RIDGWAY — In its 37th year the Ridgway YMCA Triathlon is growing to welcome more participants by adding more events.
The traditional triathlon team and ironman/ironwoman challenges includes 5 miles of running, 15 miles of biking, and 8.5 miles of paddling.
This year there will also be timed challenges that allow athletes to solely participate in the run or the biking portion of the race.
“We heard from people that they had trouble getting a team together or they may not be strong enough to do it all by themselves,” said Jane Bryndel, a YMCA board and triathlon committee member. “We hope this will make it a little different and interest more people.”
The event, held at its traditional time, will also coincide with the Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous, which Bryndel said she hopes will boost participation. Usually it has between 80-100 participants and requires a team of nearly 50 volunteers to man.
“It will be very busy, but that’s what you want to see — your town busy,” Bryndel said. “I really feel strongly that we live and work in a great place. People should take advantage of the things going on right outside their door.”
With fresh faces on the board, Bryndel said they are also working to reinvigorate the event with new sponsors, prizes, and a chicken dinner in the Ridgway Fire Hall, which allows racers to refuel and reconnect to tell tales of the day.
Aside from trading the swimming leg — that is most often associated with triathlons — for a kayaking leg, Bryndel said another special part of the event is the time of year.
Participating in about six Ridgway triathlons herself — on teams “Body By Coors” and “The In-Laws & Outlaws” — she said you never know if it will be mild, sweltering hot, snowing, or raining the day of the event.
She said an added bonus of holding the event in April is that it pushes people to get out and get moving in the spring.
She has taken on the job of “professional water hander outer,” a job that involves juggling to fuel people as they run through, cheering loudly, and helping to guide traffic at times to keep racers safe.
“It’s amazing. You’re so exhausted at the end and you give it your all — and then once you’re done, you can’t wait to do it all over again,” Bryndel said.
For more information about the Ridgway YMCA Triathlon & Challenge visit www.ymcaridgway.com/events/2018-ridgway-triathlon/ or Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/1653724934685029/.