I was thrilled when I first heard that IRONMAN was coming to Lake Tahoe. As a former Hawaii resident I am familiar with the race which originated in Oahu in 1977 and later moved to Kailua-Kona on the Big Island in 1981 and will host the 34th IRONMAN World Championship this fall. Today there are 90 races worldwide with only 12 in the nation as full qualifying races. Now the first full distance race is returning to the West Coast with IRONMAN Lake Tahoe on September 22, 2013 which also includes 50 coveted qualifying spots to the IRONMAN World Championship. This race brings athletes to their knees testing their endurance, willpower and determination like no other.
Anticipated by racers for its beautiful scenic course and feared by its added challenge of high elevation, Lake Tahoe’s IRONMAN is ready to debute on the world stage. I had the pleasure of listening to Andy Chapman, Chief Marketing Officer of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association discuss the details of this race that sold-out within hours which I would like to share with you here.
Swim: 2600 participates will begin the race by entering the waters of Lake Tahoe promptly at 6:45am in Kings Beach in front of the North Tahoe Event Center. Contestants will complete a 2-lap course of 1.2 miles each in the cool, but warmest Lake temperatures of the year. Cut off times for the swim will end at 9:30am.
Bike: Now awake and wet, racers will mount their bikes and begin the 112.2 bike ride weaving and climbing terrain of North Lake Tahoe. The loop will begin at Kings Beach, travel through Tahoe City where bikers will turn away from the Lake and head to Squaw Valley, onwards through downtown Truckee and then return to Kings Beach via a 7,200 ft. elevation climb over Brockway Summit. Oh yeah, then they get to do it again!! Final cut off for biking is 4:30pm.
Run: The home stretch. The final leg of the race will begin and end at Squaw Valley, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics. The course sends runners along the bike path adjacent to the Truckee River 6.5 mi to Homewood on the west shore and then back to Squaw Valley. And if that doesn’t deserve IRONMAN status alone, racers get to repeat the loop one more time before crossing the finish line by the midnight deadline. Due to the relatively flat running course, this is expected to be the easiest portion! Sound easy to you?
One thing is for sure…it’s going to be exhilarating, emotional, entertaining and fiercely competitive as the inaugural Lake Tahoe race inducts its first round of IRONMAN veterans. To learn more about the IRONMAN challenge, its history and their mantra “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE” visit here.
Thanks to the diligent work of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association who brought this international endurance race to Lake Tahoe, there will be substantial economic gains for Lake Tahoe and its tourism industry. And it won’t just be for this year! IRONMAN Lake Tahoe has confirmed a 5-year contract to bring the race back to Lake Tahoe the following years. So if you want to participate next year, I recommend starting your training TODAY!
If you live in Lake Tahoe, Reno or anywhere in driving distance, clear your schedule for September 22nd and witness the inaugural IRONMAN challenge in Lake Tahoe! Better yet, join the action and become part of the inaugural Ironman Lake Tahoe as a volunteer! If you’re interested in volunteering visit here for more details and registration.
Do you have what it takes to become an IRONMAN? If so please share in the comments below what is your biggest motivation to become an IRONMAN? And if you already are an IRONMAN, please share your story with us.
Enjoy learning about Lake Tahoe? Follow my blog and me at @robinpenning to receive information on tips, news, activities and special events in Lake Tahoe.