Teen triathlete at top

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— When Paul Rose raced in last year's Steamboat Springs Triathlon, he was a rookie with zero expectations.

"I think it was more of just giving it a shot," Rose said. "I was on the swim team, so that helped. I do dry-land (training) for cross-country (skiing), so that helped. I actually got a road bike last year before the event, so I started road biking a month before. I had so much fun."

On June 18, nearly 10 months after his first triathlon, the 17-year-old from Steamboat Springs won his age group (14 to 19 years old) in the popular 5430 Sprint Triathlon on June 18 at Boulder Reservoir. The same organization -- 5430 Sports out of Boulder -- puts on the Steamboat Springs Triathlon.

"I love road biking. I was on the swim team, and I love running, so I love doing all three of them," Rose said.

He finished the sprint triathlon -- consisting of a half-mile swim, a 17-mile bike ride and a 3-mile run -- in 1 hour and 21 minutes. Nearly 1,200 triathletes took part, leaving the Boulder Reservoir in nine waves.

Rose was in the first wave with the other youth and elite competitors between ages 20 and 25.

"There were tons of people on the course," Rose said. "The Boulder Triathlon is a popular one and has been around for a long time."

It didn't matter that Rose was a relative newcomer to the sport. His swimming background gave him an advantage in Boulder, and his comfort in open water always will be an advantage when competing in land-locked Colorado.

"I was actually 11th out of the water," Rose said. "Swimming in a lake with a wet suit is totally different than swimming in a pool. People panic, mostly because you can't see the bottom. The wet suit I have cuts off at the shoulder, but you have to get used to it being kind of tight around your neck."

Rose said the bike course near the reservoir was a hilly loop with a gradual incline out of the water. The run, however, was flat.

Last summer, Rose's triathlon training was limited because he had jaw surgery.

"This summer has been different," he said. "I've been doing two-a-day training."

Rose has two more triathlons scheduled for the summer.

"My next one is in Aspen. I think that's late July, and I'm doing the Steamboat one again," Rose said.

The Steamboat Springs Triathlon is Aug. 27 at Lake Catamount. Registration is open at www.5430sports.com.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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