Colorado Athletes on Maui: Benny Smith

My name is Benny Smith and I’m 17 years old. I did my first tri when I was 6 and started getting serious with training at like 13. I definitely started doing them because of my dad.

 

This will be my second year going to the Xterra World Championships. I qualified at Xterra Beaver Creek. I’m currently ranked 1st in the country for 19 and under which is pretty sick and I’m grateful to get so many sweet opportunities. I love climbing when cycling and running and I get STOKED when I’m way in the mountains/ocean and snowboarding in waist deep pow!!

Colorado Athletes on Maui: Ryan McMullen

 

This is my 5th season in Xterra and this will be my 2nd trip to the World Championship. I qualified at Beaver Creek (3rd amateur overall) and at the Pan American Championship in Utah (3rd in age group). I have had a very rewarding season and I’m excited to cap things off in HI.

This is the 5 year benchmark of my racing and has had me reminiscing a lot lately. I started this journey with almost no experience in any of the disciplines of triathlon. I grew up riding BMX bikes around the neighborhood, I took a few swim lessons as a kid, and I ran cross country for a couple of years in high school to hang out with the girls. However, I have always had a strong drive to be active and for most of my life basketball was an outlet and a passion of mine. I poured myself into that sport and I’m very grateful for what it gave me in return, but basketball is tough on your body and eventually I had to look for another outlet. At the same time I was struggling with some old lifestyle habits that were essentially killing me both physically and emotionally.

 

 

The turning point for me was this very clear moment when I realized that my two little girls weren’t going to have their dad around for very much longer if I wasn’t willing to change who I was and what I was doing. So I started making some small positive changes and the momentum just grew, as did the void. Then I remember watching one of the nationally broadcasted Xterra shows and the seed was planted. With absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into, I quickly signed up for an off-road triathlon in Lakewood, CO called “Battle the Bear”. At the time I had no idea what I was doing. I was 40 lbs. overweight, I could barely swim, I couldn’t seem to keep the rubber side of the bike down, and the run just flat out hurt; but I finished, and I found a new passion.

2017 IRONMAN World Championships Kona – Bill Plock’s Tri Hearter Recap

BEN HOFFMAN

By Bill Plock

I’m struggling to know what to share with you. There is so much. So much. Joy. Triumph. Sadness. Perseverance. Grit. Guts. Tenacity. The list is super long!

The results of the Ironman World Championships are not measured by a clock, or a place on a podium or by a Garmin. They are measured by smiles, tears and hugs. By racing and watching this race, we make huge deposits in the experience bank of our souls that serve us later in life.

Colorado’s Vicki Derrick and Jamie Twedt

It’s hard to share an epic event like this without using a cliche. I need to remember that to “narrow your focus broadens your appeal” and as one of the eyes and ears of 303triathlon, my “job” is to share with you and try to find relativity in this ocean of stories. Imagine you are on the pier and 2,400 boats appear on the horizon intending to land. Each one from a different place, maybe a different continent, maybe even from a country you didn’t know existed. Each boat carries stories and dreams and some are captained alone but most come with a crew. But they all have one goal. To finish.

Being in Kona for race week is like being on a captive island of history and tradition drawing these boats in like a compass faces north. The triathlon world focuses here for the week. Even if the Ironman distance is not your race of choice, the challenge of the sport clearly radiates here. Experts and those in the industry greet all of these boats, and in our case meeting legends like Bob Babbitt and Mike Reilly to share the history and meaning of this race just make the landing that much richer.

D3 Multisport’s Simon Butterworth, on his way to winning his age group

I encourage you to listen to those interviews to gain a true perspective on what happens here and what HAS happened here. What I have learned, and continue to learn each time I am here, is that to know the history, and to respect the race is essential to understand its epic nature.

With the focus on Colorado and our saturation of this race with 54 athletes toeing the line we have a lot share—and a lot to be thankful for. It feels like family. With all those boats landing and people scurrying everywhere, to latch on to a familiar smile, to know just a few stories is like finding a life preserver in rough unknown waters.

