Behind the Scenes, Beyond the Podium with Racing Underground

By Kate Agathon, Campus Cycles

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at an organized sports event? How much time and effort does it take to go into a single event? How do organizers deal with the unexpected while still pulling off a successful event? And finally, what details do organizers wish participants knew?

We are doing a two-part series on some of the area’s most well known events and event organizers. This week, we recently caught up with Racing Underground owner Darrin Eisman about what it takes to hold an event. 

For nearly 30 years, the Eismans have organized a number of Denver-area triathlons and duathlons including the Littlefoot Triathlon, Barkin’ Dog Duathlon, and the Chilly Cheeks Duathlon series.

Darrin on Chilly Cheek sorta day!

“I’ve been racing since 1979, and I never get tired of being around races. I love everything about them. The people are great, the atmosphere is amazing, and I enjoy seeing everyone finish- from the elite racers to the first timers,” enthused Eisman.

In 1995, Darrin and Jill founded Racing Underground to produce and time running races and multisport events. Since then, they have worked on more than 1,000 successful events in that time. In addition to approximately 20 events of their own, they provide timing services to a select number of additional races each year. These events are often booked years in advance.

No such thing as a season

Event planning is a year-round process; not just a season. Darrin and Jill have no down time. Planning for the next year’s event begins the day after the current event is completed, when they begin to lock in a date and submit permit applications. Once a date is approved, they update the race website, schedule medical and police support, open registration, and begin promoting the event. 

Over the next few months, t-shirts, finisher medals, and swim caps are ordered; artwork is completed, post-race food is decided upon, volunteer groups are organized, and porta-potties are ordered.Two weeks out, water samples are tested (if it is a triathlon), participant packets are built, trucks and trailers are loaded, and final race details sent to participants. Finally, race weekend involves set up (which is extensive for a triathlon) and marking swim, bike, and run courses and hosting an early packet pickup.

A typical race day begins at 2 AM with final setup and course markings, and ends 14 hours later after the final medal has been awarded and the last meal served.

What most participants don’t know

Refunds and deferrals are common requests from participants. However, participants may not fully understand the impact of their requests. For example, when asking for a refund or a deferral, most don’t realize that the money has already likely been spent on an event t-shirt, event swag, and food. 

For events like those held by Racing Underground that have no event sponsors, the majority of the total event costs are covered by race entry fees. Therefore, by asking for a refund or a deferral, participants are unknowingly putting the next year’s event in the red. 

2020 in particular was brutal.

During the pandemic, Racing Underground had to give 100 percent credit towards future races for several events, including the 2020 Barking Dog duathlon. Even though they had already paid for race day items and knew they were making the responsible choice, it was a sickening feeling to realize they were tens of thousands of dollars in credits.

“We work with lots of events, and the no-show rate on races this fall has been extremely high – sometimes 25 to 30 percent or more. We (and most race organizers) offer fair refund and deferral policies, and those policies have deadlines based on when they begin spending the bulk of the entry fees on the event,” explained Eisman.

Despite the return of a full event calendar in 2021 and sold out events, they discovered that participation could surprisingly still be dicey. According to him, this year more than any previous years, there has been, what he describes, as a “massive number of refund and deferral requests” during the final week leading up to the races.

He attributes the increase in refund and deferral requests to the pandemic. “I know it may seem harsh to a participant who can’t receive a refund or a deferral after the deadline, but races operate on fairly small margins and giving a large number of refunds or deferrals to the following year can cause a race to disappear,” he continued.

T-shirts, medals, swim caps, food, etc. are all bought specifically for each participant; in other words, every detail of the race is based on the number of people who have entered. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon to begin planning next year’s event in the red.

Unexpected happenings

For race organizers, some things are beyond control. One year, the burrito vendor was not available. Their daughter and a friend ended up making quesadillas for everyone at the last minute. Another year, participants mistook a spectator for a volunteer and headed in the wrong direction. Then there was the running race up Mt. Evans that was planned. Some creative and strategic planning was made (wave starts, limited numbers, contactless pick up, etc.), people were onboard, and at the last minute, the City of Denver shut the event down by not allowing parking in the space it owned.

“When everything was shut down at the end of March 2020, we worked hard to come up with plans to safely hold our events. For months, we developed detailed plans, got encouragement from venues and local authorities, then they were shot down. Over and over again.” said Eisman.

The experience was surreal. One week, they were lauded for their effort, the next week, they were vilified for things beyond their control (such as terminating an event at the last minute). By the time winter 2020 arrived, they were allowed to host the Chilly Cheeks Duathlon Series. However, less than two weeks out, there was an uptick in COVID-19 and only 75 participants were allowed. There was the omnipresent concern of money, compounded with ensuring the participants had a great experience.

