Revamped Steamboat Springs Triathlon returns Sunday |

Revamped Steamboat Springs Triathlon returns Sunday

7th annual event adds distance

— The Steamboat Springs Triathlon hasn't exactly served as a "last call" for summer sports in Yampa Valley. This summer the triathlon has found some pretty stiff competition when it comes to late-summer focus. But organizers of the seventh annual event insist they see little downside to playing second fiddle in what's expected to be a huge Steamboat sports weekend.

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge will roar out of town Saturday morning, and a day later nearly 450 athletes from around the region will dive into a redesigned Steamboat Triathlon.

"Overall, it's great," race founder Joy Rasmussen said. "There are a lot of people coming to town who will be watching the USA Pro Cycling Challenge as well as participating Sunday, so it's fantastic for both events."

Plenty will be different about this year's race, including the folks organizing it: brothers Lance and Tony Panigutti took charge of last month's inaugural Steamboat Lake Sprint Triathlon, and will run the Steamboat Triathlon, as well.

The big change, as far as athletes are concerned, is the distance. The race always has been sort of a hybrid distance, a custom design somewhere between sprint and Olympic distances. This year's race will be stretched to the full Olympic classification. That means more swimming, biking and running.

The swim course, in Lake Catamount, will be just slightly longer — about 300 yards — for a total distance of 0.93 miles, or 1.5 kilometers. The 40-kilometer bike portion, which stretches from Catamount to Howelsen Hill mostly on Routt County Road 14, will be about two miles longer, as will the 10-kilometer running section.

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Lance Panigutti labeled last month's Steamboat Lake Sprint Triathlon a great success and said plenty of the athletes exposed to the area by the event quickly made plans to compete at the Lake Catamount-based race.

He said the differences between the two courses actually should offer confidence.

"Steamboat Lake is 1,500 feet higher in elevation, and that bike course had some sizable rolling hills," Panigutti said. "This won't be as steep. Even those it's twice the distance, if they did the Steamboat Lake course, they won't have a problem at Catamount."

Rasmussen said this year's changes will help strengthen the event, and should make the 2012 version a big one for the Steamboat Springs Triathlon. Then, the race will serve as the USA Triathlon regional championships, which should push registration closer to the 600 racer cap the event had in the past.

Sunday's event starts at 8 a.m. with the first of four waves of swimmers. The awards ceremony is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Registration remains open and athletes can sign up at for $110.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email

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