Steamboat to tackle triathlon again

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— On Sunday, Sept. 10, Steamboat Springs resident Jay Bayless will try to breath some new life into an old idea.
Bayless is just 53 days away from hosting the first triathlon to be held in the Steamboat area in nine years.
Steamboat Lake will be the backdrop for the event, with swimmers taking off at 8 a.m. in its cool waters for a one-mile swim. The athletes will then bike 35 miles in a loop stretching from south of Clark to Columbine, and finish with a 8-mile run around the lake.
"I got a crazy idea while watching the marathon a couple of years ago," Bayless said. "Now I'm trying to follow through with it."
Bayless, an avid triathlete himself, said he thinks the Steamboat Lake area is the perfect location for a triathlon. He not only wants to organize an event here this year, but thinks the area might be good for an Iron Man qualifying event in the future.
"It's perfect," Bayless said. "I've been racing for 10 years and I can't think of a better place to have a triathlon."
Bayless has been taking entries for most of the summer and applications for the event are available on the Internet at www.steamboattriathlon.com. The cost to enter the race is $75 before Aug. 15 and $95 after that date.
"I'm really excited to be a part of it," local businessman and triathlete Bill Gamber said. "It's an incredible place to hold a triathlon and it's a wonderful idea," Gamber said. "It's going to be interesting to see what happens with it."
Gamber said he will not be taking part in the event's first running, however. He recently had knee surgery.
Steamboat has a history of hosting triathlons, and Steamboat Lake was a part of the first one, which was held in the early 1980s.
One person event was run for a couple of years before it was dropped. The Steamboat Heath and Recreation Association picked it up in 1986, and it was headquartered out of the downtown pool.
Athletes swam half a mile in the pool, rode their bikes 26 miles from downtown to Yellow Jacket Pass and back, and then ran a 10-kilometer race.
"It was tremendously popular," former event director Pat Carney said. "But then it just got too big and Steamboat got too big."
The final Steamboat Town Triathlon was held the last weekend of June 1991. After that, a board decided that that event, which attracted more than 500 people that summer, had become too big.
She said the main reason the triathlon came to an end was because of safety concerns primarily with the biking course, which went out Colorado 131, to County Road 14, then over Yellow Jacket Pass.
Carney said it was also getting more difficult to close parts of Lincoln Avenue to be able to run the race.
She added that those type of problems may not be a concern if the race is moved to the Steamboat Lake area.


To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@amigo.net

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