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Front Page » July 23, 2002 » Sports » The Sports View
Published 4,454 days ago

The Sports View


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sports writer

The ability of human endeavor and stamina is always amazing to me. Maybe because even when I was young I was never in the shape some of the athletes I have seen recently are in. But none the less their accomplishments, even at the local level, should leave us all astounded.

Take the tri-athlon in Pleasant Valley on Saturday morning. For those who may not know, a tri-athlon consists of a set course of swimming, then bicycling and then running. The person who ends up at the finish line, back where it all began, wins.

At 6:30 a.m. sharp over a dozen swimmers dived into the cold Scofield Reservoir waters at the state parks boat ramp and began swimming for the buoy which was just short of the dam. Some were quick, others were much slower, but just making that swim alone, one way would wear out most people. Watching them cut through the water while I was taking photos was amazing. I walked back up to my vehicle after having taken some photos up and down the neck of the reservoir that leads to the spillway and realized that two of the contestants had already finished their swim and had passed me on their way to Clear Creek.

I drove up the road trying to get good shots of the bikers and finally made it to the turnaround spot of that section of the race. There I found two cones, one on each side of the road and a painted arrow on the road where the bikers were supposed to turn around. No judges, no officials, just dumb me with my camera. Apparently, these tri-athletes are a trustworthy group and they proved it. I took a few shots of bikes turning around and then headed back toward the dam. I thought I would pass some of those that I had photographed. But by the time I reached the dam, most had already made it back and had begun their running. In fact the top two had already run their loop and won first and second place.

I took a few shots of the runners that were on the course, which was defined by running from the state park over the dam and to a point about straight across from the boat ramp and then back again.

I was out of breath just watching these guys and gals perform.

The amazing things I saw made a great impression on me.

The leading swimmer in the race, was actually swimming faster than people could walk along the rocky beach.

The speed of the bikes. I was amazed at how fast the riders could return from Clear Creek to the state park, but more amazing was the speed of their ascent to the little mining town. Many rode up that last section from Clear Creek Junction like they had just started exerting themselves, yet they had already ridden nearly 10 miles after swimming a mile in cold water.

I remember when I used to run cross country in high school. After a race I couldn't talk for about five minutes because I was so worn out, yet these guys held conversations with me as they turned around at the top.

Finally, watching them run around the same loop by the dam where they had plowed through on bikes only minutes before. No helmets or gear or machines: just pure physical stamina. And most of them could still stand when they were done.

I went home after that to relax. I got tired just watching.

Makes me wonder what they did afterward.


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July 23, 2002
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