Mile High Endurance IRONMAN Boulder recap, pro interviews, and cycling safety, fatal auto & cyclist accidents

Mile High Endurance is your weekly connection to coaches, experts and pro athletes to help you reach your endurance and triathlon goals.  In this episode, Rich Soares offers an Ironman Boulder recap and 303Triathlon race day interviews including Rachel Joyce, Timothy O’Donnell, Mike Reilly and more.  Also, this week’s feature interview is with Todd Plymale-Mallory on cycling safety and how to avoid getting hit.  Check out the Cycling Magazine article This Has Got To Stop on fatal auto & cyclist accidents.

Tri Hearter: Reflections on IRONMAN Boulder’s Epic Nature

Warren Mine

By Bill Plock

About 20 minutes after the last person crossed the finish line at IRONMAN Boulder, it hit me. That feeling of wow, what a great day. The next day at the awards ceremony it bowled me over just what had happened. The epic nature and vibe of an IRONMAN comes down to thousands of moments, some inspiring, others mesmerizing and many simply beautiful that causes the ultimate appreciation and respect for the race and the athletes. At some point it just becomes overwhelming if you let it–in a good way.

I was walking with 73 year old Warren Mine of California (the oldest to complete IM Boulder in 2017) to help him retrieve his bike talking about his race (his 20th+ IRONMAN) when champion Tim O’Donnell walked by on his way to get his bike. I kind of shook my head in disbelief and reflected. What a crazy sport I thought. Here is one of the top athletes in the world, having just won the race, simply going to pick up his bike, limping a bit and commenting how his legs hurt–like everyone else’s. When LeBron finishes a game I’m guessing he doesn’t even pick up his basketball shoes. The mingling of pro’s and amateurs all aiming for the same goal, with the same vulnerabilities, the same dedication and similar dreams and hopes sets triathlon apart. It endears all of us triathletes. It builds bonds and communities and lasts a lifetime.

To spectate IRONMAN Boulder for the first time convinced me more than ever that through this endeavor lives are changed. Relationships begin, are cemented, and are celebrated by a common event experienced uniquely for everyone. I parked myself for over two hours photographing hundreds of Colorado athletes as they entered the run course from T2. The relief and smiles to be on the run leg permeated most, and their hopeful gaze for a good run was greeted by hundreds of cheering people lining Boulder Creek. Hours passed. I walked miles, taking more pictures, cheering and remembering my runs on this creek for the past three IRONMAN Boulders. All I could think about was the love and support I always felt and that was the only thing I missed about not racing. It’s addictive and appreciated. I thought how lucky all these people were to experience it–especially first timers. They will never forget it.

Champion Tim O’Donnell awards finisher medals during the magical midnight hour

Later that night, during the last hour of the race, I simply sat a few feet from finishers who were greeted by Tim O’Donnell and his wife and three time IRONMAN World Champion, Mirinda Carfrae. The unofficial triathlon king and queen of Boulder graciously medaled each of the final age groupers. Most gazed in disbelief or were too dazed and confused to grasp the significance–but once they understood who was putting their arms around them, the smiles beamed.

To witness the tears, the joy, the pain, the end, and really the beginning of a new journey for so many sticks in my mind. Tears came to my eyes many times.

But no race is complete without recognizing those who win and rise above. Those who persevere the most, overcome amazing challenges and earn one of the toughest and most coveted entries in all of sport–a chance to compete in Kona. A spot reserved for the top 2%. The dreams of the athletes, their families and coaches hang in the balance of getting a spot.

It’s not as clear cut as you might think. Going into the awards all that is known is that 40 spots are awarded. They are then divided among all age groups proportional to how many people raced in the age group.

Some age groups have one entry, others as many as three of four. But not every athlete chooses to go or some have an entry from

EK Endurance Sports, Vixxen Racing & BTC Elite Coach Eric Kenney

an earlier race so their spot rolls down. Each time an athlete’s name is called and there is no response, some athlete hoping and waiting erupts in emotion–some show it more than others and it is wonderful to witness (you must be present to claim a spot). The tension can be thick.

