July 30, 2000 – Boulder, Colorado
By Adam Hodges
ISSUE #8, October/November 2000 – The Boulder Peak Triathlon–a perennial must-do event for Colorado triathletes–changed its name for the 2000 edition on July 30th at the Boulder Reservoir. And a Boulder Peak Triathlon by any other name would still be the same… The same challenging course. The same deep field. The same amount of fun. Boulder triathlete Cisco Quintero summed up the popularity of the event, “The Boulder MS Triathlon is the highlight of the year for the Boulder triathlon community.”
This year, the event drew 1,350 competitors and 250 volunteers. “By far, this was the smoothest race in years,” said race director and co-founder Paul Karlsson. Karlsson and Dave Jensen started the race in 1992 to fill a conspicuous void in the Colorado triathlon scene. The training grounds of Boulder, arguably a city with a per capita record of world class endurance athletes, did not host a major triathlon. Running had the Bolder Boulder. Cycling in previous years had the Red Zinger Classic and Coors Classic. But until 1992, triathlon lacked the equivalent.
The goals for the race in 1992 were twofold-to fill a field of 1500 competitors and to become an Ironman qualifier. After several years of attracting top level competition and providing a quality, challenging event, Karlsson achieved both goals.
In October of 1999, Karlsson married Robbie and the goals for the race gained a new focus. The name change to this year’s Boulder MS Triathlon reflects his commitment to raise money for the fight against multiple sclerosis and to make people more aware of the disease. The inspiration comes from his wife, Robbie, who deals with her own battle against MS.
This year, the race raised $7,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. After paying off expenses from previous years, the event is now debt free and aims to contribute significantly more towards MS in coming years. As for the name, well… Boulder Peak is firmly ensconced in the psyche of the triathlon community. Next year, the race will again be called the Boulder Peak Triathlon (not that anyone ever stopped calling it that.) Officially, the name will be the Boulder Peak Triathlon and Duathlon to Benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
While 90% of the turnout this year consisted of Coloradoans, the race also drew competitors form 38 states and nine countries including Hong Kong, Argentina, and Japan. “We were very happy with the turnout,” said Karlsson. “The pro field was super deep.” Karlsson attributes this to the race’s location in Boulder and the infamous bike leg that climbs over Old Stage Road. Mike Pigg, who holds several Boulder Peak victories, considers the bike course one of his favorites.
Conrad Stolz, a member of the South African Olympic team, posted a time of 1:56:58 to win this year’s men’s triathlon. Second place went to Marc Lees, a Formula One racer, who also took both the swim prime (first out of the water in 18:40) and the bike prime (first to the top of Old Stage.) Local favorite Wes Hobson claimed third overall. The tough men’s field also included Ken Glah in 4th place, last year’s winner Kevin Carter in 5th place, and Mike Pigg in 6th place.
The women’s triathlon shaped up to be a tough contest as well. Haruna Hosoya, a member of Japan’s Olympic team, claimed victory with a time of 2:11:00. Colorado’s Kirstin Weule finished second and was the first to charge to the top of Old Stage for the bike prime. Jennifer Gutierrez, also from Colorado and a member of the United States Olympic team, took third overall after snatching the swim prime in 20:29. Andra Boyle finished fourth overall and the former collegiate champion from CU, Teri Duthie, took fifth.
In the duathlon, Boulder’s Eric Schwartz claimed the men’s title in 1:39:42. Chris Tolonen and Andrew Holton took second and third, respectively.
The women’s duathlon saw a battle for the top spot as Inge Schuermans-McClory edged out Sue Latshaw for the victory in a time of 1:52:43. Kerrie Wlad took third.
Athletes were treated to great race conditions-a water temperature of 72 degrees and the only day in the two weeks surrounding the race not to rise above 90 degrees. Nevertheless, the exposed run made things hot and athletes used 2,000 pounds of ice at the aid stations!
As for the future of the Boulder Peak Triathlon, Karlsson said he aims to keep enough prize money to bring back the pros, but wants to keep the emphasis on providing a quality race for the age groupers. In the works for next year is possible designation of Boulder Peak as the national team championships.