On Sunday March 29th a stellar international field of professional off-road triathletes as well as hundreds of adventurous amateurs will test their limits at the Xterra Costa Rica off-road triathlon championship. It will be my first triathlon of the year, and my first time racing outside of the US.The professional women’s field is loaded with talent, but the favorite has to be 3-time world champion Lesley Paterson of Scotland. Out of the water, she’ll be hard pressed to catch a pair of North American super swimmers, Christine Jeffrey of Canada and American on-road specialist Sara McLarty, but she’s very strong on the mountain bike as she showed with last week’s top-10 US Cup finish. Emma Garrard, also from the United States will look to keep the momentum going from her stellar 2014 season, where she took the Xterra England title. Professional athletes from Brazil and Italy round out the stacked field.
On the men’s side Josiah Middaugh is the man to beat. In 2014, he won the Xterra USA series championship and was the runner up at the Xterra and ITU cross world championships. Fellow American Craig Evans finished 2nd at the 2012 ITU cross world championship and will look to build an insurmountable lead on the swim and bike. Mauricio Mendez, a phenom from Mexico who finished 5th at the Xterra world championships last year as a first-year pro, and recently placed second at Xterra Philippines and third at IM70.3 Monterrey, will be mixing it up at the top as well. The 2014 Costa Rican national champion Rom Akerson will look to harness the home field advantage and delight the crowd by taking victory. I’m thrilled to toe the line with the illustrious field that also includes athletes from Italy and Germany, drawn for an early-season test in the stunning venue.
Here’s a recap of the action from 2014:
In addition to the pro race, a strong field of amateurs will compete for 25 coveted slots at the 2015 Xterra World Championships in Maui, HI. Xterra Costa Rica also features a sprint off-road triathlon as well as 6k, 10k, and 21k trail runs.
A special thanks to Race Quest Travel for providing accommodations, travel, and logistical support for international athletes.