Just when you think you're tough enough


Josiah Middaugh and Suzie Synder win by narrow margins at Xterra Pan America Championships

The narrowest win in Xterra by far goes to Currie over Middaugh. (Xterra)
The narrowest win in Xterra by far goes to Josiah Middaugh over Braden Currie. (Xterra)

Josiah Middaugh out-stretched Braden Currie at the finish line to take the tape by 7/100th of a second and win the inaugural XTERRA Pan America Championship race on a beautiful day at Snowbasin Resort in Utah, USA.  It’s the closest finish in XTERRA’s 21-year-history, 2:20:23.57 to 2:20:23.64.

In the women’s elite race Suzie Snyder came out of the water with Julie Baker, was first out of the swim-to-bike transition, took a five-minute lead onto the run and won the race in 2:51:51, exactly three minutes ahead of runner-up Lizzie Orchard of New Zealand.  With the wins both Middaugh and Snyder also secured the elite XTERRA Pan Am Pro Series titles.

“I don’t think it could have gotten any closer than that,” said Middaugh, the reigning XTERRA World Champion.

“To be honest I was coming down that hill and I had about five seconds on him when I last looked and I knew I couldn’t afford to look back and so I didn’t really know how close he was until I saw him right on my shoulder which was right on the finish,” said Currie.

The race combined a one-mile (1.6km) swim in the 65-degree waters of Pineview Reservoir, an 18-mile (30km) mountain bike that climbed 3,000-feet to the top of Sardine Peak at 7,400-feet, and finished with a grueling 6-mile (10km) trail run.

Interestingly, in the pictures and videos it looks as if Currie slide his leg under the finish arch and over the timing mat ahead of Middaugh, but his timing chip was on his back trailing leg which was behind Middaugh’s timing chip.

“This is the deepest field that I have ever seen at this race, it was almost like a World Championship,” said Middaugh.

“We just had strong guys and it was just hardcore racing from start to finish, I mean the swim was fast, the bike was action packed the whole way, it was just full throttle the entire race.”

Suzie Snyder won by 4 seconds to covet the Xterra Pan American Championships overall title too. (Xterra)
Suzie Snyder won by 3 seconds to covet the Xterra Pan American Championships overall title too. (Xterra)

Supremely Suzie Snyder

For Suzie Snyder today’s win put an exclamation point on a superb season that included five wins and the XTERRA Pan America Championship race and XTERRA Pan Am Pro Series titles.

“I was first on the bike and I felt like I just wanted to go for it but I was trying to be smart and not trying to blow, or go too hard to early but it’s so hard to keep your effort in check and your heart rate in control because your climbing right away intensively and so I was trying to stay smart and relax and I rode really well,” said Snyder.

Lizzie Orchard, the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champion, passed Felder and Baker to move into second by the end of the bike and was able to take a couple minutes out of Snyder on the run but it wasn’t enough.

“So I think I heard I was down about five minutes at T2, and I thought ewww, that is a bit of an ask, but you never know, so I went my pace and I think I pulled back a couple of minutes,” said Orchard.

Baker, who upset Snyder to win XTERRA Beaver Creek in Colorado back in July, was happy to have a good day on such a big stage and finish third.

Lewis Ryan and Deanna McCurdy win Amateur titles

Lewis Ryan from Rotorua, New Zealand and Deanna McCurdy from Littleton, Colorado won the overall amateur XTERRA Pan America Championship titles today.  All of the age group winners below (aside from Lewis) won both the XTERRA Pan America and USA Championship crowns.  In the men’s 15-19 division, Bowen Satterthwaite – a 15-year-old from nearby Eden, Utah, won the XTERRA USA Championship crown.
Read more on Xterra.