Below you will find everything involving the professional male and female athletes from Saturday’s race, from the pro panel talk the day before the race, Tim Don’s emotional finish chute moments with his family, all the way through 303Radio’s finish line interviews… Check it out!
A tremendous achievement for any able-bodied soul, Becky had to work harder than most, both physically and mentally, because she is paralyzed on her right side.
Just four years ago she was an accomplished runner and XTERRA athlete, living in Guam with her husband Sam, stationed in the military there. During a home invasion, she was beaten, and according to doctors, was with an hour of dying. But she didn’t die. She survived, and learned to talk and eat and walk again.
She GOT BACK UP.
In June, 303 reported on Becky’s “comeback” off-road triathlon at XTERRA Lory: Becky Piper: Xterra Nats qualifier, savagely attacked, comatose & paralyzed, and back to Xterra again – at local Lory race
We followed her closely yesterday as she tackled the next goal on her list, IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder.
303’s Para-Tri ambassador Sasha Underwood is a close friend of Becky’s, and frequent training partner and guide. She was at every turn of Saturday’s race, and was overwhelmed with pride and emotion as Becky hit each milestone.
Becky is everything I strive to be; sheer grit, tenacious, positive, gracious, kind, courageous, strong, an amazing sense of humor, and she’ll probably kill me for saying this but she is inspiring – but not because she has a disability .. it’s because she finds a way to do anything and everything whether it’s racing, or becoming a USAT coach, she doesn’t accept “no” or “can’t” and nothing can stop her.
Sasha captured these pivotal moments of Becky being carried out of the water by her husband, and the crowning moment of crossing the finish line, just behind the similarly-inspiring story of Team Agar.
Swim exit video:
Becky Piper said she hopes news of her first Ironman 70.3 reaches someone who is living with a mobility issue.
“I just want to get the word out that if you have foot drop, then your life and your quality of life isn’t over,” she said. “There’s tools out there and there is technology out there to improve your quality of life. And not to give up. Don’t give up.”
Jeff and Johnny Agar of Rockford, Michigan will be among the faces in the Ironman Boulder 70.3 event on Saturday. Jeff and Johnny are a father-son team. Johnny is 23 and was born with cerebral palsy. Johnny is an athlete. On his website, Johnny defines athlete as – “a person who is proficient in sports and other physical exercise.” He goes on to state that “Now that I have crossed the finish line, I feel like I am officially an athlete.” Jeff and Johnny have completed 5Ks to Marathons and sprint to 70.3 triathlons.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeff and Johnny as well as his Mom Becki, Sisters Annie and Grace and Coaches Thad Beaty and Nicole Serraiocco to talk about the race.
This is the family’s first visit to Colorado. After driving 17 hours from Michigan they were happy to settle into their home away from home for the week. Johnny enjoyed the opportunity to visit a park with his Aunt and Uncle and fish in the stream where he caught several brown trout. He also hopes to get to the Olympic Training Center while he is here. The family also plans to go to a Colorado Rockies baseball game. They all expressed how much they like Colorado and how excited they are to be here.
Jeff and Johnny have been getting their training in since arriving. Yesterday was a preview of the swim at the reservoir and a brief look at the bike course. They have also driven the bike course and looked at targets using Best Bike Split software to determine their strategy for race day. The goal for both Jeff and Johnny is to manage the matches that they will use on the course and ensure that there are enough matches left for Johnny to walk the last ½ mile of the run course and cross the finish under his own power. For Jeff – this means controlling power output on the bike, hydrating properly to limit the impacts of the altitude and applying his training with confidence. For Johnny – he too needs to ensure that he is properly hydrated, he has to shift around in the chariot to keep his feet awake so they are ready to walk and he says his most important job is to remind his Dad about his cadence! He looks forward to the ice cream post race!
As most triathletes know, mindset is equally as important as the skills needed to swim, bike and run. Johnny’s mindset is an inspiration. He believes that failure is part of the process. He has received encouragement from his family, his coaches and his friends every step of the way. His sister Annie said “if he failed it was not because of the fact that he had cerebral palsy it was because he did not try hard enough.” And Johnny agrees – he takes ownership and does not make excuses. Johnny is not worried about not doing it, he is worried about “not trying.”
