Despite some last minute course changes to make the bike stage a little shorter, the 2011 running of the Xterra Canadian Open Championship went pretty smoothly on Sunday, Sept. 4.
For athletes doing the full Championship distance the day started with a 1.5km swim in Alta Lake with a short running section between laps. From there it made two laps of a west side bike course that included Whip Me Snip Me, Rainbow Flank, Bob's ReBob, Get Over It, Bart's Dark Trail and A River Runs Through It. A section of Bob's ReBob, Emerald Forest and the start of River were cut from the course at the last minute. The run leg was 12km, including North Danimal, Beaver Pond, 99er, Mid-Danimal, Lower Sproatt and A La Mode, 99er, Mid-Danimal again and then lower Lower Sproatt to the finish at Nita Lake Lodge.
The men's race was once again a two-way battle for first between Josiah Middaugh of Vail and Edmonton's Mike Vine. In the end, Middaugh would take the win by close to two minutes with a time of two hours, 38 minutes and 46 seconds. He was eighth out of the water, third fastest on the bike and second fastest on the run.
There was some jockeying on the first lap of the bike course, but by the end of the first bike lap Middaugh was in front.
"It was a pretty awesome course (this year)," said Middaugh. "They took out all of the road, all of it was on the trail, in the woods, and it was action-packed - really technical from start to finish, which was pretty exciting. You had to stay pretty focused."
Middaugh said it helped to get in a few practice rides on the bike course before the race, but he still had no idea where the other riders were.
"I just tried to ride things clean," he said.
"It was hard to tell if you were putting a gap or not. On the run course I figured Mike Vine would be running hard because it's a good course for him."
Vine came out of the water five spots behind Middaugh and was slightly slower than Middaugh in both the bike and run leg to finish in 2:40:34. Seth Wealing of Colorado - second in the swim and first in the run - was third in 2:43:26 with a slower bike leg.
The top female once again was Vancouver Island's Melanie McQuaid, who came in 14th overall in 3:05:41. She was 16th overall, male and female, on both the swim and bike leg, but fell off the pace slightly in the run.