Stoltz, McQuaid win in Ogden

Conrad Stoltz and Melanie McQuaid crossed the line first at the XTERRA USA National Championships in Ogden,Utah; but Josiah Middaugh and Shonny Vanlandingham were crowned as the new US XTERRA Champions.

The men

A beautiful fall day greeted the athletes at the start of the XTERRA USA Championships at the Snowbasin Resort in Ogden, Utah. Seth Wealing and Brandon Rakita set the pace during the swim and led the Pro men out of the water.

Once on the bikes it was quickly clear that it would be the day of Conrad Stoltz. Down about a minute after the swim, the South African stormed through the field and was already in the lead after only a few miles. By the time Stoltz reached the second transition his lead over the closest chaser had grown to well over 5 minutes.

From there the South African cruised through the final 6.5 mile trail run and captured another fine win. Nicolas Lebrun was in second place after the bike and also managed to hold on to that position on the podium. Josiah Middaugh had it a bit tougher and had to chase down Felix Schumann and Dan Hugo to take third place. But as the top placing American he also earned the Stars and Stripes jersey. Conrad Stolz was rewarded for his consistency with the win in the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series.

"I’m really, really surprised with my performance today," said Stoltz. "I’ve said before that this is the anti-Conrad course because there are 3,000-feet of climbing and not a whole lot of descending, and because I’m 180 pounds it is especially challenging for me, but my legs felt amazing and the Specialized 29’er I was riding was incredible, it just rolled over all the roots and rocks."

The women

Christine Jeffrey not only beat all the Pro women out of the water, the Canadian also managed to drop most of the Pro men with her time of 21:42. The bigger surprise though was the relatively fast swim time of fellow Canadian Melanie McQuaid - who exited the water in second position.

McQuaid then put the hammer down on the bike and recorded the fastest bike split in the women's field. Shonny Vanlandingham also had a fast bike split (39 seconds slower than McQuaid), but had lost over 3 minutes to her nemesis during the swim. Vanlandingham actually had more to worry about fast running Scot Lesley Paterson behind her, who after a solid swim and bike was now only 3 minutes behind the American.

Up front though it was McQuaid that captured the win and so far has been doing great in most of her key races. Paterson ran down Vanlandingham and added almost another 2 minutes ahead to grab the second spot. Vanlandingham though earned the final podium spot and as the top American the US Champion title. Thanks to a very consistent series she also was awarded the XTERRA USA Series Championships.

"I’ve gotten the ones I wanted – the XTERRA European Championship in Italy, the XTERRA Canada Championship, this one, and now I want Worlds," said McQuaid. "I just need to get back to work and see what I got in a month from now."

XTERRA USA Championships
Snowbasin Resort / Ogden, Utah / September 25, 2010
1 mile swim / 19 mile mountain bike / 6.5 mile trail run.

Top 10 men

1. Conrad Stoltz (RSA) 2:24:03
2. Nicolas Lebrun (FRA) 2:29:02
3. Josiah Middaugh (USA) 2:29:38 **
4. Dan Hugo (RSA) 2:29:44
5. Felix Schumann (GER) 2:30:03
6. Seth Wealing (USA) 2:32:17
7. Branden Rakita (USA) 2:36:41
8. Cody Waite (USA) 2:37:29
9. Will Kelsay (USA) 2:37:40
10. Jason Michalak (USA) 2:40:20 *AG M30-34

Top 10 women

1. Melanie McQuaid (CAN) 2:49:57
2. Lesley Paterson (GBR) 2:51:39
3. Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) 2:53:29 **
4. Jennifer Smith (NZL) 2:57:23
5. Christine Jeffrey (CAN) 2:58:00
6. Renata Bucher (SUI) 2:58:39
7. Sara Tarkington (USA) 2:58:52
8. Emma Garrard (USA) 3:02:02
9. Suzie Snyder (USA) 3:02:37
10. Carina Wasle (AUT) 3:02:59

** = USA National Champions