Adams State Professor Shares Why She Loves the Southwest Triathlon Series

By Bill Plock

Last year, with a limited race calendar we discovered the Splashland Triathlon in Alamosa with some fun history. It’s a late October race with a swim in a nice warm hot springs pool on the edge of town. We discovered it’s part of the Southwest Triathlon Series with races in Gunnison, Montrose, Alamosa and Los Alamos New Mexico. The Montrose triathlon, called the Black Canyon Triathlon is October 2, and the Alamosa, Splashland Triathlon is October 19th.

We chatted with Adams State University Psychology Professor, Gina Mitchell, a veteran of the series to find out why she loves it so much. The Alamosa triathlon has some fun history, check out our article from last year. (303 Article)

Gina Mitchell

Q. What do you like most about living and teaching in the Alamosa area? 

My favorite thing about Alamosa and the valley is the small town atmosphere and the different cultures of the valley that I get to be a part of. As a professor, I’m connected to academics and university culture and as a farmer’s wife, I’m connected to the larger farming community of the valley. 

Q. How did you get interested in the Splashland Triathlon and then the Series? 

I got interested in the triathlon at a 5K I was running. Splashland was advertising their race. It seemed like something that would challenge my fitness level and introduce me to new types of training. 

Q. What do you love most about doing the series? 

The challenge of sustained competition. Rather than training ending after one race, I push myself to train harder for longer. I also like to challenge myself to do better in each race. It makes me work harder to have another event coming up and knowing that I can best my time. I also feel like I can redeem myself if I have a bad day! 

Q. Each one is a little bit different, maybe highlight one thing you like best about each race? 

Each race is very different. In Los Alamos, the bike course is very hilly – for someone from the flat valley this is a challenge that I normally wouldn’t get. In Gunnison, I like the trail running and I love the post race food and drinks! Montrose has a great pool facility and generally speaking it has more participants that create more competition. In Alamosa, the run is first. Running is my favorite event – its nice to have it first to be able to run without being tired out from biking and swimming. 

Q. How have you seen the triathlon affect the community and vice versa

Over the years, the triathlon has grown in numbers. This is great for Splashland and Alamosa. Hopefully, those that participate are able to see all Alamosa has to offer. Since the Splashland triathlon started, the city has also developed another triathlon that includes biking, paddle boarding, and running. This event was very successful last year. Perhaps the Splashland triathlon has inspired more people to get outdoors and participate. I’ve also seen people in the community enjoy and participate in the triathlon with no prior training. It’s an event that helps people get more active. 

Q. What would you tell someone in the front range as the best reason to come try a tri in the series

All the tris in the series have a variety of participants – ranging from very competitive to first timers. It can make for a good race for any skill level and help people get more active. The pools swims are less intimidating than an open water swim if it is your first triathlon. Also, all the events are typically raising money for various community causes – its great to get to participate in something that ultimately will help other people. Finally, competing in the tris helps you see a different part of your state and see what life is like in smaller towns like Alamosa! 

Q. How has doing the series impacted your life the most?

It’s made me work harder in a variety of different capacities. The training can be time consuming, so I have to work harder/more efficiently to complete tasks in other areas of my life. My training is more intense – I work harder because I have a specific event/goal in mind. It has also given me courage to try new things – before competing in the Alamosa triathlon, I had never had any swim training or competed in any swim event. I was nervous to try it, but giving it a go made me feel like I can be successful trying new things!