Coach Eric Kenney and his athlete Liz West

In the female 30 to 34 age group, local athlete, Team Vixxen Racing member, Elizabeth West, was third in her age group with two spots up for grabs. She is coached by Eric Kenney of EK Endurance. I knew how anxious Eric was, hoping to see her dream come true. If you know Eric, you know he wears his heart on his sleeve.

As Mike Reilly began to announce that age group I was nervous. My personal connection and empathy for Liz and knowing how close she has been in past years and remembering how I felt missing a spot by one place two years ago, put a lump in my throat in anticipation. Mike called the first name. Silence. He called it again. More silence.

Tears swelled in my eyes and I gazed not at Liz, but at Eric a few feet away, standing alone to the side. He crumpled to a knee and couldn’t fight the tears. That moment will last a lifetime. Liz hugged many and tears came to her as well and her mom sat crying; it was simply beautiful.

Ironman Boulder is over, dreams are cast and inspiring stories will be told for a long long time.

Weekend Preview: IRONMAN Boulder Weekend

Triathlon Events

Thursday June 8th


Stroke n Stride

Boulder Reservoir

Meet Kyle & Brent Pease and Get Inspired


Storytime with Mike Riley


Friday June 9th


IM Boulder Opening Ceremonies

City Park Bandshell, Boulder

Saturday June 10th


United Health Care IRONKIDS Fun Run

Boulder High School, Boulder

Alison Dunlap Beginner MTB Skills Clinic

Colorado Springs

Sunday June 11th




IRONMAN Boulder Watch Party

Boulder Reservoir

XTERRA Lory Pre-ride

Lory St. Park, Ft. Collins

Alison Dunlap Beginner MTB Skills Clinic

Colorado Springs

USAT Athena & Clydesdale National Championships

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Cycling Events

Thursday June 8th


BVV Track Night


Haute Route Recon


Friday June 9th


MTN Enduro


Saturday June 10th


Death Ride Tour VIII



The DEATH RIDE Tour VIII Ride to Defeat ALS is a fundraising event to support the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the ALS Association along with the Blazeman Foundation, WAR on ALS.  The DEATH RIDE Tour covers 235 miles over three days with about 16,500 feet of elevation gain.This is very challenging bike tour and designed only for cyclist who have trained.  Every year, 5,000 individuals in the United States are diagnosed with ALS. Through cycling tours and your generous donations, our non-profit organization raises funds to help combat this serious illness.


Face book page here

Alison Dunlap Beginner MTB Skills Clinic

Colorado Springs

Ride the Rockies

June 10-17

WP Epic Single Track Granby Ranch XC

Winter Park

Salida Big Friggin’ Loop


Best on Hess

Castle Pines

Take a Kid MTN Biking Day


Sunday June 11th


Death Ride Tour VIII


The DEATH RIDE Tour VIII Ride to Defeat ALS is a fundraising event to support the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the ALS Association along with the Blazeman Foundation, WAR on ALS.  The DEATH RIDE Tour covers 235 miles over three days with about 16,500 feet of elevation gain.This is very challenging bike tour and designed only for cyclist who have trained.  Every year, 5,000 individuals in the United States are diagnosed with ALS. Through cycling tours and your generous donations, our non-profit organization raises funds to help combat this serious illness.

Face book page here

Death Ride Challenge


Avista Women’s Weekly Ride


Alison Dunlap Beginner MTB Skills Clinic

Colorado Springs

Ride the Rockies

June 10-17

Ridge on 38 Criterium and Beerfest

Wheat Ridge

USAC Talent ID Road Camp


BRAC Level 2 Junior Camp


Art by Bike Tour of Loveland


Ibis Demo at Full Cycle


Tri Coach Tuesday: Tips on IM Boulder

Written by Dave Sheanin, D3 Multisport



Boulder is the perfect place for an Ironman, of course!  It’s home to some of the fastest professional and age group triathletes in the world, and the 18x collegiate national champion CU Triathlon Team.  Who wouldn’t want to race here?  Nobody.  Of course you want to race here. Following are 16 specific tips I have gleaned from my experience on the course both racing and training.