“ After crunching the numbers, I determined that we could just break even if we and our staff worked for free, and all volunteers were true volunteers with nothing in return except seeing smiling faces at the finish line. It ended up being one of my favorite years for the 20 year old series!” he exclaimed.

In order to keep their community of athletes engaged, they began to host free weekly virtual races (one running race and one bike race) to keep them racing.  Once races started to happen, Racing Underground was able to hold its Littlefoot Triathlon in September 2020. It was limited to 175 participants, and sold out in 4.5 hours. They took it as a promising sign of things to come.

Transforming an event into an experience.

Why have registration fees increased over the years? Attribute that to a change in expectations. The advent of social media has made what used to be a simple race into a cultural event to enjoy with friends. Long gone are the days of race entrants being greeted at the finish line with some bananas, bagels, and a paper cup to use at the water cooler. Thanks in large part to social media, triathlons and duathlons have become experiences, according to Eisman. “Once upon a time, an entrant would expect to receive a race number and an occasional t-shirt to commemorate participating in the event,” mused Eisman. “Now, people want medals, swag, food, and entertainment of some kind,” he said.

In order to stay in business, they had to change with the times (no pun intended). Interestingly, turning the event into an experience has also helped maintain its unique identity, distinguishing it from the plethora of other events added every year. Races build a loyalty over the years, and improving the racer experience helps to draw in new participants,” he explained.

Finding ways to mix up events also draws more participants. This year, the Colorado Special Olympics triathlon was included as a part of the Littlefoot Triathlon. Eisman exclaimed, “It was truly inspiring, and the best part was when one of the Special Olympians won a new bike from Campus Cycles in the post-race drawing!” 

Although the work can be exhausting and sometimes frustrating, Racing Underground’s Darrin and Jill Eisman and their dedicated team find reward in producing events that celebrate and encourage participants to achieve their athletic potential. 

For now, 2022 has already begun.

Looking for New Triathlon Adventures? Southwest Triathlon Series–Gunnison, Montrose, Alamosa and Los Alamos

By Bill Plock

Deep in the heart of Colorado, in cities on or south of Highway 50, you can find a series of sprint triathlons that will keep you racing until the end of October. Each of these triathlons offer a pool swim and unparalleled scenery in a small town atmosphere. Each has their own twists and nuances. For example the Alamosa Triathlon finishes with comfortable swim in the hot springs pool. But its on October 17th, so at almost 8,000 feet the warmer than usual water might feel wonderful.

These triathlons feature some of the highest elevations of any triathlon in the United States and Los Alamos is the longest continually running triathlon in the country!

Each race will have about 250 participants, they are professionally timed and will have BASE nutrition on course. The fun thing is each race will have dry camping options so if you want to pull in with your RV or trailer the night before with the family, maybe the whole family would like to race–or at least watch. Each race has a kid race and is very family oriented.

Last year we covered the Alamosa triathlon and became familiar with the vibe that no doubt will be in place in each of these venues. Here is a link to the story from last fall.

Unfortunately this year because of some regulations at the lab in Los Alamos that triathlon will be virtual and is going on from July 1-24. If you care to learn more or register go here:

The Gunnison Triathlon takes place August 28th and features a beautiful ride north of town towards Ohio Pass. For more information you can go here and register:

Next in the Series is the Black Canyon Triathlon taking place in Montrose on October 2nd. Says race director Kevin Davis, “The Black Canyon Triathlon is the primary fundraiser for the Montrose Recreation Foundation. Funds are used to promote and expand recreational opportunities within the Montrose community. This includes activity scholarships for both youth and older adults that qualify based on financial need. These scholarships are used to participate in sports, recreation activities, swimming lessons, and for access to the Montrose Community Recreation Center and Field House”

For more information and to register go here:

The last race in the series takes place in Alamosa on October 17th. Registration information for this race is pending but you can register for the entire series here:

So if you want to try something new, or see a part of Colorado you haven’t seen, at least in while, check out these races or do them all!

Confessions of a Ragnar Newbie–Rich Soares

By Rich Soares

What do hundreds tents, dinosaurs, running trails, and bonfires have in common?  They were part of the Ragnar Relay Run held in iconic Snowmass, Colorado this past weekend. This was my first time doing a Ragnar race and beyond the general concept (long run with a team of rotating runners), I really had no idea of the magnitude and vibe of the event.  It had been a while since ventured out and tried a new race format and I eagerly anticipated experiencing the rave of Ragnarian’s (what they call Ragnar finishers).

My first confession, I want to write it down just so I can relive the experience in my mind one more time. I hope my story helps inspire others wanting something new in their endurance journey.

