Man Wins ‘Ultimate Mountain Challenge’ Race 7th Time in a row

By Lauren Glendenning (courtesy Vail Daily)

The Ultimate Mountain Challenge at the GoPro Mountain Games includes a kayak race, a 10K trail run, a mountain bike race, and an uphill time-trial bike sprint.

For the men in this race, which takes place annually in Vail, Colo., it’s hard to beat Josiah Middaugh, the local man who seems to win everything he enters. (We profiled Middaugh last week in the post “‘Whatever Doesn’t Kill You…’ An Interview with an Endurance Freak.”)

Josiah Middaugh in the lead on the UMC bike event

Middaugh is so good that his buddy and fellow athlete Travis Macy hired him as a coach a few months back. Macy finished in second place in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge, just behind Middaugh.

“Josiah and I know pretty much exactly what to expect out of each other,” Macy said. “We’ve raced head-to-head in this race for the last six or seven years, and we race throughout the year in other races, as well.”

Macy was able to get a head start Saturday in the kayak sprint, an event Middaugh admits is not his strength. Macy lost time to Middaugh, however, in the Saturday afternoon mountain bike race. “I stuck with (Middaugh) for about 5 minutes,” Macy said.

Middaugh in the kayak event

That race gave Middaugh a huge advantage. He went into the Sunday events — the 10K run and the road bike time trial — with about a 5-minute lead over Macy.

Middaugh called the mountain bike course “pretty brutal.” He said it was a lot of hard work, but it paid off. He didn’t know it before the final event of the weekend, though.

“I hope there’s something left — I’ll see,” Middaugh said before the time trial up Vail Pass. “I’ll see if my legs will listen to my mind.”

Josiah Middaugh in “beast mode”

Macy knew what to expect out of the time trial: “A half-hour of pain,” he said. He knew it would be tough to gain a lead in the event because of the lead Middaugh had after that mountain bike race.

Middaugh finished 1 minute, 40 seconds ahead of Macy in the time trial to maintain the lead and claim another Ultimate Mountain Challenge victory.

—Lauren Glendenning is the Assistant Managing Editor at the Vail Daily.

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.