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