By Kristen McFarland
August 4, 2007 (Eldora Mountain Resort, CO) – The Nederland/Eldora area finally got its own triathlon today as Darrin Eisman and his Racing Underground crew put on the first Indian Peaks Off-Road Triathlon at the Eldora ski area. Not since Danelle Ballengee hosted the Evergreen Triathlon back in the mid-nineties has there been an alpine race quite like this in Colorado.
With the water in Peterson Lake a brisk 62 degrees (surface temperature anyway), the race started time trial style as participants headed off every 5 to 10 seconds. Most of the racers had their shoes waiting in a small staging area at the end of the 750 meter swim because there was a challenging uphill 600-meter trail dash to the transition area. The mountain bike course covered 17.5 kilometers and started up the open ski slopes before winding into the woods and becoming single track. A 5K trail run topped it off.
Perennially competitive, Boulder triathlete Ryan Ignatz took the win with a total time of 1:28:19. Ignatz was on the national champion CU triathlon team for years and coached it for two. Last year he was 9th at the Xterra World Championships on Maui. He is preparing for this year’s nationals in Lake Tahoe ahead of a return to worlds. “The bike was really bumpy and really hard,” he said after finishing. “Lots of rocks. Lots of turning. Lots of not knowing where you are.”
Ignatz was followed by Spencer “Spino” Powlison of Boulder, and Jared Berg of Louisville. Powlison is in his first year racing as a pro in the Xterra off-road triathlon series after a stint as a pro mountain biker. He also competed in Italy last winter with USA Triathlon’s winter triathlon team.
The women’s race went to Sarah Tarkington, who just started doing off-road races after years of racing road triathlon. She ran for CU and was on the CU triathlon team for a year. She agreed with Ignatz’s appraisal of the course as she exclaimed, “It was rocky! But it was fun.” Tarkington was followed by Sherry Remick of Boulder in 2nd and Brandi Tauer of Golden in 3rd.
Katie Baker, USA Triathlon’s national teams program manager, won the 30-34 age-group. It was her first triathlon this year, although she’s attended them almost every weekend in her work capacity. “This was only my third weekend near home in 13 or 14 weeks,” she said.
The 169 triathletes who braved the frigid waters and rocky trails were helped by the Nederland Middle and High School cross country teams, parents, and coaches. Coach Sabrina Robinson said that Darrin and Jill Eisman sponsor the team by covering team meals when they compete away from home.
Boulder’s GoLite apparel and hydration pack company provided technical jackets and hydration packs to the age-group winners. Other sponsors included O Water, Subway, and Hammer Nutrition.