JOHN Reesor’s story of how we arrived in the San Luis Valley and planted roots is a common one these days: Accepted a volunteer opportunity with AmeriCorp in Alamosa; fell in love with the high-desert mountain peaks; met a girl, Emma, while earning a master’s degree at Adams State; married her; started a family; found a job suited for him; made a home.

Reesor is the outdoor recreation supervisor for the city of Alamosa and is organizing the upcoming Rio Trio on June 11 as part of Alamosa’s effort to “activate the Rio.” It’s an event, based on last year’s turnout and strong registration ahead of this year’s event, that shows staying power and another way to draw visitors to Alamosa and the San Luis Valley during the summer.

The event is in its second year and returns with momentum and expectations. Reesor and Brian Puccerella, who a year ago was with Adams State outdoor adventures program and now works for SLV GO, came up with the concept.

The Rio Trio is an adventure-style triathlon that features mountain trail biking, paddling the Rio Grande, and finishes with a 5K run. Reesor and Puccerella figured they’d find 30 to 40 people who would want to try the event. They ended up with 100 racers in the inaugural year.

“It’s saying that Alamosa has something to offer with the river corridor and natural resources that we have,” Reesor said of the popularity of the event. This year the organizers have capped the race to 150 entrants, with 100 racers already signed up.

The Rio Trio accepts teams of three to complete the course or individuals can take it on alone.

John Reesor in the podcast studio

“It’s saying that Alamosa has something to offer with the river corridor and natural resources that we have.”

–John Reesor

Last year participants came from Taos, Pueblo Colorado Springs, Reesor said. Registration shows the same reach this year.

“I take a lot of pride,” said Reesor during a taping of The Valley Pod podcast, “in that people wanted to travel all that way to get to Alamosa when they could be spending the weekend anywhere in the state of Colorado at any number of events or public lands and they chose our city of Alamosa open space to spend their time.”

For the city of Alamosa and its outdoor recreation supervisor, it’s all about “activating the Rio.”

“I think we fill kind of a niche with this race,” Reesor said. “It’s pretty flat, it’s pretty beginner friendly, it’s family friendly.”

Listen to the full episode of The Valley Pod with John Reesor as our guest. It’s here.

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