A triathlon, trail runs and adventure races, oh my!
From a sports writer’s standpoint, this weekend is similar to designing an evening dress for Roseanne Barr: There’s just too much to cover.Local endurance athletes have a similar predicament with both the Beaver Creek Adventure Weekend and the Xterra Central Championship at Keystone taking place on Saturday and Sunday.Both events offer 5K and 10K trail races on Saturday. Both events offer large prize purses for the marquee pro events, with the Balance Bar 24-Hour Adventure Race at Beaver Creek ponying up $25,000 in cash prizes for the three-person team event, in comparison to the Xterra Central Championship which boasts a $15,000 booty.Both events will have kids clinics and villages set up to attract spectators and promote outdoor mountain sports.With so many opportunities jam-packed into one weekend, the question begs to be asked, could not these events have been scheduled on separate weekends?
“I can speak to the Beaver Creek Adventure Weekend,” Octagon Marketing’s Lauren Peletreau said. “There’s two different types of adventure races taking place. There’s the Beaver Creek Adventure Sprint Race on Sunday which is for people who are looking to get more involved with adventure racing. Then there’s the Balance Bar 24-Hour Adventure Race, which is for pro adventure racers or people who are really seriously into the sport … The Nike ACG trail runs on Saturday are there for people for who may not be involved in adventure racing, but want to compete in some sort of endurance competition … We’re providing a lot of opportunities for people, depending on what they’re interested in.”Right, but are those not the same people that Keystone is trying to suck in with its Xterra weekend? On the same two days?Local adventure racer Dan Weiland, whose Team Nike ACG/Balance Bar 2 finished second in last year’s adventure race at the ‘Beav, gave me a better perspective.”It’s not really an issue,” he said. “Most of us that are sort of doing this adventure racing for a living are over and past the triathlon. We still do triathlons, but it’s more for training purposes. It will be like your local mountain bike series race. There’s definitely a few people that it will affect. It never crossed my mind, though.”Still, what about those people that aren’t past the triathlon? What about someone like local Xterra standout Josiah Middaugh who is hoping to stand on the Pro Men’s podium Sunday after completing the rigorous triathlon course in Keystone?”It’s definitely a very popular weekend,” Middaugh said. “Last year I was thinking about doing both (the trail race and the triathlon). This year I haven’t really thought twice about it because Xterra is my main focus. It definitely would be nice, though, if they could have been on different weekends.”
OK, so maybe I do and don’t have a good point. These two events piggybacked each other last year too and nobody seemed to bring it up as an issue this year.Another factor is that it’s hard to pick any weekend for an endurance race in Colorado in the summer without drawing competition from another such event. It’s a point that you don’t have to repeat to the organizers of the Courage Classic cycling race, which starts in Leadville on Saturday, too.That would be the 15th annual Courage Classic, a three-day, 162-mile event which has been around a lot longer than the respective adventure weekends taking place on both sides of the pass. There’s so much going on this weekend that it seems as if it’s too much. But is too much necessarily a bad thing? Danelle Bellangee, who won last year’s Beaver Creek race with Nike ACG/Balance Bar teammates Mike Kloser and Michael Tobin, thinks not.
“I think it would be nice to have (the Xterra and Beaver Creek events) on separate weekends, just because a lot of the athletes that are competing in the events are weekend warriors who are just trying to get out and compete,” she said. “But, when you look at the calendar and the amount of endurance races that are out there in the state, there’s almost something every weekend. It kind of makes it tough for the organizers to pick a weekend where there’s not something going on. In that sense, I think it’s good because it encourages people to pick something that they’re interested in.” In the end, I guess the more the merrier.Besides, I’d pick covering races in the mountains for a paycheck over making women’s evening dresses any day of the week.And twice on Sunday.Contact Nate Peterson at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at email@example.com