InterviewThe Rest of the Story

Brian Smith – The Rest Of The Story

Brian Smith – Pro to Privateer

– By Jordan Winar


XTERRA Oak Mountain
Pro Podium from XTERRA Oak Mountain 2018. Photo – XTERRA

Take a look at the above photo.  It’s the podium from the 13th annual XTERRA Oak Mountain race.  You will see a former XTERRA World Champion, Josiah Middaugh and owner of Middaugh Coaching, in 2nd is Karsten Madsen who is a coach at Middaugh Coaching, in third is a man wearing a Middaugh Coaching kit that I did not immediately recognize (yet), in 4th is Rom Akerson who won XTERRA Costa Rica, and in 5th is Kieran McPherson who won XTERRA Argentina this year.  The man wearing the Middaugh kit you may not recognize his face.  His actual name being so common it was hard to find anything online and nearly no social media buzz or posts.  Who was this dark horse racer named Brian Smith, you will find out in this edition of The Rest of the Story and why desire, progress, and focus matter in sport and life.


The difference between 3rd and 4th at Oak Mountain came down to ONE second.  Brian Smith raced for 8,820 seconds at Oak Mountain and he took third place by just one second to make the podium.  One second is the choice between pushing just a little bit harder, having a clean transition, picking the right lines on the bike, or even your nutrition days before the race.  One second is a choice that is determined based on your desire long before the gun goes off on race day.  Brian’s, now 42, desire didn’t start two weeks ago instead his pure love for the sport and outdoors began long ago.  In fact, he has won national mountain bike events but one of his proudest moments came in 2007 when he finished 3rd at the XTERRA World Championships in Maui.  A lot of seconds have passed since his podium in 2007 but the privateer, Brian Smith, is back and better than ever but what caused the break through for him to come back with a vengeance after so long?


2018Brian Smith True Grit 50 mile MTB race
Brian at 2018 True Grit 50 mile MTB race.

In his nearly two decades of racing he has never hired a coach but as the old quote goes, “insanity is doing the same the thing over and over and expecting different results,” in 2016 he decided to pick up the phone and make a call to someone he has been competing against for 15 years, Josiah Middaugh.

Brian claims that having a coach is instrumental in his success especially since he is working 40 hours a week, living at altitude, and competing in the PRO field.

“Living at altitude and working 40 hours a week are also big challenges with training and progress.  Coaching has helped tremendously with these variables especially at my age.  I think in order to breakthrough you need to change your training intensity and have a coach to assist you with this process.  My workouts are much more intense and focused with Josiah than what I had been doing previously.  Training partners and events with stronger athletes will push you to achieve results you never thought would be possible.  One thing to keep in mind is that recovery is just as important.  Without recovery breakthrough results are not possible.”

 While it helps to have desire to continue to work at something you love, and break-throughs to keep the fire alive, you must have raw focus to be one of the best and compete against the best in the world!


“Progress to me is improving upon a weakness.  My swim efficiency has improved and my run/bike splits are close to being top times even at (age)42.”

Where your focus goes, your energy flows.  Brian knows what he wants to achieve this season and has already done it once at XTERRA Oak Mountain.  His calendar is set.  He manages his time extremely efficiently so that he can work, train and still have time to spend time with his wife and daughter.  Knowing your outcome is important because once you know the outcome you can work backwards to achieving it.  To achieve what Brian wants to achieve is purely his passion and love for the sport of off road triathlon but he is constantly staying focused on getting better.

Brian how do you progress when you are already at such an elite level?

“Progress to me is improving upon a weakness.  My swim efficiency has improved and my run/bike splits are close to being top times even at (age)42.”


XTERRA Pan Am Championship
XTERRA Pan Am Championship (3rd overall). Photo – XTERRA

Brian is living life on his terms and is laser focused on the journey since we all only have 24 hours in a day.  He does it on his time and does it his way. He could do social media but it takes time and focus.  He could get sponsorships but it takes time and focus.    Fortunately, Brian gave us a glimpse into the shadows of quiet greatness.  You may not have seen him or heard from him on social media, but he’s there and just took 3rd at XTERRA Oak Mountain beating out, by only once second, Rom Akerson and Kieran McPherson who have both already won this year on tour.   The privateer, Brian Smith, is back and better than ever!

About Jordan Winar

The Rest of the Story series is contributed by off-road triathlete and freelance writer, Jordan Winar

Jordan competed in his first ever triathlon April 22, 2017. Prior to this, he had never competed in any triathlons, bike races, or outdoor swimming competitions. Jordan competed in 12 XTERRA events over the following 5 months, eventually qualifying for the XTERRA World Championships in Maui, Hawaii.

Jordan attributes his success to his newly found Vegan lifestyle and The Gazelle Mindset.


Jimmy Archer

Founder and Editor at Jimmy has been a professional athlete for over 18 years as a runner, cyclist, mountain biker, cross country skier, and primarily, triathlete. Jimmy has a degree in exercise science from the University of Colorado and is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling certified coach. Jimmy became a freelance writer in 2000 while competing and covering the ITU Winter Triathlon World Championship. Since that time Jimmy has been head editor at two magazines, been published in numerous publications within the endurance sport, recreation, and travel segments. Currently Jimmy is competing professionally in off-road multisport. In his spare time Jimmy passionately follows Formula 1, Moto GP, and is an avid cook.

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