a stand up paddle board triathlon race. Swimming isn’t your think, but you love to paddle – mountain bike, & trail run? Click the race information tab for more information and to sign-up!
XTERRA Lory Triathlon, presented by Lorissa’s Kitchen, on June 16th is the perfect kick off to the season for the seasoned off-road triathlete, or a great opportunity for the road triathlete wanting to try out a mountain bike triathlon for the first time.
The XTERRA Lory Triathlon features a 1/2 mile swim in the clear waters of Horsetooth Reservoir (Eltuk Bay), it’s one of the most scenic swims in the state with canyon walls on both sides. Then it’s on to a 2-Lap (beginner friendly) 12.2 mile single-track bike over rolling terrain, and across valley bridges at Lory State Park. Then you’ll get to finish things off with a fun and challenging 4.8 mile (8k) run through the clouds on single-track trails! This is the perfect off-road triathlon for beginners to experts. The course is designed so that anyone can have fun and everyone will be challenged! Entries will be limited to 350 participants, and we sold out 2011-2017 in early April!
I grew up in Two Rivers, Alaska and moved to Colorado for school in 2005. Road racing dominated my collegiate years and through my move to Boulder in 2007. I took to the trails a few years later and never looked back.
This will be my 3rd time racing in Maui in the past four years. My first Xterra was buffalo creek in 2014, done with zero swim or run training. After focusing on the Leadville 100 that year, my friend Russell basically dared me to come race and it ended with a podium. I ended up getting a worlds slot at Ogden that year and making the quick decision to head to Maui. After a great race, minus the swim, I was hooked and swore I would come back one year and win my age group.
After two injury filled seasons in which I raced maybe 4 races total, and a rather lackluster worlds in 2015, I skipped Maui last year and came into 2017 with a new focus. I teamed up with local boulder company Alchemist, as well as my longtime supporter Breck Bike guides and put together an ambitions plan to meet the goal I set four years prior.
After suffering in the heat and humidity, but getting my first age group win in Alabama, I went to Beaver Creek and won the amateur title. Ogden’s course is probably one of my favorite, and I went in with high hopes to win the amateur title. It was a great battle between great competitors! And in the end, while I did get my nationals AG win, I missed the top amateur by one spot. Props to Tate Haugen!!
While my build up hasn’t been ideal, it never is. I was sick prior to nationals, and I dealt with a knee injury that kept me off the bike prior to worlds. It’s easy to stress about these things, but in the end, everyone has to deal with similar setbacks. I still head to Maui next week with the goal of competing with the best amateurs in the world. At the end of the day, the Maui course is a different beast, and no matter your preparation, race day can throw curve ball after curve ball.
I’m off to my 3rd XWC. I started triathlon when Xterra came to Crested Butte in ’06 . After taking a break, I picked it back up on a vacation to Oahu in 2012. I punched my ticket to World’s this year with a trickle down qualifier from Xterra Mexico. I started working with Jenny Smith Coaching thru the gO Initiative to train for Maui. I’m racing the M 45-49 AG and looking to finish in the top half.
I grew up in California and joined the ranks of road triathletes in the early 1990s, racing International to Ironman distances through my 20s and 30s, along with marathons, the occasional trail ultrarun, a handful of road races, and half a dozen 12-hour adventure races.
By the time I hit my early 40s, I was feeling a little bored and looking for a new challenge. I enjoyed mountain biking and was decent at the technical stuff, so I got into cyclocross and endurance mountain bike racing for a few years. I loved the added unpredictability and tactics required for off road racing as well as the supportive camaraderie that often seemed missing in road races. With my swimming and running background, bringing all three disciplines together into an off road triathlon played to my experience and strengths and intrigued me.
I did my first Xterra race in 2014 in Buffalo Creek and was immediately hooked. I first qualified for Worlds in 2015, but was unable to go, and in 2016 I was plagued by calf injuries that forced me to miss several races. This year, things came together and I was extremely happy to qualify again. I’m thrilled to have the chance to represent Colorado and the Mountain States Region at the 2017 Xterra World Championships in Maui. The fact that the race falls within a few days of my 50th birthday is an added bonus–and the perfect way to begin my second half century.
This is my 3rd trip over to Maui for the race. My first year of getting my feet wet in the Pacific was quite intimidating. I learned a lot and vowed to train hard so I could return in 2016 and actually race, rather than merely participate in the event. While all the training and climbing hills over and over here in the Front Range prepared my legs and lungs, nothing could simulate the waves that crashed way over my 5’2” head, the monsoon rains, or the mud-fest of hike-a-biking on the race course in 2016. Fortunately, life has taught me much about digging in when the going gets tough and how to embrace the moment and laugh at the challenge at hand. (more on that to come) I finished 2nd in the 40-44 age group in 2016 and 7th overall amateur. I am really looking forward to racing Xterra Worlds this year and hope to end a rewarding season of racing on a memorable note.
How did I get into triathlon and find my way into racing off-road? In my life before having children, I was a runner. My husband taught me how to mountain bike while we were dating and we would spend weekends in the mountains camping and playing on the trails. After the birth of our 2nd child, however, our life changed.
