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: Summer OPEN and Colorado Bike Expo a GO!

Triathlon Events

Friday May 19th

Primal Colorado Bike Expo

Sports Authority Field @ Mile High, Denver

Rain, Shine or Snow.  This event will happen.

The Primal Colorado Bike Expo is the annual kickoff event for cycling in the state of Colorado! In its third year the expo will bring together all things cycling and Colorado; pairing industry professionals, recreational riders, biking enthusiasts and utilitarian’s with the latest products, consumer trends, screaming deals, organized rides, clubs & teams, advocacy groups and cycling destinations.

The two day festival and consumer show will also include BMX flatland and aerial stunts, a kid zone, adult big wheel races, learn to ride clinics, strider course, sprint competitions, demo area, antique bicycle display, a fashion show, incredible programming, live entertainment, beer garden, food trucks and more!

A portion of the event proceeds will go to support the Colorado High School Cycling League, Trips for Kids Denver Metro and Wish for Wheels.


Saturday May 20th

 

Primal Colorado Bike Expo

Sports Authority Field @ Mile High, Denver

Rain, Shine or Snow.  This event will happen.

The Primal Colorado Bike Expo is the annual kickoff event for cycling in the state of Colorado! In its third year the expo will bring together all things cycling and Colorado; pairing industry professionals, recreational riders, biking enthusiasts and utilitarian’s with the latest products, consumer trends, screaming deals, organized rides, clubs & teams, advocacy groups and cycling destinations.

The two day festival and consumer show will also include BMX flatland and aerial stunts, a kid zone, adult big wheel races, learn to ride clinics, strider course, sprint competitions, demo area, antique bicycle display, a fashion show, incredible programming, live entertainment, beer garden, food trucks and more!

A portion of the event proceeds will go to support the Colorado High School Cycling League, Trips for Kids Denver Metro and Wish for Wheels.


Summer OPEN Sprint Tri

Union Reservoir, Longmont


Team Colorado Weekly Ride

Boulder


Ft. Collins Children’s Tri

Ft. Collins


Ft. Collins Spring Triathlon & Duathlon

Ft. Collins


Sunday May 21st

 

Tri the Rock

Castle Rock


Vixxen Racing: Find Your Feisty Run & Recovery

Boulder


The Original Meowler – Cancelled

Gunnison



 

Cycling Events

Friday May 19th

 

Primal Colorado Bike Expo

Sports Authority Field @ Mile High, Denver

Rain, Shine or Snow.  This event will happen.

The Primal Colorado Bike Expo is the annual kickoff event for cycling in the state of Colorado! In its third year the expo will bring together all things cycling and Colorado; pairing industry professionals, recreational riders, biking enthusiasts and utilitarian’s with the latest products, consumer trends, screaming deals, organized rides, clubs & teams, advocacy groups and cycling destinations.

The two day festival and consumer show will also include BMX flatland and aerial stunts, a kid zone, adult big wheel races, learn to ride clinics, strider course, sprint competitions, demo area, antique bicycle display, a fashion show, incredible programming, live entertainment, beer garden, food trucks and more!

A portion of the event proceeds will go to support the Colorado High School Cycling League, Trips for Kids Denver Metro and Wish for Wheels.


Friday Night Lights

Sports Authority Field @ Mile High, Denver


Rapha Ride

Boulder


Grand Junction Off Road

Grand Junction


Kokopelli Trail Mtb Trip

Loma t0 Moab


Saturday May 20th

 

Primal Colorado Bike Expo

Sports Authority Field @ Mile High, Denver

Rain, Shine or Snow.  This event will happen.

The Primal Colorado Bike Expo is the annual kickoff event for cycling in the state of Colorado! In its third year the expo will bring together all things cycling and Colorado; pairing industry professionals, recreational riders, biking enthusiasts and utilitarian’s with the latest products, consumer trends, screaming deals, organized rides, clubs & teams, advocacy groups and cycling destinations.

The two day festival and consumer show will also include BMX flatland and aerial stunts, a kid zone, adult big wheel races, learn to ride clinics, strider course, sprint competitions, demo area, antique bicycle display, a fashion show, incredible programming, live entertainment, beer garden, food trucks and more!

