2017 Harvest Moon Long Course Tri Race Recap – What a Difference a Year Makes!


By Kirsten McCay

Wow! What a difference one year makes. The Without Limits/5430 Sports Harvest Moon Long Course Triathlon was a completely different race than it was one year ago. If you saw any pics or read any race recaps from last year (2016) you’ll have seen bikes blown down in transition, the slip and slide blowing away, and white caps in the reservoir. The wind was insane last year.

This year, however, the temperatures and weather were pretty much perfect. It was slightly chilly in the morning but about 15 minutes into the race the sun popped out from behind the clouds, warmed up the air, and then went back behind the clouds, staying there for most of the rest of the day.

Photo by Susan McNamee

These conditions made for PRs by almost every single athlete that I talked to who did the race last year. I know the race companies and race director have nothing to do with the weather, but it was a pretty perfect day and both newbies and experienced athletes both agreed that this year’s race was one of the best ever in the 18 years since the race started.

The race this year had 8 waves, including a first-timers wave which helps introduce newbies to the sport and ease them into a less intimidating and less aggressive swim start. They are also recognized for their accomplishment as there is an entire category of awards just for the first-timer. This is a positive way to introduce new triathletes into the sport. I love that Without Limits has this option in all of their races!

The swim this year was ideal. The water was calm and the buoys were easy to spot as the sun stayed mostly tucked behind the clouds. I don’t wear a Garmin, so I personally don’t know the actual distance of the swim, but I heard from several athletes after the race that the swim with a little bit short of the 2,000 m standard for the long course distance. Most measured it at about 1500 m.

Photo by Bill Plock

The bike course was also very easy thanks to partly cloudy skies, cooler temperatures, and very little wind on the course. The course is one of the fastest in Boulder, so for triathletes looking to ride a high mph average, this is a great course to test your speed on your bike. It’s also a perfect course for beginners who are doing their first half ironman distance triathlon, as the ride will leave your legs feeling a little fresher than many courses out there of the same distance.

We were also very fortunate on the run course as the temperature stayed in the low 70s. And the run being on hard-packed dirt was more gentle on the joints and muscles of the legs so again, a little easier for first timers, beginners, and those athletes wanting to test their speed. I also heard later in the day that the run course was about a half mile shorter than the standard 13.1 miles.

I spoke with 2 women after the race who used this as their first triathlon at this distance, and both were extremely happy with their experience. This race is small enough to make everyone feel included and a part of the community, but competitive enough to push even the most experienced athlete. I had a girl who I thought was in my age group blow by me on the 2nd lap of the run. I picked up my pace to try to stay with her, but couldn’t keep up. It ended up she was in the age group below me (phew) but that push helped me get to the finish line more quickly and took my mind of my hurting legs for a while!

There were a record number of Aqua-bikers at the race and this is the only Colorado race that includes a long course duathlon as an option!

There were 116 women, 218 men, 19 duathletes, 79 aqua bikers, and 17 relays who finished the race this year.

This was my 6th year racing the Harvest Moon Triathlon. I love that it’s in Boulder now and I love what Without Limits has done with the race. I will DEFINITELY be back next year! Hope to see you there!

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