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Battle at Soldier Hollow

by Jen Watkins, Of the Record staff

Triathlon fans no longer have to wait for spring to compete in a day of running and biking, they just have to be ready to do it in the snow. On Saturday, Jan. 16, at the third annual Battle at Soldier Hollow (BASH) Winter Triathlon, competitors will don spiked running shoes for a 5K jog, then jump onto a mountain bike for a 10K ride and, finally, trade in their in their swimming gear for a pair of cross-country skis for an 8K loop on groomed trails. And they’ll do it for a $3,000 purse and a chance to compete at the World Championships.

Race director Rob Leishman said interest in the triathlon has continued to grow each year. The first year they had 37 competitors. Last year they had 70, and this year they hope to double that number.

"The National Championship last year at Mount Hood didn’t have as many as we have," Leishman said.

According to the BASH website, http://www.bashwintertri.com , it’s best to run in trail shoes or shoes with cross-country spikes. The site also suggests screwing 8 to 10 sheet-metal screws into the bottom of an old pair of running shoes for traction on snow and ice. Snowshoes are not allowed.

Runners will then stop at the transition area to retrieve their mountain bikes for the 10K ride on groomed cross-country trails. However, Leishman asked that competitors not train on groomed cross-country trails ahead of time as it is dangerous for cross-country skiers. Instead, they should train on areas that are closed for the season so the bike tires will not make divots in the groomed cross-country tracks.

Mountain bikes with wide tires are best and spikes are legal, though most competitors don’t use them because of the extra weight. Tires with low pressure work best and helmets are required, according to the website.

Following the 10K ride – two laps around the same 5K track as the run – competitors again stop at the transition area to change to a pair of skis for two 4K loops around the groomed track. Skis can be rented at Soldier Hollow. Classic or freestyle skating is allowed though most choose freestyle because it is faster.

At the conclusion of the race, the top three finishers for both males and females will share the prize purse and qualify for the World Championships in Austria. Those who compete in Austria will also receive a travel stipend.

Not everyone who competes will be completing the full course, however. Leishman said beginners have the option of competing a shorter distance but will not qualify for the prize purse or the World Championships. Those wanting to compete for fun will run the same 5K loop but will only complete one loop on the bike and one loop on skis.

That same day, BASH is also offering a 2.5K sprint skate ski race at noon, as well as a 5K snowshoe fun run at 3 p.m. For more information, including registration fees and start times, visit http://www.bashwintertri.com.


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