Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. Eldora Mountain Resort probably has one of the best triathlon venues in the state, with a lake on the property as well as Nordic trails perfect for the bike and run course. Last Saturday, August 5, after three years of the Xterra Indian Peak Off-Road Triathlon being held at Snow Mountain Ranch, EMR reclaimed the event along with the LaSportiva Eldora Trail 10K run, the first event of the day beginning at 7:30 a.m.
The triathlon had been held at Eldora from 2008 until 2013 when it was sent across the Divide.
Dressed in skin tight wetsuits, the Triathlon athletes gathered at the west end of Peterson Lake shortly after 9 a.m. It was a chilly day. The water was colder. Volunteers manned canoes and Stand Up Paddle boats, ready to rescue if needed. Yellow buoys spread out, delineating the course, a 1,000m 50-60 degree swim, made colder by recent rain. The swimmers lined up according to their ability on a grassy peninsula reaching into the lake. They helped each other zip up the wetsuits. They shed their shoes, placing them in a strategic place for their swim finish.
Race producer and director Paul Karlsson thanked POWDR and Eldora Mountain Resort for bringing the event back to Nederland and then announced instructions, riled the athletes up a bit, and sent them off at three second intervals. Some of them dove into the cold water, others slipped down the grassy bank and eased themselves into the lake, beginning the counter clockwise trek around the buoys.
After climbing out at the finish, the racers could either strip off the wetsuits and carry them, or strip down to their waist and tie them, slipping into the running shoes. Getting the shoes onto their wet feet seemed to be one of the more challenging actions of the race. Then the athletes had to push down the 600m steep hill to the parking lot in which their bicycles were racked waiting for them at the transition area. The top of the bike course is at 9,700 feet.
The second part of the race is a 23km bike race, two 11km loops on the Eldora Nordic Center trails. For a while the athletes enjoyed a double track trail, room for passing with a couple of steep climbs that helped heat up the chill from the swim. The bikers pedaled through long grass on rock scrambled paths back to the transition area where they peeled off their bike shoes and slipped into their running shoes and took off for the 7km course over single track, swamp track, straight up track and hard to find track.
The race finished near the Indian Peaks Lodge where Cross Cut Pizza was served and the awards were presented along with raffle prizes from local sports businesses. The grand prize was $1,000, not a bad take for a couple of hours of recreation on Eldora summer trails.
Although the athletes finished mud splattered, sweaty and tired, most of them were not even breathing hard.
The XTERRA Indian Peaks and Eldora Trail 10K attracted 105 runners. The first male to finish was John Tribbia, age 30-39, with a time of 40:54. The first male in the 40-49 age, was Chris Grauch with a time of 41:28. First place in the 19 and under was Avery Monaghan with a time of 46:53; First place in the 50-59 age was Scott Cross with a time of 51:37. First place in the 60 and up category was Tom Wilson, with a time of1:14.40.
First place female in the 30-39 age was M.E. Seller with a time of 48:48. First place in the 40-49 age was Michelle Benge with a time of 58:39; First Place in the 20-29 age was Meghan Cornwall with a time of 59:45; First Place in the 19 and under was Rylie McMullen with a time of 1:07.12; First Place in the 50-59 age was Elizabeth Coleman with a time of 1:08.09 and First Place in the age 60 and up was Virginia Landes with a time of 1:34.54.
Magnolia Road Family runners included Tate Witney, who came in second, age 19 and under, with a time of 57:49; his brother Graham Whitney who came in third in the 19 and under category, with a time of 58:26, their mother Susie Gallaudet, who came in third in the 40-49 age category with a time of 1:02.57 and their dad Brian Whitney who came in third in the 50-59 age category with a time of 1:07.12.
But the best part of the day was at the end with bluegrass music from Burn It Blue, pizza from Cross Cut, and fresh brews from El Rancho Brewing.
For a list of individual times and awards check out http://racingunderground.racetecresults.com/results.aspx?CId=16436&RId=220
(Originally published in the August 10, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)