An early morning wakeup for triathletes on Saturday, August 28 brought a swarm of eager, anxious, and ambitious competitors to Boulder Reservoir to compete in the Boulder Sunset Triathlon. When entering the transition area, an abnormally quiet lull filled the air and it was obvious that focus was a priority for most competitors.
Boulder Sunset was wetsuit legal with a water temperature around 73 degrees Fahrenheit, despite the high temperature of 78 degrees taken earlier in the week. As triathletes began to flood Boulder Reservoir to begin their swim warmup, many Olympic-distance athletes started their day with the honk of the race horn. The water itself felt warm and comfortable whether or not a wetsuit was worn.
My race began with the sendoff of the sprint collegiate wave around 7:30am. Luckily, despite the combination of my wetsuit and the warm reservoir water, I did not get too hot as I began making my way back to shore. Soon into the beginning of my swim, I looked up to see another participant clutching his calf and wearing pain in the wrinkles in his face as he was being pulled back into shore by a small motor boat. Quickly, I remembered how physically intense triathlons can become and diverted my attention back to the water to get the job done.
I collided with some of the Olympic-distance men shortly after the second turn of my swim course, which led to a bit of panic. Suddenly, the tame water and group of only six collegiate sprint participants morphed into a chaotic and fast paced environment consumed by mostly Olympic-distance participants.
Shortly after making my way out of the water and into the transition area, I didn’t see many athletes milling around. Getting in and out of transition and onto the bike as fast as possible was definitely the goal for many as we took rushed and precise movements.
After prancing out of transition with my bike saddle between my fingers, I was on the bike and moving towards Highway 36 and Neva Road before I knew it. Quite a few people had bike problems immediately off the bat; I passed around three to four different participants awaiting assistance on the side of Highway 36. My adrenaline was still hot from the swim and I could feel it as my legs began to cook turning onto Neva Road.
After a smooth bike ride, I unclipped back in the transition area gearing up for my run. Sprinting out of transition, I had to remind myself that I probably could not hold the pace I was currently going for my full three miles. Taking a minute to slow down and do a body check helped to preserve my overall race and allowed me to make sure I was still on track to finish without being totally drained.
Many competitors cheered for one another as they made their way around the edge of Boulder Reservoir during their run. Even with the run being the last leg of the race, many smiles bounced around the faces of each participant.
As cheering got louder, I knew I was close to the finish. I quickly increased my running pace, not only to bring my race in with a final kick, but also to make people think that I really ran that fast the whole time.
As a medal was hung around my neck, I smiled and quickly chugged the bottle of water handed to me by a volunteer, and I reminisced on how thrilling a sprint triathlon can be.
After many participants finished their race, awards began. The woman’s Olympic-distance overall winner, Steph Popelar, finished in 2:27:35.6, followed by Allison Howlett in 2:29:29.0, and Rachel Densmore in third at 2:32:19.2. The men’s Olympic-distance overall winner was Ka’eo Kruse coming in at 1:59:59.7, followed by Cameron Hacket in second with a time of 2:04:28.9, and Brian Folts in third at 2:05:57.0.
In the collegiate division for the Olympic-distance race, Jillian Valente claimed the win in the women’s race in 2:33.14.4 and CU Boulder’s Benedikt Bettin won the men’s race in 1:55:14.8.
Boulder Sunset was an opportunity for many to enjoy the warm summer water of Boulder Reservoir and spend time doing what they love outside. The race served as an opportunity for many in various different ways, but for me it gave me a chance to remember why I love racing triathlons.
Olympic Top-10 Women
|9||Lisa Galluzzo Sharman||F35-39||2:43:34.3||0:29:32.6||01:47||1:17:37.5||01:50||0:52:45.6|
Olympic Top-10 Men
Sprint Top-10 Women
Sprint Top-10 Men