Is twice-around-the-clock triathlon's next big thing?
Written by: Timothy Carlson
Date: Mon Sep 01 2008
Here was the Cherry Creek State Park and reservoir in Aurora, Colorado. What the man known as the “toughest man on the planet” was doing was emceeing and race directing the third annual 24 Hours of Triathlon.
On this Labor Day weekend, a group of 400 triathletes and duathletes were competing with water skiers and sunbathers and picnickers for space at the Cherry Creek Reservoir during the day. And at night, after the quarter-mile swim course was closed for safety, they donned coal miner-style headlamps to charge around a 11.2-mile bike layout and a 2.6-mile run course trying to tote up more laps than the rest of their slightly unhinged colleagues.
Unlike the round-the-clock classic endurance sports car races at LeMans and Daytona, Ian Adamson’s 24 Hours of Triathlon is completely human powered. And unlike the high-speed, carbon-powered spectacles in Florida and France, there aren’t huge crowds at Cherry Creek Reservoir -- yet.
He also faced inertia in the fast-growing triathlon community. “The thing I know is that if any multisport race director and promoter wants to hit it big, he or she must offer an exciting new idea,” said Adamson. “The Ironman is covered, and so are race series like Life Time Fitness and ITU racing. From my experience in adventure racing, I can see that there is a hunger for an extended team and individual competition that doesn’t require competitors to make a large investment in equipment nor extensive land use and public safety permits for the promoter. I believe that a race like the 24 Hours of Triathlon is an adventure that tests everyone’s physical and mental limits in close proximity to family and friends and fans.”
Adamson, who has retired from adventure racing competition, has bet his proverbial house on his 24 hours of Triathlon concept. While the Australian-born Adamson was among the elite of adventure racers, he was never a snooty elitist. A few years ago, he competed in a 24-hour ultra-marathon held in a parking lot. All through his adventure racing career, he studied Mark Burnett’s recipe for television ratings success and gained a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes knowledge and instinct for choosing the most beautiful, exciting backdrops and leading camera crews toward the best developing story lines.
His choice was the Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora, Colorado, a few miles south of downtown Denver. With all roads under the authority of the state park, there was little traffic and complete cooperation with the rangers. Parking was tough, but extensive enough to cover all the competitors and race support. The water natural for the swim, the bike route had moderate hills and interesting corners, while the run path had enough shade trees and mild elevation changes to keep the runners happy.
And while Adamson could not nail down television coverage this season, perhaps a little word of mouth about the hot competition might help keep the twice-around-the-clock triathlon dream alive.
Even closer was the contest for third place in the 24 Hour Triathlon Male Team of 3 Category. Team Die Triing Again – manned by Andrew Graziano, Bill Ledden and Tim Sells – squared off against Team 1 More Than You’s Winfield Hartley, Kevin Callahan and Brian Young. After 20 full triathlons and one additional swim leg, it all came down to a final 11.2-mile bike and at the line Team Die Triing prevailed by a mere 1 minute and 52 seconds.
But topping all of these finish line dashes was the battle for the final spot on the podium the 24 hour Triathlon team of Four. Once again, after 20 full triathlons and 1 additional swim, Team Fartlek engaged in a Michael Phelps-close battle to the finish against Team Racers Against Childhood Cancer. When the tumult and shouting were over, Fartlek defeated racers Against Childhood Cancer by a mere 15 seconds.
The women’s solo pitted Brazilian 25-29 contender Kassiana Rosso against 4-time Ultraman Champ and 2006 Race Across America solo women’s champ Shanna Armstrong of Lubbock, Texas, with Kirsten Kempe right on both of their fleet and enduring heels. At the end, all three had covered 16 full triathlons. Armstrong managed to tuck in one more swim before the bell rang at 24 hours. But Rosso upset the well-regarded ultra athlete and took the win by adding one more bike loop. Rosso collected the $1,000 check, and had the satisfaction of breaking 2007 winner Iona MacKenzie’s course record by 33 miles.
“I enjoyed it, but I think there were too many Type A obsessive triathletes out there,” said Armstrong. “When the Brazilian gal passed me, she didn’t say a word. That reminded me why I chose to do Ultra races. Ultra people are family and much more laid back, friendly and loosy-goosy.” In fact, Armstrong gave a whoop and stopped her bike on lap six to give a kiss to an old friend by the side of the road, showing the type As what Ultraman, RAAM, and Badwater spirit is all about.
This year’s 24 Hours of Triathlon drew teams from several foreign countries and both coasts of the United States. Now that he has survived the first few years, built momentum, and broken even on his big bet on the next big thing in triathlon, Ian Adamson is looking forward to next year’s 24 Hours – and cutting himself that first check.
