The inaugural Lake Nighthorse Sprint Triathlon took place on Saturday, challenging competitors with a 750-meter open water swim, a hilly 20K bike ride and then a 5k run featuring even more climbing.
“It’s cool that they have a local race here; it’s a fantastic venue,” said the race’s winner, David Preston of Durango. “The lake was perfect and the bike and run were super challenging with ups and downs.”
Preston ended up winning the race in 1 hour, 11 minutes and 8 seconds.
Brian Miller crossed second in 1:12:00.
Kathryn Ross finished third overall and won the women’s crown in 1:16:00, just under 2 minutes ahead of Annamaria Kostarellis who finished fourth overall.
“It’s really cool to be out here in this community of people that’s really stoked on triathlons,” Ross said. “It’s a great group of people, and they put on an awesome race.”
The event attracted 71 participants, including five relays, for a total of 61 entrants.
“We were hoping for 35 to 40, so it exceeded our expectations; I’m pleased with that,” said race director David Rakita. He said the race had a regional draw, attracting athletes from Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Utah and throughout the Four Corners.
The race began with a swim, with two waves starting two minutes apart. The competitors swam in a giant triangle in the lake.
“It’s way different than a pool because there’s no line to follow,” Preston said. “We’re fortunate here; it’s calm and was pretty easy to sight today.”
Preston was the second triathlete to complete the swim, only trailing his wife, Lauren Preston.
“It’s always fun to swim with her,” he said. “I just followed her.”
Lauren’s split was 13:31.9, about 10 seconds faster than her husband’s.
David Preston, however, took the lead during the bike portion. The bike section featured 800 feet of climbing over the 20 kilometers.
“The bike course was challenging with all the hills,” Ross said.
Ross, who said she hadn’t done a triathlon in about 10 years, borrowed her friend’s bike for the race.
“It felt really fast,” she said. “Thanks, Brad!”
After that, the athletes still had a to run a 5K.
“The run was the toughest,” David Preston said. “It got hot out there and it was all on gravel road. The bike was tough, too; you go straight up and straight down.”
Miller challenged Preston for part of the run, but Preston was able to hold him off to win the race.
“It’s always a good feeling, even at a local race,” Preston said. “Local ones are some of the most fun; it’s special when you know people. Ultimately, that doesn’t matter. It’s all about the lifestyle sport.”
“Eveything has gone as well as it could have,” Rakita said, thanking the race’s committee, the Durango Tri Club and all of the volunteers who helped.