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Full Moon Winter Tri comes to Carbondale

Locations: News Published

If your New Year’s resolution included anything about fitness or trying something new or both, you’re in luck. The Town of Carbondale, together with Aloha Mountain Cyclery and Independence Run & Hike, is sponsoring a first-ever Full Moon Winter Tri on Saturday, Jan. 19.

It’s been a vision of Margaret Donnelly’s for years, but the recreation coordinator — whose job title includes aquatics, health and wellness — has always been busy with Rassle the Castle this time of year.

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“This year, we’re not doing Rassle the Castle, and [this has] been in the brain for like three years,” she said. “It’s amazing how much is going on in the Valley, so it’s hard to find a weekend and time, and I always wanted to do a full moon.”

That said, Donnelly admits she and her co-sponsors had to settle for “full-ish moon.” The actual full moon isn’t until that next Monday, but nobody thought people would want to do a take on a three-part athletic event and party after a day at the office.

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“We want the party atmosphere afterwards,” she grinned. “It was so hard to pick a date.”

The race will start around 4:30 p.m. with a 5k run, then transitions to a 5k cross-country ski race, then finalizes at the rodeo grounds for a 5k bike ride. Awards will be announced thereafter, and then several bonfires will kick off the after party.

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“We might just ask people to bring instruments and do a sing-along kind of thing. That’s kind of the vibe that we’re going for, is just go out, have a jam,” Donnelly said, adding that there will be plenty of food available. As it’s mostly a nighttime event, she recommends people plan accordingly with headlamps and extra layers. “We’re going to reconfigure the shed — we’ll have male and female changing areas, so there will be a place to change into warm clothes in a warm building.”

As for the racers themselves, the footwear is up to personal preference, especially for the run.

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“RFTA grooms the trail ahead of time, so I do recommend they run in Yaktrax,” she said. “If you want to go out and walk it in snowshoes, then by all means just walk it in snowshoes!”

This isn’t for the hyper competitive ultra athlete, Donnelly noted. It’s more about getting the community out together in a fun, healthy environment. It’s that aspect that really gets Nic Degross animated when talking about the event.

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“Low-key, local, grassroots, real simple,” he said of what he likes most about the event. “It’s by no means ‘professional’ as far as the athletes or the structure. First-timers are very welcome, and that’s the whole idea of keeping it grassroots. We welcome first-timers; we welcome those who are very into their specific discipline — whether it’s cycling, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. It’s very much a relay, so go find your people that are stronger in their individual discipline, or if you wanna go in beast mode, go do all three yourself.”

There is one aspect of the race that everyone agrees on: if you’re planning on biking, get thee a fat bike.

“We’ll find you a fat bike,” Degross said. “Contact Aloha Mountain Cyclery, and let us know that you’d like to do this but you don’t have a bike. You ask me personally, and I will do what I can to find pieces and parts. It’s a small town — it’s all personal!”  

Even those who are making and managing the trails recommend having a snow-specific bike.

“Snow is kind of a funny surface to ride bikes on. You kind of have to geek out on tire pressure and all that,” said Brett Meredith, who manages the Rio Grande Trail for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA). “It does take a little bit of preparation. I know people kind of pack trails down, even single track, because bike tires will punch through loose snow.”

The other thing everyone involved knows for sure? It’s going to be a good time. You can pre-register for a $5 discount online (more information at or in person at the Carbondale Recreation Center. Bonus points — and an additional $5 discount — if you bring a non-perishable food item for Lift Up. Of course, you can register the day of the event (starting at 3 p.m.) or simply show up to the rodeo lot for the after party.

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