My Ragnar experience started with arriving Thursday night, the race started on Friday.  We parked and walked to the camping fields adjacent the race village in the cool evening under a starlit sky at 8,000 feet in Snowmass.  We entered one of two large fields full of tents, and I felt like I had arrived at a Jimmy Buffett concert tailgate party.  The team tents buzzed with laughter and music.  We passed one team tent with decorative lights hanging from their cluster of pop-up canopies, while the team watched a movie projected onto a white screen hanging on one wall of the canopy. Clearly not newbies.  Over the next hour, the music, laughter and temperature dropped and we prepared for the big day ahead.

The next day I met race director Amber Hardesty and marketing director Dave Deboer.  I wanted to learn the official statistics of the race as well as learn about its history and culture.  Amber explained there were 1,100 runners on 128 teams including 8 ultra-teams.  Starting Friday morning at 9am and every hour until 5pm, a new wave of runners from a mix of teams started their 20+ hour adventure.  Each runner of an 8-person relay team ran approximately 15 total miles by running the 3.8-mile 596-ft elevation “green” course, the 4.6-mile 519-ft “yellow” course, and 6.7-mile 1121-ft gain “red” course. After each runner ran each course that made for a total run of 120miles and 18,000 feels of climbing.

Said Amber, “One fun feature that was introduced this year was a dinosaur scavenger hunt inspired by a dinosaur find in Snowmass” in 2014. Her team placed a handful of dinosaur figurines on each of the three courses for runners to find and win a Ragnar prize.

It was clear that tent camping and Ragnar running are nearly inseparable.  It was also clear that Ragnar has Ragnar devotees.  Ragnar tattoos are as common as M-dots at IRONMAN races.  It’s also clear that people travel to these races.  

Team’s setup camp adjacent to the Ragnar village in one of two fields.  There is a softball field a short walk down the bike path and another in the soccer field adjacent to Ragnar village.  Marketing Director, Dave Deboer explains how Ragnar provides a “glamping” experience for racers who don’t want to lug camping equipment in their travel to the race.  “It’s a concierge style service that’s not too fancy, but just fancy enough for Ragnar”.  Glamping tents are 4 two person tents and a central area all connected as one single unit.  In the center of the Glamping village is a large open tent with coffee, ice and other conveniences for the comfort seekers.  

Confession #2.  When I first signed up, there was a mention of tents in the email.  I just figured that was the option for those who don’t want to stay in hotels.  My version of “glamping” was a cheap motel or the floor of a hotel room.  

Confession #3 – I slept on the floor of a hotel room on Thursday night before arriving and setting up camp on Friday morning.

On Friday morning we walked over to the Ragnar village to survey the transition tent, the vendors and other village features. We pass a little time walking the village and visiting vendors like Athletic Brewing Co. (one of my personal favorites) and familiarizing ourselves with the layout. When it was time, we escorted our first runner, Aaron Monroe to the transition tent to start our twenty plus hour journey.  After he set out on the green course at 2pm we paced around the village eager to hear how hard the hills were.  

Thirty minutes later we watched on one of the many monitors that displayed runners crossing a timing mat a quarter mile from the transition tent where finishing runners hand off their team’s race bib to the next runner.  Our team, “Aspen Extreme”, popped up on the screen and I hustled to meet Aaron returning from the green course.  I’m our team’s number two runner in the sequence of eight team members and am assigned the yellow course as the first of my three loops.  

As I headed out on the yellow course, I imagined what it will be like for my teammates who will run this course later that evening in the dark. I wondered what it will look like early the next morning as the sun comes up.  It occurred to me that each us will have a different experience over the 20 hours. I’ll do the mid-distance lowest elevation course in the heat of the afternoon, while others will do it in the cool dark evening.  As I returned on the yellow course I saw my teammate Josh Snyder waiting for me with his red course bracelet to receive the race bib handoff.  Josh then handed off to Jake and so on through eight runners.  We will continue this rotation through the afternoon and into the evening. 

At around 9pm it was my turn again to run the green course this time.  I grabbed the green slap bracelet, my headlamp, and headed with my posse to the transition tent.  There are two bonfires and people roasted marshmallows on sticks provide by Ragnar, they know how to make it fun!  A movie projected onto a screen for those passing the time in the village throughout the evening.  The monitor alerted us to our arriving team member, and I scrambled to the tent.  This time I head out onto the green course lit by my headlamp.  The experience is much different at night, it’s dark, like really dark.  Even with the brightest of lights, your focus is much narrower and more acute on the trail in front of you, I even saw a field mouse run ahead of me for a moment in my head lamp. 

