Fort Collins man wins Tri the Boat half-Ironman
Stagecoach — Last year, Fort Collins resident Steve Mantell won the inaugural Tri the Boat Olympic triathlon by nearly eight minutes. This year, Mantell returned to Steamboat Springs with a higher goal in mind.
“I had a lot of friends that did the half-Ironman and said it was really, really challenging,” Mantell said. “I am stepping up in distances this year, and this was kind of on my calendar for a while. So I was excited to do it.”
Mantell stepped up to his own challenge and hit a home run in the process when he won the second annual Tri the Boat half-Ironman triathlon Sunday at Stagecoach State Park. The race included a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run.
A civil engineering graduate student at Colorado State University, the 23-year-old has been competing in triathlons for four years, dating back to when he got involved with the CSU club team as an undergraduate.
Like many competitors in Sunday’s half-Ironman, Mantell was using the race as training for bigger events down the road, including Ironman Boulder in August. He is already qualified to compete in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii after competing in Ironman Florida back in November.
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“I love being in the mountains and getting to spend the weekend with friends. It’s a cool race with lots of people that you see around Colorado. I just enjoy the sport,” Mantell said of returning to Steamboat this year. “I wouldn’t say I have a history (of winning), I’ve just been working hard and getting better. Trying to work on my weaknesses every year and (I’ve) had a lot of help on the way.”
Sunday’s race was Day 2 of Tri the Boat, with sprint and Olympic races having been held Saturday. Steamboat’s Matt Roberts was the top male finisher in the sprint race, and Boulder’s Catherine Johnson was the female winner. The husband-and-wife duo of Brian and Monica Folts finished atop their gender divisions in the Olympic triathlon on Saturday, with Monica Folts completing the weekend sweep by finishing as the top female in the half-Ironman on Sunday.
“We are doing Ironman Boulder in a couple of weeks so we are all about long right now,” Monica Folts said after Saturday’s race. “It’s a good tune-up.”
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