Snowbasin Resort- Ogden, UT – The three-time XTERRA World Champ came out of the water more than three minutes behind Christine Jeffrey undaunted, and by midway through the bike had a two minute lead on Jeffrey, Sara Tarkington, and Shonny Vanlandingham.
By the 19-kilometer mark McQuaid still had more than two minutes on Vanlandingham, while Jeffrey fell off the pace, Tarkington remained in third, and Lesley Paterson moved into fourth position more than four minutes behind the leader.
During the last quarter of the bike Vanlandingham got a split that said she was just a minute back when the dreaded flat seemingly erased any chance she might have. Three stops to quick fill her tire later that cost her a couple minutes of hard-charging time and “Shonny V” found herself in the precarious position of having to make up three minutes on the run.
It just so happened that McQuaid, who has been at altitude for a month and here in the area for two weeks, may have just “overtrained” and started fading.
“I tried not to think about how slow I was running,” said the champ. “Before the race I was listening to this techno song and the only thing that was going through my mind was ‘I like to move it, move it’ and I was hoping it would help me get through.”
It certainly did get her through, and fast enough, but Vanlandingham ran three minutes faster over the 10-kilometer close and pulled to within 47 seconds at the finish line.
“I feel really good about today,” said Vanlandingham, the top American woman in the race and the Pro Series. “I mean, if you take the flats out I could have contended. Wish I could’ve made it more exciting for the fans and spectators but in this sport, those things happen.”
Paterson caught and passed Tarkington on the run to finish in the top 3 in her third straight XTERRA championship race this year. Carina Wasle also moved up into fourth, and Jenny Smith rounded out the top five.
“This place is absolutely amazing,” said Paterson in her Scottish accent. “The course was perfect and fast and smooth and fun, the air temperature was perfect, and I was having trouble concentrating looking at all the pink and yellow and orange – it was much like Scotland in the fall.”
At the awards ceremony McQuaid spoke for the entire field when she said, “the people and volunteers here in Utah are crazy amazing. The hospitality they show is insane, they’re just so happy to have us and I can tell you we are happy to be here. I can’t imagine a funner place to enjoy the end of the U.S. series.”