A portion of the event proceeds will go to support the Colorado High School Cycling League, Trips for Kids Denver Metro and Wish for Wheels.


Robidoux Quick & Dirty

Scotts Bluff, NE

The 2nd Annual Robidoux Quick and Dirty will be held on Saturday May 20, 2017.  This is a 75 mile gravel race held in Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska, and is run through the heart of the Wildcat Hills.  You can race it and gather a cash prize, or you can take your time and make it an adventure ride.  Either way, the route takes you through piney woods and high plains grasslands nestled in a bluff system left behind by a retreating sea 70 million years ago.  Look for fossils and cows; this is open range country.  You won’t be the first to test your mettle through these parts.  You’ll be riding on the Oregon Trail for much of the route, retracing the very steps of the Western immigrants.  The race is named after Antione Robidoux, who built a trading post during the 1840s, selling tack and grog to immigrants as they crossed over Robidoux Pass on the way to their demise or Oregon, which ever came first.  In later years, immigrants struggled over the more direct Mitchell Pass.  You’ll be riding over both.

The route is run primarily on excellent, fast gravel roads.  Route finding will be straightforward to allow riders to focus on putting power to the pedals.  It’s a hilly course though, with over 4,000 feet of climbing in 75 miles.  The course is 88% gravel and 12% asphalt, with the final 5 miles climbing up over Mitchell Pass and through the Scotts Bluff National Monument.


M&M: An Urban Bike Event

Sports Authority Field @ Mile High, Denver


Ride.Rock.Rally Hill Climb

Boulder


Superior TT & TTT

Superior


Pony Xpress Gravel 160

Trinidad


VIDA Mtb Clinic

Boulder


Dirty Double Fondo 200km

Salida


Gravalanche Series Finale

Boulder


Ride of Silence

Woodland Park


Kokopelli Trail Mtb Trip

Loma t0 Moab


Rapha Ride

Boulder


Grand Junction Off Road

Grand Junction


Sunday May 21st

 

McKee Classic Bike Tour

Loveland


Morgul Bismark Road Race

Superior


Santa Fe Century

Santa Fe, NM


Kokopelli Trail Mtb Trip

Loma t0 Moab


Rapha Ride

Boulder


Grand Junction Off Road

Grand Junction

Weekend Preview: Happy Mother’s Day

Triathlon Events

Thursday May 11th

 

Find Your Feisty Kickoff Event

Outdoor Diva’s, Boulder


Saturday May 13th

 

IRONMAN Team Colorado Weekly Ride

Boulder


Ordinary Mortals Triathlon

Pueblo


Mini Mortals Kids Triathlon

Pueblo


Summer OPEN Practice Swim

Longmont


Sunday May 14th

 

Novice Freestyle Clinic

Denver



Cycling Events 

Thursday May 11th

 

Montview Blvd Bike Lane Expansion House

North Middle School, Aurora


Friday May 12th

 

1st Annual Crank it Forward Fundraiser Event

Boulder


Saturday May 13th

 

Ghost Bike Memorial

Longmont


Wheels of Thunder at Flatrock

Commerce City


Battle the Bear

Lakewood


12 hrs of Mesa Verde

Cortez


Desert RATS Classic

Fruita


Gowdy Grinder

Gowdy State Park, Wyoming


10th Annual MTB Demo Days

Boulder


Lee Likes Bikes Level 1.5 MTB Clinic

Erie


Sunday May 14th

Happy Mother’s Day

Weekend Preview: Sunny Days Ahead

Triathon Events

Saturday May 6th

 

Team Colorado Weekly Ride

Boulder


Sunday May 7th

 

Barkin’ Dog Duathlon

Cherry Creek State Park


Pool Open Water Skills Clinic

Denver



 

Cycling Events

Friday May 5th

 

TriVelo Youth Road Camp

Larkspur


18 Hrs of Fruita – Sold Out event.  Mark your calendars for next year

Fruita


Saturday May 6th

 

OZ Road Race

Watkins


Encierro Velo

Monument


El Cinco de Grindo

Boulder


AntiEpic Gravel Grinder

Monument


APEX Studio Grand Opening & Suf Ride

Boulder


Lee Likes Bikes Level 1 MTB Skills Clinic

Boulder


Lucky Bikes Re-Cyclery 4th Birthday Party

Denver


18 Hrs of Fruita – Sold Out event.  Mark your calendars for next year

Fruita


TriVelo Youth Road Camp

Larkspur


Sunday May 7th

 

