St. George, Iconic Race and a Look Into the Future; Coloradans do Well!

By Bill Plock

The authentic joy Lucy Charles Barclay beamed to the world the second she broke the tape is something I’ll never forget. It gave me goosebumps and seemed deep seated, especially as she came to hug her husband with tears running down her face. I have never seen or felt such happiness.

Barclay, like all the athletes battled very unusual weather with a down pour of rain and hail and lightening that threatened the race. With a Barclay comfortably in the lead all day, she knew she was having “a day” and said at the press conference recalling her thoughts, “they better not cancel this race!” 

Gustav Iden of Norway didn’t quite lead the entire way but went to the front of the pack on the bike part way through and never looked back. Fellow countryman and gold medalist Kristian Blummenfelt was in that lead group when he suffered a serious mechanical failure with his wheel and fell out of contention. Boulder’s Sam Long, with a solid swim battled hard to ride into second place never did catch Iden. Iden won by 5 minutes retaining his World Champion status he gained after winning in Nice in 2019. 

The second place finishes for Long and another Boulder resident, Jeanni Metzler may be a glimpse into the future of the sport.  Just two years ago Long finish 26 minutes back and has kept a poster of Nice in his “pain cave” as motivation ever since. Metzler has been climbing the ranks and finished 3rd in Boulder a few weeks ago behind Taylor Knibb and Emma Palant Brown, but in St. George she beat both of them. 

Metzler passed Knibb just a few minutes out saying later, “I didn’t want a sprint finish with Taylor as I don’t think that would’ve gone well.” Knibb finished about 30 seconds back and the two training partners and friends shared exuberant hugs in the finish area . 

It felt like the finish area was filled with camaraderie and respect unlike any race I had seen before. This wasn’t “new blood” so to speak, but in way it felt like a new group of champions and future champions were making their mark in St. George. At the press conference, the top five male and female finishers all were under the age of 28. It’s a young group who genuinely seem to enjoy each other. 

Of the ten, eight raced together at the Collins Cup just four weeks prior. When asked if that played into the feeling of camaraderie, Sam Long said, “I do think we all got to know each other there. It also could be because we are all pretty young, it was a bit of a different atmosphere. And I also think the sport is changing, where you can talk smack but in a friendly way and at the end everyone knows it is for fun.”

Besides Coloradans, Long, Metzler and Knibb, several age group athletes made it in the top five. In no particular order. Colleen D’Reuck, Diana Hassel, Mike Wein, Eric Long (Sam’s dad), and Sandi Wiebe. 

So what about Kona maybe moving to St. George? 

St. George is an iconic venue with massive hills to run up and down. And the ride up Snow Canyon provides a separation point (along with an amazing picturesque backdrop) just before athletes start their run. There is speculation that the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona will move in the future and St. George seems primed to be a top choice. It has all the features that make a world championship course with hills, weather exposure, and a welcoming community and a downtown finish with plenty of potential to the house larger crowds seen in Kona. It is certainly more accessible than Kona and far less expensive for athletes, spectators and industry supporters. 

Sand Hollow reservoir is great for the swim with plenty of room for transition. In Kona the iconic pier is busting at the seams with room (barely) for 1,800 athletes. In St. George 4,200 athletes competed. Undoubtedly the age group women probably don’t love the current format with the last group starting their swim at almost 10 o’clock. In normal years that would force them to be running at the hottest part of the day. This year, some had to be pulled out of the water with the rare thunderstorm that rolled through. 

In previous years, the 70.3 Championship features two days of racing—one for the men and one for the women. In St. George that seems a difficult task with races not generally taking place on Sundays in Utah. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future. Next year the 70.3 Championship will return to St. George along with a full distance race in June. We shall see!

But for now, the young group of pro’s stole the show and perhaps this race will serve as a springboard for future success for all of these athletes as they scatter into the world doing more races. In fact, watch this coming weekend in Chattanooga where Sam Long will attempt defend his title as champion and battle rival Lionel Sander—keep an eye on that!

Pro Xterra Triathlete Brian Smith Loves His Hometown Triathlon in Gunnison–Coming Aug 28th

By Bill Plock

Brian Smith has raced on the biggest stages, like at the Xterra World Championships in Hawaii or in the Winter Triathlon World Championships in Europe, but he loves his hometown sprint triathlon in Gunnison too!

Set at the Gunnison Recreation Center, racers complete a 500 yard pool swim, 14 mile ride and a 4.2 mile run. It’s a pretty fast course but at altitude Brian feels at home. “I love racing here in town and at altitude among friends and family.” Brian has been on the pro circuit for a couple of decades and mostly focuses on off-road triathlon there days.