My youngest daughter struggled a lot in those early months and years. She had breathing issues for much of her 1st year, spent a lot of time in the hospital hooked up to monitors, didn’t sleep for more than 2 hours continuously at night for over 2 years, and wasn’t reaching developmental milestones that most babies accomplish- no babbling, crawling, walking. When she was 16 months old, daughter’s neurologist called and matter of factly stated that test results confirmed that she had a rare genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome (AS). He didn’t offer any consoling words or advice, just a recommendation to follow up with his office. As soon as I hung up the phone, I did what any parent would do – I flipped on the computer and googled the disorder. Bold, crushing words jumped off the screen at me… life-threatening seizures, no verbal communication, may never walk, sleep disorder, cognitive and developmental delays, requiring 24/7 lifelong care.
My world became very dark, not even the shades of gray that many function in daily, but black. I would get up in the morning after sleepless nights with my daughter, go through the motions of the day, just passing time, hiding from the rest of the world. I let the words I read consume me. I felt like all the beautiful dreams I had for my children and our future had died. My only solace was found in escaping to the trails for a weary run or bike ride. As I pounded the dirt, working my way through those stages of grief, disbelief, hurt, anger and sadness, I started to realize something. I didn’t have to let the darkness control my life. I could run. I could bike. I could do something.
I started dreaming more on the trail. I dreamt of curing Angelman Syndrome -after all, in 2008 it was cured genetically in the mouse model. While children are not mice, the science was there and researchers believed it not only could happen, but with the right funding and research, it could happen in the next 5-10 years. This dream gave me hope. It pushed me onward over the miles, further and faster.
I realized that I could either hide from the world, or let the world get to know me and my child through the sport that I sought comfort in. I signed up for my 1st triathlon, had success in it, so I signed up for another. As my daughter was challenged in therapy to learn how to walk, to communicate, and to feed herself, I challenged myself with bigger races, bigger goals. What has followed in the years since that life-changing phone call has been an adventure more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. While Angelman Syndrome is still not cured and each day at our house presents new challenges, human clinical trials for quite a few therapeutics, including a very promising gene therapy approach to curing AS are just around the corner.
And my racing… I have been fortunate enough to race not only all over the US, but represented Team USA in Canada this past August for ITU Cross Worlds. I won overall amateur female at the Xterra Southeast Championships in Alabama this past May as well as the overall female winner at Xterra Gator Terra in Arkansas the following month, which doubled as USAT’s off-road Nationals. At Cross Worlds this past August, I placed 2nd in my age group to fellow Colorado 40-44 age group super mom and good friend, Jenn Razee of Vail. We finished 3rd and 5th overall amateur women. Jenn will also be racing in Maui. We truly battle it out on the courses and raise each other’s level of competition, which is exciting. We are both coming into Maui with a great lead-up race this year, Xterra Pan-Am Championships at Snowbasin Resort in Ogden, UT last month. For the 2nd year in a row, I finished 1st and Jenn 2nd overall amateur at the PanAm Champs. While we, and probably a few other athletes as well as our coaches (Jenn is coached by Josiah Middaugh and I am coached by his brother, Yaro), wonder who will cross the finish line 1st, we both will know that because of the other, we are stronger, train harder, and will race with everything we have out there… and give each other great big well-deserved hugs at the finish line. That is what I love about racing Xterra and what keeps pulling me back. At the end of the day, after we all cross the finish line, we celebrate each other, our friendships, and this incredible opportunity and life we share.
Katarina Marks, age 25, lives in Durango, CO. I got involved with Xterra triathlons when I got a free entry to a Xterra in my hometown three years ago, I went out, bought a wetsuit and gave it a go! I remember my goggles fogged up so bad that the swim seemed to take forever, the ride was okay- definitely wasn’t trained for it, and then I probably passed about 30 people on the run. It was tough and such a challenge, I think that’s what I enjoyed about it! From that race I qualified for the Xterra USA National Championships and from there, qualified for my first Xterra World Championships. This year will be my third year competing in Xterra World Championships. This year I qualified for Worlds at the Oak Mountain race.
Each year I’ve improved & have had even more fun! My dream is to become a professional Xterra triathlete in the next year. My motivation for competing is that “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” -1 Corinthians 10:31.
Why triathlon? Most people I talk to, say that they would never do a triathlon because “I could never do the swim.” And I want to encourage others to step outside their comfort zones, try something new, it could spark a new dream, try swimming, etc.! Give something new a try, it’ll be fun!
Andre was born missing his leg below-the-knee and has dedicated much of his personal and professional time to improving the quality of life for amputees. He is no amateur to extreme sports after completing the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona and the Xterra World Championships. Andre’s “surfer” mentality and demeanor keeps him level headed throughout the grueling ups and downs of this mountain biking journey.’
Andre Szucs, a below-the-knee amputee, has been overcoming adversity his entire life. So much so, he says “basically, I came to the conclusion that I am no different than anyone else out there, like everybody I am just exploring my physical limits…not to be confused with physical limitations because of an amputation, that’s not how I handle my life.”
“I thought I knew myself enough to consider that I was “fully capable” but I always had that unfortunate feeling that I could not run off-road. This fear was always surrounding me that I could hurt myself and it could be bad for my knee and nothing could change that.”
“It was a benchmark in my life and a whole new perspective on how far I could go. I am so excited to start this journey and I know there is so much room for improvement, especially on my prosthesis for running.”
Szucs second XTERRA was at the USA Champs, where he finished 3rd in the PC division and earned a qualifying spot into the XTERRA World Championship.
“Lesson learned,” said Szucs. “Don’t be afraid to be happy. When asking ourselves if we can do something…before answering, go and TRY FIRST!”