Race Recap: Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon

By Kirsten McCay-Smith

WOW! In all the years I have done the Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon, this year had BY FAR the best weather. In fact, I even got a little chilly out on the bike course!

Typically the late June race sees hot, sunny, and 90 degrees by the end of the race, and athletes are fighting for tent shade and popsicles. This year, temps only got into the low 70s and it was mostly cloudy the entire day. I even went to my car to grab my sweatshirt while waiting for awards!

Over 650 athletes lined up at the start of the 17th Loveland Lake to Lake race. There were 303 finishers in the Olympic Distance, 281 finishers in the Sprint Distance, and 29 finishers in the Aquabike.

The course saw record splits with the cooler temps and hardly any wind on the bike course.


Here are your 2017 champions:

Olympic Male: Robbie Wade 2:10.36
Olympic Female: Lindsey Knast 2:27.04
Sprint Male: Ryan Poland 1:07.35
Sprint Female: Tess Mattern 1:17.16
Aquabike Male: Thomas Birner 1:54.01
Aquabike Female: Heather Christiansen 2:02.06
You can find ALL race results HERE.

We also saw several first timers, teens, Athletes in Tandem partnerships, and other athletes with outstanding stories and triumphs. This is definitely a great race for first-timers as there are volunteers and local supporters out until the very last athlete finishes. AND plenty of post-race food for even the final finisher.

I love this race because there are so many local teams and participants. I feel like I personally knew over half the athletes racing. This event happens without fail every single year and is the only race at this venue. It is the only triathlon in Loveland, the only race in Lake Loveland, and the only triathlon that uses the beautiful and challenging Horsetooth Reservoir as part of its bike course.

The Race Director since inception, Peggy Shockley, was seen all day making sure the race ran smoothly (and it did) and making sure the athletes were happy with their race experience.

I talked with several athletes (both first timers and veterans of the race) throughout the day and out of all the feedback, the two statements I heard most were “the post-race food is amazing” – it was catered by local Fort Collins health food restaurant “Rainbow”- and “the feel during this race is very friendly and supportive.” Both absolutely true AND have been this was every single year since the race began.

From packet pick up the day before through awards and clean up race day, there are so many helpful, friendly, and passionate members of the local Northern Colorado community ready and willing to lend a hand wherever it was needed to make the entire race experience easy, fun, and memorable.
One other positive perk of this race is the free race day photos! You can find a TON of them taken by 303 Triathlon on the Lake to Lake facebook page and more official finishing photos HERE.

Personally I had a great race. I met my goals of a fast run, a strong finish, and a fun morning with 650 of my best friends! If I am in town, I always make this race a part of my June racing schedule. You can stay updated on next year’s race on the Loveland Lake to Lake website.

See you at the lake in 2018!


2017 Loveland Lake-to-Lake Triathlon Race Preview

By Kirsten Smith

The Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon is one of Northern Colorado’s oldest and most popular triathlons. It started as an Olympic distance tri with less than 500 mostly local participants in 2002 and has grown over the past 15 years into an Olympic distance tri, a sprint distance tri, an aqua bike, a relay, and the USA Triathlon Regional Championships attracting almost 1,000 athletes from all over the US.

The mission of the Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon is to provide triathlon enthusiasts with a safe and enjoyable event in which to compete, regardless of their competitive level. It promotes the triathlon sport and the opportunity to give back to the community.

The race director Peggy Shockley is a triathlete herself, so she knows first-hand how to create a race that the athletes will enjoy.

I did this race for the first time in 2003 and have done it several times since. One thing that is unique to this race is the bike course. It’s changed a little over the years, but has always been about 30 miles instead of the typical 25 for an Olympic distance race and the ride goes up to Horsetooth Mountain Park and skirts the south end of the Horsetooth Reservoir so the ride is also challenging and beautiful. If cycling is your strength, this is the course for you!

The race takes place at the Loveland High School and North Lake Park beach area. The transition area is at Owens Field on the south side of Loveland High School.

The swim for the Olympic distance is 1500 meters and for the sprint 750 meters. Both swims start at the swim beach and go counter-clockwise in a rectangle. The Olympic rectangle is twice as long. There are 4 waves for the swim, each starting 4 minutes apart.

The run from the swim back to the transition is longer than your typical transition for a smaller race and is slightly uphill BUT is on grass so it’s soft on your feet and by the time you get to your bike, your feet are clean from the sand on the beach! Bonus!

The Olympic distance bike course in general is uphill the first half and downhill the second half. There are three pretty steep climbs from miles 7-10, 11-14, and 15-16. Other than that, there are quite a few rollers, not many flat sections on this bike course! In the past there have been some strong winds coming back into Loveland and the day (late June) has been known to really heat up on the second half of the ride. My suggestion to anyone local doing this race for the first time is to ride the course in advance. The full course map with turn-by-turn directions in on the Loveland Lake to Lake website. The sprint bike course is basically a rectangle tour on the main streets of Loveland toward Fort Collins and back.

The run course starts through the park, winds through some neighborhoods, and ends up about a mile around the lake before you turn around and come back the way you came, finishing back up at the park near the amphitheater. The sprint run goes the opposite way through the Sculpture Garden and then back to the park at the lake, both races finishing in the same place.

This race always has great course support full of volunteers and spectators, especially at the finish line. This is a family friendly race because of the beach and park area where kids and families can hang out during the race. This race is known for its post-race meals, awards, after-race party, and popsicles. And it definitely still has a local flavor where you run into all the athletes from the local Northern Colorado triathlon community!

I’ll be doing the Olympic distance this year so I hope to see you out there on June 24th. There are still a few spots available to get registered today!

Lake to Lake swim course revision:

Athletes have requested a CLOCKWISE swim course, you’ve asked, and we’ll respond. The Sprint Course will no longer be in a separate area of the lake.

is the USA Triathlon Regional Championship
event for Olympic, Sprint and Aquabike

See calendar event