  • Remember that Boulder is at 5,430 feet above sea level–even higher than Denver, the Mile High City.  The air is thin up here and if you’re coming in from out of town, be sure to stay up on your hydration and don’t forget the sunscreen.

  • There are two separate transition areas–T1 is at the reservoir and T2 is at the high school.  You’ll take a bus from the high school to get to the Rez on race morning.  This is the only way to get to the race start.  Ironman has a ton of buses and there usually isn’t much of a wait, but my strong recommendation is to arrive at the high school first thing.  Better to have a little extra down-time out at the Rez than be standing at the high school waiting on a bus.



This is one of the best IM swims on the circuit!  Not because the water is crystal clear (it’s not) and not because it’s an ultra-beautiful venue (we locals think it’s just fine).  No, what makes this an awesome swim is that you swim north, then west, then south.  What’s the big deal?  Let me remind you that the sun rises in the east.  You’re never swimming into the rising sun.


IM uses a rolling start in Boulder so you’ll self-seed by time per the normal procedure.  In the past, this race has been held in August and the Rez typically heats up to or above the wetsuit threshold temp, but in June, I would expect the Rez to be in the mid-60s and wetsuit legal.



The course is very well marked and only has two turns (both lefts).  You’ll exit on a boat ramp then make a right to pick up your T1 bag and a u-turn to head into the change tents.



Do not skip the sunscreen volunteers as you exit the change tent and head to your bike.  It only takes a couple of seconds to get fully slathered–you’ll want that protection in the Colorado sun.





Each year this race has been held, the bike course has been different.  2017 brings a new course which I expect will stick.  It’s a three-loop affair with two moderate climbs per loop.  If you ride by TSS, it’s pretty convenient to shoot for just under 100 points per lap.

Climb one is the first 5 miles straight out of transition.  It doesn’t really look like a climb when you’re on it–just a steady 2 percent (give or take) until you reach the edge of town.  It’s tempting to push too hard in these first few miles because the grade is deceiving and you may be thinking you’re going too slowly.  Mind your watts or RPE.  Because there are two more loops, you’ll repeat this section around miles 35+ and 105+.

Climb two looks a bit more significant as you head west on Nelson Road starting a bit after mile 15 (repeating at miles 50+ and 85+).  This climb has ruined a lot of triathlete’s days in Boulder.  The total distance is about 4 miles and there are a couple of little kicks, but it’s otherwise pretty steady.  Again, mind your watts and pay no attention to the folks who rush up this climb–especially on the first lap.  They’re either on their way to a really outstanding ride, or more likely, you’ll be seeing them later.  Note that the wind typically blows from the northwest so you’ll be going into it as you head to the mountains and getting a push as you ride away from them.  It’ll likely be pretty calm in the early hours, but if you’re not among the fastest riders, the afternoon winds can make the third loop an extra challenge.  This climb into the wind is not so fun.

At the end of the third lap, you’ll turn left instead of right as you exit the road from the Rez (51st) and head downtown to the high school for T2.



Although the run is completely on concrete (probably a good race for your Hokas), it is a pretty comfortable run as Ironman runs go.  There are no major hills, but nothing in Boulder is really flat.  The run is two loops.

You’ll exit transition and head east along the creek.  You are running downhill.  Your brain may not register this fact until you turn around at mile 7 (and 20) and head back to the west.  At that point you’ll notice the slight uphill.