Every minute or so, another Ragnar course sign appeared in my headlamp reassuring me that I’m on the course.  Occasionally I encountered other runners but was alone a lot too. I finished the green course, handed off the bib and Josh began the yellow course.  I headed to wake Jake for his midnight run on the red course.  

My last run began at 4:30 am on the red course.  The course started up a steady uphill climb on a bike path and then followed a road for 2.5 miles before transitioning to a single-track trail.  The sun rose as the trail followed the ridge with breathtaking view of Snowmass and the Ragnar village far below.  Along the trail there were beautiful wildflowers and shrubbery to help you appreciate what a privilege it is to live in Colorado.  

Confession #4 – I stopped and took about a half dozen pictures along the way.   I kept plugging away uphill for another mile before tipping back downhill. 

It was 11am Saturday and our team “Aspen Extreme” waited at the finish line for our final runner to arrive. The seven of us including team captain Patrick Brannon have run a collective 114 miles in the twenty-hour journey to this point.  As our last runner arrived, we all ran behind him through the finish line to celebrate as a team.  We survived the 24 loops, 120 miles and 17,000 feet of climbing.  We escorted team members to the start, cheered for each other kept each other company for the past 36 hours.  After posing for our team picture, we do some damage in Ragnar store and head back to breakdown camp.

With the story of the weekend told again through the words on this page, I confess (confession #5) that I feel a bit sad that the weekend is over. I also feel content.  I feel like I accomplished something pretty hard and made some great friends along the way.  I also feel excitement for the chance to do it again next year.  If you’ll allow one more confession, (this will make #6) I specifically asked Race Director, Amber Hardesty if they Ragnar would be here next year because I can’t wait to do it again.

Hope to see you at Ragnar Aspen in 2022!

Applications for Bridget Inspires Grants now open – deadline June 15th

From USA Triathlon


Bridget Inspires Grant Now Open for Applications — Deadline of June 15

The USA Triathlon Foundation is partnering once again with the Dawson family to offer the Bridget Inspires Grant in memory of Bridget Dawson. Bridget was an accomplished age-group athlete and member of Team USA who passed away in 2016. The Bridget Inspires Grant will provide funding to young women pursuing competitive success in triathlon and other multisport endeavors during the 2021 competition year and beyond.  

The application window is open as of Tuesday, June 1, and the deadline to apply is Tuesday, June 15, at 11:59 p.m. MT. 

Female multisport athletes age 25 or younger, or multisport organizations that support female athletes age 25 or younger, are encouraged to apply. For individuals, grant funds must be used to offset costs associated with participating in triathlon — such as equipment, travel, race registration fees and coaching. For organizations, funds must be used in programmatic support for young female athletes. Special consideration is given to athletes and organizations located in the USA Triathlon Western Region and Bridget’s home state of Iowa.

“Bridget was a world-class triathlete, admired by many in the community, and a huge influencer in the growing sport,” said Whitney Dawson, Bridget’s daughter. “The word ‘inspiring’ has been most commonly used by those describing Bridget since her passing, and the goal of this endowment is to extend her inspiration beyond her achievements and coaching. Bridget raced with grace, confidence, strength and a quiet fierceness that made her a champion in the sport, as well as a mentor and friend to the entire community. Her drive and vitality will live through the young women who will be supported from this fund to pursue their athletic goals.” 

The application form, which includes more information about eligibility and timeline, can be found here. The USA Triathlon Foundation will announce all grant recipients by Tuesday, June 29. 

About the USA Triathlon Foundation 

The USA Triathlon Foundation was created in 2014 by the USA Triathlon Board of Directors as an independent tax-exempt 501(c)(3) entity. Under the leadership of its Trustees and Committee members, the Foundation serves as a means to create a healthier America through triathlon and seeks to transform lives by opening up new pathways to the sport for all, especially those who are otherwise underserved. The USA Triathlon Foundation operates with the belief that every child should have the chance to participate, every paratriathlete should have the opportunity to compete, and every aspiring elite athlete should be able to chase his or her Olympic dream. Since the Foundation’s inception, more than $1.9 million has been provided to worthy causes and organizations that support its mission. Donations to the USA Triathlon Foundation ensure America’s youth are introduced to the benefits and fun of a multisport lifestyle, athletes with disabilities receive the training, support and gear to be able to participate and excel, and the best aspiring young athletes have a chance to pursue their Olympic Dreams. Visit to learn more and donate today.

