Aspen Xterra triathletes charge into new era |

Aspen Xterra triathletes charge into new era

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

Triathletes — off-road triathletes — raced into a new era in the Roaring Fork Valley last weekend.

The inaugural Aspen Valley Xterra triathlon attracted triathletes from throughout Colorado for a unique Xterra event — the first offroad triathlon in Colorado staged completely on private land.

“For a first-year race, you expect to have a hiccup or two,” said race organizer Lance Panigutti of Without Limits Productions. “But we had no hiccups; a beautiful day.”

The race was staged on Ace Lane’s property in El Jebel with the swim staged in the Kodiak Ski Lake.

The mountain bike portion utilized technical trails on the property cut specifically for competition.

For some, the event was a technical challenge.

“We had a handful of participants … who couldn’t make it (because of the technical bike section),” Panigutti said. Several of those triathletes opted out after a practice session.

For others, including a handful of professional triathletes, the course was challenging and fun, he said.

Aspen’s Annie Gonzales put her stamp on the first Aspen Valley Xterra with a dominating victory in the women’s division. She beat second-place Kim Baugh, a pro, by more than two minutes. Gonzales, racing in the women’s 50-54 category, won in 2:03:45.1.

Per usual, Gonzales dominated in the biking section — the fastest woman on a mountain bike in the competition.

Kate Zander of Breckenridge finished third in the women’s division with Amber Mounday of Ogden, Utah, fourth.

Pro triathlete Patrick Valentine of Colorado Springs won the men’s division in 1:45:49.1.

Castle Rock’s Jeffrey Dewitt, an amateur, was second in 1:52:180.

Kris Ochs of Vail finished third.

The top regional finisher was JP Hutchens of Basalt, who was eighth among the men.

The top swimmer was pro Gavin Anderson of Boulder, who also was fastest on the run.

Valentine was the fastest on the bike section.

In all, 143 finished the Xterra Aspen Valley triathlon.

“Next year, I think we’ll have a lot more relay teams,” Panigutti said. He said the nature of the course, with the tough bike section, lends itself to relay teams.

He said his production company will return next year for a second Aspen Valley Xterra event on the Ace Lane property.

“The property owner was ecstatic about the race,” Panigutti said.

Overall results, provided by race organizers, are on pages 17A and 18A in Wednesday’s print edition of The Aspen Times.

For relay results, visit

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