Race morning will involve many checklists. Johnny said that he doesn’t sleep because he is so excited for the event so when it is time to get rolling he is waking the family up. His Sisters commented that their job is to get themselves to the car so that he stops herding them to go! Jeff said the set-up takes much longer for them with all of the equipment and referring to the checklists often is a must. He said there is only one time that you show up at a race without a life jacket!
Jeff and Johnny will have their coaches on sight to support them throughout the day. They embrace the opportunity to learn and grow from observing this team at work and to gather information to carry forward to the next goal. The Agars are hoping for an invitation to return to Kona and Johnny will continue to train towards his ultimate goal of completing a 5K on his own and “give his Dad a break!”
Here is a great video taken Wednesday by coach Nicole Serraiocco:
As the writer of this article, receiving the opportunity to cover Team Agar at this race is a gift that is amazing. There were so many valuable life lessons learned in our brief conversation. I look forward to a continued friendship with the family and following Johnny and Jeff’s journey and celebrating each milestone along the way.
Look for additional information throughout the weekend on Team Agar’s journey as well as their race recap. Until then as Johnny says – “one step at a time!
Tell us your “why” and win two amazing VIP credentials to the upcoming Velorama!
Audi Flatirons shared their Why – now it’s your turn. What makes you get up early, ride in the rain, run in the snow, swim in whitecaps? When the going gets tough, what keeps you coming back for more?
Give us a story, a “why,” include a picture or two, and we will feature the winners stories on 303cycling and/or 303triathlon. The grand prize is a pair of VIP credentials to the upcoming Velorama on Aug 10-13. You will need to let us know what day you would like.
Velorama is a new festival this summer; a celebration of bands, bikes, and beyond! It combines the Colorado Classic, a premier pro cycling race, with a 3-day music festival and neighborhood celebration in the RiNo Art District. In addition to the headlining bands, entrance to the festival includes access to the Denver Flea (the Front Range’s favorite curated showcase of Colorado makers), a bicycle-centric lifestyle and vendor village, a huge variety of local food and drink curated by Drink RiNo, and prime viewing areas for the thrilling final stages of the Colorado Classic.
Two other winners will receive a pair of general admission tickets good for one day! VIP credentials include special VIP Hospitality tents, viewing areas, premium all-day food, beverages, and more.
The deadline for your story is August 5th.
Submit your story, photo(s) and contact info (we won’t share) BY EMAIL
Include a way for us to contact you (we won’t publish). Be creative and have fun!
These events go back to the summer of 2014 when we had the 1st “Pro’s vs “Amos” contest (“amos” is just a rhyming abbreviation for “amateurs”). There was achocolate chip cookie bake-off followed by adodge ball tournament. There was laughter and tears. *It was mostly the laughing and the cookies that inspired us to keep this “challenge” going.
Since then we’ve invited many strong, fun women to join in on the shenanigans. While the cast of women is ever changing (life happens), the spirit of this event never will. This will always be a somewhat silly celebration of the pure joy we all have for our sport.
Pros & Amos: Tri-Style
In a digital-cyber-y version of 303’s famous Pros v. Amos challenges, we pit famous local “Amo” Katie Macarelli opposite a couple “Pro” athletes you may have heard of… Olympic World Champion Gwen Jorgensen & Professional Triathlete Alicia Kaye! And we’re talking about how Pros live their athletic lives and learn their lessons, compared to Amos… What it’s like as a female role model, mistakes they’ve made, and how they’ve overcome obstacles along the path to stardom… Read on to find out who’s a brainiac with multiple degrees… who hurdles barbed wire fences with ease… and who’s favorite prize ever was 20 pounds of steak.
Here’s some background:
GWEN JORGENSEN Gwen Jorgensen is a professional triathlete from St Paul, MN. Gwen is a 2x Olympian, 2x World Champion (2014, 2015), and 17x ITU World Triathlon Series race winner. She also likes to read, try new foods, and hang out with friends and family.
