An Open Letter to Editor of Triathlete Magazine After Bashing Boulder Tri Community

Dear Kelly O’Mara, Editor-in-Chief of Triathlete Magazine,

This letter, from me Bill Plock, owner of 303Endurance Network, a native of Colorado, a triathlete and an advocate is in response to your Editor’s Note in the May/June issue of Triathlete Magazine where you wrote:

When I first got ready to start this Editor’s Note, I was going to make fun of the Boulder Tri scene. I was going to tell you how I think it’s overrated and I don’t “get” it. I was going to poke to fun of the weirdly terrible bike paths and perpetual poor air quality. I was going to laugh at all the YouTube videos always being filmed everywhere you workout—as if the entire town is just a backdrop for social media… But then the day I started writing, a man with a gun walked ibnto a grocery store here in town and shot 10 people…In reality, I still think the Boulder tri scene is silly. I’ll probably make fun of it again soon…

Where do I begin? Let’s see, using a mass murder shooting as a reason to not further bash the Boulder triathlon community, the athletes, and the people who work their asses off to provide infrastructure for safe routes for cyclists seems like a start. But wait, you did then go on to do exactly that… bash the Boulder community and the Boulder triathlon community anyway? 

And then you go on to say you will probably make fun of Boulder again soon? Seriously? Why? Maybe you should spend some time in the community and apologize. 

I realize this is your opinion and you are certainly entitled to it. However, as an industry representative speaking on a public platform to a wide audience – especially considering Triathlete’s recent partnership with USA Triathlon – your middle-school-bullying approach is damaging, offensive, and unprofessional.

To call the Boulder triathlon scene “overrated,” or triathletes (mostly pro’s) “silly” for making YouTube videos or bike paths “weird” or the air too polluted is simply outrageous.  Did you sit in town council meetings planning those bike paths? You were a pro triathlete, you know how hard sponsorships are, why bash athletes trying to make a social media effort? Where else would you like them to go? And the air pollution—sure, during fire season there are bad days, but you paint a picture for those outside of Boulder or Colorado that is wrong. (If you do the research, you will learn much of our air pollution is also a result of our high frequency of full sun days, combined with wind patterns from other states and countries.) Who are you to judge?  

Last I checked, Triathlete Magazine is part of Outside (formerly Pocket Outdoor Media) and is based in Boulder. Am I right? So you have chosen to make fun of the very community in which you work. Why make fun of professional triathletes making YouTube videos while training during a pandemic to try to be relative to their sponsors? Those same athletes who spend time on your podcasts or provide content for your readers and, like you, are trying to make a living in this industry not known to be lucrative. Aren’t we here to help each other? 

Additionally, Triathlete Magazine’s reach to youth, first-time triathletes, Olympic hopefuls, and Team USA members are now among your front-row audience. You have wielded your PR wand in a terribly damaging and harmful way.

The Boulder bike path system is what makes Boulder one of the most bike friendly cities in the country. How many employees at Outside ride those trails? Did you know recently a sister publication of Outside graciously helped gather content for a cyclist killed a few miles south of Boulder to help the community heal? Do you know how hard it is to advocate for what you call, “those weirdly terrible bike paths” that undoubtedly save lives? What’s silly about that? Do you know the local advocacy team at Cyclists for Community? They are friends of mine because I ride with them. I take the time to know their mission. I would love to watch you tell them how silly those paths are at their next fund raiser. 

So coming out of a pandemic with people anxious to race, and on the heels of a tragic shooting event, you call triathletes in Boulder silly? You call the triathlon community overrated? Overrated compared to what? Did you go to the Colorado Triathlon last weekend and feel the joy of athletes seeing each other again? Do you know Lance Panigutti of Without Limits and how hard he worked to save his business this past year? And you call him and the community overrated? How dare you. 

Here is what Lance has to say, 

I’ve had the opportunity to call Boulder home for 18 years before my wife and I moved to Denver. Recently an article in Triathlete sought to poke fun at that home in the most passive aggressive manner possible. Maybe the editor thought 8th grade bullying was “cool again,” or needed content for her “Burn Book,” but I’ll always defend the community that has fueled my passion for 13 years. In Boulder we celebrate the “weird” and embrace the “silly”.  In 2008, at 25 years old , with $600 and a 96’ VW Jetta to my name, my brother and I had an event vision one might call “silly.” But the “Boulder Triathlon Scene” not only cheered us on, they’ve supported us every step of the way.  We now have the honor of producing a variety of triathlons, cycling, and cyclocross races across Colorado for amateurs and elites.  We live to race in the “poor air quality,” consistently stunned by the gorgeous backdrop of our playground. To those YouTube creators we say, “dare to dream, chase your Olympic or Kona goals, and keep posting so others may be attracted to take up the endurance lifestyle.” We call all of you friends, many of you family, and we can’t wait for you to join us on a start line, no matter how “silly” a few might think we are!  

