Hugo, Paterson Win XTERRA In Richmond

June 9th, 2013

Hugo, Paterson Win XTERRA In Richmond

In a window of magnificent weather bookended by tropical storm Andrea and a tornado, the XTERRA Tribe snuck in a day of exciting urban adventure racing at the 15th annual XTERRA East Championship

June 9, 2013 (Richmond, VA) – Dan Hugo and Lesley Paterson won the XTERRA East Championship pro race on a beautiful day at James River Park in Richmond, Virginia on Sunday.

In contrast, tropical storm Andrea on Friday and another storm front that came in Saturday morning dumped two inches or more of rain on Richmond and combined to create fast currents and flood level river heights in the James forcing the cancellation of the swim. Fortunately, several hours of bright sunshine starting Saturday afternoon and into Sunday morning dried up the trails and the full, epic Richmond bike course was still a go.

The swim was replaced with a 1.6 mile run, followed by the 20-mile bike and final 6-mile run (which was also re-routed to replace the “dry way” section that was under water).

The change in format from a triathlon to a run-bike-run duathlon changed the dynamic of the race, stealing the advantage from the strong swimmers and handing it over to the fleet of foot.  It’s the second time in the 15-year history of the event the swim was cancelled, last time was 2003.

Regardless of the format, the day seemed destined to belong to Hugo, who captured his first XTERRA Championship since winning the South Africa title in 2011.  The 27-year-old from Stellenbosch was the first out of T1 and posted the fastest bike split by more than six minutes to fellow South African Brad Weiss.

“It’s much easier to win when the sports icon is commentating, or staying home in Vail, so a big respect to Conrad (Stoltz) and Josiah (Middaugh),” Hugo told the crowd moments after breaking the tape. “I really love this course and it’s gotten better.  There was a nutty bunch on two of the rock sections going crazy.  I thought the cannon was loud, but then when I got through to those boys the cannon seemed OK.”

Hugo is referring to a raucous bunch of bike and trail fanatics known as “Foghorn Leghorn Productions” who annually throw a trail party at the trickiest section in Buttermilk Heights known as “Rock Face.”  They blast music, BBQ, dress in costumes, scream, shout encouragement, and blast on vuvuzela’s to the delight of riders all day long.

Hugo’s victory was cause for celebration for his friends, family, and XTERRA fans worldwide as it broke a noteworthy string of 13 runner-up finishes in his previous 14 XTERRA races.  It’s fitting the win came here in Richmond as well.  He had a broken wrist and couldn’t race his first year here (following a crash in Alabama).  He posted three runner-ups in Richmond (twice to Stoltz, once to Middaugh) and last year at this time he was in a sling, “a total mess,” he said, after crashing on the road earlier in the season.

“So many friends and family have said to me over the last three years ‘today is your day’, and it just hadn’t wanted to be, but today was my day.  Not just for myself, but for everybody who has shared in the long, slow journey, thank you so much for your support over the years,” said Hugo at the awards ceremony in front of some of his best friends and even a grade-school buddy from South Africa he hadn’t seen in years.

“I’d also like to thank Luck Stone (Richmond-based presenting sponsor of the East Championship). It’s incredible to see on their truck the motto “Ignite Human Potential,” and I couldn’t think of a better phrase to take home from today.  They’ve pioneered a new frontier, and it’s great to be a part of that and I look forward to seeing what they have up their sleeve next year.”

Luck Stone covered the race with live streaming video, GPS trackers on the pros, and a social media map of the course while Conrad Stoltz’ provided the play-by-play and color for the day in what is assuredly the best live coverage the sport has ever seen.

The coverage must have created some anxious moments for the fans of Brad Weiss, Ryan Ignatz, and Nick Fisher as those three battled nearly all day long on the bike and run.  Ultimately, Ignatz broke free from the group at the famous “Mayan Ruins” section of the run and finished second – his best result in a major XTERRA.

“I was getting blown-up on that ride, and was lucky to be able to hang with those guys,” said Ignatz.  “Then on the run Brad pushed really hard in the beginning and it wasn’t until the stairs when I starting pulling away.  It’s pretty exciting, best result in a national series race and to be able to work all week and show up for the weekend like this…it feels great.”

Ignatz is a full-time bike fitter back home in Boulder and of note, his wife Maia (a full-time massage therapist) won the women’s age group title today.

Weiss pulled past Fisher for third, his best result in a U.S. race.  Fisher took 4th, his second top 5 in this his first year racing pro.  Will Kelsay passed four guys to get into 5th place, the second year-in-a-row for him on the podium in Richmond.

