Under new management
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Brian Passenti fell in love with the Tri-Glenwood Triathlon – and triathlons in general – more than a decade ago. He volunteered to assist then-race director Charlie Wertheim and, before he knew it, he was racing in his first of 10 Tri-Glenwoods.
“Starting as a volunteer with Charlie, that inspired me to try a triathlon the following year,” Passenti shared. “My first race was in 2001. I fell in love with the sport ever since.”
It’s now 2012 and Passenti will be running the Tri-Glenwood show this Sunday. After a lengthy tenure as race director, Cindy Lundin has passed on organizing duties to Passenti, an endurance athlete extraordinaire who is a veteran of three Ironman triathlons.
“I’ve come full circle from volunteering,” said Passenti, who has sat out the last three Tri-Glenwoods. “I know Cindy and [her son] Gus ran it for a combined 10 years. Those are hard shoes to fill. They have so much knowledge and understanding of the race.”
But Passenti is managing just fine, thanks in large part to assistant race director (and sister-in-law) Amber Wissing and the 28th-year sprint triathlon’s legion of loyal volunteers.
“Oh my gosh, the volunteer list is endless,” he said. “It’s so deep. I mean, there is one volunteer per every two racers at this point, and some of these volunteers have been doing it for 20 years. They really know what they’re doing.”
And Passenti certainly knows a thing or two about endurance racing. The Hot Springs Lodge pool manager has participated in countless races and just finished his second Leadville Trail 100 Run in three tries back in August.
Assuming the role of race director will be a swap of vantage points for the 38-year-old Passenti.
“It’s going to be exciting to see it from this point of view,” he said. “I’ve been a participant for so many years.”
This year’s Tri-Glenwood will feature more than 260 racers and north of 30 teams.
Sunday morning’s race is comprised of an 825-meter swim in the Hot Springs Lodge pool, a 15-mile bike leg from the pool to Canyon Creek and back and a five-mile run along the Glenwood Springs River Trail and Midland Avenue.
A number of last year’s top finishers are returning to compete, including last year’s men’s champion Kirk Framke and the aforementioned Wertheim, who last September finished inside the top 10 alongside the likes of fellow returners Dave Weidemann, Paul Turtle, John Turtle and Jeffrey Hulett.
On the women’s side, Lily Thorsen, Nicole Cavarra, Heather Meacham, Helen McQueeney, Amy Ackerman and Stacy Dawrant will again compete after posting top-10 finishes in 2011.
Some other notable competitors:
• Logan Hulett of Golden will be Tri-Glenwood’s youngest participant at 16.
• Ken Whitney, an 82-year-old from Greeley, will be the oldest racer.
• Nancy Stevens and Terry Garrett, both blind, will be racing with the aid of guides. Stevens, who formerly lived in this area, now lives in Oregon but will be in town for the Tri-Glenwood. Rich Kiser, a top-10 finisher in last year’s race, will serve as Garrett’s guide.
“He met Terry at the pool and dropped his entry to be a guide for him,” Passenti noted.
Both Kiser and Garrett are from the Colorado Springs area.
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Burning Mountain Park in New Castle will illuminate Saturday evening at the town’s Holiday Tree Lighting and Chili Cook-off between 5 and 7 p.m.