Winter triathlon is made up of running, biking and cross-country skiing, and gives triathletes a unique challenge during a time when many athletes are hibernating.
Think of it as an inverted triathlon.
Much the way some say a commode flushes the opposite direction in the now summery southern hemisphere, everything about a winter triathlon seems just a little backward. It’s cold, snowy and the most technically demanding portion of the race — skate skiing, not swimming — comes at the end, not the beginning. Let’s just say they ain’t doing it in Rio de Janeiro.
They are doing it in Soldier Hollow, Utah, however, where Coloradans Brian Smith, Jay Henry, Mike Kloser and Rebecca Dussault dominated the USA Triathlon winter triathlon national championship race a year ago.
Dussault went on to win the first world championship title by an American in Norway last February. And although she’s still undecided about defending her national title when the race returns to the 2002 Olympic cross country skiing venue Saturday — just a month after giving birth to her third son — her Gunnison neighbor and sometimes training partner Smith will be making his way back to Utah in an effort to reclaim his third consecutive national title in the unsung sport that has captured his heart.