The Colorado Triathlon June 5th 2021

Well. You lost me as a fan of the magazine, and probably many others, including a large number of community athletes, business owners, industry professionals, and endurance sports influencers who have reached out to me to support this response message.

I’m sure you were trying to be somewhat funny and in jest. I know you are a good athlete and triathlete and probably a nice person, but you messed this up. I’m sure you think you know your stuff. But you know what? You don’t know the community in which you work and that supports your publication. That’s a shame, and unforgivable.  

Sincerely,

Bill Plock

Here is a copy of the entire letter.

Ft. Collins to Host First Triathlon in Front Range, July 18th

It appears the first two triathlons happening in Colorado will be in Eagle at the LG Tri on July 11th (more on this event in another article) and the Epic Warrior Triathlon on July 18th. Both will feature a pool swim. 

With each county controlling the size of group gatherings or asking for variances from statewide mandates, Eagle and Larimer counties have approved these two events. 

In the past 10 days or so there’s been a big flurry of good news and approvals with both Larimer County and the City of Fort Collins according to race director JB Tobin of Breakaway Athletic Events.  

Not familiar with Epic Warrior Triathlon? JB says, “We combined The Epic Mini Triathlon (original race date was 5-31-20) and the Warrior Women Triathlon and are calling it the “Epic Warrior Triathlon”.

With the approvals came additional distancing precautions, extra athlete guidelines, volunteer & staff guidelines, packet pickup, and awards changes. There’s a host of tweaks and updates to the entire morning that should make everyone feel safe and comfortable taking part in the event.

Tobin adds, “One thing we think athletes will really like is the ultra roomy transition area, maybe the “roomiest transition ever?” 

An equally fun part of this story is by being the first triathlon on the front range, the community support will be unprecedented. Lance Panigutti from Without Limits will be working the event and says, “I’m just excited to see everyone!”

Peggy Shockley, director of Loveland’s Lake to Lake Triathlon will be racing in the event (and likely volunteering when she’s done) and Lisa Sinclair from Green Events will be helping out as a volunteer on race morning.

Currently the race is about 75% sold out, so if you want to race, now would be the time to sign up! They are limited to 200 people.There will be no race day registrations allowed. 

To learn more and register go here. 

https://breakawayathleticevents.com/register/

Harvest Moon Celebrates 20 Years Yesterday!

By Bill Plock

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the Harvest Moon Long Course held at the Boulder Reservoir. Aaron Calhoun, Brandon Wallace and Conrad Rodas were the top three male finishers. Kimberly Goodell, Kiki Silver and Susan Brooker stood on the podium for the women. All the results can be found HERE

The race was started by Racing Underground and held at Aurora reservoir for many years and moved to Boulder in 2016. Says Lance Panigutti, owner of Without Limits and race director of Harvest Moon, “If races could tell stories, the memories the Harvest Moon Long Course could share since the year 2000 would fill a book. Yesterday we celebrated our 20th birthday, and what a day it was. So many first timers completing their very first long course triathlon, and so many veterans enjoying what the Harvest Moon has become over the years. In 2009 Racing Underground sold us this event, and while more nervous than you could imagine, our goal was to carry on what they started – a locally focused, affordable, and friendly long course experience. We hope we’ve made them proud, and most importantly the Colorado community proud. We couldn’t have achieved this goal without the help of so many volunteers, the love of the local community, and many passionate staff members on the Without Limits A-Team. To each and everyone of them we we say “Thank you and we can’t wait for the next 20!”

About 450 athletes started the race featuring a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile ride and a 13.1 mile run. Amy Miller, a first time participant at a distance longer than an Olympic said, “It’s a great venue, great race with lots of spectator support, but hard as hell!”

