Local triathlon worth a look

Burst Triathlon features scenic course and friendly environment

After finishing the biking portion of the Fourth of July triathlon, Nancy Stefanko hands off to her daughter, Theresa Ambrogia, to finish with the run in last year’s Cortez Burst Triathlon. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

After finishing the biking portion of the Fourth of July triathlon, Nancy Stefanko hands off to her daughter, Theresa Ambrogia, to finish with the run in last year’s Cortez Burst Triathlon.

Cortez has long been famous for it’s fireworks. Now the small Southwest Colorado town is becoming known for its annual Cortez Burst Triathlon as well.

Set to occur on July 4, the Burst has, over the last five years, evolved into a bonafide athletic event.

Featuring several participation options, an amazing course and a friendly and supportive environment, the Burst is truly an event that offers something for everyone.

Read on for a more detailed description of one of Cortez’s most unique and exciting sporting events.

Several participation options

While some triathlons are geared towards a specific group of athletes, the Cortez Burst Triathlon offers options for individuals of all ages and abilities.

Among those options are several children’s divisions, which vary in difficulty according to age. In the four and five year old division, competitors will be required to complete a ¼ course with their parents.

Children between the ages of six and ten will complete a 100-meter swim, one-mile bike and one-mile run while children between the ages of 11 and 14 will swim 300-meters, bike one mile and run one and a half miles.

Adults will compete in either a recreational category or a competitive category. Recreational competitors will be required to swim 500-meters, bike 12 miles and run three miles while participants in the competitive category must swim 500-meters, bike 16 miles and run four miles.

In addition to the individual participation options, team participation options will also be available that will allow two or three individuals to divide course legs among themselves.

“One of the neat things about this triathlon is that you get a broad range of competitors,” said race director Sensa Wolcott. “We always have a couple of four or five year olds and we have guys from Ignacio and Boulder who bring their time trial bikes.”

Outstanding course, facilities

Like previous years, this year’s Burst will take place on a course that showcases Cortez’s beautiful facilities and scenic beauty.

Participants will kick off this year’s course at the Cortez Municipal Pool, an outdoor facility well suited to triathlon events.

“As a participant, you get to swim in your own lane in arguably one of the best 50-meter outdoor pool in the area,” wrote local triathlete and longtime Burst participent Kevin Mullikin.

After completing the swim, participants will move to the bike course, which twists north of Cortez past local farms and ranches. Competitors will then finish with a run through Carpenter Natural Area and Centennial Park.

“(The Burst) showcases local parks and recreation facilities,” said Cortez Parks and Recreation Director Dean Palmquist. “It’s great for people to be able to see what this area has to offer.”

Friendly, supportive environment

In addition to enjoying what is sure to be an outstanding course, this year’s Burst participants will enjoy the event’s friendly environment.

“The great thing about the Burst is that it’s a friendly, encouraging and welcoming race,” wrote Burst committee member Jeff Weinmeister. “New triathletes are welcomed and encouraged.”

Proceeds from the Burst are donated to the Cortez Friends of Recreation, which provides Cortez Recreation Center passes to qualifying individuals and families.

For more information on the Burst or to sign up for the event, visit www.corteztri.com or contact Race Director Sensa Wolcott at 970-903-9882.