XTERRA Maui 2011

Winners Michael Weiss and Lesley Paterson proved their previous runner-up finishes were not the ceiling of their abilities. Melanie McQuaid showed courage in her all out quest to win her 4th XTERRA World title before collapsing in the final mile. Lance Armstrong said he will come back and pace his race better. Four-time XTERRA World Champion Conrad Stoltz was beaten by his asthma. And 675 XTERRA athletes enjoyed the formidable challenge of the new World Championship course in Kapalua under the heartbreakingly beautiful blue skies of Maui.

All photographs © by Timothy Carlson

Austrian 2004 Olympic mountain biker Michael Weiss wasn't satisfied with his 2nd, 3rd and 3rd placer finishes at Maui. So he uncorked a dominating 1:19:32 bike and won his first XTERRA world title.

Jimmy Riccitello won the first XTERRA World Championship in 1996, and offers some of his wisdom to good friend Juan Pelota aka Lance Armstrong

XTERRA Maui starts with the Star Spangled banner and a traditional Hawaiian blessing.

Six hundred age groupers and 75 pros charge into the tropical blue waters of Kapalua.

Lance Armstrong emerges from the swim just 35 seconds back of Jan Frodeno's 20:24.

Marion Lorblanchet of France swam 24:17, biked 1:37:12 and ran 46:50 to finish 2:09 behind winner Lesley Paterson -- improving on her 3rd place finish of 2010.

XTERRA armies hit the beach.

Beijing Olympic men's triathlon champion Jan Frodeno said he was just on vacation. But he had a TV helicopter escort as he started the day close to the front.

Josiah Middaugh had the second fastest bike split, just 91 seconds slower than Michi Weiss, but Middaugh said he didn’t have his run legs and finished 4th.

Lesley Paterson suffered a flat and finished the bike a seemingly impossible 6 minutes back of Melanie McQuaid. But her 43:54 run matched the men's winner and propelled her to the lead with a mile to go.

Dan Hugo carried the flag for South Africa when asthma attacks took Conrad Stoltz out of the game. At the end, Hugo was 33 seconds out of the victory.

Lance Armstrong took the lead about 4 miles into the bike and held on until Michi Weiss made a surge at Mile 14. Ultimately, Lance said he paid the price for redlining the swim and the bike and fell back to 23rd place.

Brian Astell charged through the trees on his way to 35th place.

Michael Weiss started the run with a 45 seconds lead and held off Dan Hugo by 33 seconds for the win.

Like Michael Weiss, 3-time XTERRA World Champion Eneko Llanos was on a mission to atone for a DNF at Kona two weeks prior. To a lesser degree, the Spaniard did so with a 3rd place finish.

Llanos' countryman Ivan Rana, the 2002 ITU Olympic distance World Champion and 5th place finisher at the Beijing Olympics, parlayed the 4th fastest 42:26 run to 5th place in his XTERRA debut.

Olivier Marceau of Switzerland, the 2000 ITU Olympic distance World Champion and 2004, 2006 and 2007 XTERRA Worlds runner-up, placed 6th.

Lesley Paterson tumbled on the rocks with a mile to go but jumped right up to take the win.

Sadly, Melanie McQuaid's brave quest to take her 4th XTERRA World Championship ended when she collapsed a quarter mile from the finish.

Renata Bucher of Switzerland celebrated her 4th place finish by jumping in the Ritz Carlton pool.