The DinoTri is One of the Most Beautiful Triathlons in the Region


By Dave Iltis — The DinoTri is one of Utah’s classic triathlons. Held each June in Vernal, it draws racers from around the West. No wonder. The course is incredibly beautiful, and the event is very well run. This year’s event will be on June 24, 2017.

We asked organizer Emilee Johnson to tell us about the event.

Cycling West: Tell us about the DinoTri course. What are the three sections for the sprint and Olympic?

DinoTri: The race starts at the stunning Red Fleet State Park. Olympic swims the 750-meter circle twice, the Sprint swims it once. Then you bike a steep hill out of the park before hitting the canyon where you’ll glide downhill into town. The sprint will go 13 miles to the transition and the Olympic will take a turn in town and go up Dry Fork Canyon before coming back to the transition for a total of 24 miles. Then everyone runs around the roundabout on beautiful new Main street, the Olympic doing two circles for a 10K and the sprint doing one loop for a 5K.

Sage Maaranen won the women's Olympic open category at the 2016 DinoTri in Vernal, Utah. Photo by Dave Iltis
Sage Maaranen won the women’s Olympic open category at the 2016 DinoTri in Vernal, Utah. Photo by Dave Iltis

CW: What is the scenery like? What are the highlights during the event?

DT: The scenery is amazing. Triathlon magazine called it one of their top 10 destination races because you can’t beat the brilliant red rocks of Red Fleet or the amazing views as you head through the canyon into town. And Aggie Ice Cream, recently voted Utah’s number one ice cream, is waiting at the end.

CW: Where can people stay in Vernal? Is there camping too?

DT: The Marriott Hotels have offered a discount to anyone that mentions Vernal DinoTri when they call in for a room. There is camping at the KOA in town or at Steinaker State Park.

The climb out of the Red Fleet Reservoir is a tough way to start the bike leg of the DinoTri. The course flattens out a bit afterwards, but the beautiful scenery continues throughout. Photo by Dave Iltis

CW: What are some of the options for families when the race is over, or for the rest of the weekend? Tell us more about the region.

DT: It’s a great place for a full weekend. There is a dinosaur museum in town, and Dinosaur Monument just outside of town where you can see actual fossils still in the rock. You can also hike and camp and see petroglyphs and a historic cabin. There is hiking and mountain biking throughout the area. There are also beaches at Red Fleet and Steinaker State Parks if you want more water fun. The Outlaw Trail Festival will also be going on at the Western Park. The highlight is Singing in the Rain, the live musical put on by the town every evening.

CW: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

DT: The DinoTri is a great race where the entire community comes together and makes it happen. Live music at check in the night before sets the stage. And live local artist singing The Star-Spangled Banner with a helicopter fly over to start the race is really something to see.

Event Details:

June 24 — DinoTri, Vernal, UT, Sprint and Olympic Distance Triathlon with relay options. Race starts with an open swim at Red Fleet state park. The bike starts with a crazy hill climb out of the park and heads into town for a run and finish at Utah State Extension. One of the most beautiful triathlons in Utah! Emilee Johnson, 801-520-0921, [email protected],


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