Conrad Stoltz and Shonny Vanlandingham won the XTERRA West Championship off-road triathlon on a hot yet beautiful blue sky day at the luxurious Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort in Henderson, Nevada.
It's the fourth year in a row Stoltz has won the West Championship to start the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series. "The Caveman" edged American star Josiah Middaugh by just 39 seconds with a winning time of 2:06:47. Those two also finished 1-2 at this race last year.
"I rode as hard as I could today on this very rough and rocky and slippery desert surface," said Stoltz. "This Vegas course is pretty tough with steep uphills and steep downhills and it was really hot towards the end of the race."
Middaugh seems fully recovered from surgery he had to fix his IT band back in November. Despite having to stop and fix a flat on the bike he was second into the bike-to-run transition about 2:15 behind Stoltz and made up all but 40 seconds of that by the finish line.
"It felt really good out there and I think it's safe to say that I'm back," said Middaugh, who hadn't done any run training for nearly two years while dealing with the injury.
Behind Stoltz was a trio of Coloradoans (Middaugh, Brian Smith and Seth Wealing) who did remarkably well considering they came from the cold of winter to the unforgiving heat of the wide-open desert.
Smith's third-place finish marked his best showing since posting the same result in the 2008 West Championship. Seth Wealing, who will be chasing after an Olympic triathlon team berth for the 2012 games, was simply hoping for a 5th-10th place finish and was pleasantly surprised with his form.
Nico Lebrun rounded out the top 5, and said "it's a lot better than last year when I didn't finish this race because of the mechanicals!"
2010 XTERRA West Championship Results:
|Pro Men Results||Time||
|Pro Women Results||Time|
Vanlandingham crossed the line in 2:24:14, more than four minutes ahead of runner-up Melanie McQuaid.
"I think I was the last pro out of the water so that was a little frustrating but I put my head down on the bike and was able to catch some people. I caught McQuaid with about two miles left in the bike and we were within 30 seconds of each other at the bike-to-run transition so it set-up a nice battle on the run," said Vanlandingham, a two-time XTERRA National Champion.
Shonny V had the fastest bike split by far (1:17:45) to make up for a big time deficit coming out of the water. The lead women's swimmer, Christine "Big Fish" Jeffrey, finished more than five-and-a-half minutes ahead of Vanlandingham with McQuaid more than three minutes in front out of the water.
For McQuaid, a second-place showing today is acceptable considering the big goals await in September and October.
"It's the first race of the year so I just had to blow the cobwebs out of the system ya know. It was pretty hot today and I'm coming from the cold and winter at home so it's just a shock to the system. I wasn't feeling very good in the heat, which comes with high end fitness that I just don't have that yet, and that's by design so I'm happy that I was able to hold off the other girls."
Lesley Paterson finished third, her fifth straight top 3 since the start of last season, while Jeffrey finished a solid fourth and fellow Canadian Rosemarie Gerspacher posted her best result in XTERRA in 5th.
Several hundred athletes from 25 states and 10 countries took part in today's main event, which consisted of a 1-mile swim in Lake Las Vegas, a grueling 17-mile mountain bike ride in the desert hills and a punishing 6-mile up-and-down trail run.
• Kiwis Thorne and Leary Win XTERRA New Zealand
• Killer B's - Batelier & Bucher Win XTERRA Portugal
• Gardner, Bucher Defend XTERRA Saipan Titles
• Hugo, Rabie Win XTERRA South Africa