On October 28th, Karsten Madsen finished seventh at the 2018 Xterra World Championship in Kapalua, HI. Following a tumultuous 2017 season, the Guelph, Ontario, native put to bed his self-doubts and has finished off an impressive 2018 campaign. “In 2017, I turned a blind eye to some personal stuff that really affected me. In Maui that year, my heart wasn’t in it. Coming back, I knew I had to sort things out and thankfully I did,” says Madsen.
Related: Karsten Madsen’s 2018 Felt EDICT FRD
After DNFs in 2016 and 2017, Madsen even questioned whether he would race the Xterra World Championship in 2018. “The thought of DNFing for a third time in a row was not appealing,” says Madsen. But with some strong races in 2018, Madsen and his coach, Jonathon Hall, set out a plan in July to get ready for the world championships.
Part of the plan included training in Whistler, British Columbia. In September, Madsen headed to Whistler to prepare with a few training partners and a well-hashed plan. “Training in Whistler was perfect. The weather allowed me to get in the intensity I needed and I love being in that environment.”
With a new training program, support and determination, Madsen knew he was in the right physical and mental condition to have a good performance. “The last five weeks before worlds were key for me. We managed my weight to the point where I was maintaining similar power to before, but was significantly lighter. Also, our heat protocol worked perfectly.”
The preparation Madsen put in seemed to have paid off, finishing seventh against an impressive field and in some muddy conditions. “The race was an incredible challenge. The swim had some huge swells. And the bike and run were treacherous with the mud.”
Following the low of 2017, Madsen is thankful for 2018 and optimistic for 2019. “Some say 2018 was a breakout year, but in many ways, it was a build back to where I was in 2016. I dug myself a big hole last year and after this performance in 2018, I feel I’m back to where I was, if not better. I’m looking forward to what 2019 holds.”
Rom Akerson of Costa Rica was the champion on the day. The Costa Rican beat Bradley Weiss, the defending world champion, by a mere 30 seconds. Sam Osborne from New Zealand finished third. Past winners, Ruben Ruzafa and Mauricio Mendez, finished fourth and sixth.
On the women’s side, Lesley Patterson of the United Kingdom finished 10 minutes ahead of her nearest competitor to become the Xterra world champion. This is Patterson’s first world title since 2012, and the third in her career (2011, 2012 & 2018). She was followed by Michelle Flipo (MEX) and Lizzie Orchard (NZL). Canada’s Melanie McQuaid and Katie Button finished 13th and 14th in the professional women’s field.
Rewatch the 2018 Xterra World Championship in its entirety