Mark Sheel, in green, leads a pack of riders during last year’s Steamboat Triathlon. The 2012 triathlon kicks off at 8 a.m. Sunday.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Mark Sheel, in green, leads a pack of riders during last year’s Steamboat Triathlon. The 2012 triathlon kicks off at 8 a.m. Sunday.

Sunday's Steamboat Triathlon expects full ranks

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Registration for Sunday's Steamboat Triathlon is $110. Click here for more information.

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What weekend events are you planning to participate in?

  • Routt County Fair 32%
  • All Arts Festival 15%
  • Steamboat Springs Triathlon 5%
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  • Other 27%

81 total votes.

— It’s not that the Steamboat Triathlon has never seen a crowd like the one expected Sunday, when the race kicks off with an 8 a.m. start and the first of four waves of athletes plunging into Lake Catamount near Steamboat Springs.

The triathlon regularly hit its 600-racer cap in its first years, but participation waned amid organization shake-ups. Now, in the event’s second year under the Front Range’s Without Limits Productions, the directors again are anticipating a field pushing that 600-competitor limit.

“That’s a real relief. Without Limits has been awesome,” said Joy Rasmussen, who helped found the Steamboat Triathlon, now set for its eighth go-round. “They have a really large participation level this year. That’s great to see.”

That increase in participation is thanks to several changes the race has undergone in recent summers. Last year, it went from what had been an unsanctioned hybrid distance to a full Olympic distance race. That means a 1.5-kilometer dash through the always interesting Lake Catamount. There’s a 40-kilometer swing on the bike, the course stretching into Steamboat Springs before returning to Catamount. Finally, there’s a 10-kilometer run around the Routt County lake.

Pushing the course to a new length helped in organizers’ efforts to land the event as one of the regional championships for USA Triathlon, encompassing racers from Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico and the edge of Texas. For the first time this year, racers will be competing for bigger prizes, including qualification into the 2013 USA Triathlon National Championships. The top 33 percent of finishers will earn those slots.

“Triathlon has grown so much in this area in the last 10 years,” Rasmussen said. “We have such a beautiful course, and it’s a great thing to bring in so many people from outside the area. Without Limits has had a huge impact on the race.”

Registration for Sunday's Steamboat Triathlon is $110. Click here for more information.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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