Madsen, Snyder win XTERRA Victoria

Monday 10 July 2017
Karsten Madsen and Suzie Snyder captured the XTERRA Victoria Championship titles on a gorgeous day around Durrance Lake in British Columbia, Canada this morning.

It’s the second straight win in Victoria for Madsen and the fourth victory this season for Snyder, the reigning XTERRA Pan America Tour Champion.  Both Madsen, from Canada, and Snyder, from the U.S., led from start-to-finish and took the tape with winning times of 2:08:36 and 2:29:35, respectively.

“It was nice to defend and get my 3rd career major title for sure,” exclaimed Madsen. “I pushed the first lap of the swim then settled in for the second loop. I’ve committed a lot of time to riding BC single track and I was very confident in my technical riding so I was able to stay on the pace of the days best ride (Chris Ganter had the fastest bike split of the day with a 1:05:29, three seconds quicker than Madsen). On the run, I felt relaxed and strong and just stayed focused on making smart decisions. I take a lot of pride in racing in Canada and always want to defend home soil. I’m thrilled to get the win.”

Jean-Philippe Thibodeau (CAN) and Branden Rakita (USA) finished second and third in the elite men’s race, while Morgane Riou from France passed last year’s Victoria Champ Katie Button (CAN) on the run to take the runner-up spot in the elite women’s race.

For Snyder, her first trip to Victoria was a memorable one.

“I absolutely LOVED everything about it,” said Snyder.  “The area is beautiful, the people are extremely friendly, and the race course was AWESOME!  The swim was a lot like Alabama, clean and clear and the perfect temperature for a non-wetsuit swim.  Also, a really great mountain bike course that used a double track regional trail to link up to a lot of fun single track which was rather technical so you had to have some power and good skills to ride everything clean. The run had a good variety with a short flat, smooth section, some root strewn rolling terrain and a couple long tough climbs and tricky downhills where you had to be really mindful of your footing.”

Three-time XTERRA World Champion Melanie McQuaid also put on quite a show, not as a racer, but as one of the race announcers.  She’s gearing up for Ironman Canada but will be back in the dirt for ITU Cross Tri Worlds in Penticton and hopefully again for XTERRA Worlds.  Here she gives us her thoughts on the day’s elite races…

Karsten was pretty much in his element and really was the class of the field for the men.  Same with Suzie, both were the strongest without question winning wire to wire.

In the men’s race it was all Karsten, all day.  He was first out of the water, had a 3′ lead off the bike and built on it.  Branden and JP had a great battle for 2/3 with Chris Ganter and Mike Vine coming in 4th/ 5th off the bike. Chris Ganter was solid in fourth but he spent a little too much time enjoying Durrance Lake to be a factor with the guys up front.  Mike Vine made the blunder of choosing not to wear a top at all because of the swim skin rules and got DQ’d for too much brawn on display.  This eliminated what might have been a good battle with Cedric Ware from Tahiti who rounded out the top five.  Kieran McPherson had a crash on the bike and I sure hope he is okay!

In the women’s race, Suzie had a huge lead coming out of the water and never felt any pressure.  She never would know that Morgane Riou was running three-minutes into her at the end of the race.  Katie Button came off the bike second and held Morgane for a lap of the run which was really impressive as Morgane is an extraordinary runner, really beautiful to watch.  Up and comers Zoe Dawson from Squamish and Kara LaPoint from Truckee were in the same swim group and caught Ladina Buss from Switzerland on the bike.  Zoe’s run got the better of Kara so she was fourth and Kara held fifth.

What I thought was the story of the day was 16-year-old Tate Haughan from Fort St John.  He was the top age group athlete overall, matched Ironman legend Tom Evans’ swim, and had a bike time matching Branden and JP.  Look out for that kid – he would have been fourth overall today!

All in all, we had perfect weather, a great vibe, and fun racing.  It was fun to be a part of it all, and I hope to see you all next year!

Elite Men 
Karsten Madsen, CAN 2:08:36
Jean-Philippe Thibodeau, CAN 2:13:15
Branden Rakita, USA 2:14:14
Chris Ganter, USA 2:15:49
Cedric Wane, TAH 2:19:34

Elite Women
Suzie Snyder, USA 2:29:35
Morgane Riou, FRA 2:31:43
Katie Button, CAN 2:33:47
Zoe Dawson, CAN 2:37:03
Kara LaPoint, USA 2:40:06
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