Lafayette Criterium

Lafayette


SMBA Dual Slalom Series

Boulder


BRAC Moto Ref Clinic

Brighton


TriVelo Youth Road Camp

Larkspur


18 Hrs of Fruita – Sold Out event.  Mark your calendars for next year

Fruita


USA Cycling Marathon MTB National Championships

Arkadelphia, AR

 

Weekend Preview: Watch the Weather

Triathlon Events

Thursday April 27th

 

Heels on Wheels – Ladies Only

Campus Cycles, Denver


Friday April 28th

 

Bicycle Colorado Gala

Denver


Saturday April 29th

 

Team Colorado Weekly Ride

Boulder


Alison Dunlap Skills Clinic

Colorado Springs


Silver Creek High School Raptor Run 5k

Longmont


USAT Long Course Duathlon National Championships

North Carolina


Sunday April 30th

 

Rocky Mountain State Games – Indoor Triathlon

Colorado Springs


Crested Butte Pole, Pedal, Paddle

Crested Butte


Alison Dunlap Skills Clinic

Colorado Springs


IRONMAN Team Colorado Training Run & Social

Louisville

 



 

Cycling Events

Thursday April 27th

 

Heels on Wheels – Ladies Only

Campus Cycles, Denver


Fruita Fat Tire Festival

Fruita


USAC Para-cycling  Road National Championships

Grand Junction


USAC Collegiate Road National Championships

Grand Junction


Friday April 28th

 

Bicycle Colorado Gala

Denver


Women’s Level 1 MTB Skills Clinic with Amy Shenton

Boulder


Fruita Fat Tire Festival

Fruita


USAC Para-cycling  Road National Championships

Grand Junction


USAC Collegiate Road National Championships

Grand Junction


Saturday April 29th

 

Ridgeline Rampage

Castle Rock

 

This unique, 16-mile racecourse linking the Miller Athletic Complex and the Ridgeline Open Space Trail System is a one-of-a-kind, phenomenal way to kick off the season in style.  We’ll have plenty of aid stations, treats and hydration around the course to keep you fueled.  Awards and after-party will be on the grassy lawn at the finish line!

In addition to the race, there will be activities for spectators, kids and families with hula-hoops, beach balls, badminton, food truck and more!

New this year – We are offering FREE Junior racing for ages 10-18. That’s right, just pre-register on-line for a FREE Junior entry, or sign up on race day for only $10 bucks!


Alison Dunlap Skills Clinic

Colorado Springs


Fruita Fat Tire Festival

Fruita


Giant & Liv Demo Day

Boulder


GiddyUP! Film Tour

Salida


USAC Para-cycling  Road National Championships

Grand Junction


USAC Collegiate Road National Championships

Grand Junction

 


Sunday April 30th

 

Koppenberg Road Race – delayed start time

Superior


Fruita Fat Tire Festival

Fruita


Alison Dunlap Skills Clinic

Colorado Springs

 


USAC Para-cycling  Road National Championships

Grand Junction

USAC Collegiate Road National Championships

Grand Junction

Team Colorado Fun Run & Picnic

On April 30th at 3pm IRONMAN welcomes Team Colorado members and their families to its office located at 1795 Dogwood Street, suite 300 inLouisville for some picnic fun and a short run of either a 5k or 10k, a skills clinic and a chance to see some of the behind the scenes operations of just how an Ironman is staged and supported. The warehouse in Louisville supplies everything needed for all North American Ironman races. From pallets of Gatorade, to boxes of bags and stickers and kayaks, it’s all right here.

Schedule:

3pm run skills clinic by D3 Multisport, followed by a 5k or 10K run
4pm bike skills clinic
4:30 to 6pm food and fun with prizes.

After the run, race directors Tim Brosious and Dave Christen will grill food for all and Mike Ricci of D3 Multisport will offer a bike clinic focusing on navigating aid stations and some bike strategy relative to the course. Please bring your bike to practice grabbing bottles and other ideas to make your ride stronger.

