Team Nerve's own, Josiah Middaugh, from Vail, Colorado won the 20th annual XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon in Kapalua, Maui last October. It was Middaugh’s 15th time competing for the XTERRA World Champion title and his first time claiming it. As he crossed the finish line, Middaugh proclaimed “15th time’s a charm!”

Indeed it was. Not only was it the number of years he has attempted the race, but Middaugh was also the first U.S. athlete to win Worlds in 15 years. Michael Tobin was the last World Champion from the U.S. in 2000.

Middaugh credits this win to years of hard work and setting systematic short term goals as well as a lot of support and a little bit of luck.

“I’m a firm believer in ‘it’s about the journey, not the destination,’” said Middaugh. “While this journey has been a long one, it hasn’t been a hard one. Not only have I been doing what I love, but I’ve had incredible support from my family and community.”

Two of Middaugh’s biggest supporters, son Porter and daughter Larsen, ran through the finish line with him while his oldest son Sullivan and wife Ingrid cheered them on.

“[This year’s] XTERRA World Championship was a dream come true,” said Middaugh. “It was by no means a perfect race, but an XTERRA is hard to script, especially on the Maui course. I crashed twice on the bike. I bent my rear derailleur and couldn’t use some gears. I slipped jumping over a tree branch on the run and took a full body shot. But running the last half mile barefoot on the beach, running the finish chute with the American flag and my kids alongside, and embracing my wife at the finish line were images I have ran over in my mind a hundred times. Those are the dream images that fueled me for years.”

Those images of family fueling his years of hard work came as no surprise to Optic Nerve Eyewear president, Bill Cotton, who says that it’s true to Middaugh’s core. “Josiah is a family man first. That’s what has made him a huge icon in the Vail Valley community where we both live, and it’s why our company has been proud to support him for 3 years now. He’s what we like to call ‘a different kind of champion.’”

Middaugh was amongst 800 endurance athletes from 43 countries competing in the 20th XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon on November 1, 2015 race. Athletes started the race in the Pacific Ocean at D.T. Fleming Beach then climbed over 4,000 combined feet during a 20-mile mountain bike ride and 6.5-mile trail run in the West Maui Mountains.