Josiah Middaugh from Eagle-Vail, Colorado and Lesley Paterson from Scotland captured the 15th annual XTERRA Pan American off-road triathlon elite titles on a beautiful morning at Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah on Saturday, September 15, 2018.
It’s the third win in four years for Middaugh at this race, and the second in a row for Paterson. Both have now won the championship in Utah four times in their careers.
More than 500 athletes from 30 countries took part in the event, which was the culmination of a 12-stop series of off-road triathlons spanning South and Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada, and the U.S.
The challenge started with a one-mile swim in Pineview Reservoir (4,900-feet elevation), followed with an 18-mile mountain bike leg that climbed more than 3,000-feet to the top of Sardine Peak (7,300-feet elevation) and culminated with a 7-mile trail run featuring another 700-feet of climbing on trails in the Wasatch Range.
In the men’s elite race Middaugh came out of the water less than one-minute behind the leaders, took the lead from South Africa’s Bradley Weiss at about mile eight on the bike, and took the tape in 2:26:34. Weiss finished second in 2:30:32, and Sam Long from Boulder, Colorado was third in 2:31:18.
One of the race favorites, 2016 XTERRA World Champion Mauricio Mendez, had to drop out during the mountain bike section due to a broken saddle on his bike that couldn’t be repaired.
Brad Zoller had the fastest swim of the day, but Mendez was second out of the water and was charging hard on the bike. Branden Rakita was next, followed by Ian King, Brad Weiss, Karsten Madsen, and Middaugh, who interestingly, didn’t know Mendez was out of the race.
“Going up Wheeler, Brad Weiss was riding off the front and Karsten was riding really well,” said Middaugh. “I caught them both and couldn’t see Mauricio. I thought he was a good minute or two ahead of me up the trail. I thought I was having a really bad day.”
It wasn’t until after the bike-to-run transition that Middaugh realized he was in the lead.
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