Vail Valley: Former TV bachelor races for charity |

Vail Valley: Former TV bachelor races for charity

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailySpecial to the Daily

VAIL – Never one to shy away from competition, Vail firefighter Ryan Sutter successfully vied for wife Trista’s heart on ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” Now, the happily married fireman has a new goal: Finishing 10 races for charity.

Among the events Ryan plans to tackle are the Ironman triathlon, the New York City Marathon and the Leadville 100. Fans can spot him this weekend at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail.

The reality TV star is doing all this to raise money for First Descents, a Vail-area kayak camp for young adults with cancer.

Ryan hopes to bring attention to the strength young cancer survivors summon to battle the disease.

“When you’re young, you have a job and many times a family, and cancer strikes your life and becomes this major component you have to deal with it along with everything you had to deal with previously,” he said.

In an effort to demonstrate “a fraction of what these young adults are having to go through,” Ryan said he took on an overly ambitious, difficult race schedule in hopes people would get the message and help the cause.

To that end, Ryan wants to raise $100,000 for First Descents by convincing 10,000 people to donate $10. He originally got involved with First Descents through his friendship with organization founder Brad Ludden.

Ryan, 35, finished his first feat this past weekend. That would be the Bolder Boulder 10K run. He still has some tough terrain ahead before his final event, The New York City Marathon, on Nov. 4.

“I think the Ironman will probably be the most challenging, just because it’s so long,” he said.

Consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26-mile run, the Ironman triathlon may require the most stamina. However, Ryan’s shortest event promises to be tough in a different way. He plans to pile on his firefighter gear to vie in the SCOTT Firefighter Combat Challenge in Vail. That competition, set for August, involves fireman feats like dragging a hose, wielding a sledge hammer and rescuing a fake victim.

“It’s like a sprint, basically, and at the end, you kind of collapse into these pads,” he said. “It’s completely different from everything else I’m doing.”

Most immediately, Ryan is competing in the GNC Ultimate Mountain Challenge Saturday and Sunday at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail.

To get ready for his races, Ryan has been training for the past few months in the Vail area. His workouts range from swimming two miles to running for two hours to a recent 100-mile bike to and from Yampa.

“I’m working out at least six times a week, if not more,” he said.

His family is cheering him on.

“Trista’s super supportive of it,” he said. “I couldn’t do it if she wasn’t.”

The couple lives in Wildridge with their two children, 1-year-old Blakesley and nearly 3-year-old Max.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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