He competed a few weeks ago at the Beaver Creek Xterra Triathlon and finished 4th overall, only a few minutes back of Boulder’s Sam Long, the recent champion of IROMAN Boulder 70.3 and on his way to the Collins Cup as America’s top ranked triathlete. Sam is also about 20 years younger than Brian….Brian is going strong at 45.

He has lived in Gunnison for many years now and likes that the triathlon, beyond a fun and fast day is a fund raiser for youth sports in Gunnison. Brian also competes in the other races in the Southwest Triathlon Series in Alamosa and Montrose. “There are some good competitors in this area and I hope we can attract more from the front range to try these well run triathlons.

Here are few questions Andy Elfin, the Race Director for the Gunnison Triathlon asked of Brian.

Andy Eflin – What do you like about the Gunnison High Triathlon, what makes it different?

Brian Smith – “I love the fact that it is a flat run, it’s off road, and it’s at altitude – those are the three things that make it a really good fit”. “The bike portion is flat and fast, we used to have the one segment on dirt, the fact that it is all on asphalt now, people can use all of their triathlon equipment, like their disc wheels, now they do not have to worry about trashing any equipment”. “We always have good safety with signage and volunteers in key locations for the bike course”. “Our pool facility is great it is usually in very good shape and it is good to be able to open the doors to let fresh air in during the event”.

Andy Eflin – How do you feel the transition zone works at the Gunnison High Triathlon? 

Brian Smith – “It is easy to get to the transition zone, there isn’t a big run-out like at other races, you are on the bike very soon after the transition zone”. “I guess the one challenge is the ramp out over the curb as you head out on to the street, but that can be practiced and people can get that down”

Andy Eflin – Yes that is true but the ramp is way better than before we put it there because of the way that the bike tires used to bounce on the curb and then land on the back of your leg.

Brian Smith – “All of those, the swim, bike, and run are all really good at our triathlon, the Gunnison High Triathlon”. “If we can pump it up and make people aware of our race we should see a good turnout”.

Gunnison’s triathlon is August 28th and athletes can dry camp in the parking lot. Click Here for details: https://gunnisonhightri.itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=7343

The Black Canyon (Montrose) Triathlon is October 2nd, go here for details: https://blackcanyonsprinttriathlon.itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=7504

The Alamosa Triathlon is October 21st and you can go here for details: Alamosa Triathlon

To register for the Entire Southwest Triathlon, go HERE

Boulder 70.3, Course Record Smoked, Electric Crowd, Close Women’s Pro Race

By Bill Plock

BOULDER–Aug 7th 2021–Through the haze and smoke in Boulder emerged a clear winner—the sport of triathlon. The male winner, Sam Long who grew up a few miles away, capped a perfectly imperfect day by setting a new course record. The temperature, cooler than predicted, helped keep the day from blowing up. The winds and smoke played havoc with some, but they ushered in many stories and memories on a course shared by a recent Olympian, top pro’s and 2,500 age group athletes from all over the country. 

Sam Long literally jumping for joy

Emma Pallant-Browne won the women’s race and moved up six spots in the PTO rankings making her an almost shoe-in for a captains pick (to be announced Thursday) for the upcoming Collins Cup. Not only did she take home $7,500 for winning Saturday, she will make at least $18,000 by making the European Collins Cup team. 

Emma Pallant-Browne

Olympian Taylor Knibb’s debut performance at a 70.3 could hardly be called beginners luck finishing second, but she did learn a few things like needing to master the water cup grab; check out this interview with her. It will be interesting if she might be a captains pick for the Collins Cup even though her ranking puts her far out of the field (because she has been racing short, ITU races).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgPCrcBc7eQ

Erin Carson and Taylor Knibb

Another fun story in the pro field was the return to racing for Chelsea Sadaro only a few months after giving birth. Due to the PTO holding rank for maternity leave, with her 6th place finish she secured a spot in the Collins Cup, so again a nice pay day for the new mom. 

In the mens field, Sam Appleton took an early lead and held on until part-way through the bike when Sam Long overtook him and widened the gap on his way to the win and setting the course record. Long called this his “redemption race” after not having his best races in his hometown.

