Kiwi duo head to the Rockies to race at altitude
Rotorua triathletes Sam Osborne and Samantha Kingsford take on one of the toughest challenges in the Pan Am Xterra series this weekend in Avon, Colorado. They are out to maintain their series lead in the thin air of the XTERRA Beaver Creek off-road triathlon that is being raced at an altitude of 2300m. The altitude alone means the Colorado Rockies provides one of sports' toughest challenges.
The Beaver Creek course boasts the highest elevation of any major on the XTERRA World Tour and starts with a one-mile swim in the cold waters of Nottingham Lake, 24 km of mountain biking that gains 610m in 8km, peaking out at 2900m, then on to a 10km trail run which breaks down into essentially two big 150m climbs.
Osborne says “The course at Beavercreek is a tough one, no doubt about it,” said 2015 XTERRA World Champ Josiah Middaugh, who lives nearby and helped design the course.
Osborne comes up against Josiah Middaugh who won five straight races at Beaver Creek before 2016 XTERRA World Champ Mauricio Mendez stole the title away from him last year. Osborne brings some hot form winning his last four races including three in a row on the Pan Am Tour.
Osborne, winner of the last two XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour titles, moved to the U.S. and based himself in Boulder, Colorado for the 2019 season with the goal to win the Pan Am Tour this year.
In the elite women’s event, current Pan Am XTERRA series leader Kiwi Samantha Kingsford, also from Rotorua, comes up against the reigning XTERRA USA Champ Suzie Snyder from Nevada, and the 2016 XTERRA Beaver Creek winner Julie Baker from California.
Kingsford won XTERRA Brazil, was third at XTERRA Oak Mountain behind Snyder and Lesley Paterson and won XTERRA Victoria on July 7 ahead of Snyder.
Like Osborne, it’s the first time Kingsford has taken on the Rockies.