XTERRA Pagosa Springs and PLOW Swim Challenge

By Kirsten Le Roux
Special to The SUN

The first week in August the summer heat is set to swell. What better way to beat the heat than a swim in Lake Pagosa? Usually Pagosa lakes are off limits to swimming, but for one exclusive weekend, GECKO (Giving Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors) is giving you the chance to beat the heat and swim.

Saturday, Aug. 2, is the XTERRA Pagosa Springs, an off-road triathlon (swim, bike, run) that starts at Cloud Cap Avenue. XTERRA is an international racing brand known for its gritty, fun “dirt” format triathlons, and the Pagosa Springs trail network is not short of scenic single track to fit the requirements. The distances are a 1-mile swim, 16-mile mountain bike and 6.2-mile trail run. Solo participants or relay teams of two or three are permitted (one per discipline).

Morgan Murri, founder of GECKO, says “We are very excited to be again hosting Pagosa Springs’ only outdoor triathlon. We are hoping to see as many Pagosans out there as possible, hopefully competing, but if not, then coming to cheer on the athletes and support this new event. It’s a great morning out for spectators as well as athletes, and we’ve designed an exciting course that will have athletes returning year after year.”

On Sunday morning at 9 a.m. is the PLOW Open Water Swim Challenge, an inaugural GECKO event. Perfect for visiting XTERRA athletes to use as active recovery from their triathlon the day before, the PLOW is also open to anyone wanting to try and open water swim.

Event race director Mike Le Roux comments on the PLOW Open Water Swim Challenge, “Lake Pagosa will be around 62-64 degrees and wet suits are allowed for both the triathlon and the PLOW. We encourage as many swimmers take advantage of the opportunity as possible. There is a half-mile and 1-mile swim option at the PLOW and for anyone wanting to mix up their pool swim routine, this is a good way to test your skills and fitness level.”

Online registration for both events is open at the GECKO website, www.joingecko.org, and, although on the day registration is available, it will be more expensive. This is to encourage early registration and assist GECKO with planning for the two days.

All GECKO events raise money to fund scholarships that help get teenagers unplugged, off the couch, outdoors and connected with nature. It changes their lives in a meaningful way forever. To find out how you can help or to donate, visit www.joingecko.org.

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 17, 2014.