It was all New Zealand at the top of the podium at Xterra Oak Mountain today. The event features one of the more technical Xterra off-road bike courses, and there was no stopping Samantha Kingsford and Sam Osborne at the event in Alabama.
Osborne bikes and runs clear
American road triathlete Eric Lagerstrom’s Xterra debut began with a bang as he led the men out of the water with New Zealand’s Sam Osborne 33 seconds behind, followed by American Elliot Bach, South Africa’s Bradley Weiss and American Ian King around 50 seconds behind the roadie hitting T2.
By the 16 km point of the bike ride the trail-riding skills of the more experienced Xterra competitors came through as Osborne moved to the lead, with Weiss 90 seconds back. By the 30 km point the two-time Xterra world champ Weiss had got himself to within a minute of Osborne, and had some company close behind in the form of Kieran McPherson and Josiah Middaugh.
Out on the run course, though, Osborne managed to pull clear – through 5 km he was almost two-minutes ahead of Weiss with McPherson and Middaugh battling for third about five minutes behind the Kiwi. In the end it was Osborne who crossed the line first followed by Weiss, Middaugh, McPherson and Bach.
Kingsford leads from start to finish
New Zealand’s Samantha Kingsford led the women out of the water, with American Amanda Felder 17 seconds behind, followed by American Suzie Snyder just over a minute down with her countrywoman Kelli Montgomery almost three-minutes back heading into T1.
Kingsford continued to lead the way through the bike ride, but it was Snyder who used her off-road experience to get past Felder on the bike. There was no touching Kingsford, though, who continued to lead the way both off the bike and through the run, taking the women’s win. Felder would run her way back to the runner-up spot, with Snyder rounding out the top three. Montgomery would hang in for fourth, with Brandi Swicegood taking fifth.