Tri as they might

Athletes soak in swim, run and bike race at Highline

Riders hit the road Sunday morning in the biking section of the Desert Edge Triathlon at Highline State Park. Sunday marked the second day of the two-day triathlon event, which included Olympic, sprint and XTERRA triathlons. More than 140 athletes took part in the annual event.

Marty Andrie did some swimming when he was younger and he ran competitively for Colorado School of Mines, so he thought he’d give triathlons a try.

Sunday’s Desert Edge Triathlon at Highline State Park was the perfect place to start, and the 23-year-old from Golden took over during the 5K run to win the sprint triathlon in a time of one hour, 10.39 minutes.

He was first out of the water, then he had “awful transition” that left him chasing a few competitors when he started the bike leg. It got worse from there.

“Then everyone crushed me on the bike. But I was close enough that I thought I had a chance on the run,” he said. “I didn’t really know how many people were ahead of me but I thought I was probably one of the better runners in the field.”

He used the 5K run to crush everyone who had passed him on the bike, winning by 2:34 over Pat Faurer of Snowmass Village.

“Passing people really pumps you up,” Andrie said, then grinned. “It feels way better to pass people than it feels to get passed, like it was on the bike.”

Andrie ripped through his 5K, which is a dirt trail, in 17:27. That time was by far the fastest, including 4:43 faster than Faurer.

Andrie competed in one triathlon when he was 16 and now, with a win under his belt in his first triathlon as an adult, he’s ready to dive into the sport.

“I’m super excited to see where it might go. I was a decent runner in college, so I think I can be pretty good at triathlons if I put in more work,” he said.

The annual triathlon brings together competitors of all ages and experience levels. More than 140 triathletes competed in sprint and the longer Olympic length races on Sunday.

To Grand Junction’s Jeff Recker, who finished in 1:24.02 to place 11th, triathlon racing is all about camaraderie.

“It’s just the community event where we’re all out here supporting each other, and being out doing something active with your friends,” he said. It’s also great to have a race close to home.

“It’s our local event, this is an opportunity to race in our own backyard which is really special,” he said. “This gives you the opportunity to race against the men and women you train with. In the end, we’re all out here supporting each other.”

At 53, he’s enjoying a different style of racing after 16 years of competing in the sport.

“I’m a little slower but I’m a little stronger. I think the older you get, the stronger you get,” he said. “So I’m not able to go as fast as I used to but I’m not hurting as much at the finish.”

The sprint triathlon consists of a 750-meter swim, a 13.2-mile bike ride and a 5K run.

Jessica Currat, 31, of Lakewood placed fourth in the sprint race in 1:29.43.

She had competed in a half Ironman in June and had just competed in the unique Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim a couple of weeks ago. That race draws more than 800 swimmers who swim from the old prison to San Francisco.

Currat enjoyed the course on Sunday, especially the crisp, clean, waveless swim in Highline.

She also is looking to improve on her bike leg in the future.

“I was always a swimmer and ran throughout high school but I was never a biker, so I’m trying to get a lot better at biking,” she said.

The women’s race was won by Cassidy Hickey of Parker in a time of 1:22.38.

The race also featured a youth triathlon with some of the kids, like 13-year-old Graham Tuohy, also competing in the sprint race. He finished seventh overall with a time of 1:20.24.

“I’m dedicated to the sport, I’ve done it for eight years now. It’s also special in my heart because I love running, I love biking and I love swimming, and the fact that I can do them all together is amazing,” he said.

In the Olympic triathlon race, a veteran husband-and-wife duo from Golden claimed both titles.

Brian Folts, who won the race in 2013 and 2014, returned this year to win a third Desert Edge with a winning time of 2:03.12.

Matthew Malone was second in 2:07.57.

The Olympic race consists of a 1,500-meter swim, 24.8-mile bike ride and 10K run.

Folts, 29, came out of the swim in third place but then took off and led the rest of the way and had the fastest bike leg (58:22) and run (40:42).

“I really like the bike course here because you can really hammer it,” he said.

His wife, 30-year-old Monica Folts, picked up the women’s victory after finishing third and second in 2013 and 2014. She had an impressive finish Sunday, placing fourth overall with a time of 2:20.28.

She said it helps her training having a high-level triathlete as a spouse.

“It’s like living with your training partner, so you’re a lot more accountable,” she said.

The couple competed in a full Ironman triathlon (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run) in Boulder earlier this summer. Monica said competing at the Desert Edge makes for a more relaxed, fun race after a highly competitive summer of racing.

She laughed about how appealing it was to compete at the shorter distance.

“Once you’re done with an Ironman, you’re done being long and slow, and you’re ready to go short and fast,” she said.


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