Kiwis Osborne, Kingsford win XTERRA Mexico
Sam Osborne and Samantha Kingsford from New Zealand captured the 12th annual XTERRA Mexico off-road triathlon men’s and women’s elite titles on a beautiful day at Los Reflejos in Tapalpa, Jalisco on Saturday, August 3, 2019.
It's the 12th career XTERRA World Tour win for Osborne and his fifth this season, while it's the fourth XTERRA major title for Kingsford, her third this year.
In the men’s elite race Mexican elite Arturo Rodriguez was first out of the cold, 18-degree, wetsuit-legal swim but his lead was short-lived as Osborne, the XTERRA Pan Am Tour points leader, and Branden Rakita from the U.S. were close behind, followed by Leonard Saucedo, reigning XTERRA World Champ Rom Akerson from Costa Rica, and Karsten Madsen from Canada.
Once on the bike Osborne and Madsen raced to the front and pulled away from the rest of the field. The two arrived at the bike to run transition together and it all came down to the run. Osborne had the faster transition and sprinted the first kilometer to put a gap on Madsen that he held to the finish, crossing the line in two hours, 19 minutes and 31 seconds.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Osborne, who increased his lead in the Tour standings with the win. “On Tuesday I had a crash on the bike while pre-riding and I walloped my knee bad. It was the same knee I hurt at the start of the year in a similar crash, so I didn’t know if I was going to be on the start line. Adrenaline does wonderful things for the body though, so when the race started, I didn’t notice anything. I had a half decent swim, but everyone is a good swimmer here, so I needed to make the ride as hard as possible.”
And make it hard on everyone he did. The Kiwi was up front by himself early on, but Madsen was doing some strong work behind him and caught up by midway and the two rode together.
“Karsten was riding pretty well,” said Osborne. “He bridged the gap before the big climb, and we got into our work together and rode so hard there was no way anyone else was going to bridge across into that. I just hoped I didn’t burn too many matches on the bike, so I still had something to run with.”
Osborne started fast on the run too, and carried it through to the finish, posting the fastest run split and taking the tape 33-seconds ahead of Madsen.
“I know Karsten can run so I just had to believe in myself when we came into T2 together,” said Osborne. “My run training is going well, and I knew if I had a clean transition and put on the pressure straight away I could do it.”
As for his thoughts on the event in general, Osborne said, “It’s unreal. We were driving in and I said to Branden, ‘Where the heck are you taking me?’ It’s the mountains and the race and that’s it. But it was a proper battle out there with the mud and the ride up the side of the mountain. It’s a gnarly trail, and I consider myself a pretty good technical rider, so that should tell you something. I mean, I was trying to dial in a line off a rock. It’s proper hectic.”
Madsen, who posted the fastest run split two weeks ago at XTERRA Beaver Creek, had the fastest bike time today to make it a really exciting two-man race for the tape.
“I made a big falter and couldn’t get my foot in my shoe in T2, because my feet got numb on the ride because you’re going through these cold puddles and putting so much energy in,” said Madsen. “And it took me the whole first loop of the bike to catch Sam. We were pinning it together and he was hanging on my wheel. We kept the tempo high, and for most of the bike I was feeling really good and controlled and was working to keep the altitude in check. I felt good and the power stayed on but on the run, it was so tough. Sam just wasn’t faltering. I emptied the tank to get to him but couldn’t do it.
Madsen’s run split was the second best on the day, just 22-seconds behind Osborne.
“At the end of the day Sam is an athlete I have tremendous respect for,” added Madsen. “I’ve said it before, I think he’s the man to watch in Maui this year so to be slinging with him and throwing hay-makers and making him run hard, that’s extremely motivating. Having guys like Rom Akerson in the field and Paco and Rakita. These are all guys at the highest level and being able to build off Beaver Creek, this is fantastic.”
For Rakita, who has come to Tapalpa for eight straight years, he spent most of the ride and all the run by himself in third place, about two minutes back of the leaders. He said the race was great, but it’s the destination and the people who make the event so special.