At about mile 2 (and 15), there is an out-and-back that heads south.  Once you reach the “slinky” bridge at mile 4 (and 17), you’re on a long straightaway that becomes a zombie-walk late in the race.  Don’t let this be you!  Pacing is always critical on the bike in order to have a great run so do the right amount of work throughout the race and run past a lot of folks on this stretch.


Once you’re back on the creek path and at the eastern turnaround, you’ll head back up to the west.  You’ll run past the high school for a little more than a mile through Eben Fine Park to the western turnaround.  The steepest section of the run is as you exit the park.  It’s short, but be aware that it’s there.  You’ll head back to the east to complete the first lap and again for the finish.

The downtown central park area will be packed with spectators and is a good place for your friends and family to get a look at you as you power past them on the run.  It’s also the place where you’ll draw a lot of energy from the big crowds.  The areas at the ends of the course (south, east, and west) tend to be pretty quiet.

Stay up on your nutrition and hydration.  Although the new June date for this race won’t likely be as hot as the previous August races, the altitude is no joke–be smart about fuel and drink.


Good times in Boulder!


Coach Dave Sheanin approaches coaching from a holistic perspective. Adult age-group triathletes typically have substantial demands in their lives outside of training and racing. Looking at any individual component of an athlete’s training (or life) is a data point, but it rarely tells the full story. I make it a priority to understand what’s going on in an athlete’s life beyond triathlon in order to build a plan that is smart, fits their lifestyle, and builds toward appropriate goals.


Original article on D3 Multisport here

Cyclist killed in Sunshine Canyon ID’d as Brazilian on CU’s triathlon team

From the Times Call

Colorado State Patrol investigators look over a bike at the scene of a fatal crash in Sunshine Canyon west of Boulder on Thursday. ( Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer )

The Boulder County Coroner’s Office on Friday publicly identified the cyclist killed in Sunshine Canyon this week as 19-year-old Alessandro Zarzur, of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The coroner’s office announced in a news release that it has conducted an autopsy, but the cause and manner of Zarzur’s death remain under investigation.

University of Colorado spokesman Ryan Huff confirmed that Zarzur was a CU student and a member of the school’s triathlon team.

“We are saddened to hear the news of Alessandro’s passing,” Huff said in an email. “The CU family extends its deepest condolences to his family, his friends and the entire CU triathlon team.”

Zarzur died at Boulder Community Health’s Foothills Hospital on Thursday afternoon after he collided with a truck near the 2200 block of Sunshine Canyon Drive.

Colorado State Trooper Josh Lewis said Zarzur was riding eastbound on Sunshine Canyon Drive when he went straight on a right-hand curve and crossed the double yellow line into oncoming traffic, falling down while he attempted to brake.


Boulder Sunset Triathlon



Join us at the Boulder Reservoir for the 11th annual Boulder Sunset Triathlon, the third race in our Boulder, Colorado triathlon series! This is where it all started for Your Cause Sports. This race has grown to be a local favorite due to its later start, and will sell out in early August at 1,200 athletes. For the 4th year in a row, the Boulder Sunset Olympic Distance will be a Mountain Collegiate Triathlon Conference race. The Duathlon will continue to be part of the USAT Duathlon Race Series. So come race in one of Colorado’s best triathlons and see for yourself why this is a must-do race in 2017! With a Sprint, Olympic, Duathlon and 5K & 10K run, we guarantee a fun day for the entire family.


Child care offered by PRKids


Event details and registration here

Report: Boulder’s Newton Running cofounder out, reorg underway

The Newton Running Store is shown here on Pearl Street in this file photo. ( Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer )

From the Times Call

Newton Running, which abruptly closed its flagship Pearl Street Mall store last month, has launched a major reorganization which includes the departure of its cofounder Danny Abshire, according to a report in Runner’s World.

The report was confirmed by company spokesman Michael Doyle.

Doyle said cofounder and investor Jerry Lee has returned to lead the venture as chairman of the board temporarily.