303 Ambassador Todd Plymale-Mallory encourages Andy Potts

We at 303 see ourselves as a bridge to you. A place where you can see what happens when your friends and loved ones landed here with 2,346 other athletes. Yes some came here to win it all, and our local pro, Andy Potts, was the first American across the line. We in Colorado have a lot to be proud of.

The other 53 athletes persevered. We tried to share moments of each of their journeys and for any we may have missed, it wasn’t for lack of trying. And you made Colorado proud and it was such an honor to share your journey with our readers and subscribers a few thousand miles away. Even with technology of instant connectivity, it’s the intangible flow of like-minded energy and a love of this sport and a love of every journey we encountered, that hopefully rushed at the speed of light into your hearts. We hope you felt what we did, and sharing that and feeling such a wonderful community in Colorado at the “Super Bowl” of triathlon is what makes being at this race epic.

Be proud 303 Nation. We have the most amazing triathlon community in the world.

Athlete, Matt Russell, struck on Ironman cycling course, suffers serious injuries

KAILUA-KONA — A professional athlete suffered serious injuries after he struck a vehicle on the cycling course of the 39th annual Ironman championship, Saturday morning.

The accident occurred around 11 a.m. Hawaii Police Maj. Robert Wagner said the cyclist was traveling toward Kona on Queen Kaahumanu Highway when he broadsided a vehicle crossing the highway from Waikoloa Road.

According to the Ironman Track app, the athlete was 75 miles into the 112-mile course and had four hours of race time when he was last tracked at mile marker 76.

The cyclist was taken to North Hawaii Community Hospital. Wagner said the cyclist was reported in serious condition around 1 p.m. By 3:30 p.m., his condition appeared to be improving.

Janey Brink said the accident happened right in front of her while she was cheering the athletes on from the highway with family and friends. She said the cyclist was going full speed when the vehicle pulled in front of him in the intersection.

“I’ve never seen a body go through what his body went through,” Brink said. “He came out of his clips.”

Brink splits her time between Hawaii Island and Albuquerque, New Mexico. She said she came to visit with her husband and friends, specifically to watch Ironman.

Brink said police used her umbrella to cover the cyclist. Officials also asked they stay around so they could talk to them about the crash.

“No one ever came to talk to us and we stayed for a long time,” Brink said.

Wagner said there were some cones in the area where the crash occurred but there are also several police officers directing traffic at the intersection. The accident is under investigation.

Brink said those directing traffic were allowing cars to cross the intersection two or three vehicles at a time.

“We couldn’t understand why cars in that intersection were still moving,” she said.

Brink said the riders had no idea there was an incident in the intersection and that it was another incident waiting to happen, almost.

 

“This rider, he could do nothing,” she said. “These riders need to have a clear path and that intersection was not clear.”

There was another collision on the cycling course involving a pedestrian and a competitor. Wagner said the cyclist picked up his bike, but went out of view of the cameras that watch the course. Wagner wasn’t sure if the cyclist continued on, but it appeared that way.

Wagner said Saturday evening no other collisions on the course were reported.

Original West Hawaii Today article HERE

 

A YouCaring page has been started to support Matt and his family.  You can find the link HERE.

 

 

303Radio talks with TrainingPeaks Dirk Friel on Colorado Representation at Swim Start

TrainingPeaks co-founder and Chief Evangelist Dirk Friel talks about the Ironman World Championship swim start and Colorado representation.

303Radio Interviews Bob Babbitt: The Heart of Ironman

The “Heart of Ironman,” Bob Babbitt talks about Ironman racing from its inception – day one when he ate hamburgers and fries and prepared for it to be a 2 day event–he didn’t know it was supposed to be a one day event. He paid $25 to race on his bike with a raccoon skin seat cover and Hawaiian sweet bread stuffed in his pocket. He shared some great stories in a way only Bob can do. Have a listen and see how this history fueled his passion that later paved the way to his greatest passion, that of heading the Challenged Athlete Foundation. You will feel inspired listening to this. He has lived it, and loved it, and given his heart to this sport.

