Coloradans were all over the world this weekend, competing in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in France, to IRONMAN Wisconsin to three different multisport festivals in Colorado– Grand Junction, Avon and Loveland (Boyd Lake).
Boulder’s Rudy Von Berg took 3rd overall in Nice at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships (article here). In the age group category, Boulder’s Caitlin Standifer took 2nd in her 30-34 age group and locals Molly Smith and Elise Lagerstrom cracked the top 100 overall in France.
Locally, the 8th annual Deserts Edge Triathlon Festival took place in Grand Junction offering everything from off-road triathlon, to a road sprint, olympic distances a SUP category, runs only and just about any category possible. All the results found HERE
In Avon, the Avon Fest coupled with the Major League Triathlon offered both amateur and professional triathletes a chance to compete in draft legal and non-draft legal events. 303’s Rich Soares covered the event saying, “Multisport, mountains and music – Avon Fest has it all! The Major League Triathlon features a variety of fast pace racing throughout the weekend. This year saw the additional an age-group non-draft Sprint to the line up of draft legal races, mixed-team-relays, beer mile and 5k. The short formats and course designs made for exciting racing and spectating. Avon’s weather and breathtaking scenery make this a great time of year to race during the day and enjoy live music in the park at night.”
In Loveland, Breakaway Athletic Events’, held the first ever Boyd Lake Bash and gave athletes all kinds of options including a kids race and even a Zumba class.
In Wisconsin, Colorado’s Tim Hola got 3rd in the 45-49 category and 27th overall while his dad Ken, won his 75-79 age category! Well known Denver triathlete Todd Lytle completed his 13th Ironman giving him a legacy entry to the 2020 IRONMAN World Championships in Kona. Boulder’s Lauren Vallee punched a ticket there as well by qualifying in Wisconsin and placed 2nd in her age group.
AVON — The altitude was the x factor as Major League Triathlon racing came to Nottingham Park on Saturday. Nevertheless, the Cleveland Rock & Roll were able to maintain their dominance and come away with a win at 7,500 feet.
The home team at Saturday’s competition was the Colorado Peaks, who finished in second and third in the first two Major League Triathlon events this season. With Vail native John O’Neill as their anchor, the Peaks again found themselves in second on Saturday.
“I thought when I got on the run and I heard my split was 30 seconds off the leader, that maybe I could catch him,” O’Neill said. “They’re just a good team.”
O’Neill said during the second leg of the race, when Cleveland Rock & Roll member Kevin McDowell was penalized 10 seconds for exiting his bike on the wrong side of the bike racks, the Peaks were thinking this might be their chance to finally upset the Rock & Roll.
“The fact that he was able to stand there for 10 seconds, get back in his flow, finish and the team still hold onto the win, it just goes to show you how strong they are,” O’Neill said.
The transitions between swimming, biking and running happened fast, and it was easy to get confused, McDowell said.
“The camera guys were in the middle of the bike path where I was going through,” McDowell said. “I made a decision to go right, and I was wrong, so I got a penalty. During the penalty I was just trying to keep my composure and thinking how much harder I had to go on the next lap.”
The event was broadcasted live on Facebook, part of the spectator friendly effort Major League Triathlon has underwent in an effort to develop a following in their second season.
Venues like Nottingham Park contribute to the spectator friendly nature of the event, as does the unique format employed by Major League Triathlon, which they call a “Super Sprint Mixed Team Relay.” Two male athletes and two female athletes from each of the eight teams complete a 300 meter swim, 4 mile looped bike course and 1 mile run.
The short legs allow for fast racing, with each athlete spending less than 10 minutes in each phase of the competition. The high speeds and small venues combine to give spectators something to see at all times, with individual athletes able to contribute an element of showmanship as well as athletic talent.
On Saturday, Olympian Ben Kanute gave the most crowd-pleasing performance. Bringing his team the Indy Cats into podium position from the back of the pack, Kanute’s mastery of the biking portion of the course showed fans what makes him an athlete to watch in the American triathlon scene.
“This is the coolest place I think we’ve gone so far on the circuit,” Kanute said of Avon. “Just from the interest in the local community, to the way they’ve designed this course. This has been a good event.”
Kanute said the biking portion of the competition was similar to something you might find in a European race.
