Earlier this month, local cycling news site 303cycling.com decided to try a new sport -- triathlon.
“A lot of people have been asking us to fill that void in the triathlon community,” said Kris Thompson, founder of 303cycling.com, which focuses on news about bike racing, bike commuting, advocacy and more. “There are many cyclists that are in both worlds that have said to me, ‘There's nothing like this for triathlon.'”
Jimmy Archer, a pro triathlete, coach, writer, and former online editor for Inside Triathlon magazine, is heading up 303triathlon.com. Archer said that in triathlon media, there are four or five magazines with websites that are focused nationally or internationally.
“When I was at Inside Triathlon, we were always worried about being too Boulder-centric, or too Colorado-centric,” he said.
“It's interesting to be coming from the perspective of -- yes, let's be very Colorado specific,” he added.
Archer said he thinks there's a lot going on the Front Range in triathlon that lends itself to a local or regional site and can be useful for local triathletes.
“For example, you've got stroke and strides, like open water swim opportunities here, in Denver, Longmont,” he said. “And you almost have to know someone who knows someone who knows where it is.”
“They're not hidden, necessarily, but that's one of the things that people are probably looking for the most -- when can I get in a lake?” But national sites won't have that info, he said.
The launch of the local triathlon news site came about 4 1/2 years after Thompson started a local news site for his bike racing team at the time.
Thompson, a software engineer (he works on 303cycling and triathlon on the side, about 10 to 15 hours a week), asked his friend and fellow bike racer David Kutcipal if he'd be interested in helping with the site.
“We both felt like there was something like that missing in the area,” Kutcipal said. “Boulder and Colorado, in general, is cycling crazy. We felt like there wasn't something more localized like that. You've got VeloNews and Cycling News, but that's more on the continental U.S. or world level. There wasn't anything local to Colorado.”
Kutcipal was part of the site's ideal audience. He was a bike racer and a bit of an information junkie -- he had tons of alerts set up for local cycling news. Thompson called him “a master of finding content.”
That's most of what we are -- we're aggregators of cycling content,” Thompson said. “The years when we got started, we spent a large amount of time just searching for he news, and that's where Dave was really helpful.”
Kutcipal has added to those alerts in the past few years.
“I've got hundreds of RSS feeds and alerts set up so I can keep track of what's going on,” he said. “So if something pops up, I know relatively quickly what's going on.”
Thompson said 303cycling.com's traffic grows by about 25 percent every year. This July, at the height of the season, he expects to see about 5,000 hits per day.
“Looking at 303cycling, they're accomplishing what a lot of people want to accomplish, which is just being a hub to a community,” said Steve Frothingham, the Boulder-based web editor for bicycleretailer.com and former online editor at VeloNews.
“I like the feeling of localness when I get on there,” he said. “There's people I know on there, it's not someone trying to be a national site, which is kind of a weakness of some of the regional sites on the web.”
The 303 sites are extra work on top of his full-time job, his family life and, of course, bike racing. But Thompson said the site has provided fun opportunities he wouldn't have had otherwise, like interviewing Governor John Hickenlooper about cycling, or riding in the motorcade for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
“It's fun to be on the inside of cycling, not just a participant,” Thompson said.