2016 Olympic Champion
2015 World Champion
2014 World Champion
2012 U.S. Olympic Team Member
2013 USA Triathlon’s Triathlete of the Year
2014 USA Triathlon’s Triathlete of the Year
2015 USA Elite National Champion
2014 USA Elite National Champion
2013 USAT Elite National Champion (Sprint and Olympic Distance)
First USA Woman to win a World Triathlon Series race
15-time ITU World Triathlon Series Winner
2010 USAT Rookie of the Year
2010 USAT Elite Duathlete of the Year
ALICIA KAYE Alicia grew up in Canada and began participating in triathlon when she was 11 years old; she became a professional triathlete at the age of 14. Alicia spent her teen years racing triathlon while juggling her academic studies. While completing her undergraduate degree in Sport Psychology she met fellow triathlete and now husband, Jarrod Shoemaker. Since meeting Jarrod she has began racing for the United States and also completed her masters degree in Athletic Counseling. Some of Alicia’s proudest moments include winning Canadian Junior National Championships in 2001, and winning the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in 2013. In her spare time Alicia works as a mental trainer and runs a skincare company with her husband Jarrod, called Endurance Shield.
And our “Amo,” KATIE MACARELLI Katie is a Colorado native who grew up on a dairy farm on the Eastern Plains. She got her start in the Colorado cycling scene competing in triathlons for about five years until she realized that running is the worst. She’s a mom of two teenage girls, a year-round bike commuter who hates driving but loves cyclocross. She is currently the marketing manager for Feedback Sports.
Here we go! 1. Have you ever googled yourself? Any oft-repeated MISconceptions out there that you’d like to clear up? Any rumor or tall tale that just keeps popping up on Wikipedia? Here’s your chance to set the record straight. And if not, give us your best pretend fake fact.
GJ: I’ve googled my husband, Patrick Lemieux, but don’t google myself. I think one thing people may assume is that I come from a running background, however I actually come from a swimming background and didn’t start running until I was a junior in college.
AK: Yes, I’ve googled myself. It almost always just to find an image or to find articles written about a recent race. Maybe once every few years I’ll look to see if anyone is saying something mean or false, but I’ve never found anything truly negative.
KM: I work in the digital marketing realm, so of COURSE I have. The only misconception I’ve ever found was an article that listed me as living in Portland. I’ve never actually been to Portland, but it sounds lovely. *I generally disregard everything past page 5 on google, because it’s like reading the comments on Pinkbike. It will just make you mad and/or confused.
2. How has your rise to fame affected your performances? Has there ever been a time when the spotlight really helped you? Or worked against you?
GJ: I am an introvert, so it took some time to get used to the media attention and fans walking up to me. I now enjoy being able to share my experiences, but still need my alone time to recharge.
In 2012, after I qualified for the Olympics I had a bunch of media engagements lined up for the week of a WTS race in San Diego. I did an all day photo shoot along with other media the week leading into the race and I believe this contributed to my poor performance. I think I almost finished dead last.
AK: I had my breakout year in 2013 winning the Lifetime Series and Toyota Triple Crown. I thought it would be this ultra grand moment where everything would change. But life went on as normal, the money and/ or result didn’t change any of my relationships- we were just able to make a big fat mortgage payment instead;) What was interesting was in 2014 I really struggled to find purpose and meaning after achieving all my goals in 2013, trying to replicate them again in 2014 was an entirely different experience.
KM: I’m not famous, but I do find it hard to get to the start line to any race because I often stop to hug, heckle and/or say hello to friends. As it turns out, missing the start of a race directly impacts your performance.
3. Please provide five single-word adjectives that best describe you and what makes you tick.
KM: Enthusiastic. Loud. Empathetic. Droll. Indefatigable. (You said single-word, so I didn’t think I could use “over-caffeinated”)
4. Have you experienced being asked media questions different from your male counterparts that you attribute to gender? What’s your best example?
GJ: Can’t think of one off the top of my head, but I also try not to read into questions too much. I also have a poor memory so may have been asked something but have forgotten. I do believe there should be equal prize money for men and women (which there is in ITU which I love).
AK: This is a great question, I think our sport is pretty good about equality but the biggest gender difference I notice is that it’s ALWAYS the male winners picture in a newspaper article. Media outlets within our sport tend to include pictures of the women’s winner and why is the men’s race always written about first?
KM: No, because the media isn’t interested in me. However, I’ve been in many eye-rolling situations as a female working in a male dominated industry. I feel our industry (and society in general) is getting better about this but I still got called “Hon” only a few months ago by a guy my age who was visiting our office. I can assure you that I’m not his “Hon.”
