Preparation for Altus’ first-ever Triathlon has begun.
A meeting was held at the Altus Chamber of Commerce on Monday, Jan. 28, to discuss having a sanctioned, Olympic-length Triathlon. There is no final date scheduled, however, it was a general consensus of those who attended, that having the event coincide with other planned City events would be ideal. Hint: Racers may be greeted by belly-full Chili connoisseurs at the finish line.
The Tri is expected to begin with a 1590-meter swim in Lake Altus, transition to a 40-kilometer bike ride at Quartz Mountain Lodge, to include a tour through Blair, Altus Air Force Base, and finish with a 10-kilometer run on foot, ending in downtown Altus at the courthouse. Racers can compete as individuals or as teams. Teams will be able to designate a particular leg of the race to each team member.
Swimmers would jump in, “leaving the south shore of the lake, parallel to the beach. The race would finish with runners at the court house,” suggested Altus Air Force Base Fitness Director Jeremy Stevens.
Stevens’ “brainchild” has been considered for several years, and has recently found enthusiastic support from business owners, organizers, and athletes within the community. He has been working on an official race map, and now consults Quartz Mountain Diamondback 100 Race Director Paul Sutherland for his expertise with mapping and constructing long distance bike races.
Sutherland, six-year organizer of the annual Diamondback 100, was invited to assist in the design of the racecourse and to recommend other necessary provisions, such as road support and E.M.T’s for safety.
Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center and Nature Park Executive Director Terry Mosley confirmed that other groups have used the lake for “Iron-man like events,” in the past. “Early October would be an optimal time,” regarding temperature, he says. Mosley could likely provide some addition support at Lake Altus by having lake patrol and lifeguards, and rangers at intersections where road support is crucial.
“The base has a big interest,” says Force Support Squadron Deputy Director Don Cook. “Col. Anthony Krawietz, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander would certainly like to use the base.” He added, it is possible to “have folks on the base help out.” In terms of sharing race day with a preplanned community-wide event, such as the Cotton Pickin’ Chili Cook-off, Cook states, “the better the family event, the more interest,” for the base.
What provisions remain to be secured include an official race course, finalized date, parade permit, support and gear team, and more sponsors.
The overall goal, as expressed by Stevens, Cook, and AAFB Athletic Asst. Manager Lina Moreau, is to have this Triathlon a sanctioned event, have it advertised in popular Triathlon magazines, and make it an annual destination for competitive and enthusiastic athletes throughout the area and nation.
Among those interested who attended the first meeting were Holly Urbanski, Jeremy Stevens, Lina Moreau, Paul Sutherland, Jeff Greenly, Don Cook, Mike Weber, Corie Eckstrom, and Terry Mosley.