1,000 triathletes to fill North Pond Park | SummitDaily.com

1,000 triathletes to fill North Pond Park

Janice Kurbjun
summit daily news
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

It sold out faster than anyone was expecting.

1,000 triathletes.

All staging their three-discipline race from North Pond Park in Silverthorne. Last year, competitors numbered about 200, and registration never closed for the event.

Amateurs. Beginners. Seasoned triathlon veterans.

But no pros.

“We want to keep it fun and have a lot of first-time athletes,” event director Jillian Becker said. “We don’t have pros here for that purpose.”

However, spectators have a lot to watch in Sunday’s race, which starts at 8 a.m. and should finish by mid-afternoon.

In particular, they should keep their eyes out for the smiles and excitement of new triathletes, as they get the hang of the mental and physical transitions, the bumping against other competitors as they gear up – or even as they navigate the water routes in the relatively small North Pond Park.

“Cheering people through the transition area is really cool,” Becker said, adding that it’s thrilling to “watch people make the mental and physical shifts” necessary to start and finish the next leg of the race.

For Summit County local P.J. Felix, the growth is somewhat nerve wracking compared to the laid-back atmosphere of the 2011 race. Still, he’s back for more.

He represents the demographic the event seeks to attract, Becker said. The recreational athlete looking for a good challenge. Felix is out to beat his times from last year and have fun doing it. He’s also eager to support the local event, which is what sold him on it last year.

“With the triathlon growing, I really hope it brings more revenue to Summit County in general,” by way of eating at local restaurants and staying at the various lodging options in town, Felix said.

The best place to watch is at North Pond Park, Becker said. There, spectators can take in the chaos of athletes in the 68-degree water as well as the start and finish of the two other disciplines.

The cycling component has riders going north on Highway 9 and looping back via the same route (Becker asks motorists to be aware as they also navigate the route), and the running component winds through Silverthorne along the Blue River Trail, which features the Blue River as a scenic accompaniment for athletes who may be accustomed to running the triathlon leg in cities without a view.

That’s what makes the Rocky Mountain Triathlon unique, Becker said. The views.

It attracts mostly Colorado athletes – and plenty of local Summit County competitors – who are accustomed to the altitude. What many may not be used to is the “sheer beauty of the course,” Becker said.

The event’s growth spells success for event organizers, who hope the Silverthorne community will continue to embrace the event, now in its second year. In part, success came through a bigger advertising push, and a Living Social Adventure deal.

“We tried a couple different avenues this year – which worked almost too well,” Becker said.

The event includes sprint and international competitors, who have different starting times and discipline distances.

International racers compete in an 800-meter swim, which forms an “M” on the pond, a 20-mile road race, and a 6.2-mile run. Sprinters complete a 400-meter swim around the pond’s perimeter, a 12-mile road race and a 3.1-mile run.

Competitors are grouped by age. The event is put on by Human Movement Management, with help from Silverthorne personnel.

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