Steamboat triathlete qualifies for Ironman World Championships |

Steamboat triathlete qualifies for Ironman World Championships

Dave Shively

Steamboat Springs resident Joy Rasmussen crossed the finish line and won her division Sept. 7 at the Monaco Ironman 70.3 to qualify for the 2008 Ford Ironman World Championship.

— Triathlons have kept Steamboat Springs resident Joy Rasmussen busy this fall.

This week, Rasmussen was appointed president of the USA Triathlon Rocky Mountain Region board. Rasmussen already has been working to extend an invitation to aspiring triathletes, ages 12 to 21, to apply for the organization’s scholarship money to help cover equipment and competition costs.

But first, Rasmussen has to worry about her own race calendar. She has one year to prepare for her sport’s ultimate test – the 2008 Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

“That’s where it all began,” Rasmussen said about the race – a 2.4-mile ocean swim and a 112-mile bike ride followed by a road marathon. “For anyone that’s ever watched on TV, people are amazed at the type of person that trains that hard and can finish that race.

“You’ve got physically-challenged athletes, amputees and so many men and women side by side from all over the world, and out of hundreds of thousands of athletes, only 1,800 get to go. There’s nothing bigger for triathlon.”

Rasmussen has been competing in triathlons for eight years but has narrowly missed qualifying for the Ironman World Championships. That streak ended last month, when she earned a berth in the event during the final qualifying half-Ironman in the Mediterranean Principality of Monaco.

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The race, Monaco Ironman 70.3, combined a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run.

Rasmussen won the 50-54 women’s division with a time of 6 hours, 14 minutes.

“It was exciting and exhausting and depressing all in a couple of seconds,” Rasmussen said. “I had just finished the most grueling bike course in my life, more than 3,000 meters of vertical gain over three passes, and then I have to commit to twice that distance in a matter of seconds as my body is recovering.”

Rasmussen quickly accepted the invitation, paid the deposit and donned the plastic award tiara, but is now soaking in the intense training commitment she has ahead.

That means a lot of weight training and skate skiing this winter. Until the regimen hits full swing, Rasmussen will continue doing the leg work to bring more junior athletes into the sport.

“I’m encouraging any young triathletes who have even thought about participating in upcoming races to send me their information,” Rasmussen said. Interested athletes can e-mail her at