5. What is the best PRIZE you’ve ever won, in your entire life of racing (maybe it was that 2nd grade field day ribbon…)?
GJ: Any prize that involves food! In 2015 I won a gravel road race and won 20lbs of steak.
AK: I won a race down in Tobago a LONG time ago, back in 2005 I think. The trophy was a beautiful wooden carved sea turtle, it’s still hanging on my wall at home.
KM: I won a pair of Tough Girl socks and a pint glass for 3rd place in my first ever Cx race (I raced it on my full suspension Yeti 575). I was instantly in love with cyclocross and bought a Cx bike about 4 months later
6. Race Day prep – name three best practices you always adhere to the night before a race… and three things you always avoid. What is your best example of a time you didn’t follow your own rules, and things fell apart?
GJ: Don’t try anything new (once I ate out in Japan and tried a dish I’d never had before and got food poisoning)
-Relax/put my feet up
-Avoid: unnecessary stress, being on your feet all day, and new foods.
AK: I don’t go to bed until I feel sleepy, I eat the same thing (chicken and rice) and I prepare everything the night before leaving race morning to be fairly stress free. Three things I always avoid the night before a race are any foods that contain caffeine, any foods high in fiber, anything my body isn’t used to.
KM: Hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Race prep. That’s funny. Here are my “3 best practices”:
-Start looking for my wetsuit at about 10 pm. and run a load of laundry.
-Eat a bowl of Peanut Butter Panda Puffs and pack my bag in the dark so I don’t wake my family.
-Get a good, solid 4 hours of sleep.
Three things I avoid (due to life in general plus an incessant desire to self-sabotage):
-Consistent, focused athletic training.
-Having enough ______________ to make success an option (fill in the blank with any of the following: sleep, water, food, peace of mind, clean clothes, gas in the car etc)
Best example of things falling apart:
An example where things went wrong: Pretty much every race I’ve done since I turned 35. Recently, I had to hop a barbed-wire fence and run through a ditch to find the start-line. Good thing I grew up on a farm.
7. If you’re a Pro, do you ever find yourself wishing you were an Amateur? And if you’re an Amateur, every wish you were a Pro? Why?
GJ: I love what I do and am thrilled to be able to also make it my living. I do hate training when the body is tired and it is pouring rain outside.
AK: I went pro at such an early age that I almost can’t remember what it’s like to race as an amateur. Triathlon has been my life since I was 14 years old, and I began participating in them at 11. I think what I’ll miss when I don’t race as a pro someday is a clear course!
KM: Nope. Waaaaay too much pressure. I race because it helps me conquer my fears, which is a good example for my daughters and other women. Oh, and also: its good preparation should things go south and we find ourselves in a post-Apocalyptic scenario. If I had to do that as a job, I’d undoubtedly get fired.
At present, there are 35 professional triathletes racing Sunday’s Peak – including some big names and out of state folks.
303 reached out to them and asked a few questions, including:
Why are you racing the Peak?
If you have raced the Peak before, what is your favorite memory?
How does the Olde Stage climb/descent fit into your race strategy?
Any messages for other pros in the field?
Here are some of their responses:
The Peak is the perfect opportunity to put some really hard training to good use. This is my fourth season as a PRO and I have almost exclusively raced the 70.3 distance. I have some international 70.3 races coming up on the calendar and with the Peak in my backyard, the chance to race full gas against some of the strongest guys in the world was too good of an offer to pass up on. As I have gotten older the pressure to perform and get results has gotten more significant every season. I was reflecting on when I was having the most fun racing. That was in 2014 when I did a few Olympic non-drafting races. I’m looking forward to 2hr of very intense suffering on Sunday. It is racing in it’s purest form and is a whole lot of fun.
This is my first time racing the peak!
I think it will be full gas from the minute we hop on the bikes to the apex of the Olde Stage climb. If you are not prepared to ride at or above your threshold for the entire segment, you will likely get spit off the back and never be able to regain contact with the front of the race. My #1 goal is to not over think this race. If I swim with the front and make it up Olde Stage with the front of the race, I will be in a very good position to have a solid result.
