A Burst of excitement

Triathlon provides thrilling experience for competitors

Rachel Muhonen parks her bike and changes shoes to start the running portion of the Cortez Burst. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Rachel Muhonen parks her bike and changes shoes to start the running portion of the Cortez Burst.

Of the many ways to kick off Fourth of July festivities, competing in a triathlon ranks among the most challenging.

More than 150 people competed in the fifth annual Burst Triathlon on July 4.

After kicking off with a swim in the Cortez Municipal Pool, competitors rode along a scenic bike course before crossing the race finish line in Centennial Park.

Durango resident Randy Stueve finished first in the Competitive Division with a time of 1:17:14.

Stueve said that the event’s course and family-friendly atmosphere make the event what it is.

“It’s great to start off in a 50-meter outdoor pool,” said Stueve. “The facilities are great and (race organizers) are friendly. Competing here is always a pleasure.”

Julie Thibodeau finished first in the women’s Competitive Division with a time of 1:43:23.

Other individual winners included Alan Laird and Rachel Muhonen, who took first in the men’s and women’s recreational divisions, respectively.

In the men’s 50-and-over divisions, David Montoya finished first in the men’s race, and Rachel Muhonen won the women’s.

Leading the division for 11-to 14-year-olds was five-time burst competitor Sonny Boren, whose time of 35:44 was more than one minute better than second-place finisher Jaden Evans.

“It went good,” said Boren. “The training is a little tough, but (competing in the Burst) is achievable.”

Winning the 6-to 10-year-old division was Zyron Matteson. Caroline Podgornoff finished second.

In the Adult Team Competition, the Triad Triceratops, made up of swimmer Steve Heath, cyclist Terry Gorsuch and runner Roy Perales, captured top honors.

Numerous other individuals and teams took part in the competition, which was timed using high tech wristbands.

“Overall, it went really well,” said race director Sensa Wolcott. “I was pleased with how everything turned out.”

Proceeds raised by this year’s Burst will be donated to Friends of Recreation, a nonprofit that provides recreational opportunities to underprivileged members of the local community.

“It makes a huge difference,” said Friends of Recreation board president Rayna Hale. “It’s great to be able to provide scholarships and promote healthy habits.”

Quinn Schmidt swims the 300 while competing in the Cortez Burst. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Quinn Schmidt swims the 300 while competing in the Cortez Burst.

Cyclists head up a hill on Road 25 in the Cortez Burst Triathlon. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Cyclists head up a hill on Road 25 in the Cortez Burst Triathlon.

Nikole Young and Sara White tackle the hill leading up to the Carpenter Area during the Cortez Burst. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Nikole Young and Sara White tackle the hill leading up to the Carpenter Area during the Cortez Burst.