Craig Evans was in that trio of guys on the bike before taking a spill just before the tunnels coming out of Forest Hill Park on the second lap.  The crash was captured by a couple of photographers (see here). When he went down, Weiss, Fisher, and Ignatz rode by but Evans shook-it off and got back in the mix.  Andy Lee, who won the age group race in Richmond last year, passed Evans in the end to take 6th – his best finish as a pro.

Evans came across in 7th, followed by 21-year-old Karsten Madsen from Canada who raced with a hyperextended elbow, then Branden Rakita and Ryan DeCook.

Pl Name Age Hometown Time
1 Dan Hugo 27 Stellenbosch, RSA 2:12:47
2 Ryan Ignatz 34 Boulder, Colorado 2:18:30
3 Bradley Weiss 24 Somerset West, RSA 2:19:07
4 Nick Fisher 27 Ogden, Utah 2:21:54
5 Will Kelsay 32 Boulder, Colorado 2:24:15
6 Andy Lee 41 Lakeway, Texas 2:25:09
7 Craig Evans 35 Hendersonville, Tennessee 2:25:25
8 Karsten Madsen 21 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada 2:25:53
9 Branden Rakita 32 Colorado Springs, CO 2:26:42
10 Ryan DeCook 32 Rochester, Michigan 2:27:31
Also: Cody Waite (41), Tim Snow (37), Brad Zoller (34)


“Who says I’m not a mountain biker,” Paterson exclaimed moments after crossing the finish line.

That may have been the wrap on Paterson two years ago, but not anymore.  She proved once again today her XTERRA success is about more than just fitness.  Today she hung with arguably the best mountain biker in the sport – Shonny Vanlandingham – on a slippery, technical course and posted the second-best split of the day while riding behind Vanlandingham for much of the race.

“My goal was to really go out there and enjoy it and try to keep my focus,” said Paterson, who has now won six straight XTERRA championships.  “Shonny passed me going into the second lap so I was really pleased to have fended off the other people. I rode with her for most of the lap and to be honest it was really fun, we chatted around the lap and she was giving me encouragement all the way, which is XTERRA Style.  Yeah, she’s my favorite athlete by far.”

Paterson continued to praise Vanlandingham at the awards ceremony where she thanked the 2010 World Champion for “giving me her lines.”

“It was a tough course, really was gnarly, and I only came off once,” said Paterson.

Vanlandingham crushed the bike, and headed out on the run with the lead, albeit short-lived as the “Scottish Rocket” flew by about a mile into it.

“I was trying to emulate her form as she passed,” smiled Vanlandingham, who said she feels really good with her run and is finally getting back from the knee surgeries that slowed her down since 2011.

Brandi Heisterman posted her second straight 3rd-place finish spurred by another great day on the mountain bike.  With the trails closed the past two days and this being her first time to Richmond, Heisterman hadn’t ever ridden on these trails before this morning.

“Lovey, love, loved that course,” exclaimed Heisterman, who rode in second behind Paterson for a while.  “Killed me not to know it on the first lap, wasn’t in the right gear and got caught off guard at Hodson ramp, but I got it right the second time around. The crowd was awesome, the cheering was amazing.”

Melanie McQuaid finished in fourth, her 13th straight year in the top 4, and Danelle Kabush rounded out the top five.

Pl Name Age Hometown Time
1 Lesley Paterson 32 San Diego, California 2:30:40
2 Shonny Vanlandingham 43 Durango, Colorado 2:33:23
3 Brandi Heisterman 38 Brackendale, B.C., Canada 2:36:06
4 Melanie McQuaid 39 Victoria, B.C., Canada 2:38:33
5 Danelle Kabush 37 Calgary, Canada 2:38:53
6 Suzie Snyder 31 Fredericksburg, Virginia 2:41:41
7 Christine Jeffrey 41 Tucson, Arizona 2:56:21
8 Katie Button 28 Victoria, B.C., Canada 2:56:55
9 Caroline Colonna 49 Taos, New Mexico 2:59:52
10 Catherine Sterling 36 West Boylston, Mass. 3:00:54


Lesley Paterson stayed perfect in the pro series, and will enter Nationals with a perfect 300 score. Pros count their best three of four regionals (there’s one left – the Mountani Championship at Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, CO on July 20) plus their score at the USA Championship in Utah to determine the Series winner.

Craig Evans leads the men’s series with the best three combined scores of the year so far.

