Sam Osborne from New Zealand and Lesley Paterson from Scotland captured the XTERRA Pan American Championship off-road triathlon elite titles on a beautiful day at Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah on Saturday, September 7, 2019.

It’s the sixth XTERRA World Tour win of the season for Osborne, and for Paterson, her third straight victory at the Pan Am Champs in Utah.

The race combined a 1.5-kilometer swim in Pineview Reservoir with a grueling 30-kilometer mountain bike that climbed to 7,300-feet elevation and followed with a tough 10K trail run.

In the men’s elite race Osborne, one of the sports’ finest strategists, was first out of the water followed closely by Canadian Karsten Madsen, and Americans Branden Rakita, Brad Zoller, and Mike Meehan.

“I made a point of leading the swim and I tried to kick pretty hard after that first buoy, it was a very specific thing I wanted to achieve,” said Osborne, who set the pace early on the bike with Madsen charging hard and just six seconds behind him at the four-mile mark after the first big climb.

“I struggled a bit with the early pace and intensity, but I had this discussion with my coach just after XTERRA Mexico where we decided we should go back to a really big aerobic block with eyes on Maui,” explained Osborne.  “I’ve raced well before after an aerobic block, but I struggled a little bit with that early intensity today.  Karsten came across early on and I got away, but I could hear him breathing.”

By mile eight, Madsen had moved to the front with Osborne right on his wheel and 20-year-old Australian Dean Cane riding in third just 20-seconds back. And when the course started to climb up to the top of Sardine Peak, Cane made a big move and pulled into the lead.

“He’s a young guy but that was a clever move and he’s obviously done some mountain bike racing,” said Osborne about Cane, who posted the fastest bike split of the day in 1:26:21. “It took me a little bit to get around Karsten to try to close the gap halfway up that climb and Dean was riding really strong. I got across to him just before the top.”

The two came down the hill and into transition tire-to-tire but Osborne bolted out of transition and pulled away from the young Aussie immediately and put nearly two-minutes on him in the first mile of the run.  He went on to post the second-best run time and took the tape in 2:28:38, more than three-minutes ahead of Madsen in second.

“A little bit at a loss for words, really, to be standing up here as the champ,” said Osborne, who was third at XTERRA Worlds last year.  “Going to take it easy for a couple of days and go to Moab and enjoy ourselves here in Utah, but then we’re going back to Boulder and it’s 100% focused on Maui.”

For Madsen, who was just six days removed from winning XTERRA Dominican Republic, the runner-up spot was well earned.

“I believe Sam is the guy to watch in Maui, so I’ve got no excuses, he had a phenomenal day and keeps on raising the bar for all of us,” said Madsen. “I’m really happy with today, and Utah is phenomenal. The temperature was perfect, the trails were in great shape, and this community really gets behind the sport. I always enjoy coming here.”

Rakita finished third, followed by Meehan in fourth and Brian Smith in fifth.

“That was my best result here ever,” said Rakita, a long-time XTERRA elite who as the top American was crowned the XTERRA U.S. Elite Champion today.  “I really need to thank Josiah Middaugh, who has been coaching me to another level.  I think this U.S. title is as much his as it is mine, just so grateful for him, and we’re all rooting for him to do well at the Eco Challenge in Fiji where he’s racing now.”

Of note, Chad Hall posted the fastest run split in 40:43 to finish sixth, and Cane – who entered T2 in first place, faded, but didn’t falter, to finish in seventh.

“I was so happy on the ride, I put everything into that climb,” said Cane.  “I had a good swim and I saw them up the road and I thought, I have to get there. And I got there and was sitting there and thought, ‘Well, it’s going to be hard to run with these guys, so I better give them a run for their money now so I tacked onto the climb and Sam and I got away. That was really good, because I was able to relax into transition. I had a few issues on the run but other than that I am super happy to be here and super happy to finish.”

Elite Men’s Results / Complete Results Photos

Pl Name, NAT Time Pts
1 Sam Osborne, NZL 2:28:38 100
2 Karsten Madsen, CAN 2:32:06 90
3 Branden Rakita, USA 2:34:23 82
4 Mike Meehan, USA 2:36:19 75
5 Brian Smith, USA 2:37:15 69
6 Chad Hall, USA 2:37:43 63
7 Dean Cane, AUS 2:41:02 58
8 Ryan Ignatz, USA 2:42:18 53
9 Trevor Wurtele, CAN 2:44:07 49
10 Evan Pardi 2:45:14 45
11 Brad Zoller, USA 2:46:28 41
12 Nelson Hegg, USA 2:48:20 37
13 Benny Smith, USA 2:48:46 34
14 Will Ross, USA 2:50:46 31
15 Andy Lee, USA 2:53:38 28
Also Alex Willis, Barret Fishner

In the women’s elite race Samantha Kingsford from New Zealand posted the fastest swim of the day, followed one-minute later by Fabiola Corona from Mexico and Americans Suzie Snyder and Julie Baker, then Canadian Heather Wurtele.  Paterson was out of the water sixth more than two-minutes back.

Once on the bike Kingsford extended her lead by posting the fastest split of the day in 1:43:32.

“The bike suited me well, I like riding that kind of technical flowy stuff, and I guess I put about three minutes into the girls by T2 but I didn’t really know because it’s hard to get splits when you’re riding at the front.”

