Athletes set to race inaugural Ironman Lake Tahoe triathlon
About the time many Tahoe residents assume a comfy football-watching position Sunday morning, some 2,600 triathletes will be thawing out along on a 112-mile bike course, having already tackled a chilling, 2.4-mile swim in Lake Tahoe.
And they’ll be just getting started.
The North Lake Tahoe area is gearing up to host California’s first full-distance Ironman triathlon since 2001 — Ironman Lake Tahoe — which begins in Kings Beach in the wee hours of Sunday morning and wraps up 17 hours later in the Village at Squaw Valley.
It’s kind of a big deal. The race, which sold out all 2,600 entries in 19 hours, has drawn thousands of visitors to the area, providing a significant economic boost in a typically slow time of year. Athletes from 45 states and 14 countries will be represented.
“I think in a lot of ways it’s the perfect venue for us,” Keats McGonigal, race director for Ironman Lake Tahoe, said about the North Lake Tahoe and Truckee area, which has a contract to host the event for three years, with a two-year extension.
“It’s a destination area where people like to come to visit or race. And the spectacular beauty that we’re able to showcase kind of sets it apart. Then, obviously, having Squaw Valley and the atmosphere that we’re going to be able to create at the finish line is going to be a highlight for this event, for sure.”
Like all Ironman events, it won’t be easy. Keats said the Ironman Lake Tahoe course is the highest in elevation among the 12 full-distance Ironman races in North America, ranging from about 6,200 feet at lake level to 7,200 feet atop Brockway Summit.
“Obviously the altitude poses an increased challenge for the athletes, and this course does have some good hills on the bike course that are certainly going to be a challenge,” Keats said.
After climbing out of the water at Kings Beach, fresh off a 2.4-mile swim around a rectangular course, athletes will ...