HITS Series triathlons event returns to Colorado’s Grand Valley
WHAT: HITS Series Triathlon
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17
WHERE: Highline Lake State Park, 1800 11.8 Road, Loma
COST: $30-$600, depending on level of competition
It’s never too late to try something for the first time, and Charlie Cholet of Grand Junction is taking full advantage of it. On his 61st birthday, he will complete his first-ever sprint triathlon.
The HITS Series Highline Lake State Park Triathlon is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17. This is the event’s third year in the Grand Valley.
“I’m going to take it one step at a time and try not to be the last person to cross the finish line,” Cholet said.
According to Cholet, he has been training for the race since January, and he also lost 35 pounds in the process.
His inspiration to compete in a triathlon came from his friend, Dr. Bill Martin, who has completed an Iron Man in Kona, Hawaii.
“He has been helping me with the swim portion and has been my cheerleader,” Cholet said.
Cholet will be among 550 other participants competing in five different categories. Half and full triathlons are set for Saturday, May 16; plus “open, sprint, and Olympic” distances will be held on Sunday, May 17.
More than 60 percent of this year’s participants are out-of-town visitors, including a two-time half-triathlon winner — Tim Hola, of Denver.
“The big draw for me was because of the area,” Hola said. “My family and I love going to the Western Slope because of the land and space.”
And the weekend of events is family friendly.
“There really is a distance for all athletes,” he said.
Organizers estimate that the overall economic impact totals around a half-million dollars, from lodging to dining to shopping.
“Participants are staying and playing in the community,” said Emily Glass, spokeswoman for HITS Triathlon.
Spectators are encouraged to line the course to cheer on competitors. They are also welcome to visit Highline Lake State Park to check out the health expo, which is set for both days.
“I’m looking forward to racing and hopefully this will be the first of many,” Cholet said.
Cholet is currently signed up to compete in a triathlon each month until December, including two other HITS Series triathlons in Palm Springs, Calif., and Lake Havasu, Ariz.
For more information on the series, visit http://www.hitstriathlonseries.com.
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