Inaugural tri draws 400

Boulder athlete wins despite fractured pelvis

— Two weeks ago, doctors suggested Lars Finanger stay off his broken pelvis for three to four weeks.

But on Sunday, the Boulder man won the inaugural Steamboat Springs Triathlon.

"Two weeks was long enough," the 25-year-old said of letting the hairline fracture heal.

Finanger's time of 1 hour, 31 minutes and 4 seconds was more than 3 minutes ahead of runner-up Tim Sandell of Colorado Springs.

Finanger was in second place after the opening three-quarter-mile swim in Lake Catamount, but it didn't take long for the talented triathlete to seize the lead for good on the 20-mile bike ride.

"I just put my head down and hammered it," Finanger said. "It's nice because those first miles go downhill. I just put it in the biggest ring and pedaled."

Volunteer Randy Hall was in charge of staying ahead of the lead cyclist. Hall checked the speedometer on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle several times. Not once, did Finanger drop below 20 mph, he said. If Hall remembers correctly, Finanger averaged 35 mph on Colorado Highway 131.

Finanger's sizeable lead after the bike ride held up on the four-mile run. Finanger plans to compete in October's Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii, so he wanted to complete a few shorter triathlons as training.

"This is the perfect race," he said of the Steamboat Springs Triathlon.

Brazilian Sandra Soldan and Australian Jocelyn Pollock, both Boulder residents, have competed all over the world, but the pair had never been to Steamboat Springs. On Sunday, they not only came in first and second in the women's division, but they were third and fourth overall.

"I have never breathed so hard in my life," Pollock said.

The two are training professionally with former triathlete Siri Lindley. Soldan is heading overseas to compete in World Cup races in Japan and China. Soldan, a Brazilian national team member, is looking forward to racing on the course that will be used for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

"I like to do a race before Worlds," Soldan said. "Here, they were saying the mountains are beautiful."

Soldan and Pollock were together through the swim and bike legs, but Soldan pulled away from Pollock, one of Australia's top young triathletes, in the run. Soldan's time of 1:37:04 was nearly 90 seconds faster than Pollock.

Boulder's 5430 sports organized Sunday's race, and two Boulder runners took top honors in the men's and women's races, as well. But race director Barry Siff estimated a third of the more than 400 people signed up for Sunday's race call Steamboat Springs home.

Jon Freckleton was the fourth male finisher and sixth overall with a time of 1:42:07, surprising even himself.

"I'm so psyched," he said.

After the swim, Freckleton said he was "pretty far back," but the expert cyclist made up lost time between Lake Catamount and the turnaround at Howelsen Hill Lodge.

"I probably passed 10 people before we even got to 131," he said. "I've tried to learn to swim in the last two years. I learned to surf during med school, and knowing how to surf helps."

The father of a young child, Freckleton said his workouts have been altered because of the new family addition. He hopes to do a larger triathlon in Hawaii in the future.

"I try to sneak in workouts during lunch," Freckleton said.

Most locals participating in Sunday's triathlon would count swimming as their least favorite, partly because access to large bodies of open water is limited. Marin Campbell doesn't fit into that mold.

The coach for Craig's summer swim team, Campbell is comfortable in the water, and an excellent cyclist to boot. It was the run she wasn't looking forward to, but the 25-year-old did well, finishing in 1:53:34 to place third in the female 25- to 29-year-old division.Steamboat's Cristen Malia was second.

"I did a couple runs before," Campbell said. "I hoped for the best. I knew I would be looking for the finish line."

Campbell thinks the triathlon will become even more popular in the future.

"It's like the Steamboat Marathon," she said. "It's like a destination race."

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