An Open Letter to Editor of Triathlete Magazine After Bashing Boulder Tri Community

Dear Kelly O’Mara, Editor-in-Chief of Triathlete Magazine,

This letter, from me Bill Plock, owner of 303Endurance Network, a native of Colorado, a triathlete and an advocate is in response to your Editor’s Note in the May/June issue of Triathlete Magazine where you wrote:

When I first got ready to start this Editor’s Note, I was going to make fun of the Boulder Tri scene. I was going to tell you how I think it’s overrated and I don’t “get” it. I was going to poke to fun of the weirdly terrible bike paths and perpetual poor air quality. I was going to laugh at all the YouTube videos always being filmed everywhere you workout—as if the entire town is just a backdrop for social media… But then the day I started writing, a man with a gun walked ibnto a grocery store here in town and shot 10 people…In reality, I still think the Boulder tri scene is silly. I’ll probably make fun of it again soon…

Where do I begin? Let’s see, using a mass murder shooting as a reason to not further bash the Boulder triathlon community, the athletes, and the people who work their asses off to provide infrastructure for safe routes for cyclists seems like a start. But wait, you did then go on to do exactly that… bash the Boulder community and the Boulder triathlon community anyway? 

And then you go on to say you will probably make fun of Boulder again soon? Seriously? Why? Maybe you should spend some time in the community and apologize. 

I realize this is your opinion and you are certainly entitled to it. However, as an industry representative speaking on a public platform to a wide audience – especially considering Triathlete’s recent partnership with USA Triathlon – your middle-school-bullying approach is damaging, offensive, and unprofessional.

To call the Boulder triathlon scene “overrated,” or triathletes (mostly pro’s) “silly” for making YouTube videos or bike paths “weird” or the air too polluted is simply outrageous.  Did you sit in town council meetings planning those bike paths? You were a pro triathlete, you know how hard sponsorships are, why bash athletes trying to make a social media effort? Where else would you like them to go? And the air pollution—sure, during fire season there are bad days, but you paint a picture for those outside of Boulder or Colorado that is wrong. (If you do the research, you will learn much of our air pollution is also a result of our high frequency of full sun days, combined with wind patterns from other states and countries.) Who are you to judge?  

Last I checked, Triathlete Magazine is part of Outside (formerly Pocket Outdoor Media) and is based in Boulder. Am I right? So you have chosen to make fun of the very community in which you work. Why make fun of professional triathletes making YouTube videos while training during a pandemic to try to be relative to their sponsors? Those same athletes who spend time on your podcasts or provide content for your readers and, like you, are trying to make a living in this industry not known to be lucrative. Aren’t we here to help each other? 

Additionally, Triathlete Magazine’s reach to youth, first-time triathletes, Olympic hopefuls, and Team USA members are now among your front-row audience. You have wielded your PR wand in a terribly damaging and harmful way.

The Boulder bike path system is what makes Boulder one of the most bike friendly cities in the country. How many employees at Outside ride those trails? Did you know recently a sister publication of Outside graciously helped gather content for a cyclist killed a few miles south of Boulder to help the community heal? Do you know how hard it is to advocate for what you call, “those weirdly terrible bike paths” that undoubtedly save lives? What’s silly about that? Do you know the local advocacy team at Cyclists for Community? They are friends of mine because I ride with them. I take the time to know their mission. I would love to watch you tell them how silly those paths are at their next fund raiser. 

So coming out of a pandemic with people anxious to race, and on the heels of a tragic shooting event, you call triathletes in Boulder silly? You call the triathlon community overrated? Overrated compared to what? Did you go to the Colorado Triathlon last weekend and feel the joy of athletes seeing each other again? Do you know Lance Panigutti of Without Limits and how hard he worked to save his business this past year? And you call him and the community overrated? How dare you. 

Here is what Lance has to say, 

I’ve had the opportunity to call Boulder home for 18 years before my wife and I moved to Denver. Recently an article in Triathlete sought to poke fun at that home in the most passive aggressive manner possible. Maybe the editor thought 8th grade bullying was “cool again,” or needed content for her “Burn Book,” but I’ll always defend the community that has fueled my passion for 13 years. In Boulder we celebrate the “weird” and embrace the “silly”.  In 2008, at 25 years old , with $600 and a 96’ VW Jetta to my name, my brother and I had an event vision one might call “silly.” But the “Boulder Triathlon Scene” not only cheered us on, they’ve supported us every step of the way.  We now have the honor of producing a variety of triathlons, cycling, and cyclocross races across Colorado for amateurs and elites.  We live to race in the “poor air quality,” consistently stunned by the gorgeous backdrop of our playground. To those YouTube creators we say, “dare to dream, chase your Olympic or Kona goals, and keep posting so others may be attracted to take up the endurance lifestyle.” We call all of you friends, many of you family, and we can’t wait for you to join us on a start line, no matter how “silly” a few might think we are!  

The Colorado Triathlon June 5th 2021

Well. You lost me as a fan of the magazine, and probably many others, including a large number of community athletes, business owners, industry professionals, and endurance sports influencers who have reached out to me to support this response message.

