American Seth Wealing defended his title at the XTERRA Mexico Championship in Valle de Bravo while Mexico’s own Fabiola Corona took the women’s title.
The elites started with a one-minute lead on the men’s field and two minutes on the women. Irvin Perez led everyone out of the swim followed by Mexican favorite Francisco “Paco” Serrano and Seth Wealing. Wealing had a terrible time getting his skinsuit off but after much yelling and yanking, finally left transition in 4th place behind Dan Hugo. Hugo was tearing it up on the bike. He knew Seth and Paco were runners and wanted to get three to four minutes over them on the bike. He seemed to have it done when he slid on the very muddy conditions and banged his right knee quite hard.
With the fall, Hugo could not get the distance he wanted on Seth. Serrano, the Mexican Olympic Triathlete was having a fabulous battle with Wealing; who won here last year. They passed and re-passed a few times with Wealing finally able to edge away a few kilometers from the end of the second bike lap.
“My knee was just throbbing,” said Hugo. “The altitude was hurting me as well – but I really wanted to win this race and gave it everything I had”.
It simply was not enough. Wealing, who put in the fastest run by two minutes caught up to Hugo with about two kilometers to go. “Once I could see him I was pretty sure I could catch him. I thought about staying close and making it a sprint to the finish, but Hugo is tough and I just couldn’t take that chance” said Wealing.
He made the pass but the South African never gave in and finished less than a minute behind him. “It was close, but once he got past me, there was no way I could get him – I looked behind and kind of backed off a bit” was Hugo’s reply.
Serrano had a great run and was less than two minutes behind Hugo. “I have been doing so much ITU and road stuff for the federation,” said Serrano. “I have ridden my mountain bike maybe four times over the summer. I am really happy with my race and getting my mountain bike legs. I will race hard at Maui.”
For the women, Fabiola Corona came out of the water with nearly two minutes on Shonny Vanlandingham; last year’s winner. “I know how fast Shonny is so I try to put as much time as possible in the swim, then I say pedal hard Shonny is coming, pedal hard” laughed the Olympian triathlete.
Shonny was coming, but she followed a bunch of men riders through an intersection and got lost in the mountains of Valle de Bravo. “I should have known better because I made the same mistake on a pre-ride. I saw the double Jeep track and knew it was wrong,” said Shonny. She got it back on course and was eight minutes down on Corona at the end of the first lap. She was able to make four minutes of it back with a sizzling second lap, but Fabiola can run and no matter how hard Shonny ran, she never put a dent into the four plus minute lead and like Hugo, when she could see the finish knew it was for second place.
TOP 5 PRO MEN AND WOMEN:
PL First Name Last Name 1.5k Swim 30k Bike 10k Run Total
1. SETH WEALING 00:19:58 01:17:17 00:39:50 02:18:35
2. DAN HUGO 00:20:29 01:15:57 00:42:01 02:19:21
3. FRANCISCO SERRANO 00:19:53 01:18:35 00:41:40 02:21:16
4. OCTAVIO CHETTO 00:32:05 01:22:41 00:42:43 02:38:46
5. IRVIN PEREZ 00:19:24 01:39:34 00:48:48 02:49:11
1. FABIOLA CORONA 00:23:57 01:37:08 00:47:23 02:49:28
2. SHONNY VANLANDINGHAM 00:26:13 01:38:52 00:48:29 02:55:29
3. DANIELA CAMPUZANO 00:25:36 01:41:59 00:56:10 03:05:40
4. ANA PAULA GUERRERO 00:27:12 02:05:36 00:57:18 03:33:31
5. VERONICA PEÑA 00:22:36 02:20:36 01:13:19 03:58:44