Said Long, “Winning at home was just extra special. It was my first IRONMAN and where my journey started. It feels like I have come full circle now. It’s more fun to win at home as I know everyone, and where to party after!” When asked about the upcoming Collins cup and being the number one ranked American, “I’m not feeling that much pressure, nobody expects me to beat Jan, although I’m excited to try! I think it’s going to be an amazing event and I’m looking forward to the battle format. The lack of drafting will suite me!”

Collin Chartier

The surprise in the mens field came from Collin Chartier who finished 3rd. Colin has moved up in the rankings over a 100 places in the last year. Currently he sits at 52nd having moved up 59 places this season! He is clearly coming on having finished 2nd in Des Moines just a few weeks ago. 

The wall of smoke erased the views of majestic mountains and the Flatirons and Boulder Reservoir felt like a deserted island with a few thousand people milling around waiting for the athletes to emerge from the outlying course. With food trucks and lots of tents it felt like a long picnic in the hazy sky.  

The smoke didn’t dampen the energy and enthusiasm to be racing again and many commented how excited they were to be on the same course with Taylor and so many pro’s. 

It’s truly what makes triathlon unique, age groupers racing with the best on the same course at the same time in the same conditions. Add in the presence of a recent a Silver Medalist, the atmosphere felt unusually motivating. 

Here is a good video from Sam Long sharing some details of how his race went. Fun to hear him share his strategy!

Most Compelling IRONMAN Ever in Boulder, Here’s Why

By Bill Plock

IRONMAN Boulder 70.3 is usually a big deal. And it usually is one of the biggest races in all of IRONMAN. But the 2021 race might be the most compelling ever. Especially in the pro field. 47 men and 37 women will by vying for spots not only in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships, but some will be battling to get a spot at the coveted PTO Collins Cup in Slovakia on August 28th with some major money and notoriety at stake. Boulder is the last qualifying race for the Collins Cup.

The field is stacked with some top pro‘s like Sam Long, Sam Appleton, Chris Leiferman, Tyler Butterfield (all live and train in Boulder) all ranked in the top 30 in the world. Sam Long is the number one ranked American (according to PTO rankings) while Sam Appleton is the third ranked International for the Collins Cup. Chris Leiferman is 5th for the Americans and 1 point out of being an automatic qualifier. If he has a good race he could jump ahead of Ben Kanute and automatically make the team. Tyler Butterfield is 5th for the Internationals.

For the women it’s equally compelling with Skye Moench the number one ranked American battling Britains Emma Pallant, the sixth ranked European and Jeanni Metzler the fourth ranked International. Jeanni is barely ahead of Australia’s Sarah Crowley in the Collins Cup ranking and will need to have a good race to keep her automatic spot. That should create some exciting dynamics where the race matters on many levels. Meredith Kessler and Lesley Smith, ranked 7th and 8th for the American team and Emma Pallant who is 6th for the European team have a lot to possibly gain by good showings in Boulder. And lastly, keep an eye out for Chelsea Sodaro, she is ranked 11th in the world but hasn’t raced this season due to maternity leave. But with the PTO’s policy on holding rank, with a good showing at Boulder, she could be heading to the Collins Cup as well. 

The PTO’s Collins Cup will take the top four athletes automatically and two more will be chosen by the captains of the US team, the European team and the International team.

Throw into all of that, you have Taylor Knibb fresh off her silver medal performance in Tokyo racing. She is not known as a 70.3 athlete, but with her speed, youth and fitness coming off the Olympics, she could really make things interesting.

But there are many pro’s in field who also live in Boulder and no doubt some fun rivalries and hometown pride will keep it close. If there were odds, Sam Long would probably be favored but don’t be surprised is someone else is on top of the podium with so many factors at play. 

Keep an eye out for Olympian Andy Potts who is participating in the upcoming Paralympics guiding for Kyle Coon and is at the top of his game. Boulders Justin Metzler, Joe Gambles, and Kennett Peterson might emerge near the lead as well, and keep an eye out for Speedo sensation, Boulder native Colin Laughery who always relishes a chance to race at home.

And for Sam Long, born in raised in Boulder, in his most recent video getting ready for this race he says, “I’m the hometown boy coming after this race.” This was Sam’s first pro race years ago and he says he hasn’t had his best race in Boulder yet. He would like to make this years race his best Boulder effort since his first one as an 18 year old in 2014. Fun video here with many of the pro’s and a brief discussion with race director Julie Coleman

The race can be watched on IRONMAN Live here starting tomorrow at 6:50am: https://www.facebook.com/IRONMANnow/

Or come to the Boulder Reservoir tomorrow and check it out. Food trucks and lots of energy will be waiting for you. More on spectator transportation here: https://www.ironman.com/im703-boulder-athletes

Open Water Swim Racing Options

We are only ONE MONTH away from our first open water race of the season, slots are filling up FAST, and registration is OPEN! Every participant gets a race shirt with their entry, so check out this year’s shirts below.

