Second winter triathlon added this season | SummitDaily.com

Second winter triathlon added this season

DEVON O'NEILsummit daily news

Summit Daily file photo/Brad Odekirk A pair of Summit County winter triathlons, one at the Raven Golf Club and the other at the Gold Run Nordic Center (above), will help determine who represents the U.S. at the sport's world championship in Norway later this season.

Winter triathlon, the ever-growing cold-weather partner in perseverance to its warm-weather predecessor, is about to become a larger part of Summit County’s competition scene.The Gold Run Winter Triathlon, which has been held at the Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge the past four years and is set for Feb. 25 this season, will be joined by a similar event at the Raven Golf Club in Silverthorne on Feb. 4. Both races are being run by Summit local Danelle Ballengee, one of the premier female multisport athletes in the world. Together the competitions will make up two-thirds of a three-race series, though the third event, to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, is officially unrelated to the pair in Summit. The tie-in instead is that the three races will determine the male and female American qualifiers for the 2006 winter triathlon world championship, which is scheduled to be held in Norway in March.According to Ballengee, there has been some talk internationally about pushing winter triathlon toward the Olympics. Having a trio of events that qualifies racers for the worlds in Norway (the sport is much bigger in Europe) will help build potential Olympic momentum in America, she said – especially among the International Triathlon Union and USA Triathlon.

“They’re excited to have a series in the United States and they’re trying to get more representation from other countries at the world championships,” Ballengee said.The second Summit race and added importance come to a county that has always been a welcome home for winter triathlons. The Copper Mountain Snowman, an event that lasted a decade and drew about 50-60 competitors, on average, preceded the Gold Run race. Still, the Gold Run events have since struggled to draw even 25 racers.”They’ve gone great each year, and we’ve always sat there and gone, How come we’re not getting more people?” Gold Run operations manager Jim Sanders said.He expects that to change now that Ballengee is involved.

“One thing that we’ve lacked is visibility,” said Sanders, who also ran the Copper Snowman while it existed. “(Ballengee) has a following of her own, not to mention getting it as a qualifier (for the world championship).”Ballengee also runs the two-race Swift Skedaddle snowshoe series during the winter; this year’s races are set for Jan. 14 at the Raven Golf Club in Silverthorne, and March 12 at Gold Run.Both of the Summit triathlons will include competitive and recreational divisions, with the world championship qualifiers coming from the competitive division.Disciplines for the races will include a 7-9K run or snowshoe (competitors may wear whatever footwear they desire); a 12-14K mountain bike; and a 10-12K Nordic ski (either classic or freestyle).

The recreational division will feature legs half as long as the competitive class.For more information on the Summit events, or to register, call Ballengee at (970) 389-4838.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at doneil@summitdaily.com.