2015-08-15 XTERRA Lake Tahoe Race Report by Joey Figone
If your into off-road triathlon and you live anywhere in a 180 mile radius of Lake Tahoe then you are just simply drawn to enter Xterra Lake Tahoe. It quite simply is one of the most epic venues that can be linked into a swim a bike and a run. Lake Tahoe waters are crisp, super clear and like on race day, glassy flat. The bike course is a pure MTB race course all on its own. It’s a no b.s. 21.5 mile, 3000’ course with a climb from 6320’ to 8560’ all while grunting granny gear climbs & negotiating fast technical, rocky, rooted and sandy single track. When you return to transition you get your fill of a twisty single/ double track trail run in the alpine canopy.
Before our 3 littles came along and priorities shifted, I raced then entire 2010 Xterra season. All the regionals, West Coast championships & Nationals. I’d been racing and enjoying Xterras since 1998 and coming to the Lake Tahoe Venue since 2002. Of course I knew that my family vacation in North Lake Tahoe was over the race date so I brought my race gear, err what I could find of it..I entered the sprint distance race. I had no desire to do the full course like in years past. The sprint is a 750 meter swim, a 21.5 MTB course which is the same as the full course bike distance and a 5k run. This was my first triathlon since Nationals in September of 2010.
I couldn’t find my wetsuit. Screw it, it’s just for fun and I’d done Maui in 2000 with no wetsuit and that was 1500 meters…So there I am at the starting line at 8am and I’m the only one with no wetsuit on. Luckily there was no wind so the water was calm and actually refreshing. No issues in the swim, I just cruised a comfortable pace and didn’t want to get into and issues racing peeps. The full course racers started 10 minutes before us and they did the swim loop 2x’s. The fastest of the fast came through our pack as we were almost done with our lap. Man some people are fish. They blew past me so fast! I came out of the water in 7th overall but had the fastest T1 and led all racers onto the bike. I had the 4th fastest bike split which held me in 3rd coming off the bike. The Flume trail segment of the course is an sweet 4 mile almost flat single track that takes you from the Tunnel Creek climb over to Marlette Lake. Along the way there are plenty of opportunities to make mistakes & I did. I mistimed a corner, corrected and then washed out. After I hit the rocks on the ledge side I was airborne and headed of the cliff. I felt like a cat on a ledge as I clung to the edge of the trail, I collected myself and pedaled on. With the fastest T2 split I caught 2nd overall and the age group leader just a bit before we ran almost the same run split and that kept me in 3rd overall and and 2nd in 40-44. Just a shade over 2:45 of racing hit the spot. I highly recommend trying out an off road tri if you are thinking about it, especially Lake Tahoe. You get a great venue course and reason to go to Tahoe!
Thanks to Erin and Town Center Bike and Tri for the support & hope all of you have great upcoming event results.