303Radio Presents: The Voice of Ironman, Mike Reilly: “Dreams really do come true”

The voice of IRONMAN, Mike Reilly joined 303Radio and shared many stories about why he loves IRONMAN so much. Learn about his respect for the brand, and the athletes. Learn his thoughts on the Colorado culture, living in the moment, and what he his thinking when he sees athletes finishing. Understand his genuine spirit and why you “feel” him when he says, “You are an Ironman” – he really means it! He says there are two keys to success: 1) When “ego is not involved with what they are doing,” and, 2) “How the greatest thing we as people can do is make someone happy.” So much wisdom from Mike on life!

Colorado Athletes in Kona: Matt Britton

I used to race motocross and while my best friend was hurt he did a sprint triathlon and took 2nd, we are so competitive that I said “I could do that and beat you.”

That winter we signed up for 2013 Kansas 70.3 and that was that I was hooked. I ran in college for one year so I had a little running background, but I love cycling and it has easily became my favorite thing to do. My wife and I moved to Colorado in 2014 for all the beauties of the front range. I love the 70.3 distance the most and have completed in 8 with the last one 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga. I was lucky enough to qualify for Kona in 2015 at the Boulder Ironman in my first crack at the distance.

 

 

 

I am the luckiest dude in the world and have a beautiful wife that is so out of my league it is not even funny. I have a 17 month old baby boy named Bodhi and he is one radical dude. My training life happens in the wee hours of the morning 3:30-4am before work so when I get home I can spend as much time with my family as possible.

My life is like a dream and I cannot express my gratitude enough to be able to go back to Kona and suffer in the lava fields!!!

Colorado Athletes in Kona: Tom Bogan

With Kona IRONMAN World Championships just a few weeks away, 303Triathlon will begin highlighting the athletes who will be representing Colorado at this amazing race and event.

This year there are 54 Colorado athletes headed to the Big Island.  In addition to these folks, we are hoping to include the athletes that were awarded slots through IRONMAN’s Colorado to Kona program.


Today’s athlete is Tog Bogan, enjoy!

I am tremendously honored to be selected to participate in the 2017 Kona Ironman World Championship race. It is an incredible opportunity to be one of the athletes representing the Boulder Triathlon scene! If there is one thing I have learned- it is that consistent dedication has allowed me to attain far more than any innate athletic ability. A fierce determination and burning desire to pour out your best effort will open doors, bring new levels of achievement, and incredible results!

It has been my honor to cross paths with several very high end triathletes living and working in Boulder. They have all been very inspirational and encouraging to consider “being one” of them. I actually started my pursuit of triathlon at the coaxing of my first trainer Stephan Swanson at 24 Hour Fitness. In early 2012 I went in to work with a trainer and change the direction of my life. This time I was stepping over the line and NEVER going back! A few months in, and seeing that I was in it to stay, Stephan brought up the idea of entering and completing a triathlon as part of my training. There was just one little problem—I had always been unable to swim, and quite fearful of the idea!! It never thought that I could ever swim out into a lake and survive the attempt! After a few months of prodding, I agreed to TRY to learn to swim. This journey pursuing the most difficult thing I have ever attempted had begun.

Over the winter with the tremendous help of Meghan Williams and the Longmont Masters swim program, I very slowly began to learn how to not drown. Many days of attempting to swim followed. Nothing came easily. Breathing was difficult and I sank like a kettle bell. Over the winter I slowly saw things improve but still had lingering doubts. This was just a pool-just stand up and you’re OK. A lake, …well………..

The following spring I completed my first triathlon- a watershed moment if there ever was- at the Summer Open Sprint triathlon at my home track at Union Reservoir in Longmont. May 18, 2013 I had done something I NEVER thought was possible and conquered one of the biggest fears in my life! I was a TRIATHLETE! ME! Everything that has happened since then has built on this. My continuing participation in triathlon events are a celebration of what I am now capable of doing. I look back over the swim course at each event now and think—-look what you have just accomplished! You swam way out there and came back alive!

