Gunni High Tri to test locals’ limits with sprint triathlon this weekend

Racers plan on going hard to the wall

By Adam Broderick

You’ve been working out all summer, and it’s time to put your strengths to test. The Gunni High Tri is this Saturday, September 12, and racers plan to push themselves to finish the “sprint triathlon” as fast as possible.

In triathlons and races of longer distance, a key objective is to pace oneself.

Not in the Gunni High Tri. With a 500-yard swim followed by a 12-mile bike and a four-mile run, there’s not much room for pacing. And at almost 8,000 feet in elevation, this year’s race is sure to challenge all who toe the line.

As Gunnison Parks and Recreation facility/event manager Andy Eflin says, “This is a unique race hosted on an incredible venue right here in Gunnison at an elevation of 7,703 feet above sea level.”

The race begins with a 500-yard swim at 9:30 a.m. in the six-lane competition pool at the Gunnison Community Center. Once wet, racers will transition to bike-mode on a course that starts on the lawn outside the Community Center.

The next 12 miles circumnavigates the Gunnison Valley, going north along the bike path to County Road 10, then north on Hwy. 135 to County Road 8, south on Ohio Creek Road, and back along the bike path to the Community Center.

From there, racers will dismount bikes and slide into their kicks. The run course is new this year and will take racers 4.3 miles west across Hwy. 135 for one big lap in the Van Tuyl trail system. Professional timers and a festival will await triathletes back at the Community Center.

Kids between 6 and 14 years old will race the evening before, September 11 at 4:30 p.m., also starting and ending each event at the Community Center. The cost is $25 and age divisions include 4-6 years, 7-8 years, 9-10 years, and 11+ years. Young triathletes will race up to 100 yards in the lap pool (distance depending on age division) before vigorously pedaling the bike course (between ½-mile and 3.75 miles) and battling it out to the finish on foot (between ¼-mile and 1.5 miles).

“The kids’ race will be scaled back from the adults’,” says Eflin. “The oldest kids will be biking out to Garlic Mike’s and back, and their run will go up onto the WSCU campus before returning to the Community Center. The youngest kids will be running and biking on Colorado Street out to the Meadows Park and back.”

As of Monday there were 45 adult contenders and 23 kids registered, but Eflin expects that number to grow as the event nears. He recommends kids register by Thursday evening, September 10, and adults by Friday afternoon, since same-day registration will be extremely limited. Call (970) 641-8060 to register to race or have questions answered.

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