Steamboat triathletes convene for training

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— More than 25 percent -- 118 out of 400 -- of the athletes who participated in last year's inaugural Steamboat Springs Triathlon lived in Routt County.

One of those athletes, Joy Rasmussen, volunteer coordinator of the Steamboat Springs Triathlon and co-founder of the Steamboat Triathlon Club, is working to increase that number for this year's race, which is Aug. 27.

That may seem like a long time, but for Steamboat's triathletes, training for summer races begins as soon as spring weather permits.

"Typically, a triathlete starts training four months in advance, but with the Steam--boat Springs Triathlon, people can participate by starting training two or three months in advance. It's between the length of a Sprint and an Olympic distance triathlon," Rasmussen said.

The triathlon includes a 3/4-mile swim across Lake Catamount, a 20-mile bike ride to Howelsen Hill and a four-mile run to the finish. The event drew participants from throughout the West last year.

Rasmussen wants to increase community interest in the race with David Wittlinger's new Web site -- www.steamboattriathlon.com -- and by hosting an informational training meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Colorado Group Realty, 509 Lincoln Ave.

"We'll have two guest speakers: Kirsten Ames, former pro triathlete and Steamboat local, and Jen Kerr from SportsMed. She'll discuss bike fit, running analysis and proper metabolic training," Rasmussen said.

Race director Barry Siff, owner of 5430 Sports, thinks the race can grow into one of the country's premier triathlons. He increased this year's cap from 400 to 600 participants.

"It's the right formula -- the awesome destination combined with 5430's reputation and the great local support of people like Joy Rasmussen and the Chamber of Commerce," Siff said.

Rasmussen encourages new triathletes to join the extraordinary community of Steamboat triathletes.

"There's a tremendous camaraderie of people who love the sport and the training involved. There's no age discrimination, everyone just wants to help everyone else out," Rasmussen said.

Registration for the Steam--boat Springs triathlon is first-come, first-serve, and can be completed online at www.5430sports.com.

--o reach Dave Shively, call 846-1129

or e-mail dshively@steamboatpilot.com

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