Kayak and cycling events to be added to Lake Tahoe Marathon | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Kayak and cycling events to be added to Lake Tahoe Marathon

Susan Wood, Tribune staff writer

It’s the economy — and the exercise, stupid.

This fall, the Lake Tahoe Marathon will likely be extended and transformed — to three days as a triathlon.

Marathon organizer Les Wright has set the wheels in motion for a Thursday-through-Saturday triathlon that features long-distance kayaking, cycling and running components.

Participants on Thursday would hug the shoreline in a kayak, traveling five miles from the Timber Cove Lodge to Zephyr Cove Resort. On Friday, cyclists will race around the 72 mile lake. They’ll wrap up the event by joining the marathon runners on their 26-mile stretch.

The hope is to seize on the multi-sport adventure market. Registration will be conducted in the next two weeks.

“The measurable benefit is the economy,” Wright told business and civic leaders gathered Thursday at Carrows Restaurant.

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There are logistical challenges for more than the participants.

Transportation officials and law enforcement will be required to set up a lane closure at some point and establish traffic signals to a yellow flashing mode in Tahoe City, allowing the athletes to keep up their momentum.

The California Highway Patrol would lead packs of riders.

“This is an opportunity for athletes to see how fast they can go around the lake,” Wright said.

America’s Most Beautiful Ride scheduled in June follows the lake circle, but it is considered a fun ride, not a race. Triathlons are technically races, bringing out athletes for heavy-duty training. Many athletes go out of their way to train in high altitude to increase their lung capacity which gives them added strength and endurance.

The mountain weather tacks on another challenge. The event will most likely occur in the morning to circumvent the effects of westerly winds that come up in the afternoon on the kayakers.

When word of this Tahoe triathlon went out, Carol Chaplin of Lake Tahoe Cruises/Zephyr Cove Resort expressed the need for a large-scale health and fitness expo to coincide with the long weekend’s smorgasbord of events.

“It seems what we’re developing is an October fitness and athletic month,” she said.

The marathon weekend already highlights an ultra running event over the three-day period, which is now called the “Tahoe Triple.” There’s also a 5- and 10-kilometer running race, in addition to a half marathon.

Wright gathered with community leaders to discuss the feasibility of a triathlon and received enough of a green light to plan the first-time event. For seven years, Wright has staged the Lake Tahoe Marathon, a popular event bumped from its usual Sunday run to Saturday this year.

Last year, more than 2,600 people pounded the pavement in high altitude. Participants have signed up for the Oct. 11 event from as far away as France and Italy, he said.

“Every runner I’ve talked to is happy about the change (in day),” Wright said.

— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com

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