South Africa’s Dan Hugo and Bermuda’s Flora Duffy captured the USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championship, held in conjunction with the 16th annual XTERRA East Championship in downtown Richmond, Va., yesterday.
It’s Hugo’s second win in as many years and sixth major XTERRA title this season. His winning time of 2:17:57 was less than a minute ahead of seven-time world champion and seven-time Richmond winner Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz. Hugo passed Stoltz in the last mile of the run to win the race.
“A fight to remember,” explained Hugo. “Everyone knows the story. I reckon this course suits Conrad down to the ground, but I can promise you he wasn’t at his best today yet he still had such magic. He pushed me to my limits not just physically but emotionally.”
Stoltz simply crushed the bike course today, as he’s done so many times before on these trails. He posted the fastest bike split by more than a minute.
The race’s other notable favorite—Josiah Middaugh—who hadn’t lost a regional championship race since 2012, came out of the water 1:30 behind the leaders and couldn’t get close enough coming off the bike to make up the difference with his superior run. Middaugh ran into third place, breaking a string of five straight regional championship wins, but will return to racing in his backyard at Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado for the Mountain Championship next month.
“Josiah has been the best athlete on Tour the last two years,” said Hugo. “He’s such a fighter; I kept sneaking a look over my shoulder.”
For Hugo, taking the top spot in RVA is something special: “I love Richmond, for a lot of reasons and it didn’t disappoint today,” said Hugo. “I feel like these are my people. I love the outdoors but I love a good coffee, a great restaurant, a bit of culture and hip.”
As for Stoltz, he said, “The race was really close. I’ll come back and do this course justice someday.”
Flora Duffy, a two-time Olympian from Bermuda, was ahead from the start, posting the fastest swim and bike splits and coming across the finish line in 2:35:36, more than eight minutes ahead of Emma Garrard.
“Just like to say Happy Father’s day to all the dads out there, especially my Dad in Bermuda,” said Duffy to the crowd at the awards ceremony. “I know he was watching online, and he’s been a huge part of my triathlon career. Hope he’s celebrating back home.”
Safe to say all of Bermuda is celebrating Duffy’s success. She’s won every XTERRA she has entered this season—the West, Southeast and East titles plus South Africa and the Asia-Pacific Championship race in Australia where she went up against reigning XTERRA World Champion Nicky Samuels. There is simply no one better right now, and today she found a course that melted her experience in racing in cities with her new-found passion for the trails.
“I love that this race is in the city but on trails and such a crowd,” said Duffy. “The fans here are passionate about mountain biking so that makes it even more special. Out on the bike there are sections of people cheering, all dressed up with cowbells and horns, and right at pretty technical sections shouting at you. It was amazing and so much fun, such a cool atmosphere.”
Duffy pulled away early in this one, posting a 16:11 swim split that was more than two minutes faster than everyone but Christine Jeffrey and almost four minutes quicker than Garrard, the eventual runner-up.
Garrard had the fastest run split of the day and finished 2nd for the third straight race. Suzie Snyder had another great day and was riding in second on the bike. After the race she posted online that it was the “Worst swim of my life- goggle problems, current problems, etc… came out of the water FAR behind my usual place. Rode GREAT and moved into 2nd on the bike then ran strong but was passed by speedy Emma Jane Garrard and then held on for 3rd. Really happy with my day- thanks for all of the support and encouragement!”
USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championship/XTERRA East Championship
Richmond, Va. – June 15, 2014
1-mile swim, 20-mile mountain bike, 6-mile trail run
1. Dan Hugo (RSA) 2:17:57
2. Conrad Stoltz (RSA) 2:18:32
3. Josiah Middaugh (USA) 2:20:55
4. Bradley Weiss (RSA) 2:22:01
5. Craig Evans (USA) 2:22:43
1. Flora Duffy (BER) 2:35:36
2. Emma Garrard (USA) 2:44:23
3. Suzie Snyder (USA) 2:45:52
4. Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) 2:48:53
5. Christine Jeffrey (USA) 2:55:08