We have an exciting line-up of swims for this year and are including one additional race, a 500 YD swim at the Solstice Sunset Swim event. This distance will be a great opportunity for new open water swimmers, new triathletes, and KIDS! Any kid who participates in this race will be receiving a finisher prize!

The dates for the swim series are as follows:

Solstice Sunset Swim – June 26th, 2021Starting earlier, at 3pm this year! This event includes a 1.2 mi, 2.4 mi, and the NEW 500 YD swims!
Registration closes on Sunday June 20th, and if you sign up after June 10th, we cannot guarantee that we will have the correct shirt size for you.

Carter Lake – July 17th, 2021No day of registration. This is a 3mi out-and-back swim!
Registration closes on Sunday July 11th, and if you sign up after July 1st, we cannot guarantee that we will have the correct shirt size for you.

Chatfield Classic – August 15th, 2021Limited to 200 participants, so please sign up in advance! This event includes a 1 mi and 2 mi swim.

The Castle 2.5K/5K/10K – August 28th, 2021This is the highest altitude organized marathon swim event in the country! We will have the camping option again on Friday night – which you’ll find through the swim registration site. Camping is $40 for a 4 person site and will decrease your morning day of drive! 

Registration information for the year can be found at https://mountainswimseries.com/.

We always need volunteers! If a significant other, friend, child (16 and over) is coming with you, we would love them to volunteer with us! If you are trying to decide to do one of the swims or new to open water swimming, volunteering is also a great opportunity! We couldn’t do this without our volunteers! In 2021, we will be continuing the tradition of giving our volunteers a free race entry after a volunteer shift!

To volunteer, sign up here:
https://mountainswimseries.com/volunteer-signup

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 usatriathlon.org/safe-return.

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).

One Big Reason Why Darrin Was So Happy with Chilly Cheeks Duathlon…

By Bill Plock

If you know or have met Darrin Eisman, you undoubtedly have felt his positive energy and just his energy in general. His company Racing Underground has a number of multisport and running races, including past weekend’s Chilly Cheeks duathlon at Cherry Creek State Park. It was the third and final race of this popular winter duathlon series. 

About 75 people raced in the cold around the west shore of the ice covered reservoir where even the slightest breeze added to the challenge of figuring out how to stay just warm enough to comfortably race. People raced on everything from TT bikes to fat tire snow bikes—although the roads were perfectly dry and clear.  Some wore puffy jackets and others shivered in minimal kits and even with a few in shorts! 

Susan Felicissimo

When Darrin popped out of his van (down by a lake, not a river :)), and was asked how the day was going, he smiled wide and beamed with happiness watching people race. 

Like all racing events, Covid has had a major impact on Darrin’s business.  His joy was more than just because the race was happening.

Darrin said, “I’m so excited, my staff is so amazing, and we did some things to cut costs with minimal awards and a few other things, but they volunteered to work for free and we actually might break even today! We did get few extra entries in the past week because we were recently allowed to go from 75 to 150 people. The series had sold out but with a few more people, we might break even and if we have any extra we will happily pay our employees—they are just awesome, they want people to have fun and be here.” 

Like other races, they made some modifications to make it as safe as possible. Things like a time trial bike start and an overly ample amount of room for bike racking and transitions. 

Top 2 male finishers, Austin O’Brien and Brian Folts with Darrin

Racing Underground recently held the popular winter running race, the Yeti Chase. In April there is another duathlon at Cherry Creek, the Barking Dog. Check out their website for all of their races. They have a fun variety of venues and races all over the front range.

http://www.racingunderground.com

Mountain Swim Series Announces Race Dates

The organizers of Mountain Swim Series are really excited for a 2021 race season! “The State of Colorado has provided guidance for outdoor events this summer, and we expect to host all four of our open water swims this summer!”​

The 2021 Mountain Swim Series dates are on the books, check them out below, and registration opens on the first week of February. You will get an email letting you know that registration is open! But first, a couple of quick notes:

There is NO have race-day registration this year, and we will have to close registration 1-week in advance of all races. Please sign up early if you
want to swim!!

“We have an exciting line-up of swims and are including additional race options, a 500 YD swim at the Solstice Sunset Swim AND Chatfield Classic. This distance will be a great opportunity for new open water swimmers, new triathletes, and KIDS! All kids who participates in this race will be receiving a finisher prize!”

