Roaring Fork Women’s Triathlon Team marks 24th anniversary with strong showing in Longmont
The Roaring Fork Women’s Triathlon Team made an impressive mark at the Outdoor Diva Triathlon in Longmont on Aug. 20. Celebrating its 24th season, the team brought 45 of its members to the event.
Under the guidance of Head Coaches Sharma Phillips and Carla Westerman, and assisted by a group of skilled assistant and swim coaches, the team embarked on a rigorous 13-week training program in May. Their regimen took them from bike rides up Red Mountain to open water training at Harvey Gap Reservoir. With 30 newcomers in a group of 59 participants, the team showcased a mix of both novice and expert athletes.
At the Longmont competition, team members took on a half-mile swim, an 11.8-mile bike ride, and a 5k run around Union Reservoir. Four team members clinched top spots in their respective divisions: Tess Jankovsky earned second place in the elite division, Sydney Pena secured first in the 25-29 category, Jamie Boutilier grabbed third in the 40-44 group, and Sherrie Setterberg claimed first in the 65-69 age group.
Setterberg, a Roaring Fork team member for 12 years and assistant coach, didn’t stop there. She also achieved first place in the Boulder Sunset Sprint Triathlon the week after.
“It was great, you never know what your competition will be or bring,” Setterberg said. “The entire time you’re out there, the only thing you have control over is giving it your absolute best and then you find out where that brings you.”
Setterberg further stressed the inclusivity of the team.
“If anyone is thinking or has ever thought about wanting to run a triathlon or even dealing with something, this group wants you to reach out,” she said. “I am a five-year breast cancer survivor with a lot of injuries in my past, this team showed me that you can overcome anything.”
Co-Head Coach Carla Westerman, a member since 2009, couldn’t contain her pride.
“I’m just so proud of this team,” Westerman said. “Those girls worked so hard to be able to run in that triathlon and it was beautiful to see.”
Westerman has witnessed firsthand how the team dynamics shift, fostering a unique bond.
“At the start of our season, everyone is kind of avoiding contact and not really interacting with each other because they don’t know each other,” she said “Through the trials of learning together and pushing each other, it really creates a special bond every new year.”
For first-year member Olivia Beck, 42, who moved to the Roaring Fork Valley at the onset of the pandemic, joining the team has been transformative.
“During the pandemic, one glass was turning into two and two was turning into three, and joining this team really helped with that,” Beck said. “I just want anyone else who is struggling to know that this is the most supportive group of women and it truly is a family that cares and is there to help.”
While the team only competes together once a year, members such as Beck are excited to continue her training.
“It feels great to be making these lifestyle choices and I can’t wait to continue to train with some of the girls leading up to next May,” Beck said. “This past race, I really was just focused on finishing. I’m looking forward to staying in shape and really competing next year.”
For information regarding the Roaring Fork Women’s Triathlon Team, visit roaringforktriteam.com.
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