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GECKO’s off-road triathlon and open water swim challenge

By Kirsten Le Roux
Special to The PREVIEW

Photo courtesy Trent Bona On Aug. 2 and 3 GECKO will play host to two premier sporting events, the XTERRA Pagosa Springs off-road triathlon and the PLOW: Pagosa Lakes Open Water swim challenge.

Photo courtesy Trent Bona
On Aug. 2 and 3 GECKO will play host to two premier sporting events, the XTERRA Pagosa Springs off-road triathlon and the PLOW: Pagosa Lakes Open Water swim challenge.

On Aug. 2 and 3 GECKO will play host to two premier sporting events, the XTERRA Pagosa Springs off-road triathlon and the PLOW: Pagosa Lakes Open Water swim challenge.

Proceeds from the races go to GECKO (Giving Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors), a 501(c)3 Pagosa Springs-based charity that raises money to get kids off the couch, unplugged and outside. Help GECKO spread the word —send your friends and family to the website, www.joingecko.org, to register online.

Both events are set on the banks of Lake Pagosa with a spectacular view of the majestic San Juan Mountains. For the triathlon, you’ll start with a wetsuit swim in the mountain water of Lake Pagosa. From there, GECKO has chosen the best of Pagosa’s trails for the bike and run legs.

You’ll traverse the edges of narrow rim canyons with incredible vistas. It’s mostly fast-flowing single track, but you’ll need to be on your game as there are a couple of technical sections. The winding trail system works you through spectacular ponderosa and aspen forests, which makes it rooty and rocky underfoot. Course maps and further details are online at the GECKO website.

All finishers will enjoy one of our famous GECKO finisher awards made by the local elementary school art class and teacher Tessie Garcia. Also, check out the handcrafted metal-work trophies made by local artist Scott Slind.

After a swim, bike and run, you’ll earn your rest at the finishing party. There will be killer SWAG giveaways, including a wetsuit, and a chance to meet some of the other athletes. Then, why not take advantage of what Pagosa Springs is known best for and soak away tired muscles in the hot springs afterwards?

Enter the triathlon as an individual or as a two- or three-person relay team. Registration is at www.joingecko.org/xterrapagosasprings. On the day of the event, registration will be available, but at a premium to encourage pre-registration online to assist with planning.

Then, on Sunday, come out again to Lake Pagosa and challenge yourself to a safe and fun half-mile or 1-mile open water swim. This inaugural event is one of the rare opportunities to swim in one of the mountain lakes of Pagosa Springs. Wetsuits are permitted, but optional; water temperature will be between 65 and 70 degrees. Registration is online or on the day of the event.

For questions regarding either of these events, contact Mike Le Roux at 398-0612 or email info@joingecko.org.

This story was posted on July 24, 2014.