Steamboat Springs Sunday’s Steamboat Olympic Triathlon at Lake Catamount brought together athletes who share a passion and ambition for pushing limits.
“This is more of a lifestyle sport,” said race organizer Lance Panigutti, from Without Limits. “It’s not about going out there and beating the competition, it’s more about beating the course and challenging yourself in new and unique ways.”
In its 10th year, the Steamboat Olympic Triathlon had a few new additions to this year’s course. It features a sprint distance and aquabike, along with the Olympic distance from previous races.
The aquabike portion featured a 1.5-kilometer swim at Lake Catamount and a 40-kilometer bike ride to Howelsen Hill. On top of those two legs, Olympic distance triathletes transitioned to their running shoes for a 10-kilometer run to the finish chute at the lake. The sprint distance, however, was half the Olympic distance. Athletes in this category started with a 750-meter swim, then took on a single-loop 20-kilometer bike ride on Colorado Highway 131 and finished with a 5-kilometer run.
According to Panigutti, this year saw an increase in registration numbers. As one of Without Limits' most scenic destination races, the sprint distance event had about 150 racers and more 30 for the aquabike portion this year.
Cheering wife and mother on, the Cathcart family held up signs that read, “Go Mom Go!” Supporting his wife, Emily, through all of her training, Brian Cathcart said that the new sprint distance triathlon allowed her to fit training into her busy schedule.
“It’s not such an ultra distance that you can fit it into normal life,” Brian Cathcart said. “It mixes things up to get a variety of training. It’s not as intense as an Ironman but allows those average Joes or first-timers to participate.”
For University of Colorado junior Sara Kiyani, she wanted to try the race for the first time. Unfortunately, she injured her IT band and wasn’t able to participate but still attended the event to cheer fellow athletes on. Steamboat to her offers a different type of race venue but also something a bit more.
“It definitely has a different atmosphere compared to racing in bigger cities,” Kiyani said. “With the mountain environment and the beauty of it combined with the nature of the people, it makes it a really fun race and is great to be a part of.”
As the first to cross the finish line, Eddie Rogers did the sprint portion of the race for the first time this year.
“It was a lot of fun and felt good to cross that finish line,” he said about his experience after participating in the Olympic distance for the past four years.
For most of these athletes, it’s the camaraderie and sense of accomplishment that get them through some of the more challenging portions of the race.
“When you cross the finish line, you get this incredible sense of accomplishment,” Rogers said. “It’s not about time and place, it’s about putting a goal on the calendar and feeling good about yourself and doing something that inspires you to get out and train.”
To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1