by Rich Soares
Loveland Lake to Lake has been one of Colorado’s oldest and most popular multisport races – here’s why!
#1 – Courses: The race starts in Lake Loveland with a well-marked swim course and plenty of water safety support.
Since 2001, the Olympic-distance bike course has been a generous thirty-miles (approximately six-mile longer than the standard Olympic-distance) that favors strong riders. A good portion of the race course was closed to cars, giving the riders a safe course to confidently hammer the pedals without concern for traffic. The course starts from Lake Loveland and follows the foothills to the north, featuring a climb to a breathtaking view of Horsetooth Reservoir. On the return from Horsetooth, riders enjoy an exhilarating descent and then a straight shot south back to Lake Loveland where they transition to a relatively flat and fast run course around the lake.
Starting in 2006, Aqua-Bike and Relay were added as categories, and starting in 2013 a Sprint distance course was added to the offering. The Sprint bike course is a flat and fast 15 miles, and the Sprint run course is equally fast taking athletes through North Lake Park with a handful of eye-catching sculptures.
#2 Competition: Prior to USAT’s region consolidations, Loveland Lake to Lake served as the Regional USAT Championship race and has historically attracted some of the most competitive triathletes.
Overall Olympic-distance winners Matt Malone and professional Uli Bromme threw down great performances with 2:13:30 and 2:26:09 respectively. The male overall Olympic-distance podium was separated by a mere 60 seconds with Karl Kahsar and Robby Chalfant rounding out 2nd and 3rd places.
The female podium showed Bromme’s domination with nearly 7 minutes separating 1st place from Linsey Knast’s 2nd and Annie Poland’s 3rd place. Whether competing for the races’ top spots, age grouper awards, or beating a previous PR, triathletes showed great sportsmanship and support of their fellow competitors.
#3 Community: For eighteen years, the Lake to Lake race has been a part of the fabric in the northern Colorado community. Race organizer, Peggy Shockley, reflected on how her children have grown up with the race and there is lasting evidence of her family’s fingerprints.
Ft. Collins resident Bruce Fries donned a race shirt from the original 2001 race that featured the artwork drawn by Peggy’s then grade-schoolers. Non-profits, church groups, the Loveland 4-H Club, and other local volunteers have been involved since the beginning. Peggy remembers that there were just a half dozen Loveland athletes in 2001. Now the race has a few hundred athletes from around the region, plus athletes from Texas, Nebraska, California, and as far as Florida.
#4 Celebration: The post-race celebration and award ceremony is one of the highlights of the race. This is not the type of race that gives athletes brown bananas and cold bagels as a recovery meal. Peggy and the Loveland Lake to Lake crew pull out all the stops and offer a catered full breakfast buffet.
Peggy explains, “we have hundreds of athletes that come to race with us and we want to give them a great experience.” Athletes built their own breakfast burritos with tortillas, scrambled eggs, pork sausage, pulled beef, ground turkey, black beans, rice and salsa. If that didn’t fill them up, they were able to graze the other buffet table of granola, yogurt, bagels, fruit and more. With their plates full, athletes sat on the lawn of the pavilion to eat and watch the award ceremony. Food was provided by Catering to You by James
Loveland Lake to Lake continues to be one of my favorite races in the region and I’m already looking forward to 2019!