Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Around Lake Tahoe Bike Race

I was in Lake Tahoe this past weekend competing in three days of racing. About 10 years ago the weekend event started as the Lake Tahoe Marathon. Over the years the organizers kept adding events. The combinations are now almost unlimited, you can do back to back marathons Friday, Saturday and Sunday if you wish, you can do a triple marathon straight through, a “super triple marathon” (Marathon Friday, Marathon Saturday, Ultra Marathon Sunday) if you want. For the multisport types they added swimming, kayaking and bike racing events. So you can do many combinations of events. Being the multisport type, I entered a 1 mile lake swim on Friday, the Around Lake Tahoe Bike Race Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. A good solid training weekend I thought.

Friday’s swim was uneventful, the 14 degree C water in Lake Tahoe freaked out many of the Southern California people, having swam in Two Jack Lake 9 degree water a couple of weeks prior, it felt balmy to me.

On the menu for Saturday was the Around Lake Tahoe Bike Race. This was 73 miles, and about 400 “racers”. I would guess about 100 of those were regular road racers from elite to cat 5. The road was virtually closed and we had California Highway Patrol escort. The race started fast and stayed that way, at least at the front anyway. There was an early selection and about 50 racers established the lead pack. This pack stayed together until the first big hill where a couple of packs were formed. I managed to stay with the second pack for the entire race and finished with a decent placing. I was not sure how I would handle the elevation which ranged from 6200 feet to about 7800 feet. My lungs were burning within the first five minutes so combining the elevation and the modest 3600 feet of climbing it was a hard day. For some reason, I think the fact that I am old and had a finish time under three and a half hours (3:11) I received an award. I was decked out in 2009 vintage Speed Theory gear, including booties and arm warmers and a couple of dudes said the gear really stood out and was voted “best kit”.

The Sunday half marathon was a disaster for me. I cramped up early and spent most of the race with the walkers and “runners” with cameras posing at every view point asking their fellow “racers” to take their photo. They also stopped at every mile marker for a similar photo op.

Another highlight of the weekend was the royal straight flush I was dealt in the poker room at Harveys Casino on Sunday night which paid for the trip.

If you are looking for a getaway weekend with some racing give Lake Tahoe Marathon weekend some consideration. It was by far the nicest and most challenging bike and run event I have ever done. Check out www.laketahoemarathon.com


Nathan said...
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Nathan said...

wow-nice read. I didn't event know about all those races going down. Something to think about for next year forsure.

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