Colorado Athletes in Kona: Byyny & Depperschmidt



Rich Byyny

I am an Academic Emergency Medicine Physician working at the largest Level One Trauma Center in Colorado and an urban safety net hospital serving the neediest and sickest patient population.

I am coached by Tim Crowley at TC2Coaching. I ride for Team Denver General Bike Gang (TeamDGBG). We have a philanthropic mission of supporting Wish for Wheels and through our contributions will be giving away 58 bikes to kids in need. Our sponsors at Skratch Labs, Wheatridge Cyclery, Optic Nerve, The Boulder Service Course, Panache Cyclewear, and Excel Massage have been gracious enough to help our team train and race to accomplish this.

October 8th will be my 12th Ironman and my 3rd time competing in Kona. I qualified for Kona at Ironman Canada. I compete in Ironman because I strongly believe that we become better people by continually challenging our limits. Each of us should be challenging ourselves physically, psychologically, intellectually, and without doing so we will never reach our true potential. Ironically I find iron distance racing to be more suffering than fun. The physical and mental challenge of training is incredible, the suffering is enormous, and the risk of failure is high. However, the sense of accomplishment is correlated with the amount of challenge.

Indeed, my previorb-konaus 2 attempts at Kona have humbled me with my last leaving me laying on the Queen K at mile 11 of the marathon in agony from dehydration and cramping for more than an hour but I refused to quit. Somehow with the help of the incredible volunteers I was able to get back on my feet and do honor to the race by walking the rest of the way through the night to the finish in almost 16 hours.


I am thankful to have a supportive wife (Jen), two children (Annika [7] and Amelie [4]), parents (Jo and Dick), my Sister and partner (Jan and Tom), and coworkers too numerous to name who help me through the trials and tribulations of training and competing. I will be thinking of you all as I make my way across the lava fields in less than 2 weeks time

Craig Depperschmidt


For the past 4 years or so, I have been racing for Runner’s Roost Triathlon team. Also belong to the NoCO Tiathlon Club up here in Northern Colorado! We are a growing club in a growing multi-sport mecca. Great group of people and we get more athletes each year. Eric Nielson with Train Smart Race Fast coached me last year and worked as an adviser for me this year….so not technically coach but he helps me with ideas and workouts.


I qualified for Kona at this years IRONMAN Boulder. It was my second Ironman, the first being 2015 IRONMAN Boulder. If you would have asked me 2 years ago if I would have ever been able to complete an Ironman I would have said NO WAY! I have been doing triathlons since college at University of Colorado at Boulder, but mostly sprint and Olympic distances. Ironman distance just sounded crazy. Well, I had a few friends do the 2014 Boulder Ironman and they inspired me to give it a try in 2015. Leading up to 2015 Boulder I had never even done a marathon! The training and race was exciting in 2015 as it was a bit of unknown.


In 2015,  I was 6th in my age group. At the awards ceremony I realized that I missed a Kona slot by about 2 minutes! Kona wasn’t really my goal in 2015, but to be that close inspired me to go for it in 2016. It was fun to see the excitement of the athletes qualifying for Kona in 2015 and that was good motivation to attempt the Ironman again. I mapped out a year-long training program to be ready for Boulder in 2016.


Boulder Ironman 2016 had a few mishaps…..water bottles knocked off the bike, got stung by a bee, dropped the visor off my helmet on the climb up Nelson road….but overall happy with how I felt. I was very grateful to find out I placed pretty well at the end of the race and really surprised myself.


This is my first time to Kona. My wife and I are going with another couple a few days before the race and will stay a few days after the race. I am looking forward to experiencing the Kona atmosphere and the Hawaii culture and will just try to enjoy my time there. Two years ago I thought I would have never been able to complete an Ironman, so to have done two and now going to Kona is just amazing. Truly grateful that I am able to do this crazy sport and thankful we are able to make the trip out to Hawaii.


I think what motivates me is that I feel like I need to keep pushing the boundaries of what I think I am capable of to get the most out of life. This goes for my sporting life and professional life as a physical therapist. I want to live life to the fullest and this is one way to achieve that. Sporting life I have always tried to challenge myself….have biked across the country, wrestled alligators, climbed 35 of the 54 14ers (someday will be all 54!)….and professional life in that I recently joined a new private practice to help direct it to a bright future. We have some very unique and fun things planned for the practice to enhance the multi-sport environment for Northern Colorado to keep people healthy and to perform at their best.


Other Colorado Athletes in Kona Stories