Early 2014: First official meeting of club to share information with potential members
Fall and early winter of 2013: Grassroot efforts begin to give shape to a new triathlon club in Northern Colorado
Fort Collins launches USA Triathlon-sanctioned club
Stephen Meyers Follow him on Twitter @stemeyer or Facebook.com/meyersreports.
October 30, 2013
San Diego has the largest such club in the country with more than 1,000 members.
Boulder has four clubs, as does Denver. Arizona has 24.
In 2014, Fort Collins joins the ranks of the country’s triathlon hot spots, with the launch of its own USA Triathlon-sanctioned club.
The recently formed Northern Colorado Triathlon Club becomes official in January, when it will hold its first meeting. Until that time, those spearheading the club, Jon Mason and Eric Neilsen, will sort through a pool of potential leaders to serve as the club’s president, vice president, treasurer and other officer positions.
USAT is the national governing body for triathlon, one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. The organization sanctions more than 4,300 races annually and has more than 550,000 members. USAT is also a member of the United States Olympic Committee and supports America’s elite triathletes.
A club sanctioned by USAT is eligible for grants and sponsor and race discounts. The club, Mason said, will get people together socially and for regularly scheduled workouts in Northern Colorado. The club will also feature a team jersey, with the Colorado state flag logo overlaying the iconic Horsetooth Rock.
“This is a big deal,” said Mason, head coach of the CSU Triathlon Team and owner of MP Multisport in Fort Collins.
Mason and Neilsen, also a personal fitness coach, decided to “take the bulls by the horns” and complete the necessary steps through USAT to create the club to serve the growing Northern Colorado triathlon community.
“You look at the Front Range, we’re one of the most fit areas in the nation. It’s outdoorsy and we have the climate to be outdoors year-round,” Mason said. “And Northern Colorado is growing so much. This club is for Loveland, Windsor, Severance, Timnath and Fort Collins. We have been in the shadow of Boulder when people think of endurance sports, but when you talk to people around here, you know that isn’t true.”
Fort Collins is home to Wendy Mader, the top female amateur at the 2008 Ironman World Championships, and a pair of up-and-coming male triathletes on the Colorado State University Triathlon Team. Steve Mantell is ranked No. 6 in the USAT 20-24 standings and Chris Leiferman is ranked No. 16 in the USAT 25-29 standings.
Bailey Hinz is another strong CSU Triathlon Team member. She’s ranked No. 33 in the 25-29 standings.
“The number of athletes in the area is stunning,” Mason said.
The club won’t just cater to the elite, however. Mason said he and Neilsen will both coach and that the goal of the club is to attract new people to the sport. Mason said his goal for 2014 is to have 100-150 members, who will pay $150 for annual dues. Boulder’s club has about 400 members.
“There’s a lot of potential, and a lot of talent in the endurance community in Northern Colorado. This is an exciting time,” Mason said.
Xplore reporter Stephen Meyers covers the outdoors and recreation for the Coloradoan. Follow him on Twitter @stemeyer or Facebook.com/meyersreports.