By Justin Seward
Forty-six athletes woke up to pristine conditions for the seventh annual Milehigh Tri in Elkwater on Aug. 12.
The challenging track started off with a 500-metre swim in Elkwater Lake before transitioning up into the Horeshoe Canyon/Mystery Trail area for a 17-km bike ride before ending the trek with a 7.5 km run down Firerock Road and back around to the finish line.
Matt Ward won the event for the second time in three years with time of one hour and 46 minutes and said the annual event brings on camaraderie for the group and provides a positive family atmosphere.
“It’s was good,” said Matt on winning.
“I won two years ago and my brother (Clay) won a couple times. I was happy again he didn’t show up this year because I don’t think he would be getting in first place.”
He said going into the red zone for a length of time is a challenge in itself and having competitors who were going to participate at the ITU World Championships later this week made for a battle right until the finish.
Ever since his dad Jack started the Milehigh Tri seven years ago, it has rejuvenated the area because of the trail building and races.
“You can’t see a vehicle come in here without a bike rack on the back of their car now,” said Matt.
“There’s a whole bunch of new mountain bikes come into this court and it’s definitely growing.”
Jack said the park is a beautiful venue to hold a triathlon because the trail system in the park is terrific for off road bikers and runners, while the lake adds to the open water swim.
“The run will take the runners over the height of land up there, Old Baldy,” said Jack.
“So as a third part of a three part event, when you see them guys chugging over that mountain, they’ve used all their energy.”
Jack added since the triathlon is going so well that there is not much else the committee will consider changing.
“Right now we want it to be a family event,” said Jack.
“That’s why we have the kids tri. We want people to come out here with their families and enjoy it and making things safe. So making things bigger and better is not always the key for us.”