“The crew at XTERRA Mexico, Leo and Selene and Los Reflejos, they are absolute fantastic, they put on a first-class event and take such good care of us,” he said. “And it’s a lot of fun and coming here with a big crew and staying in a rental house in the forest together. Such a cool experience. We’re all kind of stumbling and bumbling through with limited Spanish speaking skills, but I love coming down here.”
Rakita has another big event next week, his wedding day on August 9 in Durango, CO.
“Yup, getting married in a week, and I can’t wait to get back to my bride, Briana, who has been such an integral part of everything I’ve done over the last seven years. She means the world to me and is also a big part of the XTERRA family.”
Akerson, like Rakita, was in his own world sitting in fourth most of the morning.
“Well, living on the beach and then coming up to altitude isn’t the smartest thing, but I guess I’d rather win Maui than Mexico,” he joked. “You have to look at the positive side of everything. I’ve got good wins this year (XTERRA Argentina and Chile) and you can’t win everything. And today, those guys killed it. Plus, I think you learn more when you don’t win, and I’m for sure going to go back home and train harder and come into Maui as strong as I can. There’s not much else to say, except thank God Maui is at sea level.”
Rounding out the top five was former Olympian Francisco Serrano, who was coming off an injury and hadn’t run in nearly two weeks.
“I’m really just happy to have finished and to be healthy, enjoy the experience, and support XTERRA Mexico. It was such a beautiful day, and a really great field of elites who are racing at a really high level.”
Elite Men Results
Place Name, NAT Time Points
1 Sam Osborne, NZL 2:19:31 100
2 Karsten Madsen, CAN 2:20:04 90
3 Branden Rakita, USA 2:23:55 82
4 Rom Akerson, CRC 2:28:08 75
5 Francisco Serrano, MEX 2:33:08 69
6 Leonardo Saucedo, MEX 2:34:06 63
7 Arturo Rodriguez, MEX 3:09:26 58
In the women’s elite race Mexican Sofia Rodrigues, in her XTERRA professional debut, had the fastest swim, followed by Samantha Kingsford from New Zealand, Suzie Snyder from the U.S., the 2018 Pan Am Tour Champ Fabiola Corona from Mexico, and Valentina Carvalho from Chile.
As the race transitioned to the hills on the bike Kingsford and Corona took to the front, and it wasn’t until the last sections of the bike when Corona got a 50-second gap on Kingsford and was first on to the run. Kingsford showed a great burst of speed in the first 5K to erase that deficit and take the lead, which she held to the finish with a winning time of two hours, 49 minutes, and 33 seconds.
“I didn’t feel very good yesterday so I was thinking today would be a shamble,” said Kingsford. “But there weren’t many punchy climbs and you could get into a good rhythm even though it was extremely muddy. I passed Rodrigues quickly on the bike and Suzie and Fabiola were coming up fast. Fabiola and I stayed together on the bike, to-ing and fro-ing. She got a little bit of a gap on me on the rocky section, showed her experience on her home trail. Coming into transition I knew I had to keep as close as I could to her and managed to slowly catch her on the run and kept going. Instead of being the hunted, hunting someone down kind of pushes you a bit more.”
As for Corona, she said she gave everything she had and was happy to do so well in front of her family and friends in Tapalpa, where she spent her childhood playing in the hills.
“That was tough,” said Corona. “I caught Samantha and we were fighting each other the whole time, and I was able to get a gap of about one minute on the downhill, but Samantha is a good runner, so I needed a bigger gap. And then I had a long transition because I put on socks, just because I prefer to be comfortable than have blisters. It was almost at the end of the first loop when Samantha caught me and even then, I was pushing to catch her, but I didn’t. I’m happy with second place here with my family, the weather was perfect, and I feel very good. A lot of people were here to cheer me on so that was very good and like gasoline for me.”
Snyder, the reigning XTERRA U.S. Champ and two-time winner of XTERRA Mexico (2016-2017), won XTERRA Beaver Creek at altitude two weeks ago and was solid all around today but said she just couldn’t get enough oxygen to fuel her legs to victory here.
“I was in striking distance through the first half of the bike but then they pulled away, my legs just wouldn’t go,” said Snyder, who pushed through the anguish to run home into third place. “I really did have to mentally push myself to get through today, because my body wouldn’t go as fast as I wanted it to.”