As Kingsford took to the mountain for the run with a big lead on the field it looked like she had the win all wrapped up, but then came Lesley Paterson.

“They don’t call her the ‘Scottish Rocket’ for no reason,” laughed Kingsford.  “That girl can run.  And I knew I had to run at my own pace. I didn’t want to go out too hard and blow up, and still, halfway through the run I hit a bit of a bad patch and then I turned around and there was Lesley. She was looking strong and just flew past me on the hill somewhere around mile four/five. I tried to hold on but couldn’t, and regardless I’m absolutely stoked with my race and how the season’s gone for only being my second year on the circuit.”

Paterson, the three-time XTERRA World Champion, ran more than four minutes faster thank Kingsford to take the tape in 2:55:10.

“I’ve had some pretty good running legs lately,” said Paterson.  “I’ve always come into this race with a lot of durability because of how I phase it with Maui. I don’t have the top hand speed, but I have the strength and I think that showed on the run. Definitely gave me confidence going into Maui, getting that fight back. Sam was going really hard today, we’ve been training together a bit in Boulder so that’s been fun. She’s awesome, and super fun to be around.”

Kingsford held on for second, with Corona in third, and Americans Julie Baker and Suzie Snyder in fourth and fifth.

“I was nervous because I was really tired from the XTERRA Dominican Republic,” said Corona, who won XTERRA Dominican just six days ago.  “I felt good at beginning of the swim, I think I was second out of the water, then Suzie caught me, and I tried to go with her. Then on the last uphill Lesley caught me, and Suzie was stopped, something happened with her wheel. Then I was in third place, and that was my goal to be top three. I am very happy and feel blessed and thankful for XTERRA and to be part of this family.”

Corona is racing four XTERRA events in four countries in four weeks.  Next week it’s XTERRA Japan, and then on September 22 she’ll compete at the inaugural XTERRA Kunming off-road triathlon in China, the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour finale.

“Right now, I’m going to put my legs up and maybe have a beer for recovery and then I’ll look forward to XTERRA Japan next week. It’s crazy but right now, I’m really happy and I’m enjoying this moment,” she said.

By finishing as the top American on the day, Julie Baker took home the women’s XTERRA U.S. Elite title.

“Thrilled to be out here and mixing it up with all these amazing ladies,” said Baker.  “Like Branden, I need to thank Josiah as well, he’s done such a great job preparing me for these tough races.”

Snyder, who was second last week in the Dominican Republic, had her shift lever break which made a brutal climb even harder.

“That happened a little after Green Pond, so I got off a couple times and was trying to figure if I could tighten something, but just couldn’t shift gears going,” said Snyder. “That kind of trashed my legs, and I had nothing going up the first climb on the run, and my legs were cramping. I finally came around towards the end of the run and I saw Maia coming behind me on the last mile and freaked out and just tried to lay it all out in the last mile for that podium spot.”

Positions 3,4,5 and 6 for the women were decided by just about one-minute, with Ignatz posting the second-best run of the day to come in sixth.  Ironman great Heather Wurtele from Canada finished seventh.

Elite Women’s Results / Complete Results Photos

Pl Name, NAT Time Pts
1 Lesley Paterson, GBR 2:55:10 100
2 Samantha Kingsford, NZL 2:56:48 90
3 Fabiola Corona, MEX 3:04:03 82
4 Julie Baker, USA 3:04:32 75
5 Suzie Snyder, USA 3:05:05 69
6 Maia Ignatz, USA 3:05:20 63
7 Heather Wurtele, CAN 3:07:48 58
8 Kara LaPoint, USA 3:09:21 53
9 Jennifer Smith, NZL 3:15:49 49
10 Marta Menditto, ITA 3:17:26 45
11 Katie Button, CAN 3:19:16 41
12 Nicole Valentine, USA 3:20:16 37
13 Kelli Montgomery, USA 3:25:42 34

OSBORNE, KINGSFORD WIN XTERRA PAN AM TOUR TITLES

With the win for Osborne and second place showing for Kingsford, the power couple from New Zealand captured the 2019 XTERRA Pan American Tour elite titles, a dream that started for them at the end of last year.

“It’s crazy to think we set this goal way back last year in December before we even had our visas sorted, and now I’m here in Ogden with five wins and one second and the title,” said Osborne, who won five races – Brazil, Oak Mountain, Victoria, Mexico, and here today in Utah.  His only blemish was a second-place finish to Josiah on his home course.

“I don’t know if I could ask for a better season,” he said. “I really love this Pan Am Tour. You have the mountains here in Ogden and the rocks in Victoria, which were insane, and the single track in ‘Bama, and the crazy jungle in Brazil. It’s awesome this tour, and it shows what a consistent and well-balanced athlete you need to be to perform during the season.”

As the culmination of a 10-stop series of off-road triathlons spanning South and Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada, and the U.S., and with $80,000 in prize money at stake for elites, there was a lot on the line today in Utah and the women’s race was decided today.

“We wanted to try something different,” said Kingsford, who won XTERRA Brazil, was third at Oak Mountain, won XTERRA Victoria, was fourth at Beaver Creek, won XTERRA Mexico, and was second here today.  “My goal was to get top two on the Tour, so to win it is absolutely amazing.”

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