“We don’t know what the long-term plan is,” said Doyle, but he confirmed that the company’s primary financial backer, Fireman Capital Partners, is no longer involved and that company executives are in the process of forming a new investor group.

The Daily Camera reported the store closure March 31.

“the street retail scene proved a tough one to make profitable”

Read the full story

Tri Coach Tuesday: Ladies, 5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Mountain Bike

by Elorie Slater, Co-Owner of Sports Garage

There are so many stories women are told, most notably the stories they tell themselves, along the path to becoming a self-identified female mountain biker. Often these stories are presented as well-intentioned advice.

This spring I needed a new bike – a position that should have inspired only excitement. I was born-again in mountain biking on my last bike (The Perfect Bike) and I love it still, despite the fact that during vigorous rides the thing now sounds like that street performer playing about 10 instruments simultaneously. Entering into the new bike selection process actually inspired mild PTSD. You see, before The Perfect Bike I suffered through a series of ill-fitting, twitchy, poorly set up, under or over-geared machines, each of which I acquired because I believed a story. Retracing this history has helped me identify five key questions that every rider, especially women, should be asking themselves when shopping for a new mountain bike.

Once upon a time…

Story #1: “ You’re not experienced enough for clipless pedals.”

I learned everything the hard way: started riding legit singletrack at  30 in daisy dukes, on a twenty-five dollar cult of poverty hardtail I picked up at a yard sale. Among the first crew I rode with was a guy who told me, “You’re not experienced enough for clipless pedals. It will be years before you’re ready for that”. So when I shopped for my first full suspension mountain bike – an aluminum Gary Fisher – I set it up with heavy steel Primo pedals. I rode the dog out of the Fisher. A year later I moved to Colorado and received the unexpected “gift” of a pair of SPD’s. I spent the next three months the victim of repeated SPD falls, picking gravel out of my knees, grafting skin to my elbows, and resisting the urge to kick my bike over every cliff.  I should have come out of the gates with clipless pedals and learned the entire skillset from the get-go.

Story #2: “A light-weight bike with a smaller wheel is better for smaller riders.”

Not long after recovering from that bout of SPD-itis, I was bit by the carbon bug, perhaps an even more serious malady. I started shopping for a new bike again. At that time, 26” rigs still took up as much space in bike shops as 29-ers. I had traded my dukes in for a chamois and figured out hydration packs.  At just under 5’5″, fully geared up and soaking wet, I weighed in at about 125. The staff at a trusted bike shop explained that light-weight, nimble 26” bikes suit smaller riders: strength to weigh ratio, turning radius, blah, blah, blah. So I got one. That bike was the lightest, steepest, twitchiest, race set-up on the trail. I was lightning fast…when I was upright. I scored insane endo style points that year. And then one day I rode a friend’s 29” bike. The longer wheelbase added confidence and stability to the equation, even in switchbacks. Descending, I felt like a tractor. Despite my size, I’m a big wheel girl. I should have done test rides on both wheel sizes before making my buying decision.

Ladies, it’s not just bad advice from others. Most of these are stories we also tell ourselves. If I had a nickel for every lady rider that came in SG and said “I’m pretty small so I need to demo a 27.5,” I would ride gold-plated wheels. And don’t get me wrong – I’m not telling women that they shouldn’t ride a smaller wheel or should replace her factory-installed dropper. I’m telling all mountain bike shoppers that discovering your own riding style and analyzing your own preferences is a valuable investment of time.

When shopping for a new bike, find all your opportunities to demo. And someone – whether yourself or an expert at a shop you trust – should ask the five following questions:

1. What’s your favorite part of riding?
2. Can you describe the trail that you feel most confident on or enjoy the most, and why?
3. Do you have a riding goal or dream destination that you are working towards?
4. Are you more nervous about climbing or descending?
5. Do you ever (truly in your heart of hearts) intend to take big hits?

Complete article at Sports Garage here