Bring it! The start list is looking quite strong but a lot of athletes are in unique situations. Charbot, Shoemaker, Long just raced IM Boulder. Von Berg and Deckard just got back from Europe. West and Dye have both done a lot of races lately. I have not raced since early June. I have been here in Boulder training hard as ever. I am fitter than I have been in a long time and I am looking forward to seeing what that means come Sunday.
It’s been a while since I’ve raced an Olympic Distance event and I’m glad it’s in my home area.
Yes in 2014 and I won.
Hopefully I can make up any lost ground from the swim by quickly popping up the climb. It’s a power climb so the bigger guys won’t be at a disadvantage and the smaller guys won’t gain as much.
Best of luck and I’ll see you out there.
Sounded like fun, seeing that I do mostly IM and 703 distances – and convenient to Colo Springs where I live.
Last time I raced this (2006ish?) I did Mt Evans the day prior – so what I remember was that it was a pretty crappy race for me but it was a fun and clearly challenging weekend.
I only know of this Olde Stage road by name, so I guess I’m going in with eyes wide open; and I can’t say I have much of a race strategy except to go as hard as I can for as long as I can.
Let’s play nice in the swim. We’re all going in the same direction. 🙂
I am currently coached by Siri Lindley so I am training here in Boulder for the most of the summer with Siri and some other Team Sirius athletes. Our main goal for this season is obviously IM World Champs, but Boulder Peak triathlon gives a great opportunity to put some speed in this “Ironman machine” :)! I have never done a non drafting olympic distance race before and I am super excited to see how it feels. Boulder is an amazing place to train in and the route of Boulder Peak Triathlon is just stunningly beautiful and hard at the same time and it will be super cool to test how I can manage the altitude, the heat and the old stage climb!
I have not raced in here before. But it seems that the race has big traditions behind it so it is a huge honor to do the race that so many of the worlds best athletes have done during the last decades.
I usually do love the climbs on the bike. However as I have never raced or trained at altitude before, here in Boulder the climbing seems to feel… let’s say not so enjoyable with a little less oxygen than normal. I will do my very best on the climb, but I will decide according to how I feel on race day if I will put my all into the climb or if I will save a little more energy for the later parts of the race.
It is super exciting to toe on to the start line with you and it is great to see that so many of the very highest level olympic distance athletes will be doing this race.
I love racing in a hometown event and this race in particular has a lot of good memories for me. It’s been nearly 3 years since I’ve raced in Boulder so this one was a no brainer for me!
My best memory is definitely winning the amateur race in 2011. It was just as I was getting into triathlon and completely unexpected for me so that made it even more special.
Olde Stage is such an iconic climb in this race and I think really defines the whole event. This will be my 8th time racing the peak so I would like to think I’ve learned a few things about the ideal way to attack this course :). The race is usually sorted out by the top of Olde Stage so it helps to be very aggressive in those early miles on the bike.
Haha…I won’t stir the pot. Lets see what happens on Sunday!
Rodolphe Von Berg
I am racing the Peak because it is an iconic Boulder race, and now that the steep Old Stage climb is back on the bike course, it is a big attraction for me, it makes the race more exciting for everybody.
I have never raced the Peak!
I am racing Boulder Peak because I love the opportunity to race at home. Though I’m not a full time Boulder resident, I spend nearly half the year here and the opportunity to sleep in my own bed and then get to race a competitive, well run event with prize money cannot be beat!
This is my first time racing Boulder Peak!
Since Olde Stage is fairly early into the 25mile bike, I’m not sure how much it’ll split up the field. I’ve never raced a non-draft Olympic distance event with this difficult a climb. I’m hopeful it’ll split things up enough that we get an honest bike race before hitting the the run!
Let’s put on a show ladies!!
It’s a great opportunity to race some of the best athletes in the world right here where so many of us train. The course is also very difficult, something you don’t really see that often, so it makes it very exciting.
Difficult climbs are definitely spots where you can take a lot of time out of people, but you also need to play it really smart because it is just one section of the whole ride. The decent can also be pretty quick, so being a little gutsy there could pay off.
Bring your A game!
I am racing the Peak because I moved here two years ago and love the opportunity to have a pro olympic distance race in my (new) hometown!
I am most looking forward the Olde stage since I love climbing and fast descents. As a lighter athlete, I prefer these to the flat and fast roads around the res.
