By Kirsten Le Roux
Special to The SUN
Local non-profit charity GECKO (Giving Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors) is presenting a brand new outdoor event in Pagosa Springs on Sunday, Sept. 15, to raise money for its outdoor scholarships.
The event is XTERRA Pagosa Springs and it’s the inaugural off-road triathlon starting with a swim in Lake Pagosa. XTERRA is an international racing brand known for gritty, fun, off-road/dirt format triathlons, and Pagosa Springs is certainly not short of gnarly, scenic single track to fit the requirements.
The big excitement for this triathlon is that it starts with a 1k swim in Lake Pagosa, which will be the first time that a triathlon has been held in one of the local lakes.
Morgan Murri, founder of GECKO, said, “We are very excited to be hosting Pagosa Springs’ first outdoor triathlon. We are hoping to see as many Pagosans out there as possible, hopefully competing, but, if not, then coming to cheer on the athletes and support this new event. It’s a great morning out for spectators as well as athletes, and we know we’ve designed an interesting course that will have athletes returning next year. We are grateful to PLPOA, PAWSD and the local forest service for working with us to create this event and make it possible.”
The swim (wetsuits allowed) is followed by a 15.4 mile mountain bike and a 5.8 mile trail run in Martinez Canyon, and GECKO has chosen the best trails for this.
Athletes will traverse the edges of narrow rim canyons with incredible vistas and mountain views on fast-flowing single track. The winding trail system works its way through spectacular ponderosa and aspen forests, which makes it rooty and rocky underfoot. Athletes will earn their rest at the finishing party and presentation at The View Restaurant at the Quality Resort later in the day.
Anyone can enter the triathlon as an individual or as a member of a two- or three-person relay team. Registration and details can be found at www.joingecko.org/xterrapagosasprings.
Mike Le Roux, race director, commented, “We have had great support and interest from off-road triathletes wanting to come to Pagosa Springs to compete. We just had a top pro athlete from Alamosa sign up this week, which is amazing for our first event. Course maps are online for the bike and run legs for anyone interested in doing a little pre-race practice, and locals can take advantage of that opportunity.”
All finishers will receive a famous GECKO adobe finisher’s medal made by members of the local elementary school art class and winners will receive handcrafted metal work trophies made by local artist Scott Slind.
Interested athletes, volunteers and sponsors can find information on the GECKO website at www.joingecko.org/xterrapagosasprings, or can contact Mike Le Roux at (970)398-0612.