With more than 100 hearty souls braving a 0.9-mile swim, 24-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile run, the Storrie Lake Triathlon roared back to life on Sunday.
For several years, with local athlete Danny Fisher leading the charge, the Storrie Lake Triathlon became a staple of the summer sports calendar in northern New Mexico. The event grew to several hundred participants at its peak, drawing competitors from across the state and beyond. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson was among the field of participants on more than one occasion, recalled Albert Bourbon, a Las Vegas physician and triathlete himself.
The Storrie Lake Triathlon hit a wall after the July 2006 event and was discontinued. It certainly wasn’t for lack of interest; that summer’s triathlon featured more than 200 competitors ranging in age from late teens to late 70s and drew a number of spectators to Storrie Lake State Park.
In recent months, a group of local triathlon enthusiasts met with Angie Kandaloft, an Albuquerque-based organizer, and her Chasing3, an entity that puts together similar competitions around the region. Soon, the ball was rolling to resurrect the Storrie Lake Triathlon, and Father’s Day weekend was chosen as the date, a move from the late July of triathlons past.
The date was just one change.
“This triathlon has proceeds going to local charities, which is really a nice touch,” said John Arnold, who helped coordinate the event.
“John led the local volunteer efforts,” Bourbon said. “He really took the bull by the horns ... A week and a half ago, we only had a few registrants. But by the start, there were 120. So it was a good turnout for the first year back."
Clay Moseley, a 41-year-old from Los Alamos, posted the overall winning time, finishing in 2 hours, 14 minutes, 24 seconds. Moseley's strength was in the middle, cycling segment — a time of 1:02:13, Sunday’s fastest. He had strong times in the swim (25:01) and run (45:09) to bookend the performance and clinch the victory.
Richard Sena, 37, of Albuquerque, made inroads on Moseley with a run of 42:12, the second-fastest run behind Santa Fean Frans Trouw’s 39:58, to finish with an overall time of 2:16:36, good for runner-up honors.
Terry Moore, 32, of Las Cruces, was the top female finisher with a time of 2:26:45, the eighth best overall.
Bourbon had the top finish by a Meadow City competitor. The 52-year-old family practitioner and fitness buff had a swim of 33:20, a bike ride of 1:19:15 and a run of 59:17 for an overall time of 2:56:04, the 40th fastest in the field.
“The wind was a factor for us,” Bourbon said of Sunday’s blustery conditions.
“The water temperature was colder than usual, and there was a lot of wind chop in the lake. So times were slower. It made for a challenging (but) successful triathlon.”
Former Las Vegan Scott Darling, 59, now of El Paso, was 46th in 2:59:21. Las Vegas’ Joe Wickert, 54, was 60th in 3:12:29. Other locals were Richard and Kaaren Rougeux, Adam Brister and 71-year-old Joe Whiteman, who organizes the annual Fiesta Run.
“We pretty much train (for triathlons) year-round,” Bourbon said.
Bourbon said he was pleased with the triathlon’s return and said he wants to expand its appeal to all ages, particularly youngsters. “I remember doing all these things when I was a kid ... Really kids do all these things today — they ride their bikes, they swim, they run — but this is putting all those things together.”
Bourbon and others agree that Las Vegas offers a nearly idyllic venue for all three activities and triathlons — plenty of places to run and bicycle and swim, with Storrie Lake as a centerpiece.
“We’re glad to have this back,” said Arnold.