I’m sure you were trying to be somewhat funny and in jest. I know you are a good athlete and triathlete and probably a nice person, but you messed this up. I’m sure you think you know your stuff. But you know what? You don’t know the community in which you work and that supports your publication. That’s a shame, and unforgivable.  


Bill Plock

Here is a copy of the entire letter.

BASE Now Cycling Apparel for 2020 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Teams and USA Triathlon

Boulder, Colorado (May 12, 2021) – BASE Performance, LLC, industry-leading provider of endurance sports products announced today that it will serve as the exclusive custom cycling kit provider for athletes on the 2020 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Triathlon Teams, and the Official Custom Cycling Apparel of USA Triathlon through March 2024.

“USA Triathlon is proud to partner with BASE Performance to outfit our U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes for their pre-race training and prep work in Tokyo, and to provide access to world-class custom cycling apparel for multisport athletes of all levels,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “BASE Performance has a history of designing apparel for some of the country’s top-ranked endurance sports teams, and we look forward to collaborating on custom kits in the years ahead.”

BASE Performance provides custom cycling apparel for high-performance sports teams all over the world. As a cycling kit provider to over 150 clubs, BASE prides itself on developing high quality, high performance, cost-effective apparel for both training and competing. Headquartered in Boulder, CO, BASE has spent over six years working with some of the top athletes in the world to design its line of high-performance apparel.

“BASE is incredibly proud to partner with USA Triathlon and its athletes,” says Matt Miller, President of BASE Performance. “Going into an Olympic and Paralympic year where the U.S. team is poised for multiple stand-out performances only makes such a partnership opportunity all the more exciting.”

USA Triathlon Announces Additional Safe Return to Multisport Resources

From USA Triathlon

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced additional resources as part of its Safe Return to Multisport initiative, a comprehensive and multi-pronged set of racing, training and event production guidelines for the multisport community to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. The new resources include Guidelines for COVID-19 Contact Tracing, Guidelines for Volunteers, and a Safe Return to Racing Town Hall open to the public this Wednesday, April 7.

“USA Triathlon collaborated with world-class medical experts and leaders at all levels of the sport to develop useful resources to empower our community to get back to racing safely,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “Many towns and venues across the U.S. approved USA Triathlon-sanctioned races as the first events to be held during the pandemic. This was due in large part to the stringent safety protocols our race directors were ready to present to local authorities, as well as the outdoor and physically distanced nature of the sport itself. USA Triathlon sanctioned hundreds of races across the U.S. in the last year, and there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases among our participants associated with those events.”

About Safe Return to Multisport
The Safe Return to Multisport initiative was first launched in May 2020 and has been continually updated and expanded as circumstances change. It is developed in coordination with experienced race directors, medical experts, certified coaches, club directors, officials, athletes and endurance sport leaders. It is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as sport-specific guidelines from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and World Triathlon. The resources are meant to be used in conjunction with federal, state and local protocols — including mass gathering thresholds and physical distancing requirements.

Safe Return to Racing Town Hall — Wednesday, April 7
USA Triathlon and Triathlete will co-host a Safe Return to Racing Town Hall on Wednesday, April 7, at 7 p.m. ET, designed to help athletes of all levels plan their return to racing in 2021. The virtual discussion is free and open to the public, and will be livestreamed on USA Triathlon’s Facebook page. It will provide an overview of USA Triathlon’s Safe Return to Multisport guidelines and will feature industry professionals covering various topics — from getting back to training safely while managing expectations, to travel suggestions and what athletes should expect on race day. For more details, click here.

Contact Tracing and Volunteer Guidelines

The new resource Guidelines for COVID-19 Contact Tracing, primarily intended for race directors, outlines the actions that should be taken when a COVID-19 infection is identified among an athlete, spectator, official, volunteer or staff member at an event. This includes a step-by-step process for identifying and notifying close contacts, as well as a review of CDC-recommended quarantine, testing and isolation procedures.  

The Guidelines for Volunteers document is provided as a resource for individuals who volunteer at multisport events. This includes a self-screening checklist, a review best practices to mitigate exposure and spread COVID-19, and a set of do’s and don’ts for volunteer participation. Volunteers are vital to the execution and implementation of multisport events. To learn more about local and national volunteer opportunities, click here.

Additional Resources
In addition to the Volunteer Guidelines and Contact Tracing documents, resources also include a Safe Return to Multisport overview; Return to Racing Recommendations for Athletes; Return to Racing Recommendations for Race Directors; Return to Racing Guidelines for Officiating; Recommendations for Organized Mass Gatherings; a Return to Racing Training Program; and Travel Like a Pro, a set of best practices for athletes traveling to events nationally and internationally. All resources are available for download at

USA Triathlon continues to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19, while following the guidance of local authorities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), when making decisions regarding the status of USA Triathlon events and programs.

