Wildfires and the wide wide world of race production has forced a venue change for the HITS Fort Collins race. The race will be conducted at Sterling, Colorado 94 miles east of Fort Collins.
The July 28-29 event originally planned for Fort Collins will now be held at North Sterling State Park in Sterling, which is 110 miles northeast of Denver and a relatively similar driving distance for athletes coming from the Denver airport. The park features a large, spacious reservoir on the high plains with ample camping offered year-round. For the Sprint and Olympic races on Saturday, the bike route leaves the park on County Road 33 with the Sprint athletes turning around 6.2 miles out on County Road 39, while Olympic athletes will turn around on County Road 30, 12.4 miles out and return to the park. On Sunday, Half and Full distance athletes will travel to State Route 14 where they will enjoy 28 miles of rolling hills stretching out miles before returning back to the park for the finish or a second loop.
HITS is working with local hotels to arrange for lodging partners and will have more information on community resources available in Sterling as soon as possible.
The inaugural HITS events experienced a rocky start in its first two events, in Palm Springs, California and Naples, Florida. But the ambitious national series seems to have its legs under it, and enjoyed favorable reports from athletes at its just-concluded Hunter Mountain race in New York.
The change from Fort Collins to Sterling may be a blessing in disguise, as it's often easier and safer to place an event of this distance and scope further away from a metro area, and closer to a resort that caters to tourists and better honors the needs of promoters and athletes.
The swim venue for the new Sterling HITS course
The trail run for the Sterling HITS course