August 30-31, 2008
S .24mi/ B 11.2 mi/ R 2.6 mi
1. Tim Sheeper M45-49 252.96 miles (18 triathlons plus 1 swim)
2. Richard Kylberg M45-49 224.64 miles (16 triathlons)
3. Keith Jeneski M35-39 210.6 miles (15 triathlons)
1. Kassiana Rosso (Brazil) F25-29 236.08 miles (16 triathlons plus 1 swim 1 bike)
2. Shanna Armstrong (Lubbock, Texas) F30-34 224.88 miles (16 triathlons plus 1 swim)
3. Kirsten Kemper F40-44 224.64 miles (16 triathlons)
Male Team of 3
1. Team Retul – Steven Waite (Australia) Lars Finanger (Boulder CO) John Gaudette (Denver CO) 365.28 miles (26 triathlons plus 1 swim)
Team $20 for a Topoff 320.32 miles (22 triathlons plus 1 swim 1 bike)
2. Team Die Triing Again 292.24 miles (20 triathlons plus 1 swim 1 bike)
Female Team of 3
1. Team 3 de Fumar Chicas 210.6 miles (15 triathlons)
Coed Team of 3
1. Team Powerbar Tri-Oakies 337.20 miles (24 triathlons and 1 swim)
2. Team New Haven Fitness 294.84 miles (21 triathlons)
3. Team Wreck-less 210.6 miles (15 triathlons)
Male Team of 2
1. Team Gripped Films/Kenda 295.08 miles (21 triathlons and 1 swim) 23:39:17
2. Team Hersey/Hachmann 295.08 miles (21 triathlons plus 1 swim) 23:42:35
3. Team Addax 252.96 miles (18 triathlons plus 1 swim)
Coed Team of 2
1. Team OM 264.16 miles (18 triathlons plus 1 swim 1 bike)
1. Team One Dumb Blonde and an Old Guy 193.96 miles (13 triathlons plus 1 swim 1 bike)
Team of 4+
1. Team Sheeper 295.08 miles (21 triathlons plus 1 swim) 23:40:55
2. Team Operation Ground and Pound 295.08 miles (21 triathlons 1 swim) 23:51:30
3. Team Fartlek 292.24 miles (20 triathlons and 1 swim 1 bike) 23:58:04
4. Racers Against Childhood Cancer 292.24 miles (20 triathlons 1 swim 1 bike) 23:58:19
1. Eric Walker M30-34 98.52 miles (7 triathlons 1 swim)
2. Adam Little M25-29 98.28 mile (7 triathlons)
3. Jim Fuller M55-59 95.68 miles (6 triathlons 1 swim 1 bike)
8 Hours Triathlon Solo Female
1. Wendy Mader F35-39 98.52 miles (7 triathlons 1 swim)
2. Amy Weeden F30-34 70.44 miles (5 triathlons 1 swim) 7:33:09
3. Leah Gaviola F40-44 70.44 miles (5 triathlons 1 swim) 7:45:59
4. Marisela Martinez F25-29 7-0.44 miles (5 triathlons 1 swim) 7:59:17
Jenny Gowans won the 2008 Norseman Extreme Triathlon and was kind enough to send us her race report. She was looking for an adventure and a race she would need to treat with more respect than a conventional Ironman. 8.15.08
HERE IS YOUR 4TH PLACE!! hehe :) :)
Hola a Todos!! :)
Reviewed by: MARISELA MARTINEZ, Sep 13 2008 5:29PM
By the way Tim my name is with "S" hehehe ... :)
HEY! HERE IS YOUR CHAMPION!! :) hehe
Oi Tudo Bem !!
Reviewed by: KASSIANNA ROSSO, Sep 13 2008 5:06PM
First of all Please! excuse me if my english it is not perfect! ...
I just want it to say that I really enjoyed the race! I had a great time! and lot of fun!! ... :) :) ...And by the way! Sorry if I did something or did not say! to/that Shanna misunderstood that was not my intention!! I hope that she can read this! U know it was my first time doing a race like this one (loooong!-endurance!) and my english its not so good! I really apologize if she misunderstood something! :( ...And I do have to mention that she was very nice to me at the finish line, she waited for me to congratulated me!
Hey! Tim please, if u can, tell Dam Empfield that I train here in Miami with his best friend Carlos Dolabella (he says Hello) ... :)
Obrigada! Beijos! ... :) :)
Reviewed by: 8, Sep 8 2008 7:52PM
24 hrs of triathlon
Reviewed by: sutto, Sep 7 2008 2:00AM
24 hour tri
Reviewed by: sixto linares, Sep 2 2008 8:32PM