I really enjoy all of Without Limit’s races and the effort they put into making such awesome events. I think it’s great that they’re brining back a pro field and prize money to Peak, and I want to support that by showing up. Also, it’s just two miles from my house, which means I can ride there. That’s a huge bonus.
I’ve never raced it.
When I was a bike racer I did a lot of my intervals on Olde Stage. I’ve probably ridden it close to 200 times at this point, so I know how to pace it: start out as hard as you can and gradually go harder. The descent takes like 39 seconds so it won’t really factor into any position gain or loss.
After the Olde stage descent make sure to go left on Left Hand.
I am racing Boulder Peak because my coach and I thought it would be a fun way to mix up my ITU draft-legal racing with a local non-draft race and to get back on the TT bike. Also because I went to school at CU Boulder and I was a proud member of the Colorado Triathlon Team, I thought that racing in Boulder in front of family and friends would be a great way to reconnect with those I haven’t seen in a year since graduating, plus it is always a blast racing in front of the Boulder crowd and having my family watch me race! I have nothing to lose, and I am excited to be racing against some of the best girls in the sport and to give it my all on race day.
This is my first year racing as a professional, but I have raced Boulder Peak a few times in the age group and collegiate category. My favorite memory has been racing in front of my teammates and friends, and getting cheered on the whole way. In addition, I have so many memories training on the Boulder roads, throwing down with my teammates, so I always have visions of those experiences while I race, which motivates me to push harder.
I am excited to be racing Old Stage for the first time! I am a strong climber and fearless on the descents, so I know that I can take advantage of this, while saving my legs for the run.
I hope my racing speaks for itself 🙂
I’m racing Boulder Peak because I can ride my bike to the start – I live in Boulder only a few miles from the Res.
I raced Peak once before, in 2014, as an amateur. I remember hearing about the Olde Stage climb but it wasn’t in the race that year from the flooding in Lefthand and the roads being torn up.
The Olde Stage climb has meant specific preparation with lots of reps up the climb and understanding how hard I can push at various points to maximize my effort.
I am so happy that Boulder Peak is back! I spent the first 11 years of my career chasing the ITU circuit around the world and only raced a handful on non-drafts in the US. I switched over to non-draft racing last May and have generally been training for long distance now, but I cannot pass up an opportunity to race on such an iconic course and race. I am so excited that Lance and the Without Limits team are working hard to bring this race back for the Pros.
Have not raced before.
I am excited to race a race with a nice climb, I am not as much of a climber as I used to be, and would love to be riding a road bike instead of a TT bike up and down it, but that being said I am just going to be smart about it. This race is basically a long climb from the Res to the top of Olde Stage about 25km long.
I think it is so much fun to race against people that you know and train with. Cam Dye and Jason West are two of my training partners and are nailing the non-draft Olympic distance right now. I am just going to go out there and see how I can do!
I’m racing the Peak because it’s the best Olympic distance event around. I love the climb on Olde Stage Road–it makes the race honest and fair. BP also got me into triathlon so I am stoked to revisit as a pro. I haven’t done an Olympic in years so it is gonna be fun to try the distance again.
Crushing people’s souls on Olde Stage
The climb fits in because it gives me space to catch the faster swimmers. It also allows me to push the descent and use my bike handling skills to my advantage.
I’d heard a lot about Boulder Peak over the years, even before I started racing triathlons, and decided this year would be a good time to test myself on Old Stage!
This is my first time racing Boulder Peak but it hopefully won’t be my last.
I’m going to work the uphill so that I lose as little as little time as possible on the descent! I’m not a very big person and my descending still needs a little work.
This is my first official race as a pro and it sounds like I picked a great race to start with!
I am really excited to be back racing the Peak. It was the first race that I did when I was 15, and growing up in Boulder it has always been a special race to me. This year it will be even more special as it will be the first time that my kids have seen me race.
Winning the race in 2012
I can’t find a single reason NOT to race here at home.
The crowd support on Olde Stage is awesome so that will help me up the punishing climb!
Go hard. Be aggressive.
I’m looking forward to a hard race, especially with my training partners, Paula and Alicia, in the field. They are incredible, hard-working athletes and I hold a lot of respect for them in approaching the Peak.