It was a comfortable 54 degrees Fahrenheit when the race gun shot off to start the Colorado Triathlon on Saturday. Anticipation filled the air as many different athletes stood on the walkway looking out toward the water and analyzing the swim course.
One athlete remarked, “It always looks so far doesn’t it?,” referring to the swim course that lay in front of them.
Featuring both Olympic-distance and sprint events, Saturday’s Colorado Triathlon was the first official triathlon of the 2022 season in Colorado. This year was the largest Colorado Triathlon in its eight-year history and there was also a record number of athletes racing in the beginner category.
After wetsuits zipped into place and athletes tested out the water, the race gun shot off at exactly 7:19am, sending off the elite men and women for the Olympic-distance event.
Benjamin Ford exited first out of the water with only a few-second lead on Rory Sanchez. Spectators all around were commenting on how much of a lead Ford and Sanchez had on the rest of the elite men’s group. Ford and Sanchez quickly switched places as Sanchez led out of T1 by about 15 seconds. Shortly following Sanchez and Ford, Brian Folts exited T1.
After returning from the bike, Ford was first out on the run course. With about a four-minute lead, a small pack of elite men began their chase after Ford. But Sanchez was nowhere to be seen in that pack of elite men running after Ford.
According to Sanchez, “I was going up one of the hills and as I was going up, I got out of the saddle and it [my bike chain] just snapped.”
Sanchez’s bike chain snapped in the last mile of the bike leg and he tried to coast into T2. Sanchez said that his bike chain’s snapping did not throw him off his game too much and he was still able to cruise the run.
Ford came zipping into the finish with a time of 1:59:01, shortly followed by Luke Davis with a time of 1:59:21, and Brian Folts with a time of 2:00:47 for the elite men’s podium. Kevin Konczak finished fourth in 2:01:30, followed by Sanchez in fifth with a time of 2:03:26. Andrew Vos, who recently took the runner-up spot at the USAT Draft-Legal Sprint Duathlon Championships, finished sixth. John Rauen placed seventh in 2:07:34, while Benjamin Randall rounded out the men’s elite field in eighth place with a time of 2:13:59.
Ford has competed in the Colorado Triathlon three times and mentioned how the familiarity of the course was comforting. This was Ford’s first time winning the Colorado Triathlon in the elite men’s category. He placed fifth and seventh overall in past years.
Ford attributed some of his win to Davis who was on his shoulder for much of the run, pushing him to really crank it into gear. Ford said he was averaging 6:25 pace and when Davis caught him he pushed it down to about 6:05 a mile for the rest of the race.
There were two elite women competing in the Colorado Triathlon Olympic distance race on Saturday. Tyler Hudacek led from the swim and claimed first place with a time of 2:06:23, followed by Shannon Dee in 2:25:53.
Hudacek said she felt good during the entirety of the race and explained that the cooler weather was helpful, but that the water temperature had warmed up since her last swim in the reservoir.
“I was in [Boulder Reservoir] on Monday this past week and it definitely felt colder, so I think it was definitely a few degrees warmer today, which was good,” she said.
Hudacek and Dee both started their race with the elite men, which Hudacek mentioned “could be a little intimidating, especially when there are only three or four women total.”
Age-grouper Zach Looney (M30-34) posted the fastest time of the day in the Olympic distance race with his time of 1:57:33.
In the women’s age-group competition, Mary Robinson (F35-39) claimed top honors in 2:21:28.
In sprint distance racing, men’s elite competitor Sam Teller took first overall in 1:11:33, followed by Joshua Shadle (M35-39) for second overall in 1:16:57, and Edward O’Malley (M45-49) third overall in 1:17:43.
In the women’s sprint race, elite athlete Caitlin Standifer took first in 1:19:23, followed by fellow elite competitors Ali O’Donnell in 1:21:10 and Rachel Pifer in 1:24:38.
Spirits were high during the entirety of the race for the competitors and spectators. There were many instances where loved ones ran next to their athletes as they exited the water and headed to T1, shouting words of encouragement and exchanging light conversations.
A common phrase shouted by a few different spectators was “stay eager, stay focused, stay hungry.”
Saturday’s Colorado Triathlon gave athletes a chance to crush the course as cooler weather, warmer water temperatures, and high spirits made for good racing. The next event organized by Without Limits Productions will be the sold-out June 18th XTERRA Lory.
Olympic Distance Overall
- Zach Looney (30-34), 1:57:33
- Benjamin Ford (Elite), 1:59:01
- Luke Davis (Elite), 1:59:21
- Tyler Hudacek (Elite), 2:06:23
- Mary Robinson (35-39), 2:21:28
- Anna Siliciano (35-39), 2:23:16
Sprint Distance Overall
- Sam Teller (Elite), 1:11:33
- Joshua Shadle (M35-39), 1:16:57
- Edward O’Malley (M45-49), 1:17:43
- Caitlin Standifer (Elite), 1:19:23
- Ali O’Donnell (Elite), 1:21:10
- Rachel Pifer (Elite), 1:24:38