Expanding triathlon club flies at Spring Creek
Steamboat Springs — The best of it and the worst, the hardest part and the easiest, is the run, Thomas Lewer said.
The Steamboat Springs 13-year-old said he likes to swim, he likes to bike and he likes to run. Competing in triathlon, then, is natural.
Lewer joined nearly 40 other athletes Wednesday in the annual Old Town Hot Springs Triathlon, the season finale for the complex’s burgeoning youth triathlon club, and as he expected, the run was the hardest part, and the best.
“When I get off the bike and I have to start running, I can’t feel my legs,” Lewer said. “My least favorite part is the beginning of the run. My favorite part is the run.”
The finish line does have it perks.
Lewer said he’s now three years into his career as a triathlete. It hasn’t taken over. Heading into eighth grade he still plans to play tackle football in the fall, play basketball in the winter and run track in the spring, all with a bit of skiing mixed in.
In the summer, though, it’s triathlon.
“I just wanted to get out and become a better athlete,” he said. “I wanted to get faster.”
He’s not alone — not by a long shot.
The Old Town Hot Springs’ youth triathlon team is now four-years-old, and it set attendance records during this summer’s seven weeks of work.
The third edition of the team’s season-ending summer triathlon showed that perfectly. Three years ago, there were about six athletes and one coach, and this year, there were eight coaches and about 40 athletes.
“Triathlon is still such a new sport for kids of this age, so last year, I started going into the schools and doing assemblies,” program coach Joy Rasmussen said. “I spent time at each of the schools talking about triathlon and what it’s all about — the swim, the bike and the run.”
That paid off with the big class of athletes.
The summer consisted of twice-weekly training sessions with those coaches. Most days included swimming in the Hot Springs’ pool complex, then either a run or a bike ride. Others were focused on triathlon transitions, when athletes switch between the disciplines.
They all proved a hit with young athletes in Steamboat Springs.
On Wednesday, they swam at the hot springs, rode their bikes around Steamboat Springs High School and up Spring Creek trail, then put in their run there.
“Every year has been better,” said Marietta Roberts, fitness director at Old Town Hot Springs. “It’s Steamboat. The triathlon community in Steamboat is huge, and the kids are growing.”
The experience certainly made an impression on Lewer.
He plans to continue working in triathlon, but he doesn’t want to only come back to the club next summer as another athlete. He plans to be a youth coach.
Some of his motivation is new for Steamboat Springs youth, who haven’t always had triathlon as an option. Another part of his motivation is an American tradition.
“I like this program, and I also want to find a way to get some money,” he said. “I’m trying to save for a car.”
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