Title sponsor wins title in winter triathlon
BRECKENRIDGE – As a marketing director for the Marmot clothing company, Roanne Miller thought she might have done enough for the third annual Marmot High Alpine Winter Triathlon by agreeing to have her company be the title sponsor.
But race promoter Scott Yule thought the Breckenridge resident could do a little bit more when he called her up at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning and convinced her to participate.
It worked out well for Miller, as she broke out her Nordic skis and snowshoes and dusted off her bike and used all three to win the event.
“I was lucky my bike didn’t have a flat tire,” she said afterwards. “But how could you not love doing something like that on a day like today.”
Boulder’s Russ Bollig fought a close race with Great Adventure Sports owner Mark Taylor and local runner Eric Black to win the men’s race for the second year in a row.
Bollig established an early lead with the 10K Nordic skate that began the event, but lost his entire two-minute lead over Taylor during the 10K bike. The 5K snowshoe, however, turned out to be Taylor’s undoing, as Bollig soared out ahead of him.
The catch was the snowshoe was Black’s specialty, and Black used that advantage to surge forward, jumping from fourth place after the bike leg to second place, finishing only seconds behind Bolig.
“I’m glad (the snowshoe) was a 5K,” Bollig said. “Years ago, this event had a 10K and I would’ve had my work cut out for me. On every loop I could see (Black) and I was thinking, “Oh man, he’s gaining on me.'”
By “years ago,” Bollig was referring to the Snowman Triathlon, a winter triathlon held for many years in the 1990s at Copper Mountain. Despite the 10K snowshoe of that event, Bollig won it five times, and doesn’t seem to have slowed down at all.
Taylor, who avoids snowshoeing except for this race, faltered and fell into fourth behind Patrick Giberson.
“I felt great skiing and biking, but I hate snowshoeing,” Taylor said. “I won’t do it again until this day next year.”
Temperatures in the mid-50’s blended with a firm snowpack from the previous night’s freeze, producing some of the fastest conditions seen at the event since Yule started promoting it three years ago.
“Today is about as easy as it gets,” said Bollig of riding his bike across the packed trails. “It may even be a little bit better than dirt because it’s so consistent. If it got 15 degrees warmer, it could really soften up and get technical.”
Unfortunately, the race drew only 15 participants as it fell on a day complicated by a traffic jam on Interstate-70 as well as competing events, including several snowshoe events in the region and the Leadville 100, an endurance Nordic skiing event.
“I hope this race continues to grow,” said Bollig. “The Snowman really had a following for many years.”
Yule and Gold Run Nordic Center director Jim Sanders both agreed that next year’s event may need some rethinking to increase participation. Ideas ranged from moving the event to a Sunday to marketing it better to Front Range triathletes.
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at email@example.com.
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