The dates for the swim series are as follows:

Solstice Sunset Swim – Longmont, End of June, not yet confirmed:
This event includes a 1.2 mi, 2.4 mi, and the NEW 500 YD swims!

Carter Lake – Saturday July 17th, 2021: 
An out and back 3-mile swim, similar to 2020, in beautiful Northern Colorado.

Chatfield Classic – Sunday August 15th, 2021: 
Limited to 200 participants, sign up in while there is still space!  
This event includes a 500 yd, 1 mile and 2 mile swim!

The Castle 2.5K/5K/10K – In Bailey, Saturday August 28th, 2021: 
This is the highest altitude organized marathon swim event in the country! We will have the camping option again on Friday night – which you’ll find through the swim registration site. Camping is $40 for a 4 person site and will decrease your morning day of drive

Registration information and updates for the year can be found at https://mountainswimseries.com/

VOLUNTEERS!
We always need volunteers! If a significant other, friend, child (16 and over) is coming with you, we would love them to volunteer with us! If you are trying to decide to do one of the swims or new to open water swimming, volunteering is also a great opportunity! We couldn’t do this without our volunteers! In 2020, we will be continuing the tradition of giving our volunteers a free race entry after a volunteer shift!

To volunteer, sign up here:
https://mountainswimseries.com/volunteer-signup

Chris Leiferman Wins IM Florida, Coloradans Hanson and Long 2nd and 3rd

By Bill Plock

Leiferman in the lead, photo: Kenny Withrow

Colorado was well represented at IRONMAN Florida on Saturday. As the world was learning who our next President was going to be, quite a race in Panama City was unfolding. In the end, it was close, but Boulder’s Chris Leiferman out dueled Matt Hanson (who recently moved to Castle Rock) and Sam Long.

Leiferman, photo: Kenny Withrow

Long led about 2/3 of the way through but fell back and Leiferman came off the bike in the lead a minute ahead of Germany’s Andreas Dietz and six minutes ahead of Long and 10 minutes in front of Hanson.

Leiferman then led the rest of the race but both Hanson and Long significantly closed the gap on the run. Hanson cut nearly 8 minutes into the lead with Long just 29 seconds behind Hanson.

Said Leiferman, “yeah, they were catching up to me, but I’m glad it wasn’t a run race and I had the swim and bike to keep the lead. I have had the worse run build up this year, so knowing where I can go for future races.”

Leiferman finished in 7:52:44, Hanson in 7:55:02 and Long came in third with a 7:55:33. Long became the youngest American to ever finish under eight hours in an IRONMAN.

“It’s an amazing feeling to win any ironman, and it’s a bit more special to win this race after so many months of no racing. I know a few IM’s kicked off early in the year, but the gap in between had kept people hungry for race spectating and I feel that this one was a solid race for anyone to do well at,” said Leiferman.

When asked the key to his win, Leiferman said, “The key was coming out with the right group in the swim and a solid bike. I may have over biked a bit and that’s why my run was the way it was, but I can’t complain since I was able to hold on for the win. Also, the run aid stations were every 2 miles apart, so I had to really focus on taking care of myself on the run and if that meant walking through each aid station (which I did) then that’s what it took to not completely fall apart.”

Matt Hanson on his way to 2nd and a 2:41 marathon

Sam Long, on Facebook wrote; “Ouch. That hurt. But honestly the race I’m the most proud of ever. I had a massive “hiccup” the last 12 miles of the bike and hemorrhaged time to the leaders. Bonked as well as having some issues with tightness from the flats all day–even had to get off the bike and stretch. Literally limped into transition and thought there was no way I could run and told myself I had to start. Then went deep! And ended up running 2:45 and going 7:55! It was such a battle at the end and that’s what dreams are made out of. Good for 3rd.”

Sam Long, photo cred: Kenny Withrow

303’s Kenny Withrow was there taking pictures and had this to say, “it was an exciting race to watch as Sam made up a lot of time nearly catching Matt and Chris at the end. It was fun to see Colorado triathletes finish in the top three!” Even though the weather conditions were very favorable, Kenny added, “The aid stations were further apart than usual and not as well equipped with the proper “needs/hydration” (on the run) So it made fueling more difficult for the athletes.”

Matt Hanson, photo: Kenny Withrow

A few days before the race 303Endurance interviewed Chris and listen here to learn his thoughts before the race and his thoughts on the upcoming race in Daytona. Podcast link HERE