Lance Panigutti on Why Triathletes Should Try Cyclocross

By Bill Plock

Rich Soares with 303Radio interviews Lance Panigutti, owner of Without Limits Productions, who is known for triathlon events across the Front Range. Once triathlon season is over, Lance and his team remain busy with a host of cyclocross events throughout the Front Range beginning this weekend.

Photo from fascatcoaching.com

“Cyclocross bikes are really the result of a road bike and a mountain bike having a baby”, according to Lance. But, in this podcast Lance goes on to assure listeners wanting to try cyclocross that using a mountain bike is perfectly fine, buying an inexpensive cyclocross bike is adequate because the atmosphere is a welcoming one that makes it ok to feel like a beginner.

Racing on dirt, in grass, negotiating obstacles like steps and low hurdles, sometimes in mud, snow or inclement weather makes it just that much more fun. The races are short, easy to spectate and generally they circle a spectator area that is the perfect place to hang out and have a beer and get to know everyone.

According to marketing manager of Feedback Sports and the biggest advocate on the planet of cyclocross, Katie Macarelli, “it is arguably the most user-friendly discipline of racing to get into. If you are a roadie, you bring an engine and pack skills. If you are an MTB’er your technical skills are solid and you’ll excel on short punch climbs and short bursts of effort. If you are a commuter you race an urban version all the time with lights, cars and curbs. Anyone can jump in! It’s just 40 minutes long. Minimal training time and time away from real life and family. Plus the community is like no other. Friendly. With beer!”

Lance adds that triathletes, which make up about 20% of the field usually, come in very fit from the season and cyclocross is a way to keep competing and having fun and trying some new things on a bike.

It seems this is the venue to try for something fun and different, safe and unintimidating. There are numerous clinics and many races to choose from! In fact, there’s a free Intro to Cyclocross Party for women at the Feedback Sports headquarters in Golden tonight (September 7th). Click here for more details.

Clinics:
Inspired Training Center Cyclocross Workshop Series
Boulder Cycle Sport Weekly Thursday Cyclocross Clinics
FasCat Coaching CX Camp

Check out the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado website for CX races. Here is a list of a few races you should check out:
Without Limits – September through December
Back 2 Basics CX – August 23rd – September 27th (Wednesday evenings)
SchoolYard Cross – October 21st

Listen to the podcast interview here

Boulder Peak KOM/QOM cash prize added!

303 brings you the Olde Stage KOM/QOM award! Our own Bill Plock will be at the apex of the climb, capturing photographic documentation for the first male & female pros to reach the top of this massive effort. AND, Lance Panigutti/Without Limits has sweetened the pot with $150 cash to each King/Queen!

Rueter-Hess Reservoir hosting swim race in July

By Joe Rubino, The Denver Post

For years, slow-filling Rueter-Hess Reservoir has tantalized endurance athletes living in the metro area. With a maximum capacity of 75,000 acre-feet of water east of Interstate 25 in Douglas County, the possibilities for swimming or triathlons there were enough to drive the average Ironman crazy in the otherwise dry portion of the Front Range.

“For probably the past five years I have been fielding calls from area residents suggesting we host a triathlon there,” professional race organizer Lance Panigutti said. “I think everyone in the community was really just looking at it saying, ‘OK, what’s it going to look like?’ It’s huge.”

In July, Panigutti and 150 athletes will finally get the up-close look they’ve been waiting for when his Without Limits Productions hosts the Parker Open Water Swim. The event, set for 7 a.m. July 29, will be the first time a sanctioned swim race is allowed at Rueter-Hess. Paniguitti organized a successful cyclocross race on a piece of property just north of the reservoir this fall, establishing a relationship with Rueter-Hess owner, the Parker Water and Sanitation District.

“It’s definitely been a long time coming,” Panigutti said. “It’s going to be a simple swim event. We’re marketing it as breaking the ribbon so to speak of being the first people to swim there legally.”

There will be two race options: a 1.2-mile loop and a 2.4-mile loop. Panigutti said he expects everyone to be done and out of the water by 9:30 a.m. and anticipates very little impact to the rest of the reservoir property.

Tickets went on sale to the general public Wednesday, March 15. Some slots are reserved for members of the Altitude Multisport Club. The collective of amateur endurance athletes from the south metro area has been aching for nearby events since an Arapahoe County road use rule change caused the cancellation of several triathlons at Aurora Reservoir last year. . .

Read the full story

 

303Triathlon Rueter-Hess Reservoir OWS story here

303 Calendar event details here