Valentina Carvallo finished fourth, and Laura Mira from Brazil rounded out the top five.
Place Name, NAT Time Points
1 Samantha Kingsford, NZL 2:49:33 100
2 Fabiola Corona, MEX 2:50:06 90
3 Suzie Snyder, USA 2:56:39 82
4 Valentina Carvallo, CHI 3:11:47 75
5 Laura Mira, BRA 3:45:51 69
6 Sofia Rodriguez ,MEX 3:51:58 63
ALL-TIME XTERRA MEXICO CHAMPIONS
2019 (Tapalpa) Sam Osborne, Samantha Kingsford
2018 (Tapalpa) Josiah Middaugh, Fabiola Corona
2017 (Tapalpa) Josiah Middaugh, Suzie Snyder
2016 (Tapalpa) Rom Akerson, Suzie Snyder
2015 (Tapalpa) Josiah Middaugh, Fabiola Corona
2014 (Tapalpa) Irving Perez, Fabiola Corona
2013 (Tapalpa) Leonardo Chacon, Fabiola Corona
2012 (Tapalpa) Francisco Serrano, Renata Bucher
2011 (Tapalpa) Seth Wealing, Shonny Vanlandingham
2010 (Valle de Bravo) Seth Wealing, Fabiola Corona
2009 (Valle de Bravo) Seth Wealing, Shonny Vanlandingham
2006 (Puerto Vallarta) Francisco Serrano, Jamie Whitmore
Osborne, Kingsford Lead Pan Am Tour Standings
Today’s event was the 8th of 10 stops on the XTERRA Pan American Tour, and an important gold race that helped shape the leaderboard heading into the final two stops at XTERRA Dominican Republic before the finale in Utah on September 7. Osborne and Kingsford retained their lead atop the standings, and elites count their best six scores to determine final positions.
PAN AM TOUR ELITE STANDINGS
After 8, as of 8.3.19
PL NAME, NAT TOT AR CH BR OM VC QC BC MX
1 Sam Osborne, NZL 465 x x 100 100 75 x 90 100
2 Josiah Middaugh, USA 332 x x x 90 67 75 100 x
3 Branden Rakita, USA 321 x x x 63 56 51 69 82
4 Karsten Madsen, CAN 300 x x x x 61 67 82 90
5 Will Ross, USA 260 43 56 x x 51 61 49 x
6 Rom Akerson, CRC 225 75 75 x x x x x 75
7 Kieran McPherson, NZL 216 67 67 x 82 x x x x
8 Felipe Moletta, BRA 212 61 61 90 x x x x x
9 Alejandro Bulacio, ARG 156 51 47 58 x x x x x
10 Rafael Juriti, BRA 153 39 51 63 x x x x x
11 Evan Pardi, USA 146 x x x 58 47 x 41 x
12 Brian Smith, USA 122 x x x 69 x x 53 x
13 Elliot Bach, USA 120 x x x 75 x x 45 x
14 Ryan Ignatz, USA 112 x x x 49 x x 63 x
15 Alex Roberts, NZL 99 56 43 x x x x x x
16 Alex Rhodes, GBR 85 36 x 49 x x x x x
17 Sebastian Neef, GER 82 x x 82 x x x x x
18 Diogo Malagon, BRA 75 x x 75 x x x x x
19 Mike Meehan, USA 75 x x x x x x 75 x
20 Marcus Fernandez, BRA 69 x x 69 x x x x x
21 Francisco Serrano, MEX 69 x x x x x x x 69
22 Leonardo Saucedo, MEX 63 x x x x x x x 63
23 Brad Zoller, USA 58 x x x x x x 58 x
24 Arturo Rodriguez, MEX 58 x x x x x x x 58
25 Edmond Roy, CAN 56 x x x x x 56 x x
26 Hugo Barbosa, BRA 53 x x 53 x x x x x
27 Walter Schafer, USA 53 x x x 53 x x x x
28 Lucas Mendez, ARG 47 47 x x x x x x x
29 Matthew Alford, USA 47 x x x x x 47 x x
30 Raul Furtado, BRA 45 x x 45 x x