Snow, schmo

If you think snow would keep a triathlete from competing, you’d be wrong. 

Since 1997, something called winter triathlon has been gaining popularity among those people who want the thrill of the triathlon even though they live in areas where temperatures routinely hover near the freezing mark.

Photo: USA Triathlon

Like your normal triathlons, these November-March races involve biking and running, but thankfully no swimming.  Instead, competitors strap on cross-country skis for the third leg of the race.  The distances are also a little shorter than

your regular races.  This very thorough description comes from the USA Triathlon website:

“In winter triathlon, the running is contested on hard-packed snow courses (usually packed ski trails) with distances ranging from 5-9K. Racers typically wear normal running shoes or cross country spikes.

The mountain bike leg is held on packed ski trails for a distance of 10-15K. Competitors ride standard racing mountain bikes, often equipped with relatively wide tires run at low (about 15-20 psi) pressure. Tires with spikes are legal, though most competitors shun their use because of the additional weight.

The final event of winter triathlon is cross-country skiing. Courses are usually 8-12K in length and are contested on groomed Nordic ski trails. Classic or freestyle (skating) techniques are allowed, though most serious competitors use the freestyle technique as it is faster. Athletes wear Nordic ski suits or tights and long sleeve jerseys, gloves, and hats or head-bands depending on conditions.”

If I’ve piqued your interest, you’ll naturally want to know where you can sign up for one of these awesome races.  Most are held in the Rocky Mountain area, but races in the Northeast can also be found.  There’s two being held in Massachusetts and another in New Hampshire in January. (Info can be found here.)   In New York, the place to be is Belleayre Mountain on March 20th.

So, see, there’s still time to train!


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