When out-of-towners think of Silverthorne, many think outlet stores or a place to stop for gas on the way to somewhere else. It’s an image that Paul Kulik, aquatics director at Silverthorne Recreation Center, and other community members hope to change.
“We’re trying to get more people to town,” Kulik said, to show Silverthorne is “more than just a stop.”
One solution: host a triathlon. It’s an idea Kulik pitched three years ago in order to promote Silverthorne’s parks and trail system. He called it “a great way to bring people to town.”
This Sunday Silverthorne will host the third annual Rocky Mountain Triathlon.
In just two years it seems to be a step in the right direction. It was so successful last year it attracted too many competitors. Around 1,000 athletes competed. It turned out to be a little too crazy for the North Pond open-water swimming portion of the race.
“They had an obscene number of people,” said Kulik.
Leah Smith, an event coordinator for Human Movement LLC, the company running the event, said that after last year the event was scaled back and the number of competitors was capped at 400.
“This is a great event for everyone,” said Kulick. Because of the location it’s not overly technical. And for the Rockies, it’s relatively flat, he said. The course runs along Highway 9 and on the Blue River Trail.
The event offers both international and sprint length course options. The longer international course includes an 800-meter swim, 20-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile run. The sprint course cuts most of the distances in half with a 400-meter swim, 12-mile bike and 3.1-mile run.
All course transitions take place at North Pond Park in Silverthorne, making it a good spot for spectators, Smith said.
Racers start with the swim in staggered five-minute waves. Both bike courses are out-and-back along Hwy. 9. The international course turns around at the exit for Ute Pass. The elevation gain on the course is almost zero, according to the webpage. Both running courses incorporate long stretches on the Blue River Trail.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Smith said. While both she and Kulik said the course is beginner friendly, “it takes a certain athlete to be able to compete at this elevation,” Smith said.
There are still a few spots open. Competitors can register today, but there will be no day-of registration on Sunday.
Kulik hopes the event will continue to lead to increased use of North Pond Park and the Blue River Trail. That was part of the idea behind hosting a triathlon, rather than just a run or bike race.
“The triathlon highlights so much more than just a bike race,” he said.