If you’ve been itching for triathlon season to start, the Littlefoot Triathlon on May 15 is Colorado’s first open water event of the year.
With a $1,200 prize purse, the Littlefoot Triathlon attracts many of Colorado’s elite triathletes, as well as age-groupers and beginners.
This sprint distance tri takes place at Bear Creek Park in Morrison.
I recently caught up with race director Amy Dannwolf to find out more about the Littlefoot Triathlon.
Denver Running Examiner: This is the first open water tri of the year. How brutal are the water temperatures at Bear Creek Lake in mid May and how should people prepare?
Amy Dannwolf: The water temperature can range from 55 degrees to the mid-to-low 60s. This year I expect it to be slightly warmer than last year thanks to our relatively mild winter and spring. If we can get a few really warm days in over the next few weeks I think we’ll have some great water conditions.
Last year it was about 55 degrees, almost identical to the waters of San Francisco Bay for the famous Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. The swim at Alcatraz is almost 1.5 miles, so at a 1/2 mile, the Littlefoot swim is fairly mild.
I strongly recommend wearing a thick silicone swim cap underneath the latex race cap. Extra insulation around your head will help you retain heat.
It’s also really important to get into the water and swim a couple hundred meters before the race starts. This will help your body adjust and prevent hyperventilation and otherwise sporadic breathing when the race actually starts. It should go without saying that you should absolutely wear a full wetsuit for the swim.
Most people are actually the coldest on the bike, so I really recommend layering-up in T1. Put on some arm warmers and/or a light jacket. Gloves, toe warmers, and even a thin hat under your helmet are all good ideas.
Denver Running Examiner: What makes this event unique or what do previous participants seem to like about it?
Amy Dannwolf: It is a unique event, and everyone that does it gets to wear a badge of honor for swimming in a Colorado lake so early in the year. We get a lot of beginner triathletes, this is the first triathlon for many people, and also a lot of veterans and even pro athletes. Since it’s so early in the season everyone tends to be relaxed and the people who are experienced help out the beginners; it’s a really friendly atmosphere.
Last year we had great feedback about the event organization and the set-up of having the pro race going on after the age-group athletes had finished and were enjoying a hot lunch. It’s also really family friendly, so an athlete will bring her spouse and little kids and they are happy running around on the beach and climbing on the playground that’s close to the finish.
Denver Running Examiner: You’ve got a great elite prize purse for a local event. What do you expect the field to look like this year?
Amy Dannwolf: Supporting local elite athletes is really important to me, and a prize purse is something I plan on having at all Riptide Multisports events as we expand. This year’s elite field will have the defending women’s champion Laura Tingle back as well as the defending men’s champion, Jordan Jones.
There are still spots available for the Littlefoot Triathlon on May 14. Interested participants can register online for $75.