Here’s a look at the standings:

2013 XTERRA U.S. Pro Series Standings (after 3)
Pl Name West S’East East Totals
1 Craig Evans 63 82 58 203
2 Josiah Middaugh 100 100 DNS 200
3 Branden Rakita 82 63 49 194
4 Dan Hugo DNS 90 100 190
5 Nick Fisher 37 69 75 181
6 Will Kelsay 49 58 69 176
7 Ryan Ignatz 75 DNS 90 165
8 Bradley Weiss DNS 75 82 157
9 Matt Mangen 53 53 DNS 106
10 Andy Lee DNS 37 63 100
11 Jason Michalak 58 34 DNS 92
12 Conrad Stoltz 90 DNF DNS 90
13 Cody Waite DNS 45 41 86
14 Matt Lieto 69 DNS DNS 69
15 Tim Snow DNS 31 37 68
16 Karsten Madsen DNS DNS 53 53
17 Chris Ganter DNF 49 DNS 49
18 Brian Astell 45 DNS DNS 45
19 Ryan DeCook DNS DNP 45 45
20 Lewis Elliot 41 DNS DNS 41
21 Will Ross DNP 41 DNS 41
22 Matthew Sheeks 34 DNS DNS 34
23 Brad Zoller DNS DNS 34 34
24 Zach Winter 31 DNS DNS 31
25 Damian Gonzalez 28 DNP DNS 28
26 Tom Eickelbert DNS 28 DNS 28
27 Joshua Merrick DNP DNS DNS
Pl Name West S’East East Totals
1 Lesley Paterson 100 100 100 300
2 Shonny Vanlandingham 82 75 90 247
3 Melanie McQuaid 75 90 75 240
4 Suzie Snyder 90 69 63 222
5 Brandi Heisterman 41 82 82 205
6 Danelle Kabush 69 58 69 196
7 Christine Jeffrey 31 53 58 142
8 Caroline Colonna 37 45 49 131
9 Emma Garrard 58 63 DNS 121
10 Katie Button DNS 49 53 102
11 Kelley Cullen 63 DNS DNS 63
12 Jaime Brede 53 DNS DNS 53
13 Jen Gersbach-Venzara 49 DNS DNS 49
14 Tamara Donelson 45 DNS DNS 45
15 Catherine Sterling DNS DNS 45 45
16 Heather Holmes DNS 41 DNS 41
17 Rachel Challis 34 DNS DNS 34
18 Lauren Harrison 28 DNS DNS 28
DNS Did Not Start
DNF Did Not Finish
DNP Did Not Place


Alex Modestou won his division for the third time in a row at the XTERRA East Championship, and took the overall men’s amateur title as well.

Maia Ignatz, the 2011 XTERRA 30-34 World Champion, won the overall women’s title in her first time on the Richmond course.

There were several repeat champions, highlighted by Kathy Coutinho who won her division for the ninth time since 2001.

Valerie Hardin won her seventh Richmond crown, followed by Annette Macniven and Nat Grew with four, Ali Arasta with his third straight, and Daryl Weaver with his second in a row.

Here’s a look at all the age group champions from today…

Division Name Time Hometown
15  – 19 Hannah Rae Finchamp 3:08:11 Altadena, CA
20 – 24 Allison Linnell 3:32:38 Miami, FL
30 – 34 *Maia Ignatz 2:52:35 Boulder, CO
35 – 39 Kristen Mihalic 3:21:03 Albuquerque, NM
40 – 44 Kathy Coutinho (9) 3:05:50 Annandale, VA
45 – 49 Celeste St. Pierre 3:33:47 Lincoln, NH
50 – 54 Valerie Hardin (7) 3:26:55 Doylestown, PA
55 – 59 Annette Macniven (4) 4:23:18 Wainscott, NY
Division Name Time Hometown
15 – 19 Roman Brown 2:50:54 Shoreham, NY
20 – 24 Thomas Canzano 4:07:50 Farmington, NM
25 – 29 *Alex Modestou (3) 2:27:06 Washington DC
30 – 34 Joshua Loren 2:45:08 Wilmington, DE
35 – 39 Noah Wright 2:37:25 Austin, TX
40 – 44 Daryl Weaver (2) 2:28:35 Lititz, PA
45 – 49 Todd Gottfried 2:39:43 Valencia, CA
50 – 54 Ali Arasta (3) 2:49:03 Asheboro, NC
55 – 59 Cliff Millemann 2:51:33 Davis, CA
60 – 64 Russell Clark 3:30:17 Scotia, NY
65 – 69 Terry Hutchins 4:05:26 Kalamazoo, MI
75 – 79 Nathaniel Grew (4) 4:55:31 Costa Rica

TEAM Unlimited is a Hawaii-based television events and marketing company, founded in 1988.  It owns and produces XTERRA and in 2013 will offer more than 300 XTERRA off-road triathlon and trail running races in 18 countries worldwide.  In the U.S. alone nearly 200,000 participants took part in the XTERRA lifestyle last year.  In addition, TEAM TV has produced more than 300 adventure television shows resulting in three Emmy’s and 42 Telly Awards for production excellence since 1990.  View samples at, and learn more at and

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Hugo, Paterson Win XTERRA In Richmond

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Trey Garman

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