Local racers shine at Steamboat Triathlon
Annual race sustains nearly 40-percent drop in athletes
Steamboat Springs — They dove into a cold Lake Catamount early Sunday morning, but the 66-degree water didn’t slow local athletes at the Steamboat Triathlon.
The annual event sustained a sharp decline in participation this year, but the locals who did compete earned top finishes on a day that included triathlons of Olympic and sprint distances, as well as an aqua-bike competition.
Leading the way was Heather Gollnick, who is retired from racing professionally in Ironman competitions but is still one of the best in the sport. She was one of the fastest all day, regardless of gender.
The course included 0.93 miles in Catamount’s frigid waters. Athletes then biked 24.8 miles, to Steamboat Springs and back to Catamount. Finally, they laid down 6.2 miles running around the lake.
Gollnick did it all faster than any other woman, finishing in 2 hours, 19 minutes and 15 seconds, edging out fellow local Andrea Wilhelm, who was in at 2:19:41.
Both were among the day’s fastest in the water, Wilhelm scoring the third-fastest overall time in the swim, while Gollnick was sixth. The bike portion made the difference between the two; Gollnick posted the 14th fastest time, overall. Wilhelm made up some ground in the run, but came up in second place.
The men’s winner in the Olympic distance was Andres Darricau, and according to race organizers, he was an example of one of the day’s more exciting trends. Darricau was one of several foreign athletes to light up the course.
The Argentinian triathlete finished in 1:57:29 with a very comfortable gap on second place, Jarud Browne, from South Africa, who was in at 2:08:41.
Jim Mott, from comparatively boring Broomfield, was third among the men at 2:10:39, while Jessica Yurchich, also of Broomfield, was third for the women at 2:22:31.
Steamboat’s TJ Thrasher also posted a strong time in the men’s race, placing fifth in 2:17:23. Tasha Thrasher was fifth on the women’s side, in 2:26:10.
Paul Baker was seventh in the men’s race, Mike Schlichtman was 10th and Jason Yanowitz was 15th, while Joy Rasmussen was 10th on the women’s side. All four won their age groups.
Boulder’s Arturo Beltran won the sprint-distance triathlon in 1:03:23, ahead of Patrick Faurer and Gunnar Holmes. Marketa Murray won the women’s race in 1:19:10. Lauren Kelley was second, and Steamboat’s Deb Rose took third, also winning the women’s 60-64 age division.
She was only one of a heap of local athletes to win their age divisions in the sprint race.
Dan Hohs won his and finished fourth on the men’s side.
Marietta Roberts was fourth among the women and won her age division. Matt Roberts also won his.
Other local finishers included Mary Andre, Kylee Maykranz, Paul Brinkman, Jason Godley, Kyle Baker and Katie Keogh.
The relay team of John, Danny and Michael Holland won the Olympic-distance triathlon relay race in 2:17:34. Steamboat-based “Team Trifecta” won the sprint relay in 1:41:18.
Robyn Jankoski raced the aqua-bike race, which included the swim and bike portions. She placed fourth, overall, and second among women. Meg Tully also competed in that event, placing ninth.
Overall, the event attracted 211 athletes, including 113 finishers in the Olympic triathlon and 73 in the sprint. That’s a big step down from last year’s race, a decline of nearly 40 percent in one year. The 2015 race included 346 athletes with 173 taking on the Olympic-distance race and 144 the sprint.
The race added a sprint distance and aqua-bike competition in 2014 and attracted 333 athletes that year, with 190 in the Olympic distance race and 106 in the sprint.
The last year with only one distance was 2013, and that drew 360 total racers, including 309 athletes competing individually.
Until this year’s drop off, the race has had between 307 and 362 every year since the current organizers, Without Limits Productions, purchased the race in 2011.
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With abnormally low snow levels, most of the snow skiers and snowboarders will encounter Saturday during Steamboat Resort’s Opening Day will be manufactured.