World Xterra Champ In Wanaka For Red Bull Defiance This W/e

Postby Rik on Thu 19/Jan/17 10:56am

Wanaka’s Braden Currie and US-based 2015 World XTERRA Champion Josiah Middaugh may as well be called the unbeatables, as between them they have dominated just about every endurance sport on the planet. Usually they are intense rivals in the world of off-road racing, but for the first time ever they will join forces to take on 65 other teams at this weekend’s two-day sold-out race, Red Bull Defiance (Jan 21-22).

Currie and Middaugh will race more than 150km across eight private, stunningly scenic high country stations, traversing some of the most varied terrain ever open to a multisport event. Battling greater Wanaka by mountain bike, on foot and in kayaks, they will also test the unusual elements of abseiling and clay bird shooting.

Defiance allows local athletes to compete with the worlds best multisport talent, racing in one of four categories: Elite Men’s ($10,000), Elite Women’s ($10,000), Elite Mixed ($10,000), and Sports (Amateur). With the finish line taking over Wanaka’s waterfront, spectators are invited to cheer on familiar faces as well as international endurance legends, with the winning athletes expected to break the tape around 1pm.

Renowned Senior Sport Scientist (Physiology) at High Performance Sport New Zealand, Dr Daniel Plews, will provide expert comment on the challenges the body encounters as it endures a difficult race. These challenged will be increased by the weather swaying Wanaka this week.

“It’s been a windy few weeks in Wanaka, some might call it relentless.” Says Race Manager Sally Currie.

“The prevailing wind is the northwesterly, which makes for challenging conditions for competitors if they are pushing against it. We expect a weather bomb to hit this week with severe gale force winds and heavy rain; however, we should be left with a window of race friendly weather. Athletes will be racing at high intensity up to 11 hours per day, the cooler temps will be preferable.”

As an endurance athlete, Currie’s phenomenal achievements are well documented in New Zealand. A three-time Coast-to-Coast winner, his recent results have seen him amass championship titles in national Olympic distance triathlon; long distance triathlon and claim the 2016 Asia Pacific XTERRA crown. He is in sensational form this summer, successfully defending his IRONMAN 70.3 Taupo title and smashing the course record for the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman by more than two minutes.

Middaugh might be less known in Kiwi-land, but he is one hell of an athlete. Middaugh is the 2015 XTERRA World Champion; 12-time XTERRA USA National Champion; 6-time USSSA National Snowshoe Champion, 10-time Go Pro Mountain Games, and Ultimate Mountain Challenge Champion. Most of his racing is individual, so he is looking forward to the novelty of having Currie as a teammate instead of a fellow competitor.

“Braden is an amazing athlete with plenty of raw talent, a great work ethic, and he is a fierce competitor.” Say’s Middaugh, who also has a few concerns about his Red Bull Defiance teammate.

“Honestly I am a little worried that racing with him will be just as painful as competing against him. He has been on fire lately in his triathlons so I just hope I don't slow him down.”
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