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,000 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Triathlon Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of World Triathlon and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

USA Duathlon Virtual Run-Bike-Run, presented by RaceX, to benefit USA Triathlon Foundation’s General Fund

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced the opening of registration for the second annual USA Duathlon Virtual Run-Bike-Run presented by RaceX, a virtual multisport challenge set for April 15-May 3. 

The event is free to enter. Participants have the option to make a $35 donation to the USA Triathlon Foundation and receive a finisher’s medal, or a $55 donation to receive a finishers’ medal and a USA Triathlon-branded premium wall-mounted medal hanger. All donations will go to the USA Triathlon Foundation’s general fund to help open pathways for all to swim, bike and run.

The 19-day challenge offers beginner and experienced athletes alike the opportunity to test themselves at the start of the racing season — whether they plan to return to in-person racing in 2021 or tackle their first-ever multisport event. Athletes can complete the challenge on their own time and at their own pace, from anywhere in the world. Registration is open now, and athletes can sign up at any point until the conclusion of the challenge on May 3. Click here to register.

The Virtual Run-Bike-Run is a cumulative challenge, and participants can track their progress on the FitRankings platform using run and bike leaderboards sortable by total mileage, time and elevation gain. Athletes will receive messages from USA Triathlon and FitRankings as they hit overall running and cycling milestones toward traditional duathlon distances: sprint (7.5-kilometer run and 20-kilometer bike) and standard (15k run, 40k bike). 

The virtual event also serves as a precursor to the USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships, a weekend of in-person racing set for May 22-23 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. As athletes complete the cumulative distances in the Virtual Run-Bike-Run, their progress will be displayed on a map of the Duathlon Nationals standard-distance race course in Tuscaloosa. For more information about Duathlon Nationals, which does not require qualification and which will adhere to USA Triathlon’s Safe Return to Multisport guidelines, click here.

“While multisport athletes across the U.S. will be able to race in-person this year, 2020 revealed the importance of virtual racing in helping attract new athletes to our sport,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “The USA Duathlon Virtual Run-Bike-Run presented by RaceX enables athletes to test their racing legs on their own time, from their own backyards, as they gear up for a busy season. We also invite beginners who may have newly discovered or rediscovered the joys of running and cycling in 2020 to dip their toes into multisport racing for the first time with this virtual challenge.”

“The USA Triathlon Foundation spent much of 2020 focused on supporting members of the multisport community who were acutely impacted by COVID-19,” said David Deschenes, USA Triathlon Foundation Executive Director. “As we look ahead to a brighter future, we are proud to be able to continue that community support while focusing on broader programs and initiatives that advance our mission of opening pathways for all to swim, bike and run. We are grateful to those who choose to give back to the sport with a donation to the USA Triathlon Foundation as part of their participation in the USA Duathlon Virtual Run-Bike-Run.” 

Athletes can complete the entire challenge on one day or work toward their cumulative distance goal over multiple days or weeks. Workouts may be uploaded to the Virtual Run-Bike-Run platform, powered by FitRankings, at any time throughout the challenge. Run and bike activities can be synced to the platform automatically via most GPS-enabled fitness devices, smartphone apps and smartwatches — including Wahoo, Garmin, Apple Watch, Fitbit, Misfit, Polar, Suunto, Google Fit, RunKeeper, Apple Health and MapMyFitness. Manual uploads are also available. 

Workouts may be completed outdoors or indoors, while observing all local social distancing and safety guidelines: spin bikes and stationary bikes, bike trainers and treadmills are all acceptable.

The Virtual Run-Bike-Run is presented by RaceX, USA Triathlon’s Official Predictive Analytics Technology Partner. One participant will be selected at random to win a one-year subscription to RaceX PERFORMANCE valued at $228, which provides fully optimized race pacing plans, predictions, what-if analysis, and race-rehearsal tools powered by predictive analytics and AI, as well as athletes’ own genetics and training data. 

TrueForm, a global leader in non-motorized treadmill development and running education, is a supporting partner of the Virtual Run-Bike-Run. The first 100 people to register for the event and select the $55 USA Triathlon Foundation premium finisher’s package will receive a $100 gift card, redeemable at trueformrunner.comCompeed, USA Triathlon’s Exclusive Blister Care Partner, is a contributing partner of the event.

Athletes are encouraged to share their progress with members of the nationwide multisport community as they complete the Virtual Run-Bike-Run, using the hashtag #VirtualRBR on social media. 