I am now in my 5th year of triathlon competition. Becoming an Ironman was so far from ever being a reality, but it happened to me on August 2, 2015 at the Boulder Ironman based at the Boulder High School that I graduated from in 1978. Ironically-same year Ironman competition started! Little did I know! Racing the Ironman distance is now my favorite though I enjoy all of them. I have completed 3 Boulder Ironman 140.6 events now. I tend to avoid Olympic distances since it is so swim distance weighted. Being a slow swimmer, I tend to get faster as the race goes on, so having time to bike and run down those fast swimmers is really exhilarating! It has been my great honor to have placed very well in a number of Sprint, Olympic, Ironman 70.3 and Ironman140.6. 3 Ironman 140.6 events completed over the last 5 years……………..

 

And…..now…….. now I have been invited to THE BIG SHOW in Kona, Hawaii! Dave Christen came into my office last December to announce to me and the whole world that I had a Kona World Championship race invitation. I was not ready for the instant celebrity attention that this has generated! As Dave inquired how I felt about this incredible opportunity to go to THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, in front of several thousand live Facebook followers, several thoughts raced through my head: Michael Kloostermans heartfelt Kona acceptance last August at Roll-down-to keep believing that you can get there! Am I anywhere near ready to do this? This is the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!! How the hell am I going to swim in the ocean-and WITHOUT my wetsuit!? Will I be able to survive this swim?? Can I even float in the ocean?? How do I even start to prepare to go to Hawaii? Where is Kona? What about my bike? What do I do now!?? Looks like I have several new challenges to face!! HELL YEAH-I’m going to KONA!!!

The 2017 season now turns to the Kona coast in Hawaii. I will be accompanied by my wonderful wife Lori and children Wesley and Savannah. I am also blessed by having a number of good friends traveling to Kona just to be there too. Along with a myriad of family, friends, competitors, patients and colleagues that will be following on the Ironman live coverage, I’m in good hands and will be drawing on ALL their energy for this one!!!

Auspiciously, I have set a number of new PR’s at local triathlon and running events this year. An incredible focus on what is ahead for Kona has kept my vigorous training with coach Tim Tracy on track. I keenly realize that I must step up BIG for this event and expect to bring my best game when I get there in October! Coffee boat swim, Welcoming Ceremony, Underpants Run, Pro Panel and being one of the championship competitors are all on my agenda for Kona. I look forward to a strong finish. I may not be up near the sharp end of this race-and that is quite alright- it will be my very best effort. Everything. 100%. The honor of going to the Ironman World Championship race is incredible and very surreal at times. An incredibly important day in my life dawns and I intend to immerse myself fully in this experience to come out a changed person. We’re again about to get some tremendous validation that “Anything Is Possible”! Aloha and Cheers!!

IRONMAN World Championships

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

 

The inaugural Hawaiian IRON MAN Triathlon was conceptualized in 1977 as a way to challenge athletes who had seen success at endurance swim, running and biathlon events. Honolulu-based Navy couple Judy and John Collins proposed combining the three toughest endurance races in Hawai’i—the 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim, 112 miles of the Around-O’ahu Bike Race and the 26.2-mile Honolulu Marathon—into one event.

On February 18, 1978, 15 people came to Waikiki to take on the IRONMAN challenge. Prior to racing, each received three sheets of paper with a few rules and a course description. The last page read: “Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!”

In 1981, the race moved from the tranquil shores of Waikiki to the barren lava fields of Kona on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Along the Kona Coast, black lava rock dominates the panorama, and athletes battle the “ho’omumuku” crosswinds of 45 mph, 95-degree temperatures and a scorching sun.

The IRONMAN World Championship centers on the dedication and courage exhibited by participants who demonstrate the IRONMAN mantra that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.® On October 14th, over 2,000 athletes will embark on a 140.6-mile journey that presents the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit to earn the title of IRONMAN.

 

Event details here