Tyler and family escape Boulder floods on foot
Professional triathlete Tyler Butterfield called upon all his athletic speed to get his family out of Boulder, Colorado, in the midst of the severe flooding which claimed several lives last week and forced thousands to evacuate.
Bermuda’s other Boulder-based triathlete, Flora Duffy, is reportedly safe from the flooding and has been tweeting friends.
Duffy had to cancel a trip to England last weekend to compete in the ITU World Triathlon after suffering a stress reaction in her left foot.
Butterfield is now in Hawaii with his wife Nikki, also a triathlete, and their two-year-old daughter Savana Rose as he prepares for the Ironman World Championships on October 12, after escaping the Colorado flooding on foot, according to his father Jim and brother Spencer.
The couple are expecting a second child next February.
‘He had to leave Boulder on foot because part of the road had given way,” said older brother Spencer this week. “They had to hike their bags and baby strollers and everything out on foot until they got down the mountain far enough to pick up another ride and then get to the Denver airport to get out to Hawaii.
“He’s out there now and they’re safe and is now training. It would have been some point last week that they got out.
“They had bad flooding in and around where they were and he couldn’t train. He obviously put a lot of time and focus into his training for the Hawaii Ironman. For him, training is paramount and after he couldn’t train for two consecutive days he said ‘I’ve gotta go’ and that was what made the decision for him.”
Butterfield, who won last year’s May 24 Half-Marathon Derby, has spoken to his family in Bermuda to assure them of his safety.
“We skyped with him the other night and he made me jealous. He was out on the balcony in Hawaii and was pointing at the waves and the palm trees and said ‘I’m certainly safe’,” said Spencer. “He had planned to be there a few days prior to the event but has gone out there early so he can continue to train and will be there through to the 12th.”
Father Jim was recently in Colorado to visit Tyler and his family and experienced some of the early rains before leaving.
“When we left his place on Tuesday it started raining in Denver and we left on Wednesday morning,” said Jim.
“Tyler was very lucky, he pedalled around the mountain and realised the roads were messed up and he’d better go, so he left. A friend and I were out there for the weekend. I was in Boulder on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and left Wednesday. It was just wet weather when we were there, certainly no indication that anything like this was on its way.
“Tyler got neighbours to take him to where the roads were broken, then walked over some of the broken roads and then got another ride to a hotel, spent the night and then took a plane the next day. He just knew that having worked all year that in order to compete in Hawaii that he couldn’t stick around Boulder and lose time. He lived in Boulder for one year and then moved to a house that is higher up on one of the mountains.
‘It’s quite extraordinary, people have had their houses washed away and some are unaccounted for. It’s very serious.”
As of Tuesday, eight people were confirmed dead from flash floods triggered by a week of heavy rains that drenched a 130-mile stretch of the eastern slopes of the Colorado Rockies, with at least 1,600 homes destroyed.