Local wins off-road triathlon

Buffalo Creek race part of USAT


— Maybe it was the remote site or the fact that Penn Lukens got to bring out his mountain bike, but the 11-year-old enjoyed his first off-road triathlon.

Penn won the 11- to 12-year-old boys division of the Colorado Off-Road Triathlon Youth Championships on June 10 at Buffalo Creek.

A Nissan Xterra Points Series race was held at the same site. The Xterra events are one of the world's most popular off-road triathlon series.

"It was more fun," Penn said, comparing his road and off-road triathlon experiences. "I don't know why."

Penn finished the 100-yard swim, the 2.5-mile bike ride and the 1-mile trail run in 16 minutes, 48 seconds to win.

"It was more like a 50-foot swim, and most of it was running in the water," he said.

Penn said he raced with Lakewood's Marie Zimmerman, the winner of the 11- to 12-year-old girls division.

"She was in my age group and behind me the whole time, but she kept me going," Penn said.

Penn finished the swim in 56 seconds. It took 43 seconds for him to transition between the swim and the mountain bike leg, finishing the mountain bike leg in 7:06. He used 23 seconds to transition between the mountain bike and the run. Penn finished the 1-mile run in 7:36.

The boys started at noon, well after the adult men and women took off on their course.

The June 10 event was held at Buffalo Creek, about 10 miles from Bailey, a small town between Breckenridge and Castle Rock.

Penn's place at the Colorado Off-Road Triathlon Youth Championships helps him score points toward qualification for the USAT National Championships on Aug. 26 in Wisconsin. The USAT is the nation's governing body for triathlons.

The race Penn won June 10 was part of the Grand Prix Qualifying Series.

Penn also will race in the Table Mountain Triathlon on July 15 in Arvada and the Longview Youth Triathlon on July 30 in Lee's Summit, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City near his grandmother's home.


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