To learn more and register today for the USA Duathlon Virtual Run-Bike-Run presented by RaceX, click here.

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,000 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

Many Coloradans Race Challenge Miami, Leiferman, Von Berg Earn Podium Spot, Matt Miller Happy to be Racing Again!

By Bill Plock

As storm Xylia pummeled the Front Range of Colorado, many Coloradans raced the Challenge Miami Triathlon over the weekend. Ten Colorado based pro’s and a large contingent of athletes from Boulder’s BASE team raced the three day event. On the pro podium hoisting some champagne from Boulder were Chris Leiferman (4) and Rudy Von Berg (5). Germany’s Jan Frodeno won the men’s race over Lionel Sanders (2) and Ben Kanute (3). For the women, in a bit of a surprise, British triathlete Jodie Stimpson edged out favored Lucy Charles-Barclay of Britain by almost a minute and a half. Rounding out the women’s podium were Jackie Hering, Sara Perez Sala and Skye Moench. Boulder’s Lisa Bechares and Lesley Smith (A BASE sponsored athlete) finished 11th and 12th respectively. Other Colorado pros finishing included Tyler Butterfield (7), Tim O’Donnell (11), Matt Hanson (13), Ben Hoffman (16) and Robbie Deckard (19).

Rudy Von Berg, Jan Frodeno, Chris Leiferman and Ben Kanute (Left to right)

Chris Leiferman finished just under four minutes behind Frodeno and chased down Von Berg on the run overcoming about a minute off the bike to take fourth by 25 seconds. Said Leiferman, “I was happiest with my bike. It was fun and dynamic and being able to stay in the mix and come out of T2 in a good spot put me in a good position for the finish.”

Lesley Smith, photo Kenny Withrow

Lesley Smith also competed at Challenge Daytona at the end of 2020 and has been working hard on her swim and had this to say about the race, “I was happy to see the consistent super swimming I did in jan / feb pay off, as the swim went better than it did in Daytona. The Bike course was far more technical than Daytona and that is not my forte but it was a really amazing race and I’m glad to have had the opportunity.”

Challenge Miami, similar to Daytona, featured many events for age group athletes including a sprint, mid-distance (70.3), a kids challenge and a 5k making it a three day event with the pros racing on Friday.

Matt Miller

BASE president, Matt Miller said after his first racing in a while, “Challenge put on another fantastic event in Miami. BASE had 100 athletes in town racing split pretty even between the different events which was amazing. Everyone practiced safety snd was cautious with masks. I personally raced the sprint myself and although the body was rusty and filled with cobwebs, it felt to get back out there after 18 months and get a sweat on. Loved it”

Matt Hanson of Castle Rock, photo Kenny Withrow

Open Letter From Without Limits on Upcoming Season and New Waitlist Option

Editors note, this letter has good information on where things are at with Covid and how Without Limits is handling not only capacity for venues, but also the demand levels to race with a new wait list program that offers utmost flexibility in this uncertain environment.

Dear Colorado Triathlon Community,
As the days start to grow longer, that cabin fever has many of you wondering; what will triathlon season look like? Things are starting to move in the right direction for Colorado and the current COVID-Dial 2.0. Just this past week, Jefferson and Broomfield Counties recently moved to Level Blue, and the state enters Vaccine Phase 1B.3 for ages 60+ this Friday. Boulder County (Colorado Tri on June 5th) and Larimer County (XTERRA Lory on June 12th) “should” still safely enter Level Green (500 event limit) by the end of May. 

We use “should” in quotes, as our goal continues to stay on the side of caution, giving each event the best possible chance to move forward. That being said, we’re placing a 250-athlete cap (Level Blue) on ALL June events. Our new registration provider (TriReg) has a waitlist feature. How does it work? Once we hit the 250 level you’ll be able to register for the waitlist, and it will store your payment info temporarily without charging you. Assuming we hit Level Green, then you’ll be automatically rolled into the event without any additional sign-up needed, receiving an immediate update e-mail. 

Our goal is to notify all wait list athletes a minimum of 3 weeks prior to race day. Please note, that current 250 capacity level is combined for all distances. Unlike some running events that have been able to stage multiple waves throughout the day, we face unique obstacles such as limited water access, that prevent this option.

Special Incentive for Volunteers:  This season ALL volunteers will receive their discount code immediately upon signing up, even if they want to use their code for a race prior to their volunteer assignment. Why the change? We want to ensure all volunteers have first dibs to register before a race reaches a COVID-19 capacity restriction. Please don’t abuse the system, if you race then bail on your future volunteer assignment we’ll hunt you down faster than Liam Neesen in Taken.  To sign-up for the discounted entry program please email

With love, hope, and support, Lance, and the entire Without Limits A-Team