“This is about as narrow as it gets, as technical as it gets,” he said of the Nottingham Park rec path. “Europe is known for that, they’re streets are always pretty narrow. Every so often you get a race like that in the U.S.”
O’Neill said road bike racing on the Nottingham bike path is similar to single-track racing in mountain biking events.
“When you want to make a pass, you’ve got to tell the person you’re passing,” he said. “So we were pretty vocal out there, we were yelling at each other quite a bit, but that’s racing.”
Major League Triathlon’s 2017 season wraps up Sept. 9 in Cleveland, where the undefeated Rock & Roll will have a home field advantage.
“I think it’s a privilege to get that pressure,” McDowell said. “Everything has been going well, and we just got to carry the momentum that we have into this series.”
The Cleveland event will be held in conjunction with NEOCycle, the largest urban cycling festival in the U.S. The event features Cyclocross, track cycling, a family friendly night ride and more than 50 vendors including food trucks, live music and craft beer.
The Colorado Peaks will play host to the other seven MLT pro teams. Nottingham Park in Vail Valley, CO is a unique and exciting venue. Join the Peaks for a weekend of racing, food, clinics, music and more!
Pro Race Start: 1pm
MLT will host an amateur race in conjunction with the MLT pro event. Details will be announced soon!
MLT Expo and Festival: The MLT Expo and Festival will be held at the beautiful Nottingham Park from 11am-7pm. The expo will feature local and national vendors, interaction opportunities with MLT pros, kid zones, food trucks, live music, a national headliner concert and more!
Charlotte, NC (January 27, 2017) – Major League Triathlon is thrilled to announce that the third event of the 2017 MLT season will be held in Avon, Colorado, on Saturday, August 26. This will be the first stop in Colorado for the series and will be a home race for the Colorado Peaks team.
Major League Triathlon is the first and only professional triathlon league in the United States. Fielding eight mixed-gender teams of four in a relay format, the series hosts races in major triathlon destinations and cities across the country in viewer-friendly venues that brings spectators close to Olympians and world-class athletes as they face off in a grueling short- course format.
“We are thrilled to hold a race in Avon and bring our series to Colorado,” Daniel Cassidy, CEO of MLT, said. “This is an incredibly picturesque part of the world, and Nottingham Lake is the perfect setting for Major League Triathlon. The Vail Valley also happens to be one of my favorite places on earth, so I couldn’t be happier than to bring this event to such a special place.”
The eight teams in this professional triathlon event will consist of 32 of the best elite triathletes in the world. Each athlete will swim three hundred meters, bike four miles and run one mile in Nottingham Park before tagging their next teammate in line to complete the same circuit. The first team to have all four athletes cross the finish line will win.
The short and fast-paced nature of the event, a style popularized in Australia, offers a distinct viewer experience as the athletes swim, bike, run and transition directly in front of spectators. Adding to the experience, a youth and amateur ‘Splash ’n Dash’ event will be held in conjunction with the professional race.
This event will be free and open to the general public. Adding to the excitement of professional and potential youth/amateur races, a vendor expo, festival and concert are planned for post-race entertainment at the Nottingham Performance Pavilion.
Local professional triathlete and Edwards resident, John O’Neill will be representing the Colorado Peaks team, the designated home team for the event in Avon. “I’ve had the opportunity to race against high-caliber triathletes from every corner of the world,” O’Neill said. “To go up against that world-class level of competition in the Vail Valley— literally in the lake, on the roads and in front of the town in which I spend my time training— is a rare, high-pressure scenario to perform at my best. I can’t wait.”
O’Neill has raced professionally for the United States in triathlon since 2013, garnering 34 international starts and 3 international podiums in the International Triathlon Union (ITU) race circuit. “Colorado seems to have these deep ties to endurance sports and triathlon, with nearby Boulder being a sort of mecca for triathletes,” O’Neill said. “Vail also has a deep history of incredible sporting events, having hosted ski and mountain bike world cups and world championship races. Having Major League Triathlon come to town will be an incredible way to showcase and expand that high-level of competition this town and state loves.”
Major League Triathlon is the first and only professional triathlon league in the United States. Major League Triathlon hosts races in major cities across the United States. MLT was formed in 2016 with the goal of creating a more spectator-friendly version of triathlon. MLT aims to grow the sport of triathlon on both an amateur and professional level.