Xterra triathlon hits midvalley Saturday

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
The wood bridge across the pond is one of the unique features for the course at the Xterra Aspen Valley Triathlon on Saturday at the Tree Farm property.
Courtesy of Xterra Aspen Valley Triathlon |

Triathletes will go wild next weekend in El Jebel.

The Xterra Aspen Valley Triathlon will return to the Tree Farm property Saturday morning for the backcountry event — open water swim, mountain bike section, running section.

The popular and unique midvalley triathlon filled up early this year when entries opened.

The maximum of 200 competitors will hit the starting line Saturday morning for the swim in the water-ski lake at the Tree Farm.

“For us as event organizers, it’s nice to be self-contained,” said Tony Panigutti of Without Limits Productions, describing the unique Ace Lane property at El Jebel. “It’s one of the most unique courses on the circuit.”

The unusual mountain bike layout adds to the Xterra Aspen Valley Triathlon, said Panigutti, a co-director of the event along with Lance Panigutti.

“Last year, it filled up really quickly,” Panigutti said. “This year, with the weather, it didn’t fill quite as quickly.”

He said the competition will start at 9 a.m. Saturday with the swim — a single lap of 1,200 meters in Kodiak Ski Lake on the Tree Farm property across from Whole Foods.

Out of the water, the triathletes will transition to mountain bikes. The course is a two-lap route (12 miles), or a new one-lap (6 mile) option that takes riders on flowing singletrack and over wood features never before used in an Xterra event. After the mountain bike section, the 5K run will begin.

It will use a long, winding wooden bridge over a pond that is nearly three-quarters of a mile long.

“We’re looking forward to it; it should be a great day,” Panigutti said.

Preriding for the mountain bike course will be staged Friday with the race on Saturday.

Because the course is on private property, any other advance riding on the course will result in disqualification.

The lake also will be open for swimming from 5-7 p.m. Friday.

Parking permits are required for access to the venue.