Prizes will be randomly awarded to Team Colorado as part of the Strava competition in which ROKA  , Rudy Project, INFINIT Performance Nutrition, Lock Laces, Colorado Nutrition,  Colorado Multisport all contributed to those who completed the D3 Multisport Strava segment that is part of the Ironman Boulder course.

Read Do You Strava? here

But not everyone Stravas, so other swag and prizes will be there as well as part of the fun. Bring the family, there is even a basketball hoop at the warehouse and maybe Team Coloradans can show off their hoop skills–or the kiddos can.

The race is almost here, come socialize, relax have some good food, try to figure out what the water temperature is going to be (joking, but the most asked question ever)–you know talk about all that stuff triathletes worry about–or not, and just show up and enjoy your Colorado triathlon community.

 

If the weather doesn’t cooperate for out door activities, we’ll just move it inside the IRONMAN offices.

 

Event flier here

Weekend Preview: Get Your Fix

Triathlon Events

Friday April 21st

 

2017 USAT High School Triathlon National Championships

Tuscaloosa, Alabama


2017 USAT Collegiate Club Triathlon National Championships

Tuscaloosa, Alabama


 

Saturday April 22nd

 

2017 USAT Collegiate Club Triathlon National Championships

Tuscaloosa, Alabama


Team Colorado Weekly Ride

Tom Watson Park, Boulder


2017 CS Bike Swap

Colorado Springs


 

Sunday April 23rd

 

Three Creeks Half Marathon

Cherry Creek State Park



Cycling Events

Saturday April 22nd

 

Sea Otter Classic

Monterey, Ca


Clasica de Rio Grande

Johnstown


FLC Squawker Road Classic

Durango


Junior Track Clinic

Colorado Springs


2017 CS Bike Swap

Colorado Springs


 

Sunday April 23rd

 

Louisville Criterium

Louisville

 

Kick off the spring season this April at one of the fastest races in Colorado.  Louisville offers fast flowing corners, a power incline, and wide open roads to really put the hammer down!  Come shake off the rust and open up the throttle at the Louisville Criterium!

We’ll have great prizes from our sponsors, plus a lively expo to keep spectators well fed, caffeinated, and entertained!  Let’s kick off the 2017 Colorado Cycling Season in style!


BRAC Women’s Mentoring Clinic

Louisville

 

In conjunction with the Louisville Criteium.  This BRAC sponsored clinic is FREE to women of all ages and ability.  Join us to kick off the 2017 racing season with a fun and informative clinic!


GiddyUP! Film Tour

Mercury Cafe, Denver

 

This special performance will benefit the Front Rangers Cycling Club, a Metro Denver nonprofit that has been putting kids on bikes since 1993.  The FRCC have 2 important programs for youth: an outreach program in collaboration with Denver Police Department that takes disadvantaged youth on a bicycle rides and outings once a month; and a junior cycling team that meets weekly providing an opportunity for youth train and race road, mountain bike and cyclocross.


Sea Otter Classic

Monterey, Ca


Junior Track Clinic

Colorado Springs


FLC Squawker Road Classic

Durango

 

Weekend Preview: Great Spring Weekend

Triathlon Events

Friday April 7th

 

2nd Annual Vixxen Racing Soiree and Silent Auction

Boulder

 

The Vixxen Racing Mission is to Inspire women and girls to accept no limits, conform to no standards, work hard, stay humble, and strive to be the best she can be! The Vixxen’s have started a movement for all women to find what their personal brand “winning” entails and relentlessly pursue it.

We want you to kick of the 2017 season with us for an evening of food, drink, and fun brought to you by Colorado Multi Sport, and all of the Vixxen Racing Team Sponsors. We will have all of our fun Vixxen Gear available for purchase as well as a silent auction with great gear from our partners and the Boulder Community!


 

The FAST Lab: Ladies Night Out

Centennial


Saturday April 8th

 

IRONMAN Team Colorado Ride

Ft. Collins

 

Join IM Boulder’s Tim Brosious and Team Colorado for a ride out of Ft. Collins.  Ride will be about 56 miles with 3,500ft elevation gain!

 



 

Cycling Events

Friday April 7th

 

BikeDenver Rockies Opening Day Event

Denver


Saturday April 8th

 

Boulder Roubaix

Boulder

 


Sunday April 9th

 

CU Discovery Criterium

Boulder