September 20, 2015 0 After a see-saw battle to the finish line, New Zealand’s Braden Currie has achieved a hard fought, second place in the hotly-contested XTERRA US Pro Series. Finishing runner-up by a whisker to 10-time XTERRA United States National Champion Josiah Middaugh (36), of Colorado, at today’s XTERRA USA Championship race at Ogden, Utah, sealed the Red Bull-backed endurance athlete’s incredible final result in his debut season contesting four rounds of the series. “Although I’m always going to be gutted not to win the Pro Series, if someone had said to me five years ago, ‘you will be second in the 2015 US XTERRA Championship’, I would never have thought it was possible,” Currie (29) says. An Achilles injury early in his season hampered Currie’s usually freakishly-fast running pace in recent months but today’s race left him satisfied he had laid everything on the line and that he has made massive gains in his mountain bike speed and on foot. “The last two XTERRA races I felt I underperformed but today I was stoked to see some big improvements in my riding. I’ve been putting a lot of work into my mountain biking over the last month,” Currie says. He began strongly today, leading the pack through the two-lap, 1500m lake swim. The sun position made sighting the buoys difficult and meant Currie had to look up a lot, slowing his overall time. He still exited the water first and got stuck into the grunty uphill mountain bike, which had total of 1036m of climbing over the 28km course. “The course was really suited to me as it was pretty much all climbing and all single track.’’ At the first bike split Currie had extended the lead he had on Middaugh after the swim and managed to hold his rival off until the descent section, where they powered down to the run transition together. “I was stoked to hold him off for so long, then stick with him, because at Beaver Creek XTERRA he put the hammer down and lost me.” Currie exited the transition first and it was straight into 15 minutes of climbing up the Snowbasin Resort ski slope. He and Middaugh duelled for the lead throughout the 10.4km trail run, with the US athlete only pulling away to finish 10secs in front of the Kiwi. “My goal was to win this Pro Series, but I had set my goals pretty high. Coming second, is never as good as first, but I feel so much stronger going into the World XTERRA Champs in Maui, Hawaii at the beginning of November due to the level of competition I have been up against over the past five months. I have come along way in all three disciplines and with another month of training to go, I believe I can gain an edge over Josiah and defending world champ Ruben Ruzafa,” Currie says. After leaving his Wanaka home with his family five months ago to live, train and race in the United States, he has blazed a trail of stellar results across the northern hemisphere’s off-road triathlon and half ironman scene. Currie proved he could race with and even go faster than Middaugh in a thrilling toe-to-toe race he won at the Southeast XTERRA Championship in Alabama earlier this season. This event also doubled as the USA Off-road Championships, and Currie was thrilled to be the first ever Kiwi to bag this title. He also finished third at the Mountain XTERRA Championship in July, then second to British athlete Tim Don at 70.3 Ecuador and was top 11 at Timberman 70.3 a week later. CAPTION Red Bull endurance athlete Braden Currie, of Wanaka, had a strong mountain bike today to finish second in the XTERRA USA Championship race at Ogden, Utah, which sees him claim the runner-up title in the XTERRA US Pro Series. PHOTO CREDIT: XTERRA – JESSE PETERS Braden Currie’s up-coming event calendar November 1 – World XTERRA Championship, Hawaii. November 8 – WA Adventure Fest, Augusta, Australia. December 12 - Taupo 70.3 January 23 and 24 2016, Red Bull Defiance, Wanaka, NZ.