Costa Rican native Zumbado tops the field in grueling race

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By Chelsy Woods Klein

Traveling 15 1/4 miles is A little more than a drop in the bucket when you are almost 2,500 miles from home like Costa Rican native Gabriel Zumbado was. 

The 22-year-old Olympic hopeful and member of the Newton Running team took first place at the Evergreen Sprint Triathlon on July 27. Finishing with a time of 1 hour, 2 minutes and 52 seconds, he was almost 2 minutes faster than second-place finisher Brian Fots. Zumbado said he wasn’t racing to beat anyone, he simply wanted to go as fast as his legs would take him. 

“Costa Rica is a tropical place and we are lower (in elevation), so it was hard,” said Zumbado, explaining that the cycling portion was the most difficult for him.

He wasn’t the only competitor struggling with the cycling portion. For many athletes, cycling is easier to train for, but more difficult to execute well in a race. 

Swimming is first up in a triathlon, which especially in cold, open water, can be draining. Coming out of the water, athletes were visibly cold; moving slowly and stiffly from the lake to the staging area stripped off their wetsuits and mounted their bikes.

Twenty-one-year-old Denver native and CU Boulder tri-team member Brittany Warly took first place in the women’s division, finishing sixth overall with a time of 1:07:24. She agreed that cycling was the most challenging, but for her it was about letting go of the fear instead of catching her breath.

“The hills were a little tough for me,” Warly said. “I had to really push myself to not be afraid coming down (the hills), with the turns at high speed.”

Zooming down the hill was a thrill for 11-year-old Matyas Mayo, of Loveland, who was the youngest competitor, finishing with a respectable time of 1:42:46, placing 158th overall and fourth in the 19-and-under division. 

Although this was his first time in the Evergreen Sprint it wasn’t his first triathlon. In fact, the Colorado native, who recently moved back from Hungary, has competed in countless triathlons as a member of a triathlon club.

Matyas’ mom, Izi Mayo, a former competitive swimmer, who now enjoys running said “I used to take him out to run with me when he was very young and he would keep up, but pretty soon I couldn’t keep up with him.”